Archives de Tag: Mouvements abolitionnistes

au sujet de Geo…

au sujet de George Bush (fils) : « les féministes conventionnelles aiment dire qu’il est anti-femme, mais en soutenant le travail abolitionniste contre le commerce mondial du sexe, il a fait plus pour les femmes et les filles que tout autre président auquel je peux penser . . . . D’ici des années, quand l’hystérie anti-Bush aura passé, je crois qu’il sera reconnu comme un vrai défenseur de la liberté des femmes et des droits de l’homme »16.

Donna Hughes, entretien avec Kathryn Lopez, “The New Abolitionist Movement: Donna Hughes on Progress Fighting Sex Trafficking,” National Review (January 26, 2006). (

cité dans : Ronald Weitzer, : « La Fabrication Sociale de la Traite Sexuelle: Idéologie et Institutionnalisation d’une Croisade Morale »

(Donna Hughes est une activiste et universitaire américaine anti-prostitution :

A parallel top-down dynamic coexists with our servicing of the male workforce—that of the enforcement of “caring” upon sex workers (particularly those who perform illicit, undocumented, full-service, or street-based work). The logic of “saving” women (savior rhetoric tends to ignore people who aren’t women) from performing this kind of marginalized labor is a direct legacy of the emerging middle-class social-working women of Victorian England and their contemporaries in the US. Rarely discussed is the classist, coercive, and hypocritical history of women’s entry into the “caring professions”—particularly with regards to the construction of the “prostitute” as a particular subject in need of saving, reforming, and steering into respectable middle-class life by “benevolent” ladies during the “rise of the social” of the late 19th century. During this era, “those doing charitable works entered into a governmental relationship with the objects of their charity, and created themselves as important social actors in the process….‘Helping’ became a profession that relied on identifying subjects and then placing them in closed spaces where they could be worked upon and controlled.”[2] Modern non-sex-working feminists who support abolitionist/savior tactics or engage in these caring-projects themselves presume a more dignified identity than that of the sex worker, and often end up replicating a system of enforced docility based on misogynistic, bourgeois notions of respectability and the proper placement of women within the public sphere. Middle-class academics and writers who make their living off promoting a framework that casts sex workers as an inherently victimized identity “for their own good” do so at the direct expense of the agency and economic livelihood of women of lower socioeconomic status. Statist feminists’ rhetoric of “fighting the sex industry” typically relies on State power in the form of legislative reform that criminalizes at least some aspects of sex work, increases the power of law enforcement, & overregulates the sex industries in ways that further marginalize the least privileged workers by making their participation in these economies prohibitively expensive or difficult (see Britain’s Policing and Crime Act of 2009)

Thus, sex workers are triangulated in a system of caring labor—that which is enacted upon us (sometimes forcibly) by carceral feminists, paternalistic liberals, the prison-industrial complex, the surveillance State,[3] and the superstructure of capitalist-patriarchy, and that which we perform for (primarily white) middle- to upper-class men (to say nothing of the unpaid reproductive labor we are often mandated to perform in our homes and communities). In some ways this system self-replicates harmoniously—“From homemaking to professional housekeeping—not to mention nursing, hospitality, and phone sex—women and people of color are disproportionately responsible for the care that keeps this society functioning, yet have disproportionately little say in what that care fosters. Likewise, a tremendous amount of care goes into oiling the machinery that maintains hierarchy: families help police relax after work, sex workers help businessmen let off steam, secretaries take on the invisible labor that preserves executives’ marriages.” (“Self As Other: Reflections on Self-Care,” CrimethInc. 2013). Other times, the State and the hierarchical institutions that collude with it to oppress sex workers (such as academia and the nonprofit-complex) are positioned in contradiction to the selling of sexualized services, often by way of support for or enactment of various forms of direct or indirect/“backdoor” criminalization;[4] more indirectly, these institutions control the discourse around sex work, feminism, and labor via the creation and maintenance of a professional class of “experts” on these intersections, who have often never engaged in sex work themselves but assume entitlement based on their positioning as members of “the sex class.”[5]

