Kathleen Kim

Document Type



Part I of this Article contextualizes human trafficking within the doctrinal development of the Thirteenth Amendment and Section Two legislation enacted to address subsequent forms of unfree labor. This part describes the origins of a race-conscious Thirteenth Amendment framework and explains its relevance in guiding antitrafficking policy. The overwhelming focus of antitrafficking efforts on sexual exploitation strains the normative foundation of the Thirteenth Amendment. Part II examines the TVPA and the California Trafficking Victims Protection Act and identifies their most significant contributions to Thirteenth Amendment doctrine. Yet, this part finds that the absence of a Thirteenth Amendment framework to guide the execution of antitrafficking laws has resulted in an overemphasis on the criminal enforcement of sex trafficking at the expense of both labor and sex trafficked persons of color. Part III recommends an antitrafficking approach grounded in the Thirteenth Amendment’s aim to not only prohibit slavery, involuntary servitude, and other forms of unfree labor but to also overcome the structural forces that maintain race-based economic subordination. Informed by these Thirteenth Amendment concerns, antitrafficking measures and strategies may yield more effective strategies to prevent trafficking and assist trafficking survivors.