Throughout history, the policies on trafficking in persons, particularly concerning sexual exploitation, have undergone considerable changes influenced by the varying ideologies and attitudes towards prostitution. The dawn of feminism, the increasing experiences of abusive…
The issues of migration, consent, and working conditions of all trafficked persons are among the concerns pointed out by both sides of the debate. Interestingly, “while the understanding of trafficking and its definitions have expanded, discussions of trafficking are often still limited to its most salacious aspects, verging at times on voyeurism.” (Ditmore, 2005a) “Laws on prostitution vary significantly from one country to another but generally fall into 3 categories: prohibition, which makes all prostitution illegal; regulation, which legalizes and regulates prostitution; and abolition, which decriminalizes prostitution.” (Barