The perverse politics of four-letter words: Risk and pity in the securitisation of human trafficking

Aradau, Claudia (2004). The perverse politics of four-letter words: Risk and pity in the securitisation of human trafficking. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 33(2) pp. 251–277.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mpg/mjis/200...

Abstract

This article unpacks two constructions of human trafficking: as a security threat and as a humanitarian problem. Restricting its focus to trafficking of women for the sex industry, the article highlights the double identification of these women as illegal migrants and victims, prostitutes and suffering bodies. How are these schizophrenic identifications possible? An analysis of the security and humanitarian articulations as governmental interventions in Michel Foucault's sense of the term locates a perverse continuity. As the bodies in pain governed by a 'politics of pity' metamorphose into psychological cases to be governed by risk technologies within a 'politics of risk', the humanitarian and security interventions are shown to be in no way mutually exclusive.

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