In the past decade, human trafficking has rapidly risen to the top of the global human rights agenda. This course introduces students to the varying definitions of human trafficking in law and practice in a variety of global contexts. It provides an overview of critical debates in "modern day slavery" studies, including: gender, labor, migrant, and sexual rights.
This course uses several key theoretical frameworks to understand contemporary human trafficking and the anti-trafficking movement. These concepts include: human rights, transnational justice movements, gender equality, and migrant labor rights. Attuned to the different stakeholders in the anti-trafficking movement, as well as the different moral and ideological responses to trafficking, and the crucial experiences of victims of human trafficking this course explores contemporary debates in this field. This course provides a foundation for future studies in a range of interdisciplinary social science and humanities fields including: law, sociology, development studies, gender studies, political science, and American studies.
Students will be able to identify the types of human trafficking as defined by the United Nations Palermo Protocol and United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In addition, they will become familiar with different types of anti-trafficking interventions undertaken in different countries throughout the world. Merging understanding of the problem of human trafficking, with different practical solutions, will enable them to draft their own Action Plans by the end of the course. This course includes sensitive content that may not be appropriate for all students. Course engagement with themes of sex work and global slavery are chosen carefully to reflect the academic capacity and analytical skills of high school students.
This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.
Prerequisites: None required.
Elena Shih is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies, and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Sociology and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Shih's current book project, "Manufacturing Freedom: Moral and Political Economies of Global Human Trafficking Rescue," is a global ethnography of the transnational social movement to combat human trafficking in China, Thailand, and the United States. Shih teaches courses on human trafficking, labor migration and sex work, social enterprise, East and Southeast Asian borderlands, critical humanitarianism studies, and ethnographic methods. She was born in New York City, where she is part of a lineage of volleyball players who compete in the North American Chinatown Volleyball tournaments.