In the 21st century the perceived threat posed by ‘irregular migration’ to ‘Fortress Europe’ has led to the increased politicization of European national identity politics. States parties have always used the regulation of national identity, the ability to govern specific territory and the movement of people over that territory in processes of state-formation. Yet what sets contemporary national identity politics apart is ‘the growing normative incongruities between international human rights norms, particularly as they relate to the “rights of others” […] and assertions of territorial sovereignty’ (Benhabib 2004, 6-7). Changes in the global political economy mean that, in the first decade of the 21st century, female migrants from the former Soviet Bloc and the developing world constitute over half of the world’s migrant population (Zlotnik 2003). In this chapter, I want to use these issues as a backdrop in relation to some arguments concerning the female trafficked migrant and the attendant issue of transborder sex work, and, thereby, ask some questions about what challenges ‘the rights of others’ may pose for the politics of gender and feminist identity politics in a globalizing world.1 Feminist empirical and theoretical work has provided critical advances and insights into how processes of globalization and the politics of neoliberalism intersect with racialized class and gender (Acker 1998; Sassen 2002; Eisenstein 2004). Yet, in relation to human trafficking and transborder sex work, feminists remain divided on political and philosophical grounds (Barry 1979, 1995; Doezema 2005). Inasmuch as the proand anti-sex work lobbies, repectively the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), adopt different positions on prostitution, both organizations present the non-Western sex worker as the ‘victim subject’ (Brown 1995, 27). Such an approach has, in turn, shaped how the state understands and attempts to regulate the phenomenon across domestic and international jurisdictions (Munro 2005).2

States parties invoke feminist rhetoric that claims that the female ‘victim’ of human trafficking is vulnerable to the vagaries of Western capitalism and organized crime gangs. They also cite the state’s responsibility to uphold these women’s human rights to legitimize their exclusion for ‘their own good’. Engaging in this dialectic extends other work in which I have argued that

the feminist production of knowledge about the female trafficked migrant not

only influences the state production of knowledge of sex workers, but also influences Western nation-states’ attempts to legitimize stricter immigration law and border control and the de facto exclusion of geospecific populations from Western nation-states (FitzGerald 2008). Challenging such understanding for its negative impact on non-Western women’s mobility and their right to autonomy enshrined in international law requires an understanding of how these discourses operate and from where they get their legitimacy within feminism as well as within domestic and international legal jurisdictions.3