What’s the Mission? Discursive Power and Human Rights–Based Language in Anti-Trafficking Organizations

Published March 21, 2020


Journal of Human Rights and Social Work (2020)


One of the ways individuals or groups in power preserve their power is through the vehicle of language. As such, the message that an organization sends regarding its mission, vision, values, and or goals is just as important as the actual services with which it provides. Nowhere is this truer than within the realm of anti-trafficking service provision. Through content analysis of the mission, goal, vision, and value statements of 162 organizations who are funded to combat human trafficking, the research team examined how organization statements articulate a human rights–based approach. The study findings were that organizations who further the primacy of rights did it in four distinct ways: advocating for human rights seeing human rights as something survivors lack empowering survivors and viewing survivors as rights-holders. However, overall, there is still an under-utilization of human rights as a framework.

McGill University – “Witnessing Migrant Futurities,” a talk by Annie Fukushima – March 11 at 3PM

Peel 3487 Seminar Room, 3487 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W7, CA

Technology and migration in global processes have created the opportunities for imagining social life. A homeland futurity encompasses the critical analysis of the contemporary world and possibilities in a future, with a particular emphasis on such imaginings as determined by nation-states. Current US rhetorical strategies of imagining a future of their homeland have propagated ‘discourses of emergency’ which are part of a ‘risk management program designed to extract profit from projections of an ever-susceptible border.’ This presentation will grapple with homeland futurity in anti-trafficking discourse and practice. Fukushima examines multiple sites –policies, campaigns, media, qualitative data, and websites–to trace how homeland futurities emerge in US anti-trafficking efforts. Fukushima’s presentation illuminates how migrant laborers are impacted by a discourse of threat and containment regarding the border. However, migrant laborers and collaborators are innovating to enact migrant futures. Therefore, this presentation illustrates through the example of Contratados.org how technology in the anti-trafficking movement may facilitate opportunities of future visioning by migrant laborers beyond a homeland futurity, to enact a migrant futurity.

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Additionally, I will also be facilitating a workshop on race, gender, and difference in research.