Transnational Advocacy Networks as a New Form of Global Governance Addressing Sex Trade Human Trafficking.

Author:Noyori-Corbett, Chie
 
FREE EXCERPT

A transnational advocacy network (TAN) consists of a group of state and nonstate actors sharing a common set of ideals and values and transcending political borders (Keck & Sikkink, 1999). It has been recognized as a new process or space within global governance that has brought in new actors, especially those addressing humanitarian or environmental issues (Allen, 2015; Fries & Walkenhorst, 2013; Gilson, 2011; Yamamoto, 2009), as theorized by Keck and Sikkink (1999). The TAN concept is relatively new, attributable to the decentralization of power within global governance and initiated by the catalysts of globalization and the information revolution with a decrease in the cost of interaction and the barriers to global politics (Nye, 2011). The participation of these new actors, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), in global governance is unique to multilateral interactions. This is a seismic shift away from the traditional paradigm of global governance operating via unilateral interactions (paternalism) and typically initiated by government fiat.

While the TAN was gaining recognition among global activists in the 1990s, transnational human trafficking was also becoming a focus of global humanitarian agendas. Human trafficking is a subset of slavery, with the majority of the victims being women and children who are compelled to work in the international sex industry (Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 2000). Considerable effort was made to tackle transnational human trafficking issues. At first, this work was limited to national governments and intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, all within the traditional framework of global governance. There has been discussion about only governmental and intergovernmental organizations imposing limitations to address this dehumanizing and transnational crime. This imposition is attributable to transnational policies enacted as a product of global governance, in which more powerful governments have been criticized for imposing their values on less powerful governments through sanctions intended to alleviate transnational human trafficking, especially transnational sex trade human trafficking (TSTHT; Clawson, Small, Go, & Myles, 2003; Weitzer, 2007). These transnational policies have accelerated patterns of paternalism among actors within a global governance paradigm. The value-related issues around TSTHT in terms of perceiving it as either exploitation or prostitution have become central to the debate of transnational policy development (Usman, 2014).

Nongovernmental organizations have been the actors intervening in transnational human trafficking when governments have proven ineffective in addressing the issue (National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum [NAPAWF], 2008; Samarasinghe & Burton, 2007; Tzvetkova, 2002). Many NGOs in victims' origin and destination countries have been successful in lobbying, research, prevention, advocacy, and awareness raising (Tzvetkova, 2002). There are two kinds of NGO anti-trafficking activities: those that provide direct services to victims and those whose advocates belong to networks and liaise with government officials and legislators to urge strong and effective anti-trafficking laws and monitor the enforcement and implementation of these policies (Perkins, 2005). Among NGOs, TANs, as a new process of global governance, are supposed to bring changes in governmental attitudes, effectively compensating for the shortcomings of activities of governments and intergovernmental organizations by achieving multilateral interactions among actors (Bertone, 2008; Coates & David, 2002; Jordan & Van Tuijl, 2000; Tzvetkova, 2002). Thus, the purpose of the analysis offered in this article is to evaluate the effectiveness of TAN practices and their compatibility with theory. Then, to the extent that those practices fall short of their goals, this article will consider what may be proffered to advance a new and more effective global governance to combat TSTHT.

Analytical Framework of the TAN as Global Governance: Hermeneutic Structurism

Different frameworks were applied in the limited number of analyses of TANs by scholars of network study, international relations, political science, and sociology (Davy, 2013). However, no research has focused on analysis of TANs' effectiveness or failure with a framework matching objectives of global governance addressing humanitarian issues that focus on reducing human distress. Such a framework should recognize multiple realities of people in countries with less powerful governments, usually represented by the perspectives of non-state actors in their countries. For the purpose of theory advancement, Dixon and Dogan (2003) introduced a taxonomy of analytical and explanatory frameworks varying across epistemological, ontological, rational, and nomological stances of analysis to assess the failure of episodes of global governance. Analysis of a transnational policy or a practice within a framework of global governance depends on its purpose, along with the analyst's philosophical disposition, which becomes the lens of his or her understanding of the social world and how actors in global governance behave within that world (Dixon & Dogan, 2003).

When analyzing instances of collective and transnational advocacy actions such as TANs, the author believed that a constructivist perspective was needed, one that simultaneously considered ontology to appreciate multiple realities and epistemology to appreciate interdependent relationships. The author also focused on decision-making processes (rationales) and the motivation of each actor (nomological issues) in selecting a framework. Among the frameworks developed by Dixon and Dogan (2003), this constructivist stance, unlike the old paternalistic approach of governments and intergovernmental organizations, is predisposed by hermeneutic structurism, especially the theoretical scheme of the TAN as a new process and a space of global governance reflecting the rejection of hegemonic order among actors (Barnett, 2015).

Background

Transnational Advocacy Networks

The TAN has become of greater interest among global activists because of Keck and Sikkink's seminal work (Gilson, 2011; Keck & Sikkink, 1999). Transactional advocacy networks surface when they are believed to be beneficial in activities related to policy changes, in establishment of international connections such as attending conferences to form these networks, or when a boomerang pattern of activities among networks is needed (Usman, 2014). These network activities are often perceived incorrectly as hierarchical inducements beginning in advanced countries and filtering down to developing countries. Instead, TANs tend to form where the issues are related to individual values and activists try to communicate these issues in terms of right and wrong (Keck & Sikkink, 1999). This is a typical characteristic of transnational social movements (TSMs) that attempt to achieve global social justice (Milani & Laniado, 2007). When various interest groups are involved in each state's...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP