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Journal ArticleDOI

Prostitution, trafficking and feminism: an update on the debate

01 Jul 2009-Womens Studies International Forum (Elsevier Publishing)-Vol. 32, Iss: 4, pp 316-320
TL;DR: In the field of women's studies, the'sex work' position has been extended to the issue of trafficking of women into prostitution through the transformation of trafficking into'migration for labour'.
Abstract: Within the academy the 'sex work' position, i.e. that prostitution should be understood as legitimate work, and an expression of women's choice and agency, has become the dominant perspective. Most feminist scholars now take this point of view or show sympathy towards it. The critical approach to prostitution that was almost universal amongst feminists from the nineteenth century up till the 1980s, that prostitution arises from and symbolizes the subordination of women, is much less often expressed. The 'sex work' position has been extended to the issue of trafficking of women into prostitution through the transformation of trafficking into 'migration for labour' (Agustin, 2007). This new approach to trafficking, which draws a veil over the human rights issues involved and carefully removes the issue of the destination of the vast majority of trafficking in women, prostitution, from view, is fast becoming predominant amongst feminist academics writing on the issue in the fields of development studies and migration studies (Jeffreys, 2006). Unfortunately, some of the articles in this issue of Women's Studies International Forum demonstrate some of the common elements and problems of the new dominant ideology amongst feminist scholars. The 'sex work' position emerged from some sex workers' rights organizations in the 1980s (Jeness 1993). It gained strength from a sexual liberalism which portrayed pornography and prostitution as forms of 'freedom', and rejected any suggestion that they might be abusive to women (Jeffreys, 1990). This sexual liberalism was identified by its supporters as 'sex-positive' and those, mainly radical feminists, who criticize the whole construction of sexuality under male dominance as the eroticizing of women's subordination and argue for total transformation, as 'sex-negative'. This sexual liberalism joined up with the economic ideology of neo-liberalism in the next two decades to the point where the industries of pornography and prostitution came to be seen by governments as nice little earners (Jeffreys, 2009). Milton Friedman, the American sage of neo-liberalism, argued that pornography and prostitution should be decriminalized and subject to the ordinary rules of the market (Ammeson, 2006). As a result of these trends the global sex industry has been legalized, tolerated and normalized, and has become hugely profitable for domestic economies and in the global economy. Women's bodies are now well and truly launched into the marketplace as the basis of large profits for many different enterprises, the telecommunications companies that carry pornography, the credit card companies that the male buyers use, the banks that lend to the industry, strip club chains, the governments that tax legalized prostitution, the governments that gain foreign currency from the women sent abroad as 'entertainers'. In the global economy women from poor countries are trafficked to richer ones, or used in situ by prostitution tourists in what I define as the 'outsourcing of women's subordination' (Jeffreys, 2009). Meanwhile the average earnings of the prostituted women, whose vaginas and anuses are the raw materials of this industry, are well below the average wage in western countries (DeRiviere, 2006). It is radical feminists and those whom the writers in this issue call 'abolitionists', i.e. those who seek to rein in men's behaviour in the prostitution of women, that have called these processes into question... Keywords: Human trafficking Language: en
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Marriage Contract, the Individual and Slavery, Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons as mentioned in this paper is a well-known example of the Marriage Contract and its application to prostitution.
Abstract: 1. Contracting In. 2. Patriarchal Confusions. 3. Contract, the Individual and Slavery. 4. Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons. 5. Wives, Slaves and Wage-Slaves. 6. Feminism and the Marriage Contract. 7. What's Wrong with Prostitution?

966 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Jennifer Musto1
TL;DR: This article examined how anti-trafficking policies have been discursively re-imagined to expand policing and rehabilitative interventions for youth in the United States, and tracked the discursive sites and spaces in which criminal justice and social justice agendas have coalesced to assist youth and further assessed how attention to domestic minor sex trafficking has simultaneously authorized a multiprofessional detention-to-protection pipeline.
Abstract: Notable discursive changes are afoot with respect to individuals, particularly sex trade–involved youth in the United States. Where once they may have been profiled as juvenile offenders, they are now, thanks to widespread attention to human trafficking, provisionally viewed by law enforcement and their non-state allies as potential victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, replete with traumatic pasts and turbulent family histories that authorize state intervention. This article examines how anti-trafficking policies have been discursively re-imagined to expand policing and rehabilitative interventions for youth. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, it tracks the discursive sites and spaces in which criminal justice and social justice agendas have coalesced to assist youth and further assesses how attention to domestic minor sex trafficking has simultaneously authorized a multiprofessional detention-to-protection pipeline.

