Home Institution

University of the South

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Abstract

In this independent study project, I take a look at the Argentine social movement against human trafficking, analyzing one particular organization, the RATT Argentina (National Network Against Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents[1]) I analyze the structural and logistical characteristics of the RATT as a social actor using research on its functionality as a network. The RATT is an organization comprised of different regional nodes, partner NGOs, affiliate government branches, and individual members; thus, my project relates the organizational structure of the RATT to its agenda and capacities, looking at how its actions are impacted by its network configuration. Specifically, my research considers the question, “How does the organizational structure of the RATT affect its agenda and capacities in the fight against human trafficking?” I think that this subject is attention worthy for academically observing the Argentine social mobilization against human trafficking and, more generally, as a case study to show how social movements actually act in the fight against an elusive, pervasive, universal crime that, despite international and domestic regulation, endangers many potential victims and remains a grave and widespread violation of human rights. In the face of the complicated and socially ingrained nature of human trafficking and the vital need for non-state actors to operate independently while supporting related governmental efforts and maintaining coordination with state institutions, it is fundamental for organizations such as the RATT to operate with force and efficacy. Thus, analyzing how the RATT’s organizational structure impacts its agenda and capacities shows how and when the network operates amongst these obstacles, implicating what is clearly and systematically being done by such social actors for those vulnerable to sexual exploitation via human trafficking.

For my research, I observed how the organization operates (by attending meetings with the headquarters in Buenos Aires, participating in events hosted by the RATT, and working with the national coordinator, Viviana Caminos). I also conducted interviews with members of the group, and analyzed texts published by/about the organization and about the context of human trafficking in Argentina. In my research I also incorporated theory about organization in social movements and related it to the network structure and operational prototype of the RATT. To investigate how the organizational structure affects the agenda and capacities of the group, I focused specifically on observing how the network operates in three distinct lines of action: prevention, intervention, and re-stabilization, meaning the moments of action before, during, and after acts of human trafficking occur. I conducted my research in Buenos Aires, where I worked with the national headquarters of the RATT.

In the following pages, I divide my project into an introduction, where I define human trafficking, present related social movement theory, and express my specific research question; a methodology section, which includes marks of reference, problems with the project, and acknowledges the influence of my point of view as the author; a research development segment which begins with a multilateral contextual overview of human trafficking in Argentina, reflections on the organizational structure of the RATT, and analysis of specific actions. The final pages of my project include a conclusion and references.

In my analysis of how the organizational structure affects the agenda and capacities of the RATT, I found that its network composition allows it to act strongly and comprehensively in the areas of prevention and intervention in cases of human trafficking and facilitates some aptitude in the line of re-stabilization of freed victims. I suggest that the agenda of the RATT changes as the branches of the network impact it, because although its agenda is established at a macro-level, it is interpreted and articulated by the particular actions of different micro-groups of the organization. These groups—through their own process of negotiation and navigation of their particular environments (which include resources, micro-cultures, strengths, etc.) affect the development of how the organization reaches its goals, and thus, the agenda itself. Finally, I interpret the impact of the structural organization on the group’s capacities, suggesting that the network structure amplifies and diversifies its capacities while at the same time complicating logistics of uniform action, coordination of financing, feasibility of continuous internal exchange, and macro-interaction. I hope that this project will be a tribute to the incredible work and effort put forth by the RATT and the phenomenal people that move and sustain it, as well as to the women, men, and children affected by human trafficking in Argentina.

[1] La traducción es mía. El nombre original es RATT Argentina (Red Nacional Alto al Tráfico, la Trata, y la Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes)

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Welfare