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Social politics: a theory

Laura M. Williams (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to articulate a theory which connects social stratification processes to the international problem of human trafficking for sex and labor purposes.


The paper develops a social politics theory to connect concepts from social stratification to the study of human trafficking. It draws on data provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Rescue and Restore program for trafficked victims to illustrate how traffickers move victims trans‐nationally. It cites sources from Australia and Sweden to show how national laws and policies regarding prostitution can contribute to or discourage human trafficking for sex and labor purposes.


The social politics theory is a theoretical idea based on observations of how social, political, legal, and economic changes within “Weak” and “Failing” states create an environment conducive to human trafficking for sex and labor purposes as well as other forms of injustices.


The social politics theory was created to acknowledge the influence of extraneous combined socio‐political and socio‐economic forces existing in modern societies.



Williams, L.M. (2008), "Social politics: a theory", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 28 No. 7/8, pp. 285-292.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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