The Emergence and Development of Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy Worldwide

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:37
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Stephanie LIMONCELLI, Loyola Marymount University, USA
Efforts to combat human trafficking have grown in the last few decades, with states, international governmental organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working around the world to address the trade of people under conditions of force, fraud or deception.  How has contemporary anti-trafficking advocacy developed globally and why?  One perspective, world polity theory, emphasizes the development of global norms disseminated by an increasing number of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) around the world, while another, the “coercion” perspective, tends to emphasize the way powerful states in the world system dominate advocacy efforts due to political power, control of funding, and dominance in agenda setting in IGOs.  Does one of these models explain the emergence and development of anti-trafficking advocacy better than the other?   

Using data on 1,861 anti-trafficking NGOs worldwide as well as secondary sources to qualitatively analyze the historical development of anti-trafficking advocacy globally, this study demonstrates a more complicated process than either perspective predicts.  While world polity correctly posits the important influence of IGOs and INGOs, it tends to underestimate the role of domestic NGOs and states in advocacy and overstate the coherence of world cultural principles and cooperation among INGOs.  While the coercion perspective shows us that powerful states can work to define issues in ways that support their interests and engage in global agenda setting using political and economic influence, it underestimates the autonomy and/or influence of states and INGOs headquartered in the global south.  A more nuanced perspective would help us to better analyze the emergence and development of issue-based advocacy worldwide as well as the role of states, IGOs, and NGOs in global governance.