69 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the global trends in the governance of commercial sex over the past decade and set out where this collection contributes to critical understandings of the commercial sex through an analysis of the global legal, policy and policing trends.
Abstract: In this special issue we examine the global trends in the governance of commercial sex over the past decade and set out where this collection contributes to critical understandings of the governance of commercial sex through an analysis of the global legal, policy and policing trends. This collection of articles addresses the continued moves towards state control of sexual behaviours and sexual activities that do not fit dominant scripts for what constitutes ‘appropriate’ citizenship. The focus on the lived experience of the law, criminal justice system and policing practices for sex workers is the overarching theme of this special issue, as we contemplate the realities of the governance of sex work.

51 citations


Cites background from "Prostitution, trafficking and femin..."

  • ...The tensions in approaches to regulation reflect the theoretical tensions between those who maintain sex work is a form of violence against women that is inherently oppressive and damaging (Barry, 1995; Farley, 2004; Jeffreys, 2009), with other sex radicals who draw on activist and personal experience of those who are empowered by choices made to use sexual labour as a form of work (Chapkis, 1997)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Rob White1
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that reparative justice, with an emphasis on repairing harm within a generally more punitive context, would be more appropriate and effective than "restorative justice" per se.
Abstract: Environmental harms are frequently part and parcel of ordinary commercial practice. Powerful social interests not only perpetuate great harms, they also obscure and mask the nature of the harm production. They are also best placed to resist the criminalisation process generally. Indeed, when it comes to corporate criminality, recidivism is built-in to the endeavour to the extent that payment of fines is construed as simply part of the cost of doing business (whether related to processing and transferring of waste, or cutting down trees in particular sections of the forest). Unless substantial penalties are put into play, there is little deterrent. This paper proposes that reparative justice, with an emphasis on repairing harm within a generally more punitive context, would be more appropriate and effective. This is illustrated by consideration of recent cases heard in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court in which a number of private companies were penalised using an interesting variety of sanctions. Repairing harm should not be conflated with 'restorative justice' per se. This is important, since 'repairing harm' can be imposed upon offenders (especially corporate offenders) without necessarily involving consensual agreement and/or 'conferencing' methods of negotiation. Company personnel, including senior managers, change. But to change company practices, especially those that pertain to the economic profit margin, requires regulatory and enforcement systems that penalise and sanction in ways that are tailored to the size and activities of the corporation. For this to succeed, it is argued that specialist environmental courts with well developed problem-solving skills and capacities are required.

47 citations


Cites background from "Prostitution, trafficking and femin..."

  • ...Care should be taken to not romanticise or over-inflate the positive work of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court or to downplay the wider context within which it carries out its work....

    [...]

  • ...This is illustrated by consideration of recent cases heard in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court in which a number of private companies were penalised using an interesting variety of sanctions....

    [...]

  • ...Credits are generated by market participants rather than EPA....

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  • ...Lashkari [38] argues that the EPA needs to move toward a verification and certification system equivalent to the EU ETS CDM (the Clean Development Mechanism) process....

    [...]

  • ...Allowances may also be purchased via EPA auctions [2], to be used for compliance in the same calendar year (i.e., spot auction) or in the future (i.e., advance auction) [3]....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A comprehensive overview of relevant issues regarding the concept of female sex trafficking and research in the field of human trafficking is provided, drawing on a variety of disciplines, including economics, gender and sexuality studies, psychology, sociology, law, and social work.
Abstract: Female sex trafficking is a pressing concern. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of relevant issues regarding the concept of female sex trafficking and research in the field of hu...

41 citations


Cites background from "Prostitution, trafficking and femin..."

  • ...Finally, sex work cannot and should not be considered empowering for women, given that it is driven by male demand (Dempsey, 2010; Jeffreys, 2009; Miriam, 2005)....

    [...]

