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SNRG invited to contribute to 2013 conference and Open Society Institute educational volume on human trafficking

University of Southern California on Feb 1 and 2 2013
From Prosecution to Empowerment Fighting Trafficking and Promoting the Rights of Migrants
Organized by Rhacel Parrenas and subsequent edited volume titled, Human Trafficking Reconsidered: Migration and Forced Labor.
Conference website:

Human trafficking is a dire problem that thus far has generated shortsighted and lopsided solutions. Not only is there limited research about trafficking – as noted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the information advanced by the U.S. government and media is not usually based on rigorous research– the movement against it has also not developed collaborative relationships with other related struggles in order to deepen and broaden our understanding of this complex problem. Moreover, often government resources and humanitarian aid that go into the war on trafficking are not directed towards the vital empowerment of migrants and the reduction of their vulnerability to trafficking.

From Prosecution to Empowerment aims to contribute to connecting the fight on human trafficking with broader movements to empower migrant laborers. Its aims are to address how the war on trafficking can be a vehicle for promoting the human rights of migrants, how to reduce their vulnerability to abuse, and how to empower them in the process of migration. Mindful that trafficking affects a wide range of workers – including agricultural workers, domestic workers, and garment workers – the scope of the conference extends beyond sex work. Instead, the conference brings attention to a vast array of migrants who are susceptible to trafficking not because of the nature of their occupation but rather because of their limited rights as migrants. They include migrant contract workers who labor under conditions of indenture, guest workers who are denied full citizenship rights, undocumented workers who face the threat of criminal prosecution, and international brides whose legal status depends on their continued marriage to abusive spouses.

Addressing the problem of human trafficking in this conference are legal advocates, community representatives and scholars who have worked directly with vulnerable migrant groups including international brides, domestic workers, farm workers and sex workers – individuals who are most vulnerable to human trafficking.  The main goals of the conference are to situate the war on trafficking in the broader struggle for migrant human rights, to bring civic leaders from different sectors into conversation, and to begin to develop policy recommendations.

This conference is organized, hosted and sponsored by:
USC Center for Feminist Research, USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII), and USC Department of Sociology.

with co-sponsorship and funding from:
USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC Center for International Studies, and the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.