Article

Understanding Human Trafficking from India to United States: An Intersectional Approach

Author
  • Nairruti Jani (Florida Gulf Coast University)

Abstract

This paper explores the intersectionality of various analytical issues related to the trafficking of women from India, South Asia, to the United States. Addressing the oppressive pathways and their intersectionality, this conceptual framework provides a deeper understanding of the interrelationships of nationality, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, caste, immigration process, immigration status, social support in the United States, and language barriers that influence migrating women’s vulnerability to human trafficking in the process of immigration from India, South Asia, to the United States. The primary purpose of this paper is to advocate for a binary perspective of intersectionality in conducting research in international human trafficking.

Keywords: intersectionality, human trafficking, oppression, research

How to Cite:

Jani, N., (2022) “Understanding Human Trafficking from India to United States: An Intersectional Approach”, Social Development Issues 44(2): 3. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/sdi.3701

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Published on
19 Dec 2022
Peer Reviewed

Introduction

Intersectionality, the mutually constitutive relationship among social identities, is a central tenet of recent feminist literature and has transformed the manner in which gender is conceptualized in research. This is a promising perspective in understanding the oppressive realities experienced by trafficked women transnationally. In human trafficking research conducted in the United States, a population that remains missing is the model minority of South Asians, particularly Asian Indian women. However, through the number of calls made to its National Human Trafficking hotline Polaris, it was approximated that 800 workers with temporary work visas were trafficked from this region between 2015 and 2017, with women being in majority (Indian Express, 2018). This paper explores various analytical issues related to the trafficking of women from South Asia to the United States by conceptualizing the interrelationships of nationality, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and caste besides other related factors that influence them post-immigration to the United States, thereby furthering their vulnerability to trafficking. Type of trafficking from South Asia to the United States is unique and because of the complex nature of this reality, little research exists on this population. Intertwined in the complex web of immigration, employment, marriage, debt-bondage, and sociocultural boundaries, South Asian victims of human trafficking remain the least studied population among international victims of human trafficking. The perspective of intersectionality offers a unique paradigm that extends a “best practices” resource and provides an understanding of how the intersectionality of variables in both source and destination countries creates a pathway to human trafficking among Asian Indian immigrant women. In this paper, we explore this concept in theory, and advocate that it be incorporated into empirical research and practice for transnational victims of human trafficking.

Intersectionality, a mutually constitutive relationship among social identities, has become a central tenet of feminist thinking; the one that McCall (2005) and others have suggested is the most important contribution of feminist theory to our present understanding of gender. Indeed, at the level of theory, intersectionality has transformed how gender is discussed (Rollins et al., 2018). Feminist theorists reveal and challenge the taken-for-granted assumptions about gender that underlie conventional theoretical and methodological approaches to empirical research as, for example, psychology’s homogenization of the category of gender. The intersectionality perspective further reveals that the individual’s social identities profoundly influence one’s beliefs about and experience of gender. As a result, feminist researchers have come to understand that the individual’s social location as reflected in intersecting identities must be at the forefront in any investigation of gender. Gender must be understood in the context of power relations embedded in social identities (Collins, 1995, 1999). In order to understand the diverse population of victims of human trafficking, the theory of intersectionality offers a promising perspective. For researchers and practitioners alike, understanding the intersection of victims’ social reality allows practitioners to understand their vulnerability from a multidimensional perspective. Understanding the social location of Asian Indian victims of trafficking is important to answer the following question: “Why don’t we find case studies of Asian Indian victims of trafficking?” In addition, attention is required while discerning how to apply the understanding of sociopolitical location of Asian Indian victims of trafficking in the United States in the course of conducting research, practice, or policy.

Intersectionality, the assertion that social identity categories, such as race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability, are interconnected and operate simultaneously to produce experiences of both privilege and marginalization, has transformed old conversations while inspiring new debates across the academy. Intersectionality encourages recognition of the differences that exist among groups, moving dialogue beyond considering only differences between groups. Originating from a discontent with the treatment of “women” as a homogenous group, intersectionality has evolved into a theoretical research paradigm that seeks to understand the interaction of various social identities and how these interactions define societal power hierarchies. In this paper, we expand this theoretical knowledge by engaging in a discussion about the application of this approach to understand international victims of human trafficking.

