When most people talk about gender and trafficking, they usually (but not always) are talking about trafficking of women. Most of the current evidence on trafficking focuses exclusively on women, and the intersection of men’s gendered experiences and trafficking unfortunately remains a great gap in research. This chapter explores the impact of a gendered discourse on women. Policy and public conversations around trafficking reflect social ideas about women, specifically ideas about women’s vulnerabilities. In addition, the chapter outlines the connections often made between trafficking and the gendered experiences of women, and identifies when these links help or hurt our ability to work for the rights of trafficked persons and other directly affected groups such as migrants. For example, trafficking prevention activities can be made more effective by incorporating an understanding of the way gender-based discrimination increases the risk of trafficking. But when gender is linked with trafficking incorrectly (such as when all prostitution or sex work is defined as trafficking), it has actively harmed certain groups of women, including migrant women and sex workers.
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