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Exceptionalism K 1NC (1/4).....................................................................................................................2 Exceptionalism K 1NC (2/4).....................................................................................................................4 Exceptionalism K 1NC (3/4).....................................................................................................................5 Exceptionalism K 1NC (4/4).....................................................................................................................6 2NC Economic Framing Good..................................................................................................................8 2NC Link/Turns Case................................................................................................................................9 AT Perm...................................................................................................................................................10 AT West is Best........................................................................................................................................11 AT HR Good Turns..................................................................................................................................12 ................................................................................................................................................................12 Alternative Solvency...............................................................................................................................13

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The affs approach to trafficking is grounded in a violent separation between First and Third World- 1AC depicts the Third World as helpless, backward, and uncivilized, in need of moral guidance by emancipated First World women - this presupposition of inequality ensures ineffective policy responses and locks in global gender violence The aff creates a colonial world order through their representations of
trafficking- international human rights pressure replicates a binary between First World and Third World women that depicts the Third World as helpless, backward, and uncivilized- these racial distinctions ensure ineffective policy responses to trafficking that lock in gender violence across the globe

Kapur 2
Ratna, Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law; Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Research, New Delhi, India The Tragedy of Victimization Rhetoric: Resurrecting the Native Subject in International/Post-Colonial Feminist Legal Politics Harvard Human Rights Journal The VAW agenda is contingent on the victim movement and vision. But it is also a subject that is

subject. It is a subject that provides the common foundation on which to build a shared ahistorical, invoked by scholars and activists alike to analyze issues concerning women from the lens of a universal, unemancipated subject. It has invited, at times, imperialist responses towards women in the developing world, by accentuating the difference between First World and Third World women. In this Section, I examine how victimization rhetoric has reinforced an imperialist response towards women in the developing world whereby the Third World subject is represented as the real, or most authentic, victim subject.[56] The move to integrate cultural diversity into a gender analysis was intended to counter the gender essentialism that has characterized the womens human rights campaign. However, this move has been approached through the spectrum of violence, which has reinforced cultural essentialism and the construction of the Other as backward and uncivilized. The result is that international feminist legal politics has reinforced the representation of the Third World woman as thoroughly disempowered, brutalized, and victimized: a representation that is far from liberating for women. Moreover, in some respects, it recreates the imperialist move that views the native subject as different and civilizationally backward. The image that is produced is that of a truncated Third World woman who is sexually constrained, tradition-bound, incarcerated in the home, illiterate, and poor. It is an image that is strikingly reminiscent of the colonial construction of the Eastern woman.[57] Current scholarship on trafficking and prostitution that takes place in the post-colonial and Third World evokes such imagery. Kathleen Barrys work on trafficking, which has been extremely influential in this debate, recreates this colonial imagery.[58] Barry argues that prostitution is violence against women and that it reduces all women to sex. She argues that prostitution is per se a violation of womens human rights. Any woman who migrates for prostitution or to work in the sex trade is also a victim of human rights violations. Barry locates trafficking of women in pre-industrial and feudal societies, where women are excluded from the public sphere, and contrasts them with post-industrial, developed societies, where women have been economically independent and prostitution is normalized.[59] The consequence of this kind of argument is that women in the Third World and non-Western world are represented as ignorant, illiterate, tradition-bound, domesticated, and victimized. As Kamla Kempadoo states, Barrys representation of the Third World woman leaves her not yet a whole or developed person; instead, she resembles a minor needing guidance, assistance, and help.[60] In striking contrast to this emaciated image stands the image of the emancipated Western woman; she has control over her income, her body and her sexuality.[61] The analysis is structured along the contours of colonial thought: the assumption being that women in the Third World are infantile, civilizationally backward, and incapable of self-determination or autonomy. [62] Infantilzing women in the Third World reproduces the colonialist rationale for intervening in the lives of the native subject (to save those incapable of self-determination) in order to

3 Trafficking K justify the rescue operations advocated by Barry and others. The strategy espoused by Barry has invited legal interventions on issues of trafficking in the international arena that reinforce the victim status of women.[63] These proposals fail to draw a distinction between consent and lack of consent when it comes to
trafficking.[64] This approach has implications for all women, whether they are forcefully trafficked or migrate voluntarily (even if primarily for economic need), and has specific implications

