The Concept of Choice

  • Kathryn Ariella PatakiEmail author
  • Kristenne M. Robison


The role of choice is critical when discussing sex trafficking from feminist perspectives. Choice within the sex trafficking industry can be understood through the consideration of sex workers as autonomous beings, rather than simply victims. To better understand the role of choice, we can look to the many perspectives that feminists offer on the issue of choice with consideration to the potential for harm, recognition of autonomy, the role of patriarchy, and intersecting identities. Choice should be considered specifically within the context of the sex trafficking industry and the sociohistorical context of those located within it. While it is widely recognized that forcing or coercing anyone into sex trafficking is problematic and removes choice (Cianciarulo, Univ St Thomas Law J 6:54–76, 2008), this section considers that those within sex work, and more specifically sex trafficking, continue to be capable of making autonomous choices. The feminist perspectives that are considered in this section are liberal feminism, radical feminism, and transnational feminism. The choice to be involved in sex work is often shaped by social supports for sex workers, legalization of sex work, perceived and real opportunities for work, poverty, experiences of colonization, and the need and/or desire to migrate from one’s home. This section argues for a transnational feminist perspective that although sex trafficking is inherently a violation of human rights, it is vital to treat individuals as autonomous decision-makers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Ariella Pataki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristenne M. Robison
    • 2
  1. 1.SociologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Program Director at Tennessee Higher Education InitiativeNashvilleUSA

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