Agents of Sacrifice: Victims and Human Rights in North India

Abstract: This article identifies a kind of victim-subject in North India that defies what is known about victimhood. On one hand, human rights literature offers a victim who negotiates narratives into a coherent biography of victimization. On the other, are helpless victims who cannot do the same. “Rita,” however, lies outside both understandings. The role of kinship and family, combined with her community’s status as both tribe and caste, create a context in which Rita’s decision to engage in sex work becomes an act of gendered sacrifice that produces an entirely new human rights subject.

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