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Hebert, Laura A. (2016) – Always Victimizers, Never Victims – Engaging Men and Boys in Human Trafficking Scholarship


Although human trafficking is recognized under international and domestic law to encompass a wide range of sexual and nonsexual forms of forced labor, with available measures applicable to victims of any gender, the sexual exploitation of (heterosexual) females has been set apart as an especially egregious harm. Media and activist campaigns have been instrumental to the narrow framing of human trafficking as female sex trafficking, but this article argues that academic scholarship on trafficking has, as well, reflected and reinforced popular and political narratives of human trafficking. Building on a content analysis of 651 trafficking-related law reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles published between January 2005 and June 2013, this article documents how gender is made visible in the trafficking literature almost exclusively in relation to females, with men most commonly engaged as traffickers and consumers of (coerced) female sexual labor. As a consequence, trafficking scholarship is characterized by significant saturation in some areas and vast gaps in our understanding of the intersecting structural forces that propel individuals to migrate, increase opportunities for exploitation, and leave many victims unprotected by anti-trafficking laws and policies.


Hebert, Laura A2016. “Always Victimizers, Never Victims: Engaging Men and Boys in Human Trafficking Scholarship.” Journal of Human Trafficking 2(4):281–96. doi:10.1080/23322705.2016.1144165.





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