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Defining Sex Trafficking: A Rights-Based Approach

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Abstract. The term "sex trafficking" can mean many different things, depending on who uses it. To some, it may be synonymous with prostitution. To others, it may equate to slavery. And some may find that sex trafficking differs from both

Abstract. The term "sex trafficking" can mean many different things, depending on who uses it. To some, it may be synonymous with prostitution. To others, it may equate to slavery. And some may find that sex trafficking differs from both slavery and prostitution. But I find that the term "sex trafficking" is used improperly when referring to phenomena that may not entail the violation of rights of any individual involved. For this reason, various definitions of "sex trafficking" may inappropriately conflate sex trafficking with prostitution. In this essay, I argue against such a conflation through supporting a rights-based approach of defining "sex trafficking," in which every instance of true sex trafficking necessitates a violation of someone's rights. First, I begin by laying the foundation of my discussion with definitions and various government and non-government uses of the term "sex trafficking." Then, I argue for the rights-based approach. I proceed to explore how the rights-based approach relates to consent, force, coercion, deception, and competence. Then, I compile my findings, synthesize a definition, and elaborate on a few questions regarding my definition. Using the term "sex trafficking" correctly, as I argue, means that we necessarily use the term in a context of a violation of rights.

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2016-05

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Joseph Rotblat, the Physicist Who Left the Manhattan Project: a Biography of Scientific Responsibility

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Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957,

Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957, of the Pugwash conferences, which emerged as the leading global forum to advance limits on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Rotblat's efforts, and the activities of Pugwash, resulted in both being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Rotblat is a central figure in the global history of resistance to the spread of nuclear weapons. He also was an important figure in the emergence, after World War II, of a counter-movement to introduce new social justifications for scientific research and new models for ethics and professionalism among scientists. Rotblat embodies the power of the individual scientist to say "no" and thus, at least individually, put limits of conscience on his or her scientific activity. This paper explores the political and ethical choices scientists make as part of their effort to behave responsibly and to influence the outcomes of their work. By analyzing three phases of Rotblat's life, I demonstrate how he pursued his ideal of beneficial science, or science that appears to benefit humanity. The three phases are: (1) his decision to leave the Manhattan Project in 1944, (2) his role in the creation of Pugwash in 1957 and his role in the rise of the organization into international prominence and (3) his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. These three phases of Rotblat's life provide a singular window of the history of nuclear weapons and the international movement for scientific responsibility in the 50 years since the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. While this paper does not provide a complete picture of Rotblat's life and times, I argue that his experiences shed important light on the difficult question of the individual responsibility of scientists.

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2015-05

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The Price of Being Complex and Sexy: a Theory of Documentary Ethics

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I argue that a morally heavy, poorly researched, emotionally powerful piece of non-fiction media with complex subject matter shown to an ill-equipped audience is unethical. I then evaluate methods of avoiding unethical situations from the perspective of media creators. I

I argue that a morally heavy, poorly researched, emotionally powerful piece of non-fiction media with complex subject matter shown to an ill-equipped audience is unethical. I then evaluate methods of avoiding unethical situations from the perspective of media creators. I conclude by calling for a strictly diligence based ratings board anchored in the professional guilds of the entertainment industry.

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Date Created
2014-12

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The Ethics of Food Localization

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The globalized food system has caused detriments to the environment, to economic justice, and to social and health rights within the food system. Due to an increasing concern over these problems, there has been a popular turn back to a

The globalized food system has caused detriments to the environment, to economic justice, and to social and health rights within the food system. Due to an increasing concern over these problems, there has been a popular turn back to a localized food system. Localization's main principle is reconnecting the producer and consumer while advocating for healthy, local, environmentally friendly, and socially just food. I give utilitarian reasons within a Kantian ethical framework to argue that while partaking in a local food system may be morally good, we cannot advocate for localization as a moral obligation. It is true from empirical research that localizing food could solve many of the environmental, economic, social, and health problems that exist today due to the food system. However, many other countries depend upon the import/export system to keep their own poverty rates low and economies thriving. Utilitarian Peter Singer argues that it would be irresponsible to stop our business with those other countries because we would be causing more harm than good. There are reasons to support food localization, and reasons to reject food localization. Food localization is a moral good in respect to the many benefits that it has, yet it is not a moral obligation due to some of the detriments it may itself cause.

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Date Created
2015-05

Consent: A Novella on Medical Ethics

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Human subject research is a sensitive ethical topic in today's society, and with good cause. The history of human subject research is full of tragedy and wrongdoing, which is what has led to the firm restrictions we presently have. At

Human subject research is a sensitive ethical topic in today's society, and with good cause. The history of human subject research is full of tragedy and wrongdoing, which is what has led to the firm restrictions we presently have. At the same time, we also acknowledge the value behind human subject research and the information science can obtain from such endeavors. This project analyzes this conundrum through a narrative describing a group of scientists who choose to ignore some of the laws and regulations concerning human subject research in order to pursue neurological based research for a "greater good." In the novella, the scientists end up harming several people while performing their illegal research, but are able to obtain successful results. However, the group is eventually caught, and end up having to face the consequences of their actions. The situations and interactions the story presents are meant to juxtapose both sides of the human subject research ethical argument in a unique way in order to allow the reader to critically think through the argument themselves and form their own opinions on the matter.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Ethics of Life Extension Technology

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The prospect of anti-aging or life extension technology is controversial in biogerentology but deemed even by skeptical experts to warrant discussion. I discuss the justifications that the probability of life extension technology being developed in the near future is reasonably

The prospect of anti-aging or life extension technology is controversial in biogerentology but deemed even by skeptical experts to warrant discussion. I discuss the justifications that the probability of life extension technology being developed in the near future is reasonably high and that this research justifies the time and money it receives. I investigate potential ethical and societal issues anti-aging technology might create. This paper addresses inequality of access, economic cost, changes in quality of life, the role of death in human life, if and how the technology should be regulated and how parties who choose not to undergo treatment can be fairly treated, even when they are a minority.

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Date Created
2015-05