Human Trafficking: Women’s Stories of Agency
This book explores women’s stories of agency in a lived experience of trafficking. The idea of agency is a difficult concept to fathom, given the unscrupulous acts and exploitative practices which define trafficking. In response to the ‘3-P’ anti-trafficking paradigm – to prevent and protect victims and prosecute traffickers – official discourse constructs agency in singular opposition to victimhood. The ‘true’ victim of trafficking is reified in attributes of passivity and worthiness, whereas signs of women’s agency are read as consent in their own predicament or as culpability in criminal justice and immigration rule-breaking. Moving beyond the official lack or criminal fact of agency, this collection of stories adds knowledge on agency constructed with, on, and by, women possessing a trafficking experience.
Based on the stories of twenty-six women, agency is seen to exist in relationship to women’s victimisation under trafficking. Exploring well-being agency (women’s physical safety and economic needs), and agency freedom (women’s capacity to construct choices and the conditions affecting choice), women demonstrate agency in their identity, decision making, and actions.
Acknowledging the existence of a migration-crime-security nexus in contemporary human trafficking, the narratives of fifteen anti-trafficking professionals highlight how official actions mediate women’s achievement of well-being and agency freedoms.
This book will be of interest to students undertaking courses in modern slavery, human trafficking, human geography, police studies, social work, and criminology.
Maria De Angelis received her doctorate from the University of Hull, UK, and is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University. Her interests lie in the relationship between social and criminal policy, and in ethical provision for displaced and vulnerable persons – asylum seekers, refugees and survivors of trafficking. Maria has taught extensively on Social Work, Penology, and Criminology courses, and is experienced in designing Human Trafficking curricula at Higher Education and continuous professional development (CPD) levels. Her inter-disciplinary perspective permeates her research, and her view of lived experience questions the binary between victimhood and agency, profiling the trauma and celebrating the ingenuity of women in rebuilding their lives and improving conditions for those who follow them.
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