Why "Sex Work" Doesn't Work: Towards a feminist approach to anti-trafficking efforts
The trafficking of women is not a distinct phenomenon, but rather forms part of a larger inter-cultural continuum of violence against women that includes prostitution, pornography, wife-battery, female genital mutilation, rape, and sexual harassment. Sexual trafficking, in fact, is distinct only in that it concretely manifests the intersection of First World/Third World domination with other race-, sex-, and class-based oppressions. Whether women are transported from rural areas of developing countries to be prostituted in the urban centers of Western Europe of children of Asia are victimized in the sex tourism industry, the exploiters are almost invariably privileged men of the industrialized world while the exploited women and children are from marginalized populations within economically troubled or developing countries. By analyzing the dynamics of international politics surrounding the trafficking of women, I hope to expose the domination of Western European and American capitalist interests in the spread of liberal non-interventionist anti-trafficking discourse. Lastly, suggestions for local and national abolitionist and feminist action to be taken at the individual and collective levels will be considered.