Persons Against Non-State Torture


Areas of Expertise
Civil Society, Health, Human Rights, Human Trafficking, Organized Crime, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Violence Against Women, Women’s Rights

Region of Focus
North America

Specifically focused for past 26 years on non-State torture victimization that is perpetrated in the domestic sphere by family members, and organized in connection to like-minded others. Generally involves human trafficking and other criminal activities such as pornographic victimization. Also working to have it recognized and named globally as a distinct form of violence and human rights violation as well as nationally to have non-State torture (NST) criminalized. MEd, BScN and a grassroot human right defender focused on achieving human rights equality for women and girls not to be subjected to torture by non-State actors in the domestic private sphere, including within family-based relationships, in human trafficking, in prostitution of women and girls and in pornographic exploitation which make up the global sexualized exploitation industry. Co-manage website:

Recent Publications

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2019). Non-state torture human trafficking family systems: Coming out alive—normalizing women’s survival responses. Justice Report, 34 (3), 11-15.

Sarson, J., Gordon, E., & MacDonald, L. (2019). Family-based non-state torturers who traffic their daughters: Praxis principles and healing epiphanies. In J. Winterdyk & J. Jones, (Eds.), The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking. Cham, CH: Palgrave MacMillan.

Jones J, Sarson J, MacDonald, L (2018) How non-state torture is gendered and invisibilized: Canada’s non-compliance with the committee against torture’s recommendations. In: Gender Perspectives on Torture: Law and Practice. Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law Anti-Torture Initiative, Washington, p 33-56

Sarson J, MacDonald L (2018a) No longer invisible: families that torture, traffic, and exploit their girl child. Oñati Journal of Emergent Socio-legal Studies 8(1):85-105

Sarson J, MacDonald L (2018) Suicidal-femicide conditioning: a tactic of family-based non-state torturers and traffickers of a daughter. Femicide Volume X:85-87

Sarson, J. (2017). [Review of the book Human trafficking: Contexts and connections to conventional crime, by J. A. Reid (ed)]. Journal of human trafficking, 3, 4, 338-340. doi: 10.1080/23322705.2016.1221723

Sarson J, MacDonald L (2016) Seeking equality—justice and women’s and girls’ human right not to be subjected to non-state torture. In: Scutt JA (ed) Women, law and culture conformity, contradiction and conflict. Palgrave MacMillan, Cham, p 263-281

Recent ACUNS Activity

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2019). The paradox of non-state torture: Is it or is it not a human rights violation?ACUNS Quarterly Newsletter, 2, 6-7.Attended the UN Beijing+25 Civil Society Forum to the UNECE Regional Review, in Geneva, October 29-30, 2019

Participation in side event titled Contemporary Enslavement and Human Trafficking of Women, that took place during the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, 9:00 – 10:00, Wednesday, October 17th, 2018. Presentation was titled “Family-Based Non-State Torture, Human Trafficking, Captivity & Enslavement.” This presentation will be appearing in the next issue of FEMICIDE.

Read an oral statement at the 9th session mentioned above, url