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Archive of posts filed under the Trafficking, Anti-Trafficking, and Street Sex Markets in the US category.

SNRG Team Led by Amber Horning Publishes Critique of Clinton/Kerry approach to Trafficking in Persons Report in International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice

The Trafficking in Persons: A Game of Risk

Amber Horning, Christopher Thomas, Alana Henninger, and Anthony Marcus

International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 2014 (forthcoming)


The State Department ranks countries on adherence to minimum standards set forth by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000. The Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) is updated annually and failure to enact changes to combat trafficking results in higher tier rankings. This paper evaluates the TIP by situating this tool in light of special features of the modern era, such as globalization and risk. Through a survey of the theoretical literature on risk and on trafficking risk factors, we devise six preliminary risk clusters and discuss how the TIP could incorporate governments’ response to trafficking risk factors into the ranking system. Our intentions are to spark debate about how risk factors could be incorporated in the TIP, to provide a preliminary model and to encourage further research in this area.


Marriage, Forced and Otherwise: Inter-generational conflict over marital choice among North African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian New Yorkers

Alana Henninger

Anthony Marcus

Ric Curtis

Presented by Alana Henninger at the European Society of Criminology Annual Conference


Over the past two decades, social policy concerns have emerged in varied OECD countries around the problem of “forced marriage” and intergenerational conflict over marital choices within migrant communities. While the United States Department of State defines forced marriage as “one in which one or both parties have not consented to the marriage”, for migrants who encounter conflicting kinship norms and beliefs in situations of diaspora, the question of consent is never simple. Interestingly, the Department of State identifies eleven countries where United States citizens have been known to be forced into marriage, but does not include the United States on this list. Some American advocacy organizations now argue that forced marriage is occurring in the United States in substantial numbers, and have begun calling for specific legislation and socio-legal responses. However, there is very little empirical research into the nature and scope of the problem because it involves complex and intimate family matters that are typically hidden from outsiders even when they are not in violation of receiving-country norms. Additionally, government institutions in western countries are sometimes hesitant to act because of the fear of appearing racist or forcing western values upon established cultural norms.

This exploratory study examines the ontology and life experiences of New Yorkers from families that migrated from places where arranged marriages are common in an effort to add to the small body of scientific knowledge on forced marriage in the United States. Using intercept recruitment, 100 CUNY students from these regions were surveyed about their beliefs, attitudes, and opinions concerning marital choices, and their experiences with intergenerational tensions within their family concerning arranged marriage. This study provides a view into what forced marriage may look like to students occupying a difficult space between sending and receiving countries, and how forced marriage may or may not fit the socio-legal categories of its Western advocates.




Special Issue of Dialectical Anthropology

Anti-anti-trafficking? Toward critical ethnographies of human trafficking
Edward Snajdr and Anthony Marcus

Table of Contents

Marcus, Anthony & Ed Snajdr — Anti-anti-trafficking? Toward critical ethnographies of human trafficking

Blanchette, Thaddeus & Ana Maria da Silva — The Myth of Maria and the imagining of sexual trafficking in Brazil

Snajdr, Ed — Beneath the Master Narrative: Human Trafficking, Myths of Sexual Slavery and Ethnographic Realities

Musto, Jennifer — Domestic minor sex trafficking and the detention-to-protection pipeline

Thakor M. & danah boyd — Networked trafficking: reflections on technology and anti-trafficking movement

Dejanova, Tanja and Chitra Raghavan — Report from the field: evaluating an alternative to incarceration program for “highly probable trafficking victims”

Horning, Amber — Peeling the onion: domestically trafficked minors and other sex work involved youth

Weitzer, Ron – Commentary

Montgomery, Heather – Commentary

Linquist, Johan – Commentary

Sandy, Larissa – Commentary

Jakobssen, Pye and Jay Levy – Commentary

New Publication in Social Policy and Society

Implementing Policy for Invisible Populations: Social Work and Social Policy in a Federal Anti-Trafficking Taskforce in the United States. Social Policy and Society, available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S1474746413000304.

Anthony Marcus and Ric Curtis


In the United States, the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) has been one of the principal foci in the fight against human trafficking during the past decade with billions of dollars spent and hundreds of thousands of helping professionals trained in anti-trafficking best practices. Despite this attention, prosecutions, convictions and rescues have been scarce relative to funding, leading critical scholars to argue that CSEC is a moral panic. The following article, based on fourteen months of participant-observation between 2009 and 2010 with social service providers, law enforcement officials, not-for-profit directors and local clergy from a voluntary participation federal anti-trafficking taskforce in Atlantic City, New Jersey provides an ethnographic account of the ways that helping professionals confront the challenges and contradictions of implementing policy and advocating for an invisible target population that is rarely, if ever, visible in their work lives.

Article and Special Issue of Dialectical Anthropology

Published by Dialectical Anthropology — online first
“Peeling the Onion: Domestically Trafficked Minors and Other Sex Work Involved Youth”
by Amber Horning

A critical review of three recent works addressing human trafficking among minors: Rachel Llyod’s Girls Like Us, Meredith Dank’s The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, and Ric Curtis, Karen Terry, Meredith Dank, Kirk Dombrowski and Bilal Khan’s report to the National Institute of Justice: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City. Drawing on her own research with several dozen young pimps in New York City, Horning argues that these works together suggest an urgent need to refocus resources on understanding the problems that youth involved in sex work face including a lack of support, job opportunities and resources, and clearly defined exit routes.

Special Issue of Dialectical Anthropology: Anti-Anti-Trafficking? – Towards an Ethnography of Human Trafficking
due for publication in March
Editors Ed Snajdr and Anthony Marcus
This special issue of Dialectical Anthropology aims to critically examine how human trafficking discourses, laws and interventions complicate efforts to define, address and engage with the issue and how these responses and engagements problematize ideas of agency, consent and individual autonomy. These themes are explored from the perspective of anthropology and in particular through the lens of ethnographic research conducted in the field, both from its peripheries and among the central networks of sex workers, forced laborers and the organizations, and governments clamoring to assist them. From the favelas of Brazil or the steppes of Kazakhstan to US juvenile offender assessment centers, the digital networks of Craigslist and Backpage, or a military base in Bosnia, these ethnographic engagements seek to shed a critical light on the nuances, narratives and conundrums of human trafficking and the policies and practices devised to eradicate it.