Language is a constant challenge

Case 1: Work related

In English the difference between trafficking and smuggling is pretty clear. Trafficking is a person being recruited, harbored, moved or obtained by force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, slavery, practices like slavery, sexual exploitation or the harvesting of organs. Smuggling is helping someone move illegally across a border.

In Spanish these are how the words should translate:

Trafficking = Trata

Smuggling = Trafico

I am assuming at this point you can see where the confusion comes from. As trafico would seem to be the logical translation of trafficking, it has been in some documents translated from English. This causes huge confusion. Not to mention that people simply don’t know the terms.

Case 2: Life related

It is National Coming Out Week, so I thought I should say something about inclusive language. Growing up, it is assumed that every child will be heterosexual– call is the default in our heterosexist society. As children little boys and little girls (who are not old enough to really understand what it means to be a boy or a girl or a couple or in love) who become friends are cooed at because they are in their first “relationship”. This rarely is said of two little boys or two little girls. Also, when older and asking about significant others, generally girls are asked about their boyfriends and visa-versa. When trying to incorporate more inclusive language such as “partner”, you inevitably have someone ask what you are partners in, or what type of business you have. That said, language, although a barrier is still the best tool we have. Happy National Coming Out Week!


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