While women are increasingly encouraged to avail themselves of opportunities outside the confining domestic familial arrangement, these new approaches send a strong message. Women who move are invariably regarded as victims of trafficking, conflating migration (legal or illegal) with trafficking, lending to the notion that the solution
for women in the Third World.[65]

lay, in part, in directing governments to draft legislation to keep their people at home. [66]As demonstrated in the context of anti-trafficking,

these representations invite state responses , primarily in the area of criminal law, that perpetuate gender and cultural stereotypes. Moreover, foregrounding the state neither addresses nor accounts for the myriad actors that have entered the international arena and become contenders in the play for power , or the impact their activities have had on womens lives.[67] Globalization is challenging the traditional structures of sovereignty and of state power as it simultaneously alters domestic and familial arrangements. What are the implications of these shifting alignments
on womens rights? On the rights of Third World women? On feminist legal politics? These questions cannot be adequately addressed within the exclusive matrix of a state/VAW/victim-centered analysis.

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The result is violent American exceptionalism- grounding analysis of trafficking in a presupposition of inequality ensures that all solutions replicate a hierarchical world orderthe anti-trafficking mission is used to confirm American moral purity and replicate a racialized system of human rights pressure- ensures massive colonial violence The aff is grounded in the narrative of reluctant imperialism- all of their advantages imagine a world in chaos that can only be saved by the moral purity of American human rights credibility- this organization of the international system around US exceptionalism codes the international system around race and ensures violence Kaplan 3
(Amy, Prof. of English and American Studies @ U Penn, Violent Belongings and the Question of Empire Today Presidential Address to the American Studies Association, American Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 1 March 2004, muse)

Another dominant narrative about empire today, told by liberal interventionists, is that of the reluctant imperialist.10 In this version, the United States never sought an empire and may even be constitutionally unsuited to rule one, but it had the burden thrust upon it by the fall of earlier empires and the failures of modern states, which abuse the human rights of their own people and spawn terrorism. The United States is the only power in the world with the capacity and the moral authority to act as military policeman and economic manager to bring order to the world. Benevolence and selfinterest merge in this narrative; backed by unparalleled force, the United States can save the people of the world from their own anarchy, their descent into an uncivilized state. As Robert Kaplan writesnot reluctantly at allin Supremacy by Stealth: Ten Rules for Managing the World: The purpose of power is not power itself; it is a fundamentally liberal purpose of sustaining the key characteristics of an orderly world. Those characteristics include basic political stability, the idea of liberty, pragmatically conceived; respect for property; economic freedom; and representative
government, culturally understood. At this moment in time it is American power, and American power only, that can serve as an organizing principle for the worldwide expansion of liberal civil society.11 This narrative does imagine limits to empire, yet primarily in the selfish refusal of U.S. citizens to sacrifice and shoulder the burden for others, as though sacrifices have not already

The temporal dimension of this narrative entails the aborted effort of other nations and peoples to enter modernity, and its view of the future projects the end of empire only when the world is remade in our image . This is also a narrative about race. The images of an unruly world, of anarchy and chaos, of failed modernity, recycle stereotypes of racial inferiority from earlier colonial discourses about races who are incapable of governing themselves, Kiplings lesser breeds without the law, or Roosevelts loosening ties of civilized
been imposed on them by the state. society, in his corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. In his much-noted article in the New York Times Magazine entitled The American Empire, Michael Ignatieff appended the subtitle The Burden but insisted that Americas empire is not like empires of times past, built on colonies, conquest and the white mans burden.12 Denial and exceptionalism are apparently alive and well. In American studies we need to go beyond simply exposing the racism of empire and examine the dynamics by which Arabs and the religion of Islam are becoming racialized through the

These narratives of the origins of the current empirethat is, the neoconservative and the liberal interventionisthave much in common. They take American exceptionalism
interplay of templates of U.S. racial codes and colonial Orientalism.

