Networked trafficking: reflections on technology and the anti-trafficking movement
Author(s)boyd, danah; Thakor, Mitali Nitish
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In this essay, we offer field notes from our ongoing ethnographic research on sex trafficking in the United States. Recent efforts to regulate websites such as Craigslist and Backpage have illuminated activist concerns regarding the role of networked technologies in the trafficking of persons and images for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We frame our understanding of trafficking and technology through a network studies approach, by describing anti-trafficking as a counter-network to the sex trafficking it seeks to address. Drawing from the work of Annelise Riles and other scholars of feminist science and technology studies, we read the anti-trafficking network through the production of expert knowledge and the crafting of anti-trafficking techniques. By exploring anti-trafficking activists’ understandings of technology, we situate the activities of anti-trafficking experts and law enforcement as efforts toward network stabilization.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society
Thakor, Mitali, and danah boyd. “Networked trafficking: reflections on technology and the anti-trafficking movement.” Dialectical Anthropology 37, no. 2 (June 24, 2013): 277-290.
Final published version