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Rewriting the VictimDramatization as Research in Thailand's Anti-Trafficking Movement$
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Erin M. Kamler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190840099

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190840099.001.0001

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Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

National Identity and the Trafficking of Women in Thailand

(p.43) Chapter 2 Setting the Stage
Rewriting the Victim

Erin M. Kamler

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a context for understanding the problem of trafficking in Thailand by first introducing two fundamental national identity projects—what I call “Thailand’s National Identity Project” and the “U.S. Abolitionist Project.” I show how together, these projects inform the anti-trafficking movement’s response to the constructed idea (i.e., the artificially manufactured notion put in place to deal with a whole complex of other problems) of trafficking, teasing apart how this response acts as a remedy for the deeper cultural, political and economic crisis’ affecting both Thailand and the U.S. Discussing the history of ethnic minorities in Thailand, Burma’s long-running ethnic civil wars, the feminization of migration, neoliberalism, and the historical roots of abolitionism, I show how the U.S. and Thai national identity projects and the narratives they bring about impact all actors in the trafficking arena—but most significantly the female migrant laborers who are caught in their crossfires.

Keywords:   trafficking, Thailand, Burma, abolitionism, gender, migration, labor, neoliberalism, national identity

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