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The Politics of Trafficking: The First International Movement to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Women

A book talk with author Stephanie Limoncelli (Loyola Marymount University, Sociology) and discussant Kathryn Farr (Portland State University, Sociology)

Sex trafficking is not a recent phenomenon. Over 100 years ago, the first international traffic in women for prostitution emerged, prompting a worldwide effort to combat it. The Politics of Trafficking provides a unique look at the history of that first anti-trafficking movement, illuminating the role gender, sexuality, and national interests play in international politics.

Initially conceived as a global humanitarian effort to protect women from sexual exploitation, the movement's feminist-inspired vision failed to achieve its universal goal and gradually gave way to nationalist concerns over "undesirable" migrants and state control over women themselves. Addressing an issue that is still of great concern today, this book sheds light on the ability of international non-governmental organizations to challenge state power, the motivations for state involvement in humanitarian issues pertaining to women, and the importance of gender and sexuality to state officials engaged in nation building.

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