to new heights: its paradoxical claim to uniqueness and universality at the same time . They share a teleological narrative of inevitability, that America is the apotheosis of history, the embodiment of universal values of human rights, liberalism, and democracy, the indispensable nation, in Madeleine Albrights words. In this logic, the United States claims the authority to make sovereign judgments on what is right and what is wrong for everyone else and to exempt itself with an absolutely clear conscience from all the rules that it proclaims and applies to others.13 Absolutely protective of its own sovereignty, it upholds a doctrine of limited sovereignty for others and thus deems the entire world a potential site of intervention. Universalism thus can be made manifest only through the threat and use of violence. If in these narratives imperial power is deemed the solution to a broken world, then they preempt any counternarratives that claim U.S. imperial actions, past and present, may have something to do with the worlds problems. According to this logic, resistance to empire can never be opposition to the imposition of foreign rule; rather, resistance means irrational opposition to modernity and universal human values.

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Racism is the greatest proximal cause of war and violence- populations can only be mobilized for conflicts by belief in irrational and inferior others, the aff ensures constant risk of violence and instability Mendieta 2
(Eduardo, SUNY @ Stony Brook, Meeting of the Foucault Circle from To make live and to let die Foucault on Racism, April 25) This is where racism intervenes, not from without, exogenously, but from within, constitutively. For the emergence of biopower as the form of a new form of political rationality, entails the inscription within the very logic of the modern state the logic of racism. For racism grants, and here I am quoting: "the conditions for the acceptability of putting to death in a society of normalization. Where there is a society of normalization, where there is a power that is, in all of its surface and in first instance, and first line, a bio-power, racism is indispensable as a condition to be able to put to death someone, in order to be able to put to death others. The homicidal [meurtrire] function of the state, to the degree that the state functions on the modality of bio-power, can only be assured by racism "(Foucault 1997, 227) To use the formulations from his 1982 lecture "The Political Technology of Individuals" which incidentally, echo his 1979 Tanner Lectures the power of the state after the 18th century, a power which is enacted through the police, and is enacted over the population, is a power over living beings, and as such it is a biopolitics. And, to quote more directly, "since the population is nothing more than what the state takes care of for its own sake , of course, the state is entitled to slaughter it, if necessary. So the reverse of biopolitics is thanatopolitics." (Foucault 2000, 416). Racism, is the thanatopolitics of the biopolitics of the total state. They are two sides of one same political technology, one same political rationality: the management of life, the life of a population, the tending to the continuum of life of a people. And with the inscription of racism within the state of biopower, the long history of war that Foucault has been telling in these dazzling lectures has made a new turn: the war of peoples, a war against invaders, imperials colonizers, which turned into a war of races, to then turn into a war of classes, has now turned into the war of a race, a biological unit, against its polluters and threats. Racism is the means by which bourgeois political power, biopower, re-kindles the fires of war within civil society. Racism normalizes and medicalizes war. Racism makes war the

permanent condition of society, while at the same time masking its weapons of death and torture. As I wrote somewhere else, racism banalizes genocide by making quotidian the lynching of suspect threats to the health of the social body. Racism makes the killing of the other, of others, an everyday occurrence by internalizing and normalizing the war of society against its enemies. To protect society entails we be ready to kill its threats , its foes, and if we understand society as a unity of life, as a continuum of the living, then these threat and foes are biological in nature .

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We must begin with a presupposition of equality- our assertion of sex work as labor deconstructs the morally charged hierarchy between First and Third World reproduced by anti-trafficking policy and opens space for ethical engagement that refuses reproduction of hierarchy- only prior affirmation of the alt can solve The affs starting point is flawed- their understanding of sex work begins with the assumption of victimization- only understanding sex work as labor can avoid the moralizing discourse of American exceptionalism and force us to for our demand-side pariticpation in the political economy of trafficking Garber 9
Sherief Garber, Verbal Abuse: Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and Violence Against Women. Surfacing: An Interdisciplinary Journal for gender in the global south. V.2. n.1. May 09 Jennifer Nam, in her assessment of existing remedies for the victims of trafficking concludes on a note of frustration, stating that something is missing (Ibid. 1659), though she is unable to effectively name that something. This viewpoint, however, still presumes an impossible separability between

the means used to combat trafficking and the after-effects of intervention. The rhetorical construction of the victims of trafficking has already ensured the necessity of force and state power; this force is itself blind to the existence of these various women as anything but victims, due to the way that trafficking presumes its subject (as object). Victim is,
however, a category that is temporally fixed and permanently abstract a state of being without the a matter of a situation; as such these women victims cease to exist at the point of their rescue. They are not freed so much as they are effaced or erased. This is evidenced by the unspectacular fates that are visited on the women singled- out by these laws after the spectacle of the raid and rescue operation. Perhaps it is not that something is missing from existing remedies, but that the current frame of sex trafficking must move away from its targeting of womens bodies and instead focus on the actual, expressed rights of sex workers . The EMPOWER report states: The rights of

adult trafficked victims as workers must be acknowledged. We should receive recognition of our work and compensation... (2003). Indeed, a great deal of the voices critical of current anti-trafficking discourse would seek to address the issue under the frame of work and labor. The sex trafficking framework, using and producing notions of the sex worker as a victimized object, cannot address Escaping the ideological and imperial logics surrounding sex work would clearly expand the scope and means of remedy for the actual, identifiable harms of trafficking. The Hernandez-Truyol article discussed above provides a comprehensive and instrumental approach to this problem. Beginning with the notion of labor as a fundamental human right, the authors argue that it is violative of such rights to consider sex trafficking exploitative or abusive per se. Instead, it must be asked in any case whether or not the labor arrangement meets conditions of slavery , forced/coerced labor or exploitative labor (2006, 428-38). By avoiding the initial roil over whether prostitution can be considered labor, instead presuming sex work to be a form of labor and then interrogating its possible unjustness qua labor, much more work can be done . The labor framework does not guarantee a solution, but turning the problems of sex work into problems of labor diverts the scrutiny and power of the state away from the regulation and disciplining of womens bodies and agency. Shifting the frame of sex trafficking away from values based upon control of womens bodies and the nonagency of victimized identities provides a potential way out of the vicious circularity between anti-trafficking rhetorics construction of the victimized third-world prostitute and the ensuing violence that results. The narrow focus on stopping prostitution, seen in Kristofs crusade through Cambodia and CATWs efforts on a larger scale, bootstraps and legitimates violence in presuming that the sex worker cannot exert any agency over her body or labor. In the attempt to create even minimal guarantees against the worst forms of sex trafficking abuse and labor exploitation, the administrative apparatus of state and parastatal

7 Trafficking K organizations have spawned vast panoptical, disciplinary machineries. As I have tried to show above, the rhetoric currently surrounding these problems brings about pernicious and often violent entailments. In the case of those seeking to cross a border or those targeted by the brothel
raid, these results and mechanisms of control vastly outstrip the structure of the security granted in fact. Changing this rhetoric from a language of control over womens bodies to one where sex workers and women can control the conditions of their own labor may be one of the first steps needed to end this violent cycle.

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2NC Economic Framing Good

Patriarchal power relationships exist outside the state- reframing sex work as labor engages human rights through the market and allows women to reclaim agency- refuse US exceptionalism in favor of bottom-up HR solutions Kapur 2
Ratna, Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law; Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Research, New Delhi, India The Tragedy of Victimization Rhetoric: Resurrecting the Native Subject in International/Post-Colonial Feminist Legal Politics Harvard Human Rights Journal Finally, feminists and human

rights scholars must acknowledge and engage the new arenas of power that manifest themselves in todays globalized world . In this world, the actions of non-state actors have a significant impact on womens lives and womens rights.[115] The womens human rights movement exposed the ways in which power impacts womens rights and womens lives at many different levels ,[116] but the focus on the victim subject and on violence has failed to develop this. By resorting to an exclusive focus on the victim subject and on womens experience of violence, feminists fell back onto an understanding of power (one that has also informed traditional human rights standards) as monolithic and emanating from a coherent sovereign .
[117] For example, addressing crimes against women without simultneously addressing their lack of civil and political rights assumes that the cause and the cure for violence lies with the state, specifically in the guise of the criminal law.[118] By falling into the

sovereignty trap, feminists have failed to address the power eruptions that have occurred as a result of global integration and market activity .[119] Power eruptions are taking place in a myriad of spaces: in the information technology revolution, in satellite broadcasting, and through the increasing interventions of non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, the World Trade Organization, and other trade and financial institutions.[120] The most obvious shifts in power from state to non-state actors have occurred in connection with market actors. The human rights movement is becoming acutely aware of the limitations of a human rights strategy that is tied to a state analysis, given the entry of supernational non-state actors into the market and the international arena.[121] Economic globalization has emerged as a powerful force in structuring transnational systems of power as it simultaneously effects shifts in the locations and operations of power between genders,
within families, in the workplace, and between the West and the Rest.[122]

