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Web Letter

As a student studying international human rights law, I agree that there needs to be rigorous debate engaged between the proponents of a law-enforcement approach to anti-trafficking measures and their critics. However, Ms. Thrupkaew's article is the sort of irresponsible journalism that will continue to contribute to the fragmentation of the anti-trafficking community. Instead of eliciting the issues into a healthy dialogue, Thrupkaew painstakingly sets up the "straw man" of IJM's past to fallaciously critique its present, and in the process delivers an incredibly false dichotomy of anti-trafficking strategy choices.

At its best, Thrupkaew's article will have two effects: first, it will strengthen and isolate the internal and moral position of IJM and its supporters; and second, it will rile up those who already disagree with the law enforcement approach. Neither of which brings us even one step closer to engaging in a much-needed debate around the effectiveness of anti-trafficking measures.

It is one thing for a scholar like Mutua to overplay his hand in an academic journal to challenge the framework of human rights discourse in a healthy way. But it is quite a different thing--on the outer bounds of a journalist's ethical obligations--for Thrupkaew to misrepresent facts and arguments so egregiously in order to further drive that unnecessary and unhelpful wedge between members of the anti-trafficking community in an article for public consumption.

It is articles and agendas and biases like Thrupkaew's that make me sad that we, as progressives, have not learned more from our lauded presidential leader in the vein of how to engage in healthy dialogue and change.

Wade McMullen

New York, NY

Oct 30 2009 - 6:01pm

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