THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSSIAN COUNTER-TRAFFICKING MOVEMENT: THE ANGEL COALITION AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS ON CIVIL SOCIETY, FEMINISM, AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Moses, Claire G.
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In recent decades, transnational advocacy networks (TANs) for women's rights have become major players in the international arena, but have also struggled to maintain egalitarian and democratic practices within their ranks, as members from different world regions attempt to have their voices heard. In this dissertation, I question what strategies TANs can employ to more effectively and democratically push states for change on important social issues. To address this question, I carry out a case study of the development of the Russian movement against human trafficking from 1998 to 2008, with particular focus on the organization that served as leader of this movement, the Angel Coalition. To better understand the global forces that gave rise to this development, I examine two transnational movements that collided in Russia in the late 1990s: the contemporary transnational movement against human trafficking, and the movement by the United States and other Western governments to promote the growth of civil societies in developing and post-socialist countries as part of democracy aid programs. This dissertation contributes to transnational civil society theory and transnational feminist theory. The Angel Coalition, an organization run by activists from Russia, other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Western countries, and which received the majority of its funding from Western governments and foundations, overcame obstacles both to organizing across cultural and power differences and to influencing policy of the Russian Federation, a state known to reject the influence of foreign governments and foreign-funded civil society. I argue that two factors were especially important to the success of the Angel Coalition, as part of a transnational counter-trafficking network, in pushing the Russian state to take action against human trafficking: 1) counter-trafficking activists demonstrated a practiced understanding of the political environment of Russia; and 2) activists effectively communicated to the state how it would benefit from collaboration with civil society. Finally, I argue that organizational practices of the Angel Coalition, as a multinational NGO, facilitated its ability to implement these strategies. Most importantly, activists utilized their differences as resources and expressed respect for the unique contributions of all members of the coalition.