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2NC Link/Turns Case

The aff relies on a humanitarian gaze- presupposition of inequality fetishizes the hierarchy between victim and viewer, and making it structurally unable to produce equality or social justice, while simultaneously masking hierarchy behind compassionate rhetoric- this relationship is epitomized by American disavowel of its demand-side participation in the trafficking economy- means their approach can only reproduce racism Rubenstein 9
(Diane, Professor of Government and American Studies at Cornell University, Slavoj Zizek, in Critical Theorists and International Relations ed. By Jenny Edkins and Nick Vaughan-Williams, pgs. 346-347) For iek, humanitarian interventions such as that in Bosnia were predicated on these questions of gaze and identification: The traumatic element is thus the gaze of the helpless other child, animal who does not know why something so horrifying and senseless is happening to him: not the gaze of a hero willingly sacrificing himself for some Cause, but the gaze of a perplexed victim. And in Sarajevo we are dealing with the same bewildered gaze ... This gaze makes us all guilty (iek, 1994: 211). But iek goes on to say that compassion for the victim is a way to avoid the ethical pressures of that insistent gaze: The examples of compassion with the suffering in Bosnia that abound in our media illustrate perfectly Lacans thesis on the reflexive nature of desire: desire is always desire for a desire. That is to say, what these examples display above all is that compassion is the way to maintain the proper distance towards a neighbor in trouble ... In other words, our compassion, insofar as it is sincere, presupposes that in it, we perceive ourselves in the

form we find likeable: the victim is presented so that we see ourselves in the position from which we stare at her ... (iek 1994: 211). But one must also understand that place (the proper distance) from which we have staged this imaginary pose of compassion and humanitarian assistance. The (symbolic) fantasy space of the Balkans is that of the Wests Other a place of savage ethnic conflicts where nothing is forgotten and nothing learned, where old traumas are replayed again and again ... Far from being the Other of Europe, ex-Yugoslavia was, rather, Europe itself in its Otherness, the screen on to which Europe projected its own repressed reverse (iek 1994: 212). This reversal of look and gaze, image and screen (that iek adapts from Lacans Seminar XI) reorients debates concerning ethnic nationalism and the limits/obligations of humanitarian intervention. The principle obstacle to peace ... is not archaic ethnic passions but the very innocent gaze of Europe fascinated by the spectacle of these passions (iek 1994: 212).

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AT Perm
Starting Point DA- Garber 9 says that we must assume that sex work is labor in order to circumvent the hegemony of victimization rhetoric- only our approach avoids moralizing assumptions about womens bodies and questions the First World/Third World divide- the permutation ensures that victim rhetoric wins out and starts a debate about whether or not sex work is labor that tanks alt solvency Method 1st- the perm begs the question of FW- if we win that method should be a focus of debate than they have to defend all of our links to their justifications- means the plan minus justifications perm is severance- thats a voting issue for fairness and competitive equity Human Rights Promotion DA- our Kapur and Kaplan evidence says that the aff uses trafficking to code the world in terms of moral purity and creates tiers of civilization- trafficking narratives construct third world women as victims of barbaric societies, robbing them of agency and racializing IR- the impact is our Mendietta evidence- this racialized discourse ensures pre-emptive violence to secure the homeland against the threat of dangerous foreign others- largest proximal cause of war and outweighs and turns the case because it ensures policy miscalculation

