This article examines the vicissitudes that affect the migration trajectories of many Nigerian women who experienced trafficking before arriving in Italy, and end up in Centers for Identification and Expulsion (CIE) for undocumented migrants. Their life stories, collected within the CIE of Ponte Galeria (Rome), revealed violence as “a rule of action” with which these women are obliged to cope with at different levels. Moreover, they highlighted the failure of traditional security approaches to human trafficking, and the necessity to rethink the measures adopted to ensure survivors’ protection and rights. As it is conceived, the system of immigration control prevents the full guarantee of survivors’ rights, often labelling them as “illegal migrants”. Finally, there is the need to extend protection to all survivors of human trafficking even if the crime against them has not happened in Italy.
Kozma, Liat: Women’s Migration for Prostitution in the interwar Middle East and North Africa, in: Journal of Women’s History, Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2016, pp. 93-113.
This article examines the migration of women for prostitution around the Mediterranean Sea, particularly to and within the Middle East and North Africa, in the interwar period. Reading League of Nations’ reports on traffic in women and children along with other published and archival sources, it situates women’s mobility within three significant waves of migration at the time: of south European men and women to Europe’s colonies in North Africa; of east European Jews westwards and southwards; and of Syrians outside of Mt. Lebanon. It shows how women’s migration can be explained and traced by following such temporary travelers as tourists, sailors, and soldiers and such more permanent migrants as settlers, refugees, and labor migrants. By using the category of migration, this article argues that “traffic in women” is insufficient as an analytical category in accounting for the geography of prostitution and prostitutes’ international mobility in the interwar Mediterranean.
Also see: Kozma, Liat: Global Women, Colonial Ports. Prostitution in the Interwar Middle East, SUNY Press, 2016.
Podcast Marginalized Women in Khedival Egypt
Sharma, Nandita. “Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and the Making of a Global Apartheid.” NWSA Journal 17.3 (2005): 88-111.
This essay critically examines the historical and contemporary discursive practices of anti-trafficking campaigns. I argue that 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. I argue that only by recognizing the agency, however constrained, of illegalized migrants can we come to understand how processes of capitalist globalization and the consequent effects of dislocation and dispersal shape the mobility of illegalized migrants. Within the current global circuits of capital, goods, and people, I argue that along with a call to end practices of displacement, a demand to eliminate immigration controls is necessary if feminists are to act in solidarity with the dispossessed in their search for new livelihoods and homes.
Full text available here.
Melissa Ditmore, Sex Workers Project, “The Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking in Persons”. New York: Urban Justice Center, 2009
This report summarizes the findings of a human rights documentation project conducted by the Sex Workers Project in 2007 and 2008 to explore the impacts and effectiveness of current anti-trafficking approaches in the US from a variety of perspectives. It is among the first efforts since the passage of the TVPA to give voice to the perspectives of trafficked persons and sex workers who have experienced anti-trafficking raids. A total of 46 people were interviewed for this report, including immigrant sex workers and trafficked persons who have experienced raids or otherwise had contact with law enforcement, along with service providers, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel.
The data collected from this small to medium-sized sample is extremely rich, and suggests that vice raids conducted by local law enforcement agencies are an ineffective means of locating and identifying trafficked persons. Our research also reveals that vice raids and federal anti-trafficking raids are all too frequently accompanied by violations of the human rights of trafficked persons and sex workers alike, and can therefore be counterproductive to the underlying goals of anti-trafficking initiatives. Our findings suggest that a rights-based and “victim-centered” approach to trafficking in persons requires the development and promotion of alternate methods of identifying and protecting the rights of trafficked persons which prioritize the needs, agency, and self-determination of trafficking survivors. They also indicate that preventative approaches, which address the circumstances that facilitate trafficking in persons, should be pursued over law enforcement based responses.
Full text available here.
Debates over the legitimacy and legality of prostitution have characterized human trafficking discourse for the last two decades. This article identifies the extent to which competing perspectives concerning the legitimacy of prostitution have influenced anti-trafficking policy in Australia and the United States and argues that each nation-state’s approach to domestic sex work has influenced trafficking legislation. The legal status of prostitution in each country and feminist influences on prostitution law reform have had a significant impact on the nature of the legislation adopted.
Alison Clancey, Noushin Khushrushahi, and Julie Ham “Do evidence-based approaches alienate Canadian anti-trafficking funders?” Anti-Trafficking Review, issue 3, 2014, pp. 87-108.
As a sex worker support organisation, SWAN (Supporting Women’s Alternatives Network) Vancouver’s relationship to anti-trafficking funding remains ambivalent, particularly given the history of anti-trafficking measures that have jeopardised the rights of sex workers. In this article, we share how we, as a small grassroots group, attempt to work through these ambivalences in dialogue with donors. Although SWAN Vancouver works with women who are often perceived to be trafficked (i.e. Asian women in sex work), it is rare for members of SWAN Vancouver to come across any case in the sex-work sector that has the hallmarks of trafficking, such as coerced work. Instead, our anti-trafficking work has mainly involved identifying the harms and human rights violations caused by repressive or misguided anti-trafficking measures. We reflect on our dialogue with two Canadian funders (a federal government agency and a national public foundation) that have considerable resources and immense power to influence what anti-trafficking practices are implemented in Canada. We analyse how these two funders and their adoption of an anti-prostitution analysis of trafficking will likely result in punitive consequences for immigrant sex workers, and therefore increase the need to assist women who have been anti-trafficked rather than trafficked.
Jules Kim and Elena Jeffreys, “Migrant sex workers and trafficking – insider research for and by migrant sex workers”. ALARj 19 (1) (2013) 62-96
Researching marginalised groups is challenging and fraught with ethical issues. These issues can be exacerbated when the researcher is an outsider. Migrant sex workers are a marginalised group due to their position as a sex worker and their migrant status. For outsiders undertaking research with these groups there is the potential for their personal beliefs and moral views around migration, sex work, race, gender and sexuality to influence research methodology, analysis, interpretation and outcomes. Often this has resulted in migrant sex workers being portrayed as victims in need of help, rather than as active, self-determining agents. Much of the research relating to migrant sex workers and trafficking has taken place in institutionalised settings. In such settings, there is good reason for migrant sex workers to identify as coerced victims in need of help rather than as willing migrants who have experienced bad workplace situations and/or who have engaged in alternate migration pathways. Research of this type is usually conducted in detention centres or refuges or worse still – citing difficulties in accessing this population, some researchers will only interview service providers and make conclusions without ever speaking to the target population the research makes claims about. Insiders can more readily gain full and uncompromised access to sex workers affected by trafficking policy outside of institutional settings. In this paper using an example from Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, we argue for more insider research. We present our methods and discuss how insider led migrant sex work research can lead to credible research outcomes and have many broader benefits for our community.
Full text available here.