Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy ( University of California, 2012)

E. Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery (Free Press, 2009)

Louise Shelly, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy 

Kevin Bales’s Disposable People is a thoughtful investigation of the most atrocious forms of labor exploitation in our world today: from debt bondage to indentured domestic servants to child sex slaves. One key (and despairing) finding is how the current form of global slavery considers laborers dispensable. Due to the low price of a human life in this black market, it’s more cost effective to work slaves to death and purchase new ones than it is to provide for their sustenance. Bales’ book and work continue to be a global clarion call. Read the first chapter. Check out his nonprofit and his work to measure the extent of global slavery, and buy the book on Amazon.

Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery

From Dubai to Port-a-Prince to suburban America, Benjamin Skinner documents the dark reality of global human trafficking and slavery as it exists today. Skinner’s simple definition of slavery, “slaves are forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence,” is of great value in itself, but the real achievement of his book is the gripping narratives that reveal the human devastation at the heart of the global slave trade. Buy the book on Amazon.

Louise Shelly, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective 

Louise Shelly’s Human Trafficking is the culmination of 16 years of research and field work. Her thorough grasp of the extensive literature on human trafficking, field research on every continent, and testimony as an expert witness in human trafficking prosecutions all show in her historical and comparative analysis of the myriad forms human trafficking takes today. Like much of the literature on the subject, Shelly’s work suffers from a lack of robust and trustworthy datasets. Nevertheless, the book is a treasure trove of information and insight and a must-read for anyone attempting to understand the complexities of the global trade in humans. Read her synopsis here, and buy the book on Amazon.

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Siroj Sorajjakool, Human Trafficking in Thailand: Current Issues, Trends, and the Role of the Thai Government (Silkworm Books, 2013)

Julia Manzanares and Derek Kent, Only 13: The True Story of Lon (Only 13 Publications, 2006)

Siroj Sorajjakool, Human Trafficking in Thailand: Current Issues, Trends, and the Role of the Thai Government

Whether considering the nuances of freedom of choice within the Thai commercial sex industry or the transformation of the Thai labor industry during the end of the 20th century, Human Trafficking in Thailand is a significant scholarly contribution. If you’re interested in an in-depth and critical examination of human trafficking in Thailand, Sorajjakool’s attentive mind and clear writing make this the place to start. Read a short review here, or buy the book on Amazon.

Julia Manzanares and Derek Kent, Only 13: The True Story of Lon

While the writing and structure of this book could use some work, the story of Lon is compelling in its honesty, sorrow, and insight. Like many girls from Isaan and the other regions of Northern Thailand, Lon was left with very few options other than the commercial sex industry. Every John who justifies sex tourism in Thailand by convincing themselves that women choose this work should be forced to read this book. Buy the book on Amazon.

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Books

Rachel Moran, Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution (W.W. Norton and Company, 2013)

Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Verso, 2014).

Articles

Elizabeth Bernstein, “What’s Wrong with Prostitution? What’s Right with Sex Work? Comparing Markets in Female Sexual Labor,” 10 Hastings Women’s L. R. 91 (1999).

Sea-Young Cho,  Axel Dreher, and Eric Neumayer, “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking,” World Development 41 (2013): 67 – 82.

Rachel Moran, “Buying Sex Should not be Legal.” The New York Times, The Opinion Pages, August 28th, 2015.

Books

Rachel Moran, Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution 

A moving, provocative, and gripping account of prostitution, Paid For is more than one woman’s journey: it’s a damning indictment of a global system that objectifies and commodifies the female body. Calling out our culture’s construction of masculinity as violence and domination, the futility of freedom of choice divorced from opportunity, and the commercial sex industry – from pornography to strip clubs to prostitution – as one big “prostitution machine” that produces sexual slavery, Moran’s writing is elegant, her thought penetrating, her moral call irrefutable. Get ready to have a mind and heart expanding experience, and keep a tissue box close by. Buy the book on Amazon.

Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work

The criminalization of sex work (or prostitution) often places those who sell sex, usually the most marginalized in society, in an even more precarious position. For those of us who believe that a person’s body is not a commodity to be bought and sold, it’s still worth asking if the decriminalization of sex work would help those caught in this industry during the long process of dismantling the political, economic, and social realities that lead people to sell sex. It’s also worth considering whether or not a criminal justice approach is best for tackling this epidemic. While we don’t agree that prostitution should be legalized, Melissa Gira Grant’s voice is worth listening to in the midst of the sometimes discordant debates between anti-prostitution and sex workers’ rights activists. Read an interview here, a critical review here, or buy the book on Amazon.

Articles

Elizabeth Bernstein, “What’s Wrong with Prostitution? What’s Right with Sex Work? Comparing Markets in Female Sexual Labor” 

Though slightly dated, this clearly written research paper shows the parameters of the debate as well as offering insight into the life of prostitutes (sex workers) in San Francisco. Read the article here.