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AT West is Best
Assumption that America represents the ideal political community has created a smoldering history of violence and despair- we must refuse the affs end of history discourse Spanos 5
(William V., Prof. of Comp. Lit. @ NYU-Binghamton, Humanism and the Studia Humanitatis After 9/11/01, symploke vol.13 Nos. 1-2, pgs. 219262) In 1991, following the disintegration and demise of the Soviet Union and its empire, Francis Fukuyama published an essay (later expanded to book length) which announced the end of history and the advent of a new [global] world order under the aegis of American liberal capitalist democracy.4 This annunciation was justified by appealing not to history but to History, that is, to a Hegelian/Kojvian ontology which assumes that history is characterized by a directional dialectic process that, in the end,

precipitates a world in which historical contradictions have been sublimated into a harmonious and conflict free totality. To arrive at this Quixotically optimistic and brutally reductive
world picture, Fukuyama, as Derrida and others have shown,5 was compelled by the binarist logic of this metaphysical ontology, this representation of history from after or above its disseminations (meta ta physika)to overlook and discount the volatility that has characterized modern history, and, more important, the violence that the West, not least America, has perpetrated to produce this global volatility. I am not simply referring to the sustained practice of Western imperialism vis a vis its Other that began in the heady age of exploration. This

was the predatory history that bore witness to the virtual extinction of the natives of North and South America, the African slave trade , the ruthless colonization and exploitation of the Middle East and India, and the destabilization of China and Japan, and, in its culminating phase, to the wholesale slaughter of World War I and, following World War II, to the carnage of the small hot wars of the Cold War ,
not least the one undertaken by the United States in Southeast Asia, in the name of saving it for the free world, a hot war during which approximately two million Vietnamese were killed, their land destroyed by bombs and chemicals, their rice culture shattered, and their organic community reduced to a society of refugees. I am also referring to the modern Western interpretation of being, which was simultaneous and indissolubly complicitous with this devastating global imperial practice: specifically, its supplanting of the Word of the Christian God (the theologos) by the Word of Manthe anthropologosas the measure of all things, spatial and temporal, and the mode of inquiry and learning endemic to this apotheosis of Man which came to be called humanist studies, Studia Humanitatis.

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AT HR Good Turns
The K turns the case- presupposition of inequality constitutes the barbaric practices it condemns- framing women as victims justifies crackdowns on migrant movement in the name of anti-trafficking- turns the case Kapur 2
Ratna, Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law; Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Research, New Delhi, India The Tragedy of Victimization Rhetoric: Resurrecting the Native Subject in International/Post-Colonial Feminist Legal Politics Harvard Human Rights Journal Finally, the

victim subject and the focus on violence invite remedies and responses from states that have little to do with promoting womens rights. Thus, a related concern is that the victim subject position has invited protectionist, and even conservative, responses from states. The construction of women exclusively through the lens of violence has triggered a spate of domestic and international reforms focused on the criminal law, which are used to justify state restrictions on womens rightsfor the protection of women. The anti-trafficking campaign, with its focus on violence and victimization, is but one example. The government of Nepal restricts women under thirty from traveling outside of the country without the permission of a husband or male guardian as part of an anti-trafficking initiative.[18] Early feminist interventions struggled to move away from such protectionist responses
through anti-discrimination discourse. However, the VAW campaigns, which are contingent on the victim subject, have taken feminists back into a protectionist and conservative discourse. Furthermore, these interventions reinforce womens victim

status. The exclusive focus on finding resolutions through appeals to the state fails to consider the relevance to the womens rights agenda of new players in the public sphere who are de-centering the power of sovereign states.

