Book: Challenging the Human Trafficking Narrative: victims, villains, and heroes’ by Dr Erin O’Brien

What is the moral of the human trafficking story, and how can the narrative be shaped and evolved? Stories of human trafficking are prolific in the public domain, proving immensely powerful in guiding our understandings of trafficking, and offering something tangible on which to base policy and action. Yet these stories also misrepresent the problem, establishing a dominant narrative that stifles other stories and fails to capture the complexity of human trafficking.

This book deconstructs the human trafficking narrative in public discourse, examining the victims, villains, and heroes of trafficking stories. Sex slaves, exploited workers, mobsters, pimps and johns, consumers, governments, and anti-trafficking activists are all characters in the story, serving to illustrate who is to blame for the problem of trafficking, and how that problem might be solved. Erin O’Brien argues that a constrained narrative of ideal victims, foreign villains, and western heroes dominates the discourse, underpinned by cultural assumptions about gender and ethnicity, and wider narratives of border security, consumerism, and western exceptionalism.

Drawing on depictions of trafficking in entertainment and news media, awareness campaigns, and government reports in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, this book will be of interest to criminologists, political scientists, sociologists, and those engaged with human rights activism and the politics of international justice.

https://www.routledge.com/Challenging-the-Human-Trafficking-Narrative-Victims-Villains-and-Heroes/OBrien/p/book/9781138858978

 

Recently Published — “Human Trafficking Heroes and Villains: Representing the Problem in Anti-Trafficking Awareness Campaigns”

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Senior lecturer Dr Erin O’Brien from QUT’s School of Justice has recently published an article which examines the depiction of human trafficking ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ in anti-trafficking campaigns.The article explores the construction of the ‘problem’ of trafficking using materials from 18 anti-trafficking awareness campaigns to identify assumptions about the causes of trafficking and more specifically, the  trafficking offender.  Read more

In the News: QUT’s Dr Erin O’Brien Discussing Human Trafficking on ABC Radio

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Yesterday was “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons” – a UN initiative aiming to raise global awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights. This form of modern day slavery is a serious issue affecting millions of people in different countries around the world, including Australia.

Dr Erin O’Brien from QUT’s School of Justice is an expert on human trafficking and has done extensive research in this area. She spoke to Kelly Higgins-Devine on ABC Radio yesterday to offer some insight about the victims, perpetrators and processes involved in human trafficking. Click here to listen to the full interview.