Background

The abolitionist anti-trafficking movement led by the United States gained momentum in the year 2000 and slowly expanded to other parts of the world with the efforts of the United Nations (UN) and the Office of Trafficking in Persons (OTIP under the values of the Administration of Children and Families [ACF]). The definition of human trafficking remained cloudy due to its differences and interpretation; however, the single-axis interpretation of the concept has remained common across nations (Meriläinen & Vos, 2015). In the United States, the early supporters of this movement constituted one-lens framework of trafficking that looked at a trafficking situation from the “human exploitation for profit” model.

The word “trafficking” was originally used to describe the kidnapping and enslavement of workers—usually females in the commercial sex industry. However, recent developments have adopted much broader definitions of the term, addressing both working conditions and how a person is recruited or treated at a subsequent stage. This is reflected in the following definition adopted by the United Nations (UNODC, https://www.unodc.org/unodc/human-trafficking/):

Trafficking refers to the recruitment, transportation, purchase, sale, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons: by threat, use of violence, abduction, use of force, fraud, deception, or coercion (including abuse of authority or a position of vulnerability), or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another or debt bondage, for exploitation which includes prostitution or for placing or holding such person, whether for pay or not, in forced labor or slavery-like practices, in a community other than the one in which such person lived at the time of the original act.

The UN protocol provides the internationally accepted definitions of human trafficking (Lebedeva, 2016).

Research conducted on human trafficking survivors in the past 20 years has expanded our understanding of variables related to vulnerability of human trafficking among different groups. Psychosocial and economic variables are often described to have increased the vulnerability of some marginalized groups to human trafficking. It is known that trafficking is an international crime, and survivors of trafficking have faced some distinctively different circumstances under which they got trafficked. For example, within the countries of South Asia, confounding issues, such as pervasive gender biases, poverty, illiteracy, laws without enforcement capacity, rampant human rights violations, and abuse of legal migration patterns, often result in a trafficking situation, especially among women (Jani & Felke, 2015). In the United States, on the other hand, vulnerability to trafficking is associated with variables such as child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, debt bondage, youth running away from home, etc. (Fedina, Williamson, & Perdue, 2016). To this end, country-level anti-trafficking efforts are unique based on the understanding of local variables that create vulnerability of certain groups to trafficking. This model would be a good fit if we did not live in a global economy where innumerable people migrate internationally. Rapid migration patterns in recent years have given rise to international human trafficking. At this point, the “one-axis” framework fails to understand variables that create vulnerability among international victims of trafficking. Identifying these variables becomes a complex issue because of dual or multiple cultural realities associated with each case of transnational human trafficking.

Having spent millions of dollars in research and rehabilitation of trafficked victims, governments often fail to prevent trafficking or punish perpetrators (McDonald, 2014). In this paper, we advocate for a multi-axis approach to understand variables related to transnational survivors of human trafficking from India to the United States.

Migration from India to the United States

In most cases, human trafficking is nothing but “migration went wrong.” Immigration to the United States from India started in the early nineteenth century when Indian immigrants started settling in communities on the West Coast. Although they originally arrived in small numbers, new opportunities arose in the middle of the twentieth century, and the population grew larger in the following decades. As of 2019, about 2.7 million Indian immigrants were residing in the United States. Today, Indian immigrants account for approximately 6 percent of the US foreign-born population, making them the second largest immigrant group in the country (Garha & Domingo, 2019).

The first wave of Indian immigrants found work mainly in the agriculture sector and lumber and railroad industries. Like other non-European migrants, a series of laws enacted in 1917, 1921, and 1924, among other exclusionary measures, eventually banned Indian immigrants altogether. While the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 established a yearly quota of 100 Indian migrants, it was the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that removed national-origin quotas altogether, paving the way for non-European arrivals (US Census Bureau, 2019). Educational exchange programs, new temporary visas for highly skilled workers, and expanded employment-based immigration channels opened pathways for highly skilled and educated Indian migrants, many of whom also brought their families. Between 1980 and 2019, the Indian immigrant population in the United States increased thirteen-fold (see Figure 1). The United States, with 3.4 million Indians, is the second most popular destination for Indians going abroad after the United Arab Emirates (US Census Bureau, 2019).

