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Trafficking

What is that?

Elisabeth Schober

Kamala Kempadoo, Trafficking and prostitution reconsidered: New perspectives on migration, sex work, and human rights. London and Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2005, 247 pp., ISBN 1-59451-096-2 (paperback).

Kathryn Farr, Sex trafficking: The global market in women and children. New York: Worth Publishers, 2005, 262 pp., ISBN 0-71675-548-3 (paperback).

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Steve Kwok-Leung Chan

migration towards Thailand, with emphasis on undocumented labor and trafficking in persons. As undocumented migrant workers outnumber their legal counterparts in the destination nation, it is a significant social phenomenon worthy of examination. One

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The Theatre of Human Trafficking

A Global Discourse on Lao Stages

Roy Huijsmans

Using the Lao PDR as a case study, this paper analyses human trafficking as discourse. Human trafficking is identified as a global discourse that is globalized through a set of powerful relations and actors. Following Appadurai, it is argued that this global discourse is not passively received by local actors such as the Lao state. This demonstrated by unravelling the global–local interactions through which it has entered the Lao social landscape. This is complemented with an analysis of a series of events in which the human trafficking discourse is staged on Lao soil. On this basis, the paper argues that the global human trafficking discourse is actively indigenized through, amongst other things, the social practice of staging. In addition, the paper argues that this indigenized discourse is employed by actors in more localized power struggles; in this case, by the Lao state as a response to boundary crises triggered by the phenomenon of cross-border migration into Thailand as an important manifestation of the overarching process of transition.

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Slavery as the commodification of people

Wa "slaves" and their Chinese "sisters"

Magnus Fiskesjö

In the 1950s, teams of Chinese government ethnologists helped liberate “slaves” whom they identified among the Wa people in the course of China’s military annexation and pacification of the formerly autonomous Wa lands, between China and Burma. For the Chinese, the “discovery” of these “slaves” proved the Engels-Morganian evolutionist theory that the supposedly primitive and therefore predominantly egalitarian Wa society was teetering on the threshold between Ur- Communism and ancient slavery. A closer examination of the historical and cultural context of slavery in China and in the Wa lands reveals a different dynamics of commodification, which also sheds light on slavery more generally. In this article I discuss the rejection of slavery under Wa kinship ideology, the adoption of child war captives, and the anomalous Chinese mine slaves in the Wa lands. I also discuss the trade in people emerging with the opium export economy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which helped sustain, yet also threatened, autonomous Wa society. I suggest that past Wa “slave” trade was spurred by the same processes of commodification that historically drove the Chinese trade in people, and in recent decades have produced the large-scale human trafficking across Asia, which UN officials have labeled “the largest slave trade in history” and which often hides slavery under the cover of kinship.

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Introduction

Sexual encounters, migration and desire in post-socialist context(s)

Judy Whitehead and Hülya Demirdirek

This introduction explores the contested issue of 'prostitution' and the transnational flow of sex labor. Drawing on the experiences of female migrants described in this issue, we rethink the impact of socialist transition and examine larger themes such as the role of discursive practices in the establishment of national boundaries and in various forms of international intervention. We problematize the 'traffic in women' as well as the conceptualization of and dichotomies surrounding sex labor. Key points in the current debates on transnational sex work are highlighted and an approach is suggested which conceives of agency and structure not in oppositional terms, but as a continuum. Considering the structural conditions imposed by neoliberal policies, we argue that ethnographic accounts can help explain how transnational openings in the market for sex work are internalized as opportunities for young women in post-socialist contexts and how economic liberalization becomes accepted as 'natural' and 'inevitable'.

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Driven women

Reconceptualizing women in traffic through the case of Gagauz mobile domestics

Leyla J. Keough

This article focuses on the skill and fortitude of Gagauz Moldovans who migrate to Istanbul to work as domestic laborers. I consider how these 'driven' women negotiate their subject positions as mothers and wives, educated workers, migrants and paid domestic laborers, Turkish-speaking Christians and former Soviets. While their understandings reproduce certain power relations in Turkey and Moldova, their journeys also constitute a route for empowerment. Their situation is presented in the context of a 'discourse of sexual threat' that circulates about them in Turkey. I examine how this discourse and the women's understandings of their own subjectivities work to open or close off, contribute to or limit, the subject positions, the goals and desires, and the potential agency of Gagauz and Turkish individuals. By considering these issues in this way, I argue that this case study may challenge traditional academic conceptualizations of migration in Europe, female subjects and power relations.

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Migration, Empire, and Liminality

Sex Trade in the Borderlands of Europe

Tracie L. Wilson

According to police and court records, in June 1911, twenty-five-year-old Hersh Günsberg, from Zhytomir, a town in the Russian western territories, was stopped in the Habsburg city of Lviv under suspicion of trafficking in women. Documents describe

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Performing humanitarian militarism

Public security and the military in Brazil

Stephanie Savell

In November 2010, a series of conspicuous public bus burnings and gunfire attacks on private vehicles appalled Rio de Janeiro residents. Officials responded by targeting the notorious drug trafficking organization Comando Vermelho (CV) in Complexo

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“We Had to Pay to Live!”

Competing Sovereignties in Violent Mexico

Wil G. Pansters

This article examines the emergence of self-defense forces (autodefensas) in Michoacán (Mexico) in the context of relationships between drug trafficking and the state, concentrating on the recent history of fragmentation, disorder, and violence. It traces how these processes generated comprehensive criminal sovereignty projects, which then triggered the emergence of armed defense forces in both indigenous and mestizo communities. Recent developments in Michoacán are described in light of anthropological theorizing about the relations between sovereignty, state-making, and (dis)ordering. The analysis elucidates the triangular dynamics of sovereignty-making among organized crime, the state, and armed citizens. Special attention is given to state interventions to dismantle de facto self-defense sovereignties because these have created an unstable and violent situation. It is argued that sovereignty-making is territorial and historical, and that it is embedded in political, economic, and cultural identities.

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Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Speed Limits Charissa Terranova

Mark Simpson, Trafficking Subjects: The Politics of Mobility in Nineteenth-century America Cotten Seiler

Tim Cresswell and Peter Merriman, Geographies of Mobilities: Practices, Spaces and Subjects Gopa Samanta

Aharon Kellerman, Personal Mobilities Marcel Endres

Matthew Beaumont and Michael Freeman, eds., The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space, and the Machine Ensemble Dorit Müller

William D. Middleton and William D. Middleton III, Frank Julian Sprague: Electrical Inventor and Engineer and Frederick Dalzell, Engineering Invention: Frank J. Sprague and the U.S. Electrical Industry Bob Post

Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us) Clay McShane

Lee Friedlander, America By Car Charissa Terranova

Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon, Two Billion Cars: Driving towards Sustainability Rudi Volti