There’s a predictable but rarely-acknowledged irony that the privileges of scholars, authors, non-profit representatives, policymakers, abolitionist activists, professional feminists, and other “experts” on sex work come under less scrutiny than the supposedly “privileged” sex workers who critique non-sex-workers’ skewed analysis of the industry. It’s a fallacy to assume that non-sex-working feminists are more qualified, more entitled to speak on behalf of the “most marginalized,” than actual sex workers who are assumed to be “not representative” of the “average” sex worker, or who don’t fit into our culture’s perception of what the “worst off” looks like. That’s not to say that these experts are always blinded by their economic and social privilege, that none have adopted their views as a result of their experiences working in the sex industry themselves. Identity itself isn’t always the deciding standard for sound analysis. The problem is that (usually relatively privileged) non-sex-working feminists do overwhelmingly take up space at the table where sex workers, especially sex workers who are particularly marginalized & institutionally disenfranchised (street workers, drug users, trans women, single parents, people of color, etc.) should be debating effective strategies for liberation, resistance, and survival, in whatever forms these may materialize. We should be finding ways to help each other avoid exploitation, violence, and desperation, without contributing to a culture of stigma or perpetuating rhetoric that makes criminalization of sex work a winning strategy for politicians and good PR for celebrities and CEOs.

Grin and Bare it All: Against Liberal Conceptions of Sex Work” (via marginalutilite)

Dernièrement, à Londres, s’est terminé le « cinquième congrès international de lutte contre la prostitution ».
Ce fut une rencontre de duchesses, de comtesses, d’évêques, de pasteurs, de rabbins, de fonctionnaires de la police et de philanthropes bourgeois de tout poil ! Et combien de dîners solennels, combien de fastueuses réceptions officielles eurent lieu à cette occasion ! Combien de discours emphatiques y furent prononcés sur la nocivité et l’infamie de la prostitution !
Quels étaient donc les moyens de lutte réclamés par les délégués bourgeois au congrès, ces gens délicats ? Deux moyens avant tout : la religion et la police. Il paraît que c’est là tout ce qu’il y a de bon et de sûr contre la prostitution. D’après le correspondant londonien de la Volkszeitung de Leipzig, un délégué anglais s’est vanté d’avoir proposé au Parlement d’appliquer un châtiment corporel aux entremetteurs. Voilà un héros « civilisé » de la lutte contre la prostitution telle qu’on la pratique de nos jours !
Une dame canadienne était ravie de la police et de la surveillance exercée par la police féminine sur les femmes « tombées », mais à propos d’une augmentation des salaires elle disait que les ouvrières ne méritaient pas un meilleur paiement.Un pasteur allemand fulmina contre le matérialisme contemporain qui se répand de plus en plus dans le peuple et contribue aux progrès de l’amour libre. Lorsque le délégué autrichien, Hertner, essaya d’aborder les causes sociales de la prostitution, la misère et la pauvreté des familles ouvrières, l’exploitation du travail des enfants, les conditions de logement insupportables, etc., le congrès, par des exclamations hostiles, obligea l’orateur à se taire ! En revanche, on racontait, dans les groupes de délégués, des choses édifiantes et solennelles sur de hautes personnalités. Par exemple, quand l’impératrice allemande rend visite à une maison d’accouchement à Berlin, on met des alliances aux doigts des mères des enfants « illégitimes », afin de ne pas choquer la haute personnalité par l’aspect de mères non mariées !
Cela permet de juger quelle dégoûtante hypocrisie bourgeoise règne à ces congrès aristocratiques et bourgeois. Les acrobates de la charité et les policiers pour qui la misère et la pauvreté sont des objets de dérision se rassemblent pour « lutter contre la prostitution », qui est soutenue précisément par l’aristocratie et la bourgeoisie…

Lénine : « Le cinquième congrès international de lutte contre la prostitution », Rabotchaïa Pravda,

13/26 Juillet 1913,

Œuvres, t. XVI, p. 516-517. (Edit russe.)

