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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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“Smart Raids” and the Victim-versus-Criminal Narrative

“Smart Raids” and the Victim-versus-Criminal Narrative

(p.69) Chapter 3 “Smart Raids” and the Victim-versus-Criminal Narrative
Rewriting the Victim

Erin M. Kamler

Oxford University Press

Drawing on interviews with ethnic migrant sex workers in Chiang Rai, Thailand, as well as employees of local and international NGOs, in this chapter I show how the anti-trafficking movement uses “Smart Raids”—collaborations between NGOs and the Royal Thai Police to raid brothels, karaoke bars and massage parlors—in an attempt to rescue women working as prostitutes against their will. Digging more deeply, we see how this policy traps female migrant sex workers in a binary framework that pits the non-consensual “victim” against the agentive “criminal” in what I call the “victim-versus-criminal” narrative. By doing this, Smart Raids not only fail to achieve their primary goal, they also have detrimental effects on the very women they are designed to help.

Keywords:   Thailand, Burma, trafficking, migration, sex work, narrative, gender, NGOs

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