The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking: Ideology and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade

  title={The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking: Ideology and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade},
  author={Ronald Weitzer},
  journal={Politics \& Society},
  pages={447 - 475}
The issue of sex trafficking has become increasingly politicized in recent years due to the efforts of an influential moral crusade. This article examines the social construction of sex trafficking (and prostitution more generally) in the discourse of leading activists and organizations within the crusade, and concludes that the central claims are problematic, unsubstantiated, or demonstrably false. The analysis documents the increasing endorsement and institutionalization of crusade ideology… 
Prostitution Ideology and Trafficking Policy: The Impact of Political Approaches to Domestic Sex Work on Human Trafficking Policy in Australia and the United States
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
Human trafficking revisited: legal, enforcement and ethnographic narratives on sex trafficking to Western Europe
In this paper we focus on the ways ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ are imagined in the narratives on women who have been trafficked to West Europe for sexual exploitation. Three specific domains:
The Campaign Against Sex Work in the United States: A Successful Moral Crusade
Sex work was not a prominent public issue in the USA a generation ago. Law and law enforcement were fairly settled. Over the past two decades, however, a robust campaign has sought to intensify the
The re-emergence of ‘trafficking’: sex work between slavery and freedom
Activists find that sex work is considered a less legitimate occupation today than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. They now confront representations of sex workers as victims, sold and bought
Human Trafficking Is More Than Sex Trafficking and Prostitution
The human trafficking discussion has focused primarily on women and children who are trafficked for sexual exploitation. However, as social workers confront the issue, they require an understanding
The problem of contemporary slavery: An international human rights challenge for social work
Despite conventional wisdom that slavery has been eradicated, this analysis of the human trafficking literature reveals that this form of violent coercion and economic exploitation persists. However,
Sex trafficking, captivity, and narrative: constructing victimhood with the goal of salvation
In the past 15 years, sex trafficking has gained tremendous media exposure and triggered a global abolitionist movement directed by an unlikely coalition of American Evangelical Christians and
The Social Construction of Trafficked Persons: An Analysis of the UN Protocol and the TVPA Definitions
This study is an investigation of the discourse surrounding trafficked persons. The U.S. federal government constructs human trafficking as “illegal immigration” and “prostitution.” As such, it may
Anti-Trafficking (ILL-)Efforts
Despite evidence indicating the diversity of the sex industry and its correlation to different levels of sex workers’ autonomy, decision-makers have failed to revise the anti-trafficking framework to reflect the reality of the divergent lives of women who engage in sex as a livelihood.


Trafficking in Women
This article examines the new United Nations "Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children', which opened for signature in December 2000. This
Running from the Rescuers: New U.S. Crusades Against Sex Trafficking and the Rhetoric of Abolition
This article analyzes recent developments in U.S. anti-sex trafficking rhetoric and practices. In particular, it traces how pre-9/11 abolitionist legal frameworks have been redeployed in the context
On the Backs of Working Prostitutes: Feminist Theory and Prostitution Policy
This article explores answers to three questions: Why is prostitution as controversial today as it was 4,000 years ago? Why are feminists embroiled in the prostitution controversy? And, what are the
Will the Real Sex Slave Please Stand Up?
This paper critically explores the way in which ‘trafficking’ has been framed as a problem involving organized criminals and ‘sex slaves’, noting that this approach obscures both the relationship
Sex War: The Debate between Radical and Libertarian Feminists
  • A. Ferguson
  • Political Science
    Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
  • 1984
In the last four years, there has been an increasing polarization of American feminists into two camps on issues of feminist sexual morality. The first camp, the radical feminists, holds that
The Promised Land: A Study of Trafficking in Women from Central and Eastern Europe to the Netherlands
This study on trafficking in women from Central and Eastern Europe explores the contextual factors, the characteristics, and the motivation of victims as well as the methods of traffickers. A
Traffic Counts, Symbols & Agendas: A Critique of the Campaign Against Trafficking of Human Beings
Today's international campaign against the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation is examined from a critical and a historical perspective. Descriptions of the nature and magnitude of the
Violence and Legalized Brothel Prostitution in Nevada
The authors conclude by arguing that the legalization of prostitution brings a level of public scrutiny, official regulation, and bureaucratization to brothels that decreases the risk of these 3 types of systematic violence.
Prostitutes' Rights in the United States: The Failure of a Movement
The prostitutes' rights campaign emerged in the early 1970s with the formation of COYOTE in San Francisco and affiliated movement organizations. This study examines the movement's major claims and
Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights
Introduction Abolitionism, Criminal Justice, and Transnational Feminism : Twenty-first-century Perspectives on Human Trafficking Kamala Kempadoo Shifting Paradigms Globalization, Labor Migration, and