Slavery and Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

A young woman hoists a crate of corn onto a crowded conveyor belt.

Migrant workers harvest corn on a farm in California. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on flickr. License CC BY.)


MIT Course Number

21A.445J / WGS.272J

As Taught In

Spring 2015



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Course Description

Course Features

Educator Features

Course Description

This course explores the issue of human trafficking for forced labour and sexual slavery, focusing on its representation in recent scholarly accounts and advocacy as well as in other media. Ethnographic and fictional readings along with media analysis help to develop a contextualized and comparative understanding of the phenomena in both past and present contexts. It examines the wide range of factors and agents that enable these practices, such as technology, cultural practices, social and economic conditions, and the role of governments and international organizations. The course also discusses the analytical, moral and methodological questions of researching, writing, and representing trafficking and slavery.

Related Content

Mitali Thakor. 21A.445J Slavery and Human Trafficking in the 21st Century. Spring 2015. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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