Evolving U.S. Sex Trade Polcies: Feminists and Fundamentalists


Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Anti-Trafficking Campaigns by Professor Elizabeth Bernstein (2010)
“During the past decade, the term “trafficking” has once again been made synonymous with not only forced but also voluntary prostitution, while an earlier wave of political struggles for both sex workers’ and migrants’ rights has been eclipsed. According to observers both laudatory and critical, this displacement has been facilitated by the embrace of human rights discourses by abolitionist feminists, who have effectively neutralized domains of political struggle around questions of labor, migration, and sexual freedom via the tropes of prostitution as gender violence and sexual slavery.”  from Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, special issue on Feminists Theorize International Political Economy.

The Sexual Politics of the ‘New Abolitionism’ by Elizabeth Bernstein from Differences: Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (2007)
“Of course, the sudden and dramatic refashioning of commercialized sex as slavery is not without historical precedent. Various commentators have noted the similarities between the moral panic surrounding “modern-day slavery” in the current moment and that of the White Slavery scare in the last century, which engaged a similar coalition of “new abolitionist” feminists and evangelical Christians.”

Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and the Making of a Global Apartheid by Nandita Sharma (2005)
This essay critically examines the historical and contemporary discursive practices of anti-trafficking campaigns. Such campaigns within the Global North, often led by feminists, constitute the moral reform arm of contemporary anti-immigrant politics that targets negatively racialized migrants. As in the past, current campaigns collude with a state-backed international security agenda aimed at criminalizing self-determined migrations of people who have ever-less access to legal channels of migration.

Unholy Alliance (May 2003) Anna Louise Crago
On January 15, 2003, field missions around the world for the United States’ international aid agency (USAID) quietly received notice that, henceforth, no more funding for projects against trafficking in people would go to “organizations advocating prostitution as an employment choice or which advocate or support the legalization of prostitution.” An early, seminal work.

Letter: Abolitionist Feminists organize against commercial sex (1999)
In a plea to bill sponsor, the late Senator Paul Wellstone, mainstream US feminists, request that the Anti-trafficking legislation “ensure that all women and girls who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation can benefit from its provisions.” Their solution is to characterize ALL SEX WORK AS FORCED and to combat the sex industry in general.

Growing Moral Panic Over Prostitution and Sex Trafficking(September 2005) Professor Ronald Weitzer

Hillary Clinton Supports Sex Trafficking says right wing fundamentalist magazine (with Gloria Steinem, et al)

The Pimping of Hillary Clinton (2005) Patrick Califia

The Negotiations on the UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons (2005)
Dr. Ditmore and Marjan Wijers documents the history of construction on the UN Trafficking Protocol as it applies to sex workers through a fascinating account of negotiations between GAATW and CATW.

Strategies for Alliances
“…to address the concerns of those who may be adversely affected by government measures to combat trafficking, in an effort to encourage the development of strategies supporting all women’s rights.”

Sex Trafficking: The Abolitionist Fallacy (2009) Ann Jordan
“Economic hardship, discrimination, and violence have driven millions of women to work in the sex sector around the world, and their numbers will increase as a result of the current global economic crisis. Unless the underlying factors pushing women to opt for selling sex to support themselves and their families are remedied, many women will continue to have few other options.Yet the Bush administration, supported by the evangelical right-wing and some radical feminists, spent eight years promoting laws to criminalize prostitution and clients as the means to abolish prostitution.”

Human trafficking: a misunderstood global scourge
by Stephanie Hanes, Christian Science Monitor (September 9, 2012)

The Truth About White Slavery (June 1913)

“We have achieved nothing for the victims of exploited prostitution by this panic and punitive Act. Those responsible for it may have obtained ease of mind, the selfish satisfaction of having accomplished something. But that is merely a measure of their folly… For the rest, they have given emphatic justification to those who question the responsibility of women in public affairs  they have provided arms and ammunition for the enemy of women’s emancipation…” Teresa Billington-Greig, The English Review