The League of Nations and the Moral Recruitment of Women

Rodríguez García, Magaly: The League of Nations and the Moral Recruitment of Women, in: International Review of Social History 57, 2012, S. 97–128.


This article analyses the debate on trafficking and policies to combat the recruitment of persons for commercial sex within the Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children of the League of Nations. Its main argument is that the Committee’s governmental and non-governmental representatives engaged in what might be called a “moral recruitment of women”. This form of recruitment had a double purpose: to protect females from prostitution through the provision of “good employment”, and to repress intermediaries of prostitution by means of criminalization. Three elements of the Committee’s internal debates and concrete actions will receive special attention. Firstly, the ideological framework (feminism, social purity, humanitarianism, abolitionism, regulationism, and/or class); secondly, the gender dynamics (differences of opinion between the Committee’s male and female representatives); and thirdly the degree of gendering (construction or reinforcement of gender roles and relations).

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