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Figure 1. Indian immigration from 1980 to 2019.

Source: Data from Ruggles, Genadek, Goeken, Grover, & Sobek (2020) and US Census Bureau (2019).

Considering the fact that slavery was abolished in the United States in 1965 and there was little understanding of the new methods of enslavement till the 1990s, little is known about human trafficking experiences of this community. Complex cases of domestic servitude and domestic violence have surfaced occasionally in Indian news media, suggesting what we now define as human trafficking. Even in recent years, isolated cases of human trafficking have been established in the Asian Indian immigrant community, although little is known about their pathways to trafficking. In this paper, we aimed to extend the feminist theory of intersectionality to human trafficking experienced by Asian Indian immigrants in the United States. An individual’s social identity profoundly influences one’s beliefs about and experience of human trafficking, and in this case, it results in silent suffering in a foreign land. Since human trafficking is rampant in India, the individual perception of trafficking in this community could be perceived as “normal.” To this end, it becomes important to look at intersecting variables that may influence the perception of what constitutes human trafficking. While not accurate, this understanding provides one explanation to the following question: “Why didn’t trafficked Asian Indian women ask for help?”

Pathways to Immigration

Indians are less likely to be naturalized US citizens than overall migrants (-Figure 2). In 2019, 47 percent of Indians were naturalized citizens, compared to 52 percent of all migrants (Ruggles et al., 2020). Compared to all migrants. Indians are much less likely to have arrived before 2000. The largest share of Indians, approximately 41 percent, arrived in 2010 or later, as compared to just 25 percent of the overall foreign-born population (Ruggles et al., 2020).

Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Figure 2. Immigration categories used by Asian Indian immigrants.

Source: USDHS (2020).

In 2018, India was the fourth largest country of origin for new permanent residents after Mexico, Cuba, and mainland China. Close to 60,000 of the 1.1 million new lawful permanent residents (LPRs) were from India. Most Indians who obtain green cards do so through family reunification channels. In 2018, 59 percent of the 59,821 Indians who received a green card did so as being either immediate relatives or other family members of US citizens, while 38 percent received a green card through employment-based channels, at a rate almost three times higher than for all new LPRs (13 percent). Although the vast majority of Indian migrants in the United States are present legally, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates, during 2012–2016, approximately 296,000 were unauthorized migrants, comprising approximately 3 percent of the 11.3 million unauthorized population. According to MPI estimates, approximately 20,000 Indian unauthorized immigrants were directly eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced in 2012 (US Department of Homeland Security [USDHS], 2020).

Workforce Participation

In 2019, approximately 72 percent of Indian migrants, aged 16 years and older, were in the civilian labor force. Approximately 21 million female migrants live in the United States, making up just over 13 percent of the nation’s female population. Female migrants reach the United States from all over the world, with the largest share from Mexico (25.6 percent), the Philippines (5.3 percent), China (4.7 percent), and India (4.6 percent). Several females join their spouses, and many come using family-based immigration channels. India is a labor-intensive economy, and the gender functioning of immigrant Asian Indian women is distinctively different in the United States compared to that in India. Besides being professionals contributing to the workforce, females also contribute to their families as caregivers for children, elderly parents or parents-in-law, and spouses (World Bank Prospects Group, 2021).

Theoretical Perspective

Intersectionality, a concept coined by Crenshaw in 1989, is used to describe how different forms of discrimination (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) interact and overlap one another. This concept offers a unique opportunity to examine the issues that cannot be examined or advocated in isolation. Simply put, intersectionality explains the manner in which multiple oppressions are experienced, and thus guides research and practice with these vulnerable populations.