Sea-Young Cho,  Axel Dreher, and Eric Neumayer, “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking.”

A rigorous empirical study considering the relationship between the legalization of prostitution (sex work) and human trafficking. The author’s findings indicate a statistically significant increase in human trafficking inflows in countries where prostitution has been legalized. When it comes to public policy, empirical research should be the guiding norm. More research is needed in this area. This is a fine example of the methodological rigor needed in carrying it out. Read the article here.

Rachel Moran, “Buying Sex Should not be Legal” 

More from Moran. Read her short essay here.

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The Freedom Story believes strongly in the Nordic Model, which criminalizes those purchasing sex while decriminalizing those selling it.  

The Nordic Model, criminalizing those purchasing sex while decriminalizing those selling it, isn’t perfect. No model is. But evidence suggests it’s the best model for reducing demand while protecting the rights of vulnerable sex workers, most of whom are women and many of whom are survivors of sexual violence, trafficking, or are selling sex to survive. As the report for the committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality says:

Given the strong and growing evidence that legalizing prostitution and procuring does nothing to promote gender equality or reduce human trafficking, this report concludes that the essential difference between the two models of gender equality outlined above is that viewing prostitution as simply “work” helps to keep women in prostitution. Viewing prostitution as a violation of women’s human rights helps keep women out of prostitution.

For more, read the explanatory statement of the report from the committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.

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Janie A. Chuang, “The Challenges and Perils of Reframing Trafficking as ‘Modern-Day Slavery.’”

Fiona David, “When it Comes to Modern Slavery, do Definitions Matter?”

Anti-Trafficking Review No5 (2015)

We recommend the entire issue, but the two articles below provide a good overview:

Janie A. Chuang, “The Challenges and Perils of Reframing Trafficking as ‘Modern-Day Slavery.’”

Read the article here

Fiona David, “When it Comes to Modern Slavery, do Definitions Matter?” 

Read the article here.

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Books

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage, 2010)

Leslie Ann Jeffery, Sex and Borders: Gender, National Identity, and Prostitution Policy in Thailand (Silkworm Books, 2003)

Articles

Jarrett Davis, John Quinely, Glenn Miles, “Same-Same, But Different: A baseline study on the vulnerability of transgender sex workers in Bangkok.”

Books

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage, 2010)

This book has been instrumental in helping to bring global attention to women’s oppression, from sex trafficking to child brides, acid attacks, rape as a weapon of war, and gendercide. It even sparked an international Women in the World conference of world leaders, activists, and survivors to come together and discuss the path forward for women’s issues globally. While some of Kristof’s methods have received criticism–for example, his rescue attempts are highly problematic–this book has served as an important ambassador into our understanding of how critical it is to value women and girls from a variety of perspectives, to invest in their education, and in how investing in women and girls radiates positive effects to communities and societies writ large. You can find the book on Amazon.

Leslie Ann Jeffery, Sex and Borders: Gender, National Identity, and Prostitution Policy in Thailand (Silkworm Books, 2003)

Are national identities gendered? What’s the relationship between prostitutes, how they’re represented in national debates, economics, and politics? Why did the US invest billions of dollars into developing the infrastructure for the Thai commercial sex industry? While demanding at times, Sex and Borders rewards are worth the effort. Read a review, and buy the book on Amazon.

Articles

Jarrett Davis, John Quinely, Glenn Miles, “Same-Same, But Different: A baseline study on the vulnerability of transgender sex workers in Bangkok.”

A fascinating, informative, and sober look at transgender sex workers in Bangkok. If it hasn’t happened already, be prepared to have your gender binary deconstructed. Read the article here.

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We recommend all of the following articles from love 146: “Boys for Baht,” “What about Boys?” “Hidden In Plain Sight.”

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Books

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage, 2010)

Articles

David A. Feingold, “Human Trafficking: Think Again.” Foriegn Policy

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

This book has been instrumental in helping to bring global attention to women’s oppression, from sex trafficking to child brides, acid attacks, rape as a weapon of war, and gendercide. It even sparked an international Women in the World conference of world leaders, activists, and survivors to come together and discuss the path forward for women’s issues globally. While some of Kristof’s methods have received criticism–for example, his rescue attempts are highly problematic–this book has served as an important ambassador into our understanding of how critical it is to value women and girls from a variety of perspectives, to invest in their education, and in how investing in women and girls radiates positive effects to communities and societies writ large. You can find the book on Amazon.

David A. Feingold, “Human Trafficking: Think Again.”

Feingold addresses some of the most common misunderstandings about human trafficking and how best to address the epidemic. Read it here.

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