This course examines sex trafficking as presented in film and law. The story of sex trafficking in girls and women involves entrenched inequalities, systemic and systematic violence, shocking profitability and a failure of local, national and international law. While all these may contextualize the experience, may show them with more texture, it is the victims and survivors of sex trafficking - their gestures, details and remembered events - who create the path through the hidden door of this story. As slave narratives from the l800's and the Holocaust testimonies of the last century, these voices tell stories of rape, torture, disease and death - women and girls, violated at will, for someone's pleasure and someone's profit.
These stories emerge in Hollywood feature films, investigative news reports, multi-media presentations, short films, video advocacy projects, and even the hand-held images of rights-claimants themselves; however, the particular focus of this seminar is documentary films. Through documentaries, we will exmine the gendered dimensions of national behavior through law, including the distinction of public and private , naturalizing dominance as difference, obscuring coercion as consent, and hiding sexual politics behind morality. We will explore how international human rights law might challenge these dimensions rather than merely reproduce them at a higher level. We will trace the social, political and legal changes needed to secure the substantive rights of sex trafficking victims, to move them to the center of the human rights process, to have them become fully human in both the legal and lived senses.
This seminar is a collaboration of human rights activist Alicia Foley Winn and Kate Nace Day, both of whom are committed to the project of theorizing the reality of women's lives toward social, political, and legal change. Students will be evaluated on the basis of presentation of independent projects and class participation.
<<Course Updated: April 03, 2013>>