Has Someone taken your passport? Everyday Surveillance of the Migrant Laborer as Trafficked Subject

Project MUSE – Biography-Volume 42, Number 3, 2019muse.jhu.edu

My article in this collection is entitled, “Has Someone taken your passport? Everyday Surveillance of the Migrant Laborer as Trafficked Subject” is now available.

This article examines the role of the missing passport in human rights discourse about migrants who experience violence in the form of human trafficking. Fukushima argues that the passport and mechanisms of documentation that emerge in human trafficking survivor accounts are central to legal and social appeals for recognition. Through a scavenger methodology, the essay analyzes the “missing passport” in campaign materials, a survivor memoir (Shyima Hall), and court testimonies in U.S. v. Kil Soo LeeRana v. IslamLipenga v. KambalameGurung v. MalhotraU.S. v. Firas Majeed et al., and U.S. v. Wood. Ultimately, Fukushima explores how the question “has someone taken your passport?” discursively and socially compels the everyday person to participate in surveillance, thus witnessing transnational migrant laborers through the racializing and policing logics of biographic mediation that justify neighborly suspicion.

This article is one of many wonderful contributions in Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly (Vol. 42, no. 3). It is in a special issue, Biographic Mediation: On the Issues of Personal Disclosure in Bureaucracy and Politics edited by Ebony Coletu. Contributors include: Michelle Jones, Sara Ahmed, Aly Wane, Cristina Plamadeala, Mercy Romero, Leigh Gilmore, Rhondda Robinson Thomas, Amita Swadhin, Kimberly McKee, Aimee Morrison, and yours truly. 

I hope you will teach it and any other articles in this special issue, read it, cite it.


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