This dissertation uses discourse theory to understand anti-trafficking activism. A very specific discourse called Human Trafficking Discourse (HTD) depicts the problem of human trafficking as primarily sex trafficking and narrows the victims to women and children. This narrowing is due to an epistemic bedrock of patriarchal gender ideals which infuse the way activists, policy makers and the general public communicate about human trafficking. By first analyzing a series of speeches at the United Nations, I show how HTD is used strategically by international feminists as well as other high level policy makers. HTD, and discourse more generally, is not only words, however, so I follow HTD into a safe house for trafficked women where HTD disappears. Instead, the house relies on a discourse of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) linked with Catholicism and poverty management strategies. Like HTD, CSE relies on the same bedrock of traditional gender ideals. This reliance on traditional gender does not fit the reality of residents' lives, however. HTD, while it disappears in the house, reappears when the development committee seeks funding from the general public to maintain the house. HTD is highly present at the first gala the committee planned, and the presence of former residents of the house at the gala negated the tropes upon which HTD relies. Additionally, the founders themselves struggle against the money-making potential of HTD and remaining true to their project based on CSE. I conclude with three points. Though I originally asserted that HTD narrows "the victim" to women and children as distinct categories, based on my observations at the House's gala, in reality I find that HTD narrows "victims" to young, childlike women. Second, HTD should not be a strategy for feminist activism aimed at supporting trafficked women or women in sex work. Last, the concept of episteme is woefully under-utilized in discourse theory. It is through greater understanding of shared epistemic roots of various, sometimes seemingly contradictory discourses, that the power relations of society can be better identified, analyzed and altered.