In 2003 the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand recognized that police entrapment often leads to serious human rights violations, especially against women in the sex industry and recommended it should only be used under a clear and precise system that prevents such human rights abuses. However instead of stopping the practice of entrapment or developing adequate safe guards, under the Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2008, use of entrapment by police and NGOs has increased and appears to be a routine practice that continues unmonitored regardless of the negative consequences for sex workers and entertainment place workers.
In our research, the use of entrapment has resulted in at least two incidents of minors deciding to sell sex for the first time then being detained and later deported.
Both of the girls were entrapped by police and falsely identified as being victims of trafficking on the basis of their immigration status, age and the fact that they were working in an Entertainment Place, where sex workers were also employed. Neither of them were working as sex workers; and they did not want to be assisted by the government welfare department nor rescued from their working or living situation.

« I came to Chiang Mai about 4 months beforehand. I was staying with my aunty and working in the karaoke bar. When I applied for the job no one asked my age and I never thought to mention it. I didn’t know it was important. I wasn’t ready to go with customers. I felt too shy. There was no pressure from anyone, it was up to me. It just meant I didn’t earn as much as the others. Then this guy came in three nights in a row. He said I looked very young and he wanted me to go with him. Even though he offered to pay a lot I refused for the first two nights. Then I don’t know why but on the third night I thought well, he seems nice and it would be good to have some more money. So I agreed to go with him. Big mistake. He turned out to be a policeman and I was arrested and locked up for 8 months. »
Tip, research partner, Chiang Mai

Empower Fundation, The impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on Sex Worker’s human rights in Thailand

Where discourses framing the sex purchase
law have determined an opposition to harm reduction, social constructions of sex workers have additionally come to impact sex workers’ experiences of service providers. The Stockholm Prostitution Unit appears to be a high threshold organisation, catering only for people for whom sex work is problematic, or who want to cease sex work. Those who have not experienced difficulties or do not wish to stop selling sex are not seen as areas of concern, not deserving the ‘energy’ of targeted, state-sponsored attention:

“we are not here for people who feel good. we’re here for the people who… experience problems with (prostitution)”.
IntervIew, 2009, SoCIAL worker, StoCkhoLm ProStItutIon unIt

“as far as they feel well, and like to be in this situation, fine with me, I mean, the day when they don’t like it anymore, they can
come to me. So I don’t spend my energy on this group of people”.
IntervIew, 2009, nAtIonAL CoordInAtor AGAInSt trAffICkInG And ProStItutIon

Sex workers may therefore feel that they have to construct a ‘victim’ status to access service providers’ ‘energy’ and resources. This goes some way to explaining why the Stockholm Prostitution Unit assert that sex workers almost universally experience problems with their sex work: those who do not have difficulties or who do not wish to cease selling sex are simply unwelcome.

Jay LEVY, Swedish Abolitionism as Violence Against Women p. 4

Le paradoxe, mais qui a été un paradoxe extrêmement efficace dans la loi sur la sécurité intérieure, c’est de dire “ce sont de pauvres victimes, qui ne maitrisent pas leur destin, qui ont été forcées à venir en France pour se prostituer, on les a forcées à se prostituer”, je paraphrase à peine le discours du ministre de l’Intérieur en 2002-2003, et donc leur vraie place, vu qu’elles ont été contraintes à venir en France pour se prostituer, leur vraie place c’est chez elle, leur place c’est d’abord en centre de rétention et puis ensuite dans l’avion pour les ramener chez elles

For modern-day abolitionists, the dichotomy between slavery and freedom poses a way of addressing the ravages of neoliberalism that effectively locates all social harm outside of the institutions of corporate capitalism and the state apparatus. In this way, the masculinist institutions of big business, the state, and the police are reconfigured as allies and saviors, rather than enemies, of unskilled migrant workers, and the responsibility for slavery is shifted from structural factors and dominant institutions onto individual, deviant men: foreign brown men (as in the White Slave trade of centuries past) or even more remarkably, African American men living in the inner city.

