The Social Science Theory of Feminism and How It Can Help Us Understand the Social Issue of People Trafficking

Topics: Human trafficking, Sociology, Prostitution Pages: 6 (2259 words) Published: June 8, 2013
Using one of the social theories considered in the course, discuss how the theory in question can help us understand the social issue of people trafficking.

The social science theory of feminism is one of the core theories that can help us understand the social issue of people trafficking. Feminism is a collection of movements which work towards equality between men and women in all aspects of life. There are three strands of feminism which are consisted of, Liberal feminism, Marxist feminism and Radical feminism. Marxist feminism is comprised from the idea that capitalism is the root of women’s oppression, and thus feminist move towards dismantling capitalism in order to liberate women. Radical feminism focuses on the theory that patriarchy is a system of power which shapes society into a complex of relationships, based on the hypothesis that ‘male power’ oppresses women (Turner, 2006). Finally, Liberal feminism emphasises equality between men and women through political and legal reform, which is the most relevant strand of feminism in helping us understanding the social issue of people trafficking, as there are many debates about the political and moral plans in supporting our understanding of such an issue, and also our approach towards it. Furthermore, feminism plays a very important part in understanding and solving human trafficking as feminists bring this social issue on the international agenda.

The definition of human trafficking can be best described in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children article three, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” (Schloenhardt, Beirne & Corsbie, 2009, pp.28 – 29). One of the main differences between human trafficking and human smuggling is mainly the fact of exploitation, people being trafficked usually have had no free will in their decisions. Although the Protocol may have a definition for human trafficking, there is no set answer to the definition of this issue, as there is no universal nature. There are many factors that lead to this exploitation, a few of the main ones includes, economic instability, vulnerability, lack of education from family and birth order (Blackburn, Taylor & Davis, 2010, p.108). Furthermore human trafficking is linked very closely with sex trafficking as women and sometimes men are trafficked into the country for the sole purpose of sexual exploitation. One of the big issues faced with the social issue of human trafficking is the lack of statistics and data that can be gathered about this issue, mainly based on the fact that many cases go undetected and thus there isn’t sufficient evidence for further investigations (Schloenhardt, Beirne & Corsbie, 2009, p.30). Moreover, difference sources of information have wide differences in the estimates of people trafficked in Australia, for example the government would state several hundred persons are trafficked into Australia each year, however advocacy groups and non government organisations state several thousand (Schloenhardt, Beirne & Corsbie, 2009, p. 224).

As stated before, feminism is a theory that is strongly used in understanding the issue of human trafficking, however within the feminism movements, there are activists who have different perspectives about sex work, which to an extend broadens our views of human trafficking. This includes the Neo-abolitionists, organisations like the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) who believe that sex work is gender based violence, and women are forced to be sex workers, not by choice. However on the...

References: Blackburn. A, Taylor, R.W, Davis, J.E, 2010, ‘Understanding the Coplexities of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitiation: The Case of Southeast Asia’, Women & Criminal, Vol 20, no. 1, pp. 105 – 126.
Choo. K, Jang. J & Choi. K, 2010, 'Methodological and Ethical Challenges to Conducting Human Trafficking Studies: A Case Study of Korean Trafficking and Smuggling for Sexual Exploitation to the United States ', Women & Criminal Justice, Vol 20, no. 1, pp.167 – 185.
Heredia, M. 2007, ‘People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000’, Human Rights Review, Vol 9, no. 3, pp. 299 – 316.
Maltzahn, K, 2001, ‘ Trafficking in Women for Prostiution’, Women against violence, Vol 11, no. 1, pp. 61 – 65.
Schloenhardt. A, Beirne. G & Corsbie. T, 2009, ‘ Human trafficking and sexual servitude in Australia’, UNSW Law Journal, Vol 32, no. 1, pp. 27 – 49.
Schloenhardt. A, Beirne. G & Corsbie. T, 2009, ‘Trafficking in persons in Australia: Myths and realities’, Global Crime, Vol 10, no. 3, pp. 224 – 247.
Smith M, 1998, Social Science in Question, Sage Publications, London, California, New Delhi, Singapore
Turner, B. 2006, The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, Cambridge University Press, New York.
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