What work takes place when slavery becomes the accepted language through which we come to understand human trafficking? Taking the website slaveryfootprint.org as a starting point, I consider the ways the slavery analogy restricts how we understand human trafficking, and offer instead an alternative method of accounting, which, following the work of Karen Barad, Michelle Wright and others, takes seriously the epiphenomenal as a way to re-consider the long inheritance of trans-Atlantic slavery as interconnected with, but not analogical to, human trafficking.
Julietta Hua is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. With a PhD in Ethnic Studies, she is the author of Trafficking Women’s Rights (2011), which looks at U.S. Anti-Trafficking law and policy. In addition to publishing on human rights and trafficking, she has also published on chimpanzee sanctuaries and the limits of rights framework.