3PM, March 20, 2014
Kuykendall 420, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Annie Isabel Fukushima’s manuscript Asian and Latina/o Migrant Crossings and the Invisible/Visible Paradigm of Human Trafficking examines homosocial violence and transnational migration and economies. This presentation offers insight into one of Fukushima’s chapters. The chapter is premised on Fukushima’s role as an expert witness in a case that has multiple names: “Chinese blessing fraud,” “Street scam” and the “Chinese Ghost Case.” Fukushima grapples with the ghosts that haunt anti-trafficking narratives through examining the “Ghost Case.” To examine the ghosts in anti-trafficking narratives Fukushima contextualizes the Ghost case in a genealogy of events (i.e., exclusions, the coolie laborer, sexual slavery, human smuggling and Golden Venture, U.S. v. Kil Soo Lee, and Fang Ping Ding). Fukushima’s research employs media, legal, and sociological analysis of the ghosts in the media and legal coverage of human trafficking – the ghosts of immigration and human trafficking. The ghost case was received as the human trafficking event that did, and did not happen (Beth Povinelli’s concept of a quasi-event) and is reflective of a particular anxiety that perseveres in the U.S. present around the transnational migrant who navigates U.S. legal systems; such migrants are positioned as inhabiting a particular threshold between criminality and victimhood, even before a sentencing occurs. As migrants cross into visibility in the U.S. legal system, their legibility is made possible by how they are witnessed as victims/criminals, citizen/noncitizens, and illegal/legal. Through examining how one crosses into visibility, what are the ghosts that haunt anti-trafficking legal, media, and sociological imaginaries?