As mentioned earlier, the concept of intersectionality is increasingly used to frame issues of social justice. For many advocates of social justice, it is a mode to overcome the isolation that a single-issue focus can have on trying to build a more powerful movement. As leaders across social justice issues employ this thinking, it becomes important to consider the manner in which intersectionality explains oppressed groups’ vulnerability to human trafficking. This perspective has potential to go beyond advocacy in research and practice. For example, the survivors of human trafficking are often thought of as a singular voice, even described as “ideal” victims. This is most commonly considered when a survivor’s experience is manipulated or leveraged by professionals in a public setting to support a popular narrative or a political agenda. Too often, individual survivor is asked to share and considered as a single representative of all human trafficking survivors the world over. However, in the case of human trafficking, it is illogical to frame a common story based on an isolated experience and employ practice interventions based on the same. In reality, victims of trafficking can and do include every race, gender, ethnicity, and age group and they have often suffered from several forms of abuse. Specifically, in the case of human trafficking victims in the United States that are taken from India, it becomes extremely important that professionals dealing with human trafficking must acknowledge the multiple factors that impact the lived experiences of these victims. Considering that in many of these cases, a story of desperate or forced migration results in a trafficking experience, it is unreasonable to exclude variables contributing to victims’ trafficking narrative from both source and destination countries. Just like the majority of international victims of human trafficking, including victims sourced from developing countries such as India to the United States, the complex trauma suffered by these victims at multiple stages of their journey needs to be unfolded keeping in mind the socioeconomic and cultural aspects of their lived experiences (Courtois, 2008). For clinicians, social workers, and law-enforcement officers, it becomes important to understand the unique background of each survivor of trafficking from India. Unlike the popular perception of India in the western world, every state and region of India has its subculture based on religion, gender, caste, economic status, educational status, family background, etc. Understanding these details of survivors of human trafficking from India and combining them with some acculturation issues related to work visas, work ethics, social support indicators in the United States, awareness about laws and policies, ethnic and religious discrimination, gender discrimination, and gender-based salary parity in the United States, can help us to understand the complex web of variables that create extreme vulnerability to trafficking. Understanding the intersectionality of variables from both source and destination countries could provide an answer to the often-asked following question: “Why don’t Asian Indian victims ask for help?”

Intersectionality of different lived experiences from different sources and destination countries provides a strong promise of influencing service provision for this section of population. As Audre Lorde reminded us: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives” (Dudley, 2006). When we work with a survivor, we must consider the manner in which all facets of their identity interact, acknowledging that each person’s story and needs are unique, and thus demand unique attention.

Variables Related to Trafficking Vulnerability among Asian Indian Immigrants

Post-colonial India remains a patriarchal society. In a gender-biased society, women’s primary roles include that of homemaker and care provider. Post--globalization, because of the struggling economy, many women were forced to join the labor force in India (Bannerji, 2002). Owing to gender preference, favoring educating of boys in India, the vast majority of Indian women in India work below minimum wages in unorganized sectors. In India, women who work as domestic help, cooks, nurses, etc. provide a unique benefit to the progressive middle-class and upper middle-class females, who are able to complete their education and enter a highly skilled workforce (Bannerji, 2002).

In previous migration waves from India, many women joined their spouses in the United States and remained caregivers to their families. Owing to the bias experienced in the home country, many women migrating to the United States on family-based visas are not educated in English medium schools and often have limited employment opportunities or worldly exposure. Until recently, women who moved to the United States in the H4 visa category could not work legally despite being highly educated (Balgamwalla, 2014).

Visa Restrictions in the United States

For women who migrate to the United States based on education or in the highly skilled visa category, adjusting to the new forms of gender bias creates additional struggles. With the limited knowledge of work ethics and work culture of the new land, sociocultural and new economic adaptations become a great struggle. Their identities of being women, immigrant women, and in some cases Muslim women, and being less educated and unemployed create a perfect environment for their exploitation (Balgamwalla, 2014). Many migrated women in the United States face domestic violence and exploitation in their families, with limited, if any, social support. If unemployed, their access to health care is also limited (Mallapragada, 2016).

Language Barriers

Indian immigrants are much more likely to be proficient in English than the overall foreign-born migrants. In 2019, about 22 percent of Indians, aged 5 years and more, reported limited English proficiency, compared to 46 percent of all immigrants. Approximately 12 percent of Indians spoke only English at home versus 16 percent of foreign-born migrants. According to the recently available data on languages, in 2018, besides English, immigrants from India spoke a variety of other languages at home, including Hindi (26 percent), Telugu (13 percent), Gujarati (11 percent), Tamil (9 percent), and Punjabi (8 percent) (USCUS, 2020).

