At Duke, we are exploring the ethics and practicalities of DNA collection in immigration for protection of human rights, with a focus on identifying victims of human trafficking.
Open to all students, staff, faculty with an interest in human trafficking and human rights:
- Discuss the potential role of DNA in human trafficking victim identification and the historic uses of DNA for human rights
- Explore the ethical, privacy, political and social implications of DNA collection of victims and family members
Collection of DNA from immigrants and refugees is routine practice in some countries and under consideration in the U.S., primarily to combat reported cases of immigration fraud. Technological advances in DNA identification, combined with reports of child trafficking and adoption fraud, have led to proposals to initiate DNA collection to detect victims of human trafficking.
The collection of DNA by governments, law enforcement, and courts raises profound justice, civil, social, and ethical questions. Developing successful models to use DNA to protect human rights is complicated by concerns of privacy and abuse of power. Yet, the use of DNA to identify human trafficking victims is a powerful notion worthy of exploration.