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Alternative Solvency
Conceiving sex work as labor spills over to understand ways in which other immigration labor effects the body and produces gendered effects- creates an integrated analysis of neoliberal power relations and produces effective social movements Nair 10
(Yasmin, Writer and social activist, Whats Left of Queer?: Immigration, Sexuality, and Affect in a Neoliberal World, US Marxist-Humanists, What would it mean to craft a truly progressive queer immigration reform agenda, given the limitations that face us and given the fact that both the leftists among us and the mainstream press demand the more legible stories of pathos and abjection? Is it even possible to tell a different story and to persuade readers and fellow activists alike to engage in a more useful systemic analysis? Does and should queer matter? Given the mainstream and often pro-capitalist and anti-labor impulses of the gay movement, is it even useful to conceive of a queer immigration agenda? In 2008, a group of us from CLIA (Chicago LGBTQ Immigrants Alliance) organized a one-day forum titled Immigration at the Margins: Day Laborers, Sex workers, Domestic Violence & HIV. As one of the key organizers, Id been especially keen on the topic of sex trafficking. My previous research indicated that much of the hype around the subject came about as a result of the medias fascination with the sexually salacious stories about beautiful young girls raped and trapped by greedy smugglers. I also knew that the stories about sex trafficking inevitably distracted from the issue of labor trafficking. Thousands of workers are smuggled across national and state lines every day, and housed in horrific conditions with little to no wages, but the media finds their stories not sexy enough. But then we began hearing about day workers in California being compelled to perform sex work. Was there any truth to this, and would this somehow confirm the idea of sex trafficking as a widespread phenomenon? Jessica Acee, then of Latino Union, debunked the story as media hype but also astutely pointed out that, In a sense, day laborers, doing sex work or not, are already selling their bodies, being exploited or being survivors. Acees comments exemplified the primary purpose behind Immigration at the Margins and demonstrates a key point for us to keep in mind as we move forward in our discussions about immigration and immigrants: that there can be no neat divisions between the kinds of labor performed by immigrants, and we benefit from a renewed focus on labor and its connection to issues of gender and sexuality. Such a focus can only come about when we consider the queerly gendered contexts within which labor operates. The case of sex trafficking, and the media obsession, is a case in point. As Acee pointed out, the stories both sexualize and demonize the immigrant, based on gender. Within this set of narratives, the victims are beautiful, long-haired, woeful women caught in networks of rape and torture. Over and over, the discourse on sex trafficking pretends that there is no labor involved. It does not acknowledge that women and possibly even men trade sex voluntarily, or that immigrants might also be sex workers, or that sex work is itself a form of labor. Sex, partly for salacious and pornographic reasons, becomes a way to imagine the sexualized immigrant woman or the dominant and brutal immigrant male (even though traffickers may in fact be significantly American). Sex, in this context, offers comfort about our views of immigrant women as abjected Others in need of rescue. And such stories ignore the realities of sex trade for those who can not be classified or recognized as immigrants or queers. What do we do with the stories of young women and men, often queer, often not, who trade sex acts for protection from law enforcement officers? Who trade sex for not being turned in, and whose sexual identity cannot be counted because they dont care to be counted, or because their lives dont allow them the luxury of being out and proud? The gay community, in constant search of validating and respectable narratives, cant even see those who live multiple lives as low-wage workers, undocumented people, and sex workers. And yet, these stories do count and can contribute to a larger systemic reappraisal of what counts as a progressive immigration reform agenda. Itts important to remember that Acee, who is herself not queer-identified and represented a non-queer organization, brought to the table a stunning analysis of how gender, sexuality, and labor work in the framework of a neoliberal drive towards cheap labor. The point here is simply that a queer immigration reform agenda which centralizes labor has less to do with locating actual queers and narratives and more to do with the particular analytic and activist lens thats possible within a queer framework. To only emphasize our relationships, our families, and our love, such as they are, in uncomplicated terms that are both heteronormative and homonormative is to deny the potency of a queer analysis and to buy into a simplistic narrative about lesbians and gays being just like us. Personal stories can help to make systemic conditions more easily understood. But is there a way to use them without buying into pathos and abjection? As we move forward to what most progressives are dearly hoping will be a full-scale change in administration, we might start to ask ourselves about the costs and downfalls of telling stories. What tropes and emotions govern them? If they came from angry immigrants who spoke up forcefully and not as abject humans, would we be inclined to listen? Can we assume that our leftist politics insulates us from the need to examine our own ideologies and othering practices? Can we work with stories that provide no comfort about the goodness of our land and the fairness of the American Dream? We need to refuse the narratives of abjection that are routinely forced upon us. They only render us immobile creatures, begging for help. We are all neoliberals now. Were all selling our bodies, our lives, our stories to the media and to provide comfort to ourselves. Those stories have to be challenged and reworked or we lose sight of the larger story of economic exploitation, at our peril. And, unlike my response to Mr. M., we have to be prepared to make trouble in doing so.