Imperial Feminism, Humanitarianism and Shaping Global Trafficking Policies Open Access

Hartstein, Edina (Spring 2023)

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This project examines the role of imperial feminism and humanitarianism in shaping global trafficking policies primarily through analyzing the British Empire’s role and influence on the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Women and Children. I discuss the early evolution of prostitution and trafficking protocol first in Britain in the late nineteenth century and then more broadly at the first International Conferences to Suppress the White Slave Traffic. Later, I investigate the founding the League of Nations and their various social committees including the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Women and Children. In looking at the reports and meetings minutes published by the Committee, I argue that the British imposed their ideals of suppressing prostitution onto the rest of the Committee. Dame Rachel Crowdy, Secretariat of the Committee, was a key actor in pushing both the British, and by extension imperial feminist agenda that defined the Committee’s work. Ultimately, by situating the Advisory Committee in an imperial context, I reveal the motivations and less than altruistic motives that drove European humanitarian work in the early twentieth centuries.

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                                                 1

The Internationalization of Sex Trafficking Policy                                                                                 10

The British Empire’s Influence on the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Women and Children   27

Secretariat Crowdy’s Imperial Feminist Agenda                                                                                   45

Conclusion                                                                                                                                                    56

Bibliography                                                                                                                                            60


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