Patriarchal Culture in India

The United States is a melting pot. In the latest immigration wave related to the information technology workforce, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people migrating to the United States from China, India, and other South Asian countries. Migrants from this region bring with them their cultural norms and practices. South Asian countries have historically experienced gender bias (Jani & Felke, 2015). The stringent norms of patriarchal society and highly rigid caste system, associated with extreme subordination of women, restrict proper access to education and jobs for females and even limit their rights to property in some states of India. Even in progressive Indian states, the Hindu traditions dictate social norms, creating subjugation of working women in India (Livne, 2015). Prevailing illegal customs in India, such as dowry, female feticide and infanticide, child abuse and child marriages, and neglect of widowed women, create subconscious acceptance of gender-based oppression among some immigrant women (Chandramouli, 2011). Abdullah (2019) explained a modern semblance of human trafficking of women and children that presents children as a commercial commodity, thus opening doors for exploitation and abuse. Commercial surrogacy and in vitro fertilization have given a new shape to the trafficking of women in India. This practice has been normalized in northwestern states of India from where many women have migrated to the United States (US Census Bureau, 2019). Saravanan (2018, p. 68) also finds that commercial surrogacy is blooming in the areas of the pre-existing “slavery-like employment sectors, child sale, and trafficking.”

Therefore, in international human trafficking cases, a combination of factors—-historical, sociocultural, and politico-economic—act together in the regional conceptualization of definition of human trafficking. Cultural acceptance of trafficking as a common practice in India, coupled with the pressure of maintaining the Asian Indian image of a “model minority” community in the United States, creates a complex web for the victims from this region to break and speak out about their conditions (Yamanaka & McClelland, 1994). Trafficked victims from South Asia are often unaware of their rights and the protection provided to them by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Illegal immigration channels, domestic violence, and child abuse are some of the other prevailing practices among the South Asian community in the United States. Lack of cultural awareness, particularly related to human trafficking and violence against South Asian women, creates some additional challenges for professionals trained to identify and intervene human trafficking cases in the United States (Jani & Anstadt, 2013).

Socioeconomic Status

Socioeconomic and cultural challenges, including multiple other issues such as child labor, low levels of education, migration, harmful gender attitudes and behaviors, and limited livelihood opportunities, provide an enabling environment for trafficking of Asian Indian women (Jani & Anstadt, 2013). Anticipation of foreign employment with handsome salaries has been used as a method to trap women to migrate, and in some cases get smuggled, to the United States.

Human trafficking in India is often cited as the result of poverty and destitution. However, migration of an individual leading to human trafficking is often influenced by factors beyond poverty. In order to understand human trafficking from India to the United States, we must understand the social realities that act as push factors, particularly for women, to migrate to the United States.

Caste, Religion, and Ethnicity

Rural India has witnessed many women migrating to the United States during early waves of migration, because rural women experienced more caste-based biases as well as gender biases compared to urban women (New York Times, 2021). Similarly, women from minority religious groups in India, such as Muslims and Christians, had compounded oppressive experiences, which in some cases acted as a push factor for migration (Ahlin & Sen, 2019; Bonacich, 1973; Kurien, 2001).

The subordinate positioning of women in India, along with intersecting oppressive variables, moves with Asian Indian women who face gender-based inequalities in the American gender-biased environment. This increases their vulnerability to human trafficking and comorbid health and mental health challenges.

Gender-Based Wage Gap in the United States

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and nationality. Salary discrimination based on gender and race has been illegal in the United States since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal Pay Act of 1963 provides that men and women working in the same establishment must be paid equally for equal work. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides a broader scope for protection against discrimination by including race, nationality (with later amendments and complementary laws concerning age and disability), and all aspects of employment, from hiring and recruitment to promotion, access to training, and benefits (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [USEEOC], 1997). In addition, since 1965, when Executive Order 11246 was passed, firms receiving Federal contracts have to take affirmative action beyond nondiscrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or nationality to attain equal representation and provide equal salary to their workforce (US Department of Labor (USDOL), n.d.). While salary discrimination in the United States never included a formal right to comparable worth or equal value, in the 1980s many US states implemented comparable worth approach in public sector workforce, resulting in a significant increase in women’s wages (Hartmann and Aaronson 1994; Killingsworth 2002). With this change, actual earnings of women increased on average, albeit from a much lower base but never came close to that of men. Earnings of non-White and immigrant women were particularly affected by deindustrialization, because they more potentially worked in nonunionized private sector jobs than other women (Ahmed and Hegewisch 2021; Scott et al. 2022). From the mid-1990s to the present day, changes in the wage gap have been slow in spite of the fact that women have surpassed men at all levels of education (Hegewisch and Williams-Baron 2017). The majority of Asian Indian women in the United States work in private sectors. In recent years, many women have joined the IT sector, juggling between working in high--demand nonunionized environments and managing their functions of being (Indian) wives, mothers, and caregivers. Escaping the grind of Indian gender bias, these women in the United States are often trapped in another oppressive work culture (Robinson-Dorn, 2021).

One-Way Traffic

Considering the cultural paradox of subjugation of women and a dire need of engaging them to boost family’s economic conditions, the trafficking of young girls from India to the United States often becomes an unintended outcome of immigration and human smuggling from this region. The global image of the United States being the “land of the free” often breaks for immigrant women when they discover familiar gender-biased practices in family and workplaces even in America. Migrating to America from India often comes at a prohibitive economic cost. The American immigration process is sluggish and expensive for people from developing countries like India (Orrenius & Zavodny, 2010). The length of time and money invested in this process often makes it almost impossible for women to escape labor and, in some cases, gender exploitation.

Stigma of Human Trafficking for Asian Indian Immigrants in America

Asian Indian immigrants face serious acculturative stress, and therefore work hard to maintain the “model minority” status in the increasingly divisive and homophobic American society. Experiences of women immigrants from India to the United States provide fewer opportunities to process their lived realities. Over the last 20 years, few reports of trafficking of women from India to the United States have appeared, although the estimated number of cases is much higher (Hindustan Times, 2022). Owing to shame and stigma attached to trafficking, female victims suffer in isolation, and the following question becomes pertinent: “Why don’t we hear from Asian Indian victims of trafficking in the United Sates?”

Model of Intersectionality in Asian Indian Trafficking

The model given below provides integration of factors that create the web of human trafficking spanning from India to the United States. The intersectionality of primary variables listed below displays a rubric for professionals to understand. Here, the intertwined variables related to trafficking cannot be overlooked while understanding the trafficking situation from India to the United States.

Intersectionality of oppressive variables related to human trafficking provides a framework to understand the unique aspects of international trafficking of victims to the United States. This approach has the potential to understand how the combination of push and pull factors create vulnerability in immigrant population to be easily exploited by traffickers by means of false promises, fraud, force, or coercion. Figure 3 provides an intersectional model to understand the manner in which power dynamics in both source and destination countries influence international human trafficking.

Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Figure 3. Intersectionality model for international human trafficking.

Implications of Research, Policy, and Practice

The theoretical abundance of intersectionality has the potential to reframe research, practice, and policy related to international human trafficking. The promising potential of this model is in its ability to understand the pathways to trafficking vulnerability from oppressive frameworks faced by victims not only in the source countries but also in the destination country. Similarly, the theory of intersectionality can be used to understand development of global policy and in research on migrant and refugee populations. To conclude, this approach if used widely in practice can guide health and mental health practitioners as well as policy makers, lawyers, and law enforcement officers working to support victims of human trafficking. Intersectionality examines diversity among individual women who are vulnerable to trafficking during the process of their migration to the United States. Based on their intersecting axes of nationality, race, ethnicity, class/caste, religion, marital and immigration status, and other characteristics, there is diversity across source countries from where victims are trafficked to the United States.

Conclusions

Trafficking of females from India, South Asia, to the United States cannot be understood completely on the basis of generalized literature available on human trafficking because of unique socioeconomic and cultural factors that expand from India to the United States. In conclusion, this paper has examined intersectionality in order to demonstrate its significance for feminist debates and activism to end female trafficking. Outlining the main theoretical premises and locating origins of the concept within Black feminism, this paper presented the fundamental aspects that intersectionality as paradigm contributes to human trafficking literature. Application of this approach in research and preventative practice can potentially save the lives of females who are vulnerable to trafficking in the process of migration from India to the United States.

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Nairruti Jani is an Assistant professor, Florida Gulf Coast University, 10501 FGCU Blvd, South Fort Myers, FL. She can be contacted at njani@fgcu.edu