Representing Colonial Violence: trafficking, sex work, and the violence of law


  • Sarah Hunt Simon Fraser University


violence' human trafficking, law, Indigenous women and girls



This article examines the emergence of the discourse on “domestic trafficking” of Indigenous girls and women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Drawing on community-based experience, the author argues that the shift toward the language and framework of “human trafficking” to capture a range of offences and injustices facing Indigenous women is one of many efforts to recategorize violence against Indigenous women as worthy of legal response in the context of ongoing colonial legal violence.



Cet article examine l’émergence du discours sur la « traite nationale » des filles et des femmes autochtones aux fins d’exploitation sexuelle. En s’appuyant sur l’expérience communautaire, l’auteure fait valoir que l’évolution vers un langage et un cadre axés sur la « traite des personnes » pour capturer l’éventail des infractions et des injustices dont sont victimes les femmes autochtones est l’un des nombreux efforts pour reclassifier la violence contre les femmes autochtones comme étant digne d’une intervention juridique dans le contexte de la poursuite de la violence juridique coloniale.


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Author Biography

Sarah Hunt, Simon Fraser University

Sarah Hunt is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University and an instructor at Camosun College. For the past 15 years, Sarah has worked as a researcher and community-based educator on issues of sexuality and gender, violence, sex work, sexual exploitation and human trafficking in communities across BC, as well pursuing academic interests in Indigenous research ethics and theories of intersectionality. Sarah's doctoral research focuses on intersections of law and geography in investigating strategies for addressing the normalization and expectation of violence in 'Indian space' within colonial relations in BC, Canada.


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