The article criticizes the way in which the perspective of trafficking employs the label of “slave labor” in Argentine to refer to migrant workers in textile workshops. This label constructs the figure of the migrant as the perfect victim and moralizes migrants’ action, while legitimizing the inexorably paternalistic work of NGOs, funding streams, and rhetoric. To critique such a perspective, the author makes two counterpoints. On the one hand, she seeks to counter the figure of trafficking with that of the autonomy of migration, understanding autonomy from a point of view that brings together a focus on the desire to travel and on expectations of popular progress with an analysis of contemporary dynamics of exploitation. On the other hand, she investigates the infrastructure and logistics that organize mobility beyond the reference to the figures of “traffickers” and “slaves,” generalized by the allencompassing narrative of human trafficking. The text rather inscribes these logistics of mobility within spatial dynamics that are connected to the development of popular economies in Latin American metropolises, which are fundamentally sustained and energized by migration.
Verónica Gago; The Strategy of Flight: Problematizing the Figure of Trafficking. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2018; 117 (2): 333–356. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4374867
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