Elizabeth BERNSTEIN, “the sexual politics of the new abolitionnism”, in Differences : a journal of feminist cultural studies, 18/3, 2007, p. 144

The ideological convergence between contemporary evangelicals and many feminists on this point stands in stark and ironic contrast to the work of feminist activists within a rather different social justice arena where the tropes of “modern day slavery” and “abolitionism” also prevail: activism against the contemporary prison-industrial complex. Pointing to the direct historical connections between the u.s. institutions of race-based, chattel slavery, convict loan programs, and the forced labor that occurs in contemporary prisons, feminists who are engaged in the prison-abolition movement (predominantly feminists of color who link their work explicitly to an anticapitalist and anti-imperialist agenda) argue that it is the prison system, not prostitution, that is paramount to slavery.25 Yet the efforts of contemporary antitrafficking activists have relied upon strategies of incarceration as their chief tool of “justice,” ensuring that increasing numbers of men and women of color who participate in the street-based sexual economy will find themselves there, precisely under the guise of being delivered out of slavery into freedom.

Elizabeth BERNSTEIN, “the sexual politics of the new abolitionnism”, in Differences : a journal of feminist cultural studies, 18/3, 2007, p. 143

I situate these new-abolitionist politics in terms of a neoliberal (rather than a traditionalist) sexual agenda, one that locates social problems in deviant individuals rather than mainstream institutions, that seeks social remedies through criminal justice interventions rather than through a redistributive welfare state, and that advocates for the beneficence of the privileged rather than the empowerment of the oppressed.

Elizabeth BERNSTEIN, “the sexual politics of the new abolitionnism”, in Differences : a journal of feminist cultural studies, 18/3, 2007, p. 137


Evangelical antitrafficking efforts thus extend activist trends that have also become increasingly prevalent elsewhere, embodying a form of political engagement that is consumer- and media-friendly and saturated in the tropes and imagery of the sexual culture it overtly opposes—a feminine, consumptive counterpart to the masculine politics of militaristic rescue. A recent photograph from a special issue of the magazine Christianity Today on sex trafficking titled “The Business of Rescue” makes this dynamic quite clear. The image depicts a smiling young activist from a Christian human rights group who is ministering to a sex worker in a Thai brothel (see fig. 1). Although the magazine’s evangelical readership would be likely to interpret the woman’s happy affect as evidence of Christ’s love (see Wilkins 2008), young missionaries’ brothel visits are also situated within the contemporary practices of consumer-humanitarianism, in which touristic adventures in exotic settings serve to reinforce Westerners’ sense of freedom and good times.25
Although consumer-friendly politics have become a stock feature of many forms of contemporary social justice activism, they occupy an especially prominent place in evangelical antitrafficking campaigns in which new abolitionists are frequently summoned to make purchases that will contribute to faith-based organizations (as in the ironically titled Not for Sale Freedom Store; see or by purchasing items that women who have purportedly been freed from sexual slavery have crafted. For contemporary evangelicals, the purchase of consumer goods in the name of fighting trafficking serves a dual purpose in solidifying the distinction between freedom and slavery: on the one hand, “freedom” resides in Western consumers’ ability to purchase the trinkets and baubles that “trafficking victims” produce; on the other hand, it pertains to the practice that new evangelicals call “business as mission,” in which former “slaves” are brought into “free” labor by producing commodities for Western consumers. Ultimately, business as mission can be seen as a global-capitalist refashioning of the nineteenth-century evangelical practice of “rescuing” women from prostitution by bringing them into domestic labor or teaching them to sew (see Agust ́ın 2007).

Elizabeth Bernstein, Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns, Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 36, no. 1, p. 63-64