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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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NGOs and the Rescue Narrative

NGOs and the Rescue Narrative

(p.84) Chapter 4 NGOs and the Rescue Narrative
Rewriting the Victim

Erin M. Kamler

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, I interrogate the experiences of those whose work responded to the supposed trafficking “victim”—the employees of abolitionist anti-trafficking NGOs in Thailand whose organizations provided shelter to former sex workers and advocate for policy change. Through an analysis of interviews, I show how NGO employees narrated the issue of trafficking to members of the public as well as to themselves, and how this “rescue narrative” gave voice—or failed to give voice—to the lived experiences of the female migrant laborers who their organizations were trying to help. I explore five dominant narratives that highlighted the challenges employees faced navigating the intercultural dimensions of their work, and the struggles they experienced trying to implement policies related to rescue. I suggest that these narratives reveal deeper personal struggles encountered by the employees, and consider how such struggles may risk hindering the effectiveness of their work.

Keywords:   trafficking, NGOs, Thailand, sex work, advocacy, rescue, narrative, intercultural communication

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