on Trafficking, Stigmatisation and Strategies for Alliances
for The Transnational Trafficking Seminar on Trafficking in Women
20-24, Budapest, Hungary 1998
document attempts 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
workers share the concern about the abuses in labour migration.
However, the term trafficking is a problematic term to describe
these abuses. The term 'trafficking' has a history of being used
against migrant prostitutes/sex workers. 'Trafficking' has many
definitions and is often equated with (illegal) migration for sex
work or with prostitution per se. Rather than protect women from
violence and abuse, anti-trafficking measures are often used to
police and punish female migrants and sex workers, and to restrict
their freedom of movement.
there is a gap between the anti-trafficking movement and the sex
workers' right movement. While sharing
concerns about abuse, sex worker organisations internationally object
to the term 'trafficking' because of stigmatisation and because
it is used to restrict sex workers mobility and rights.
activists for women's rights, we think it is essential in the fight
against abuse and for women's rights to bridge the gap between anti-violence
and pro-rights strategies.
the definitions of trafficking are contradictory and the use of
the term is confusing and misleading, and potentially harmful to
women, an effort is required to find alternatives to the term trafficking,
and to develop new language to describe abuses in labour migration
and abusive conditions in the sex industry separate and apart from
national interests in protecting borders.
strategy for alliance is put forth in the spirit that pro-rights
and anti violence are one strategy. More rights for women in the
sex industry means less force and less abuse.
Carol Leigh, Marjan Wijers, Jo Doezema