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Sex Trafficking SPR18

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Julie Jenkins

on 22 March 2018

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Transcript of Sex Trafficking SPR18

Trafficking & Sex Work
What is trafficking?
UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000):
Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs...

The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used.
Recruitment, transportation, transfer for:
-- the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation
-- forced labour or services
--slavery or practices similar to slavery
--the removal of organs...
Conversations about 'trafficking' emerged out of concerns about prostitution & migration
19th-20th c--moral panics about "White Slavery"-
procurement, by force or deceit, or drugs of a white woman or girl against her will for prostitution
--especially from US & Europe to South America, Africa, Asia
debates about prostitution:
--regulationists: prostitution a necessary evil, needed regulation for public health (prostitute a 'fallen woman', dangerous)

--Abolitionists: all prostitution is coerced and all women are victims (not able to consent)
International Conventions:
--1904: International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade
--1910: International Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic
--Includes National

--can't consent under 20; over 20, can't consent if violence, threats, fraud
1921- International Convention to Combat the Traffic in Women and Children -
--Change of Language
1933- International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women
--condemned all recruitment for prostitution in another country- consent irrelevant
1949- UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Person and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others
--prostitution incompatible with "dignity of the person", regardless of consent
2000- Convention--debates between:
-Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (NY)
--Kathleen Barry- all forms of prostitution are exploitative
-Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (Bangkok) & Human Rights Caucus
--labor rights of sex workers
-- CATW: trafficking should include all forms of recruitment and transportation for prostitution regardless of force or deception (neo-Abolitionist)
--consent not the issue b/c prostitution is violation of human rights; can't 'consent'
--GAATW: force or deception necc. condition
--"by definition no one can consent to abduction or forced labor but an adult woman is able to consent to engage in an illegal activity"
--distinction between forced prostitution and voluntary prostitution
--Take either the CATW or GAATW position
-Is all sex work exploitative? Can women consent to sex work?

Why is this an important issue? What are the consequences of including/excluding?
“The day they were arrested, last fall, they were the darlings of the media and a favorite porn fantasy, all wrapped up in one righteous story of salvation: 22 victims of sex trafficking liberated from their debasement in Toronto’s suburbs by a carefully planned police raid. Everywhere..they were droolingly described as sex slaves, conjuring up a vision of exotic but helpless beauties. A day or two later, police revealed that the 22 women, mostly Thai or Malaysian had willingly come to Canada to ply their trade; wire traps caught them boasting, long distance, about the amount of money they were earning. Public opinion did an instant about face. Now the women were hardened delinquents, illegal immigrants, tawdry, dismissible, selling their bodies of their own free will. Phew! No need to fret about their fate” (Toronto Star 19-4-98)
--purpose of migration
--consent or deceit
--criminal network?
--poor/exploitative working conditions
may know/consent to prostitution, but that doesn't mean you are consenting to everything!!
--Convention focuses on exploitation of the traffickers...
rather than a by product of exploitative employment practices, restrictive immigration policies, economic disparities between rich & poor people and nations
reinforced in legislation:
--US 2000--The Trafficking Victims' Protection Act
--spearheaded by Chistopher Smith of NJ
"Each year, 50 thousand innocent women and young children are forced, coerced, or fraudulently thrust in to the international sex trade industry with no way out. This brutal, demeaning and disgusting abuse of women and children is predicated on their involuntary participation in sexual acts. ... The image of a young, innocent child being forcibly sold into the sex trade for the fiscal gain of one sick individual and the physical gain of another is tragic. The idea that we would allow it to go unpunished is even more so." (C. Smith 2000)
--statistic-- CIA 1999- stated 50,000 women & children are trafficked in US for sweatshop labor, domestic servitude, agricultural work, & prostitution
The Trafficking Victims' Protection Act of 2000:
--increased law enforcement power by increasing penalties against traffickers
--provide special protections and benefits including visas and work permits, welfare support, and even the possibility of permanent residency for qualified victims and their families
"Qualified victims"
--distinction between 'victim of trafficking' & 'victim of severe forms of trafficking'
--only the latter qualifies for assistance--
-- conditions of labor coupled with abusive or deceptive forms of recruitment
"Qualified victims" have to prove 'innocence'
--that they did not consent to or have knowledge of future prostitution.
Similar in UK--
--police officers/immigration officers use idea of the 'package' - "migrant woman needs to demonstrate she did not choose or consent to work in prostitution, and that she has undergone great physical suffering"
"myth...is persistent precisely because it reduces complex phenomena to simple causes and clear cut solutions: the victim and villain"
--UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime

-Problem with the numbers
What is included? What is excluded?
Contagious Disease Act in England & Wales
-repealed in 1886 with efforts of Judith Butler
--no woman could consent to prostitution; prostitution a result of male lust
US - 1910- White Slave Act ("Mann Act")
--transport woman or girl across state lines for prostitution.
Assumption rooted in gender stereotypes
--women as innocent, passive, virtuous
--vs active & sexual
--men as aggressive, sex driven, active
GAATW-- sex work as labor that is need of rights and protections
--trafficking legislation should consider element of force b/c women can consent to prostitution (contrary to CATW's position)
But...what is force? What is consent?
--Do sex workers 'consent' without having a full-range of economically advantageous opportunities available to them???
Can the forced/voluntary distinction be used to determine who should be protected from abuse?

Are only those who are forced into prostitution 'innocent' when faced with abuse or exploitation?
"economies of bad faith"
involve the denial of being subject actors or complicit in deception and/or exploitation.
Why the over-representation & focus on 'prostitution' rather than more common forms of trafficking?
How are women from Laos recruited into sex work in Thailand?
"human trafficking place a strong focus on migration that leads to a exploitative situation. This means that anti-trafficking legislation does not criminalize labor exploitation in itself, but the prelude to it: that is, the deceptive or coercive movement of a person with the intent to put that person in an exploitative labor situation" (215)
Why might 'carceral protectionism' in the U.S. also be understood as an 'economy of bad faith'? What are some of the issues in this mode of protection?
What techniques of control may be used?
What might make a person vulnerable?
Full transcript