References
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Book
01 Aug 1988
TL;DR: In this article, the author argues that universal freedom is always a hypothesis, a story, a political fiction, and that women are excluded from the original contract but incorporated into the new contractual order.
Abstract: In this remarkably original work of political philosophy, one of today's foremost feminist theorist challenges the way contemporary society functions by questioning the standard interpretation of an idea that is deeply embedded in American and British political thought: that our rights and freedoms derive from the social contract explicated by Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau and interpreted in the United States by the Founding Fathers. The author shows how we are told only half the story of the original contract that establishes modern patriarchy. The sexual contract is ignored and thus men's patriarchal right over women is also glossed over. No attention is paid to the problems that arise when women are excluded from the original contract but incorporated into the new contractual order. One of the main targets of the book is those who try to turn contractarian theory to progressive use, and a major thesis of the book is that this is not possible. Thus those feminists who have looked to a more "proper" contract- one between genuinely equal partners, or one entered into without any coercion- are misleading themselves. In the author's words, "In contract theory universal freedom is always a hypothesis, a story, a political fiction. Contract always generates political right in the forms of domination and subordination." Thus the book is also aimed at mainstream political theorists, and socialist and other critics of contract theory. The author offers a sweeping challenge to conventional understandings- of both left and right- of actual contracts in everyday life: the marriage contract, the employment contract, the prostitution contract, and the new surrogate mother contract. By bringing a feminist perspective to bear on the contradictions and paradoxes surrounding women and contract, and the relation between the sexes, she is able to shed new light on fundamental political problems of freedom and subordination.

2,743 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDW) has been extended to include women in the definition of gender discrimination in South Africa.
Abstract: (1995). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. South African Journal on Human Rights: Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 421-437.

1,144 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Marriage Contract, the Individual and Slavery, Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons as mentioned in this paper is a well-known example of the Marriage Contract and its application to prostitution.
Abstract: 1. Contracting In. 2. Patriarchal Confusions. 3. Contract, the Individual and Slavery. 4. Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons. 5. Wives, Slaves and Wage-Slaves. 6. Feminism and the Marriage Contract. 7. What's Wrong with Prostitution?

966 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A positive impact of the CEDAW on women's social rights if combined with a higher degree of democracy is found, robust to the choice of control variables and the method of estimation.
Abstract: This paper analyzes empirically whether the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), advocating the multiple dimensions of women’s rights, affects the level of women’s rights in a country. Measuring commitments to the CEDAW based on reservations by member states, I test whether the Convention enhances women’s rights; in particular, (i) whether the effects are stronger if a member country has a higher level of democracy; and (ii) whether the effects are most pronounced in the dimension of women’s social rights, a special focus of the Convention. Using panel data for 126 countries during 1981-2007, I do not find statistically significant effects of the CEDAW alone on any dimension of women’s rights. However, I do find a positive impact of the CEDAW on women’s social rights if combined with a higher degree of democracy. These findings are robust to the choice of control variables and the method of estimation. In particular, taking into account the potential reverse causality does not alter the main conclusions.

805 citations


"Prostitution, trafficking and femin..." refers background in this paper

  • ...According to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against |Women (United Nations, 1979), states are required to eliminate the harmful attitudes that create these practices....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A critical interdisciplinary analysis of this influential APA report on the Sexualization of Girls is offered, expanding on and challenging several of its main claims.
Abstract: Feminist, critical, and postmodern scholars have long recognized sexuality as a site of power relations. The recently released Report of the APA (American Psychological Association) Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls is a welcome addition to ongoing feminist and activist conversations on how to intervene on issues of sexuality in the name of girls' and women's health. This article offers a critical interdisciplinary analysis of this influential APA report, expanding on and challenging several of its main claims. This article critiques the report as over-determining the negative impact of sexualization; offers other literatures as critical additions including feminist literature on media, consumer culture, gender, and the body, and earlier “pro-desire” feminist psychology scholarship; and critiques the task force's conflations of objectification and sexualization. The article concludes with a call for broadening feminist scholarship and activism across disciplinary boundaries to emphasize girls' and ...

566 citations

Trending Questions (1)
Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking?

The answer to the query is not explicitly mentioned in the provided paper. The word "prostitution" is mentioned multiple times in the paper, but it does not discuss whether legalized prostitution increases human trafficking. The paper primarily focuses on the debate surrounding prostitution, trafficking, and feminism.