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Not all migrant workers are trapped, tricked, and abused.

Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai

Like anyone else, they make choices to better their lives, though the risk of ending up in bad situations is high. Legislators hoping to combat human trafficking focus heavily on women and sex work, but there is real potential for abuse of both male and female migrants in a variety of areas of employment—whether on the street, in a field, at a restaurant, or at someone's house. Gridlock explores how migrants' actual experiences in Dubai contrast with the typical discussions—and global moral panic—about human trafficking.

Human Trafficking in Global Perspective

Mahdavi powerfully contrasts migrants' own stories with interviews with U. Mahdavi powerfully contrasts migrants' own stories with interviews with U. To work toward solving this global problem, we need to be honest about what trafficking is—and is not—and to finally get past the stereotypes about trafficked persons so we can really understand the challenges migrant workers are living through every day. Hardcover , pages. Published April 13th by Stanford University Press. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Dec 21, Jillian marked it as did-not-finish. HOWEVER, she says something along the lines of "i'm not saying there's no sex trafficking, but i didn't meet any women trafficked for sex and i talked to two dozen sex workers," and, well, okay? You discover through the lives of differents migrants the reality of their lives, more or less terrible, but not always as you would expect.

And how international policies are most of the time not helping at all in solving the problem, but excarcebating it by refusing to take into account other ways of solving problems, ways that don't fit in for example the official US understanding of it as exemplified by the TIP. All in all, you discover the "behind the curtains" of a country that is asked to do in a few years what most countries have done in centuries, and how the money is the key factor, for better or worse, in understanding lives and people's decisions, regardless of their background and nationalities.

Jul 20, Seleucid rated it liked it.


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A lot of personal stories from Dubai's Migrant Labor Force, may it be construction, retail, domestic work or sex work. Jul 12, Maulik rated it really liked it.


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Meticulous anecdotal research in this staggeringly candid piece of non-fiction. Gripping from start to end, the academic is brutally frank about a sensitive and controversial subject. I especially appreciated the emphasis on potentially straightforward solutions, but would've loved to hear more about coerced and forced trafficking. Oct 02, Morgan rated it it was ok Shelves: The italicized narrative parts drove me insane and were luckily fewer and fewer as the book wore on because I found them almost unreadable.

I understand that they served the function of parables in some sense, but I would have far preferred the format of the rest of the book. Overall, I felt the information was pretty repetitive and far too focused on sex work. Not all migrant workers are trapped, tricked, and abused. Like anyone else, they make choices to better their lives, though the risk of ending up in bad situations is high.

Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai | Pardis Mahdavi

Legislators hoping to combat human trafficking focus heavily on women and sex work, but there is real potential for abuse of both male and female migrants in a variety of areas of employment—whether on the street, in a field, at a restaurant, or at someone's house. Gridlock explores how migrants' actual experiences in Dubai contrast with the typical discussions—and global moral panic—about human trafficking. Mahdavi powerfully contrasts migrants' own stories with interviews with U.

Additional Information

To work toward solving this global problem, we need to be honest about what trafficking is—and is not—and to finally get past the stereotypes about trafficked persons so we can really understand the challenges migrant workers are living through every day.