Musto and Kempadoo agree that the difficulties in researching Human Trafficking are due to unreliable data of a “hidden population” and because of the stigma associated with trafficking and sex work, where members are unwilling to talk to researchers about their experiences. Because it is a hidden population, quantitative researchers think that governmental and NGO reports have overestimated the amount of trafficked victims. Although solutions to curb sex trafficking have been proposed, “few U.S. government reports or scholarly works focus on the vast similarities that exist between voluntary and involuntary migrants; namely their initial shared interest in migrating in order to improve their and perhaps their family’s economic futures” (Musto, p. 282). The unclear definitions, according to Doezema, also leads to the emerging indications that it is sex workers, rather than coerced innocents’ that form the majority of trafficking cases and according to the GAATW, the majority of cases involve women working in the sex industry, but are lied to about the conditions they work under or the pay they will receive for their work. Sex Slaves and Discourse Masters: The Construction of Trafficking by Dr. Jo Doezema Introduction: Positioning Trafficking in Women
Doezema further emphasizes that while victims of trafficking become the subject of social scientific enquiry, the phenomenon of trafficking resists or deflects definition and quantification, which ultimately hampers anti-trafficking efforts. Once mainly preserved by NGOs, as new research become available, governments are now becoming increasingly involved. However, governments are concerned about their international reputation and their own domestic immigration agendas. There are extreme variations in estimates of number of prostitutes, as Kampadoo cites the city of Bombay, which ranges from 100,000 to 600,000 and remarks To any conscientious social scientist, such discrepancies should be cause for extreme suspicion of the reliability of the research, yet when it comes to sex work and prostitution, dew eyebrows are raised and the figures are easily bandied about without question” (page 7).
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In order “to be eligible for U.S. funding, any foreign NGO working on the trafficking front must declare its opposition to legal prostitution”, which leaves pro-worker rights NGOS with no access to funding (Weitzer, p. 464). It is not to say that what was once an anti-prostitution trafficking campaign as a social movement had been transformed “into a project of the U.S. government, becoming almost fully institutionalized in official discourse, legislation, and enforcement practices under the Bush administration” (Weitzer, p. 467). In other words, groups cannot push a pro-workers’ rights agenda if they want to receive funding. Melissa Ditmore claims that this causes certain feminist groups “to work with far-right politicians and other conservative figures to promote an agenda that actually limits women instead of empowering them” (p. 117). Another way groups will lose funding is if they are caught working with undocumented workers. In fact, “If they are facilitating clandestine or illegal employment, they too are likely to be singled out for increased scrutiny, legal harassment, or withdrawal of support” (p. 120). Finally, groups that address gendered labor issues are another group that could be affected by present policies. The sex sector has many outside issues that are part of a larger complex of issues related to the labor market as a whole particularly with respect to gender issues and migration. The sex industry is not isolated, so it is important to understand the other factors related to the industry. Trafficking in Lives: How Ideology Shapes Policy by Melissa Ditmore
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