In January 2019, in honor of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the US, the Marriott International hotel group announced that it had successfully trained 600,000 hotel workers to spot the signs of human trafficking in its hotel properties around the world. This training, planned and executed in partnership with anti-trafficking organizations and law enforcement, reflects the recent proliferation of training schemes to identify victims of trafficking. This paper explores how such trainings script racist optics into the surveillance and policing of potential victims. Using proxy markers of poverty, sexuality, race, and nation, victim identification trainings expand policing--by civilians and law enforcement alike--and foreclose liberation for migrant and sex workers of color to survive under the constraints of global capitalism. The paper concludes with alternative mobilization possibilities that propose defunding anti-trafficking, and learning from lessons offered by sex worker right and racial justice organizations.
"The Fantasy of Spotting Human Trafficking: Training Spectacles in Racist Surveillance,"
Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies: Vol. 22:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/wagadu/vol22/iss1/5