She finds that "Although well intentioned, 45 CFR 46 is a bureaucratic discourse that positions youth in problematic ways and is out of place in the world of Bogotana street girls."
[Amy Ritterbusch, “Bridging Guidelines and Practice: Toward a Grounded Care Ethics in Youth Participatory Action Research,” Professional Geographer 64, no. 1 (2012): 16–24, DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2011.596783.]
Ritterbusch conducts participatory action research with female street youth in Bogotá, and she is frustrated by Common Rule requirements that can be irrelevant or even counterproductive.
Specifically, she complains that Common Rule requirements for consent (and children's assent) depends on unmerited assumptions that people are either children or adults, vulnerable or not, and that the giving of consent is a one-time event:
I contend that to effectively convey the principles of consent, prospective participants must first recognize value in themselves. In the case of my field research, working with a population of sexually exploited youth whose sense of self-worth is severely debased required me to begin by working with street girls to recognize the value of their sexual health (by distributing and motivating the consistent use of condoms and lubricants and discussing safe practices), their potential to help others in the community (by identifying and exerting their rights to health and social services), and the value of their contribution to the research project both in their personal lives and for others in the streets. PAR with street girls, therefore, necessarily calls for a reframing of consent as a process stretched out over time and space and involving community activism and outreach. This in turn initiates the flow of action research and destabilizes the conventional subject–object structuring of fieldwork in general and human subjects procedures in particular. Furthermore, I suggest that the process of making an agreement on consent is in itself the initiation of reciprocity and mutuality, which underpin the entire research relationship . . .
Obtaining consent does not just happen in one place or in one moment; rather, it happens over time and in multiple spaces through the enactment of care ethics and communicative research relations.
She also notes that protection can go both ways:
On countless occasions the girls have protected me in their street spaces far more than I will ever be able to protect them from the violence and abuse of pimps, clients, or rival street gangs. Considering this, it might be presumptuous to write about the protection of human subjects when the girls have developed a much more effective system of protection, both for themselves and for me, than I can ever hope to offer them, entering their space as I do only with the ungrounded tools provided by formal human subjects protection protocols based in federal U.S. guidelines . . .
Far better than the OHRP, the girls themselves know their safe spaces and places of refuge, and only they know which state authorities can be trusted and which officials will threaten their lives to collect a brothel pay-off.
Finally, she argues that the real ethics of her work is protecting her informants not from foreign ethnographers, but from the dangers they face every day:
The reality, however, is that I will not always be literally there in the field. Therefore, I have worked with the girls to build networks of care in the streets that will continue to expand without my presence. Thus, for as long as I am in the field, I am working to construct sustainable structures of caring through collaboration with a local nonprofit organization (Fundación Social Fénix) to plan organized, embodied acts of reaching out to community actors and cultivating street-corner leadership.
Ritterbusch argues that "identifying the local specificities of human subjects protection in a society in which the law and human rights are often disregarded is not a process that can be standardized or operationalized from a handbook. Rather, it became a process of learning from the research population how to best protect their lives as well as my own . . ." She does not suggest how this insight might be encoded into federal policy, though the radical redefinition of human subjects research proposed by the American Anthropological Association would be a good start.