Diana Meyers, “Victims of Trafficking, Reproductive Rights, and Asylum” (Sept. 18, 2014)

Diana Tietjens Meyers (Univ. of Connecticut), “Victims of Trafficking, Reproductive Rights, and Asylum”
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 @ 4:30pm, Room C201

My aim is to extend and complement the arguments that others have already made for the claim that women who are citizens of economically disadvantaged states who have been trafficked into sex work in economically advantaged states should be considered candidates for asylum. Whereas others have argued for asylum based on the sexual violence and forced labor that trafficked women are subjected to and their well-founded fear of persecution if they’re repatriated, I argue for asylum based on sex traffickers’ abuses of women’s reproductive human rights. I briefly explain how reproductive rights are implicated in sex trafficking. Then I argue that sex traffickers’ abuse of women’s reproductive rights is persecutory and that that this persecutory abuse obliges destination states to offer asylum to these transnational trafficking victims.

Diana Tietjens Meyers is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.  She has held the Ignacio Ellacuría Chair of Social Ethics at Loyola University, Chicago and the Laurie Chair in Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.  Her most recent monograph is Gender in the Mirror: Cultural Imagery and Women’s Agency (2002, Oxford University Press).  Her most recent edited volume is Poverty, Agency, and Human Rights (2014, Oxford University Press). She is at work on a monograph, Victims’ Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights.