On Making Persons: Legal Constructions of Personhood and Their Nexus with Human Trafficking
Bravo, Karen E.
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This article identifies and analyzes the role of law in constructing personhood and the impact of such construction on human trafficking. Who is a “person”? Are all human beings “persons”? Are children, legal immigrants, undocumented migrants, ex-convicts, and/or individuals who have been trafficked “persons” or “quasipersons” under contemporary law? The concept and term “person” is ubiquitous in the legal literature – in statutes, constitutions, and treaties. It is deployed and manipulated by courts and legislatures to give and withhold rights to groups, entities, and individuals within societies. However, where legal recognition and protection of personhood is withheld, it creates vulnerability and increases opportunities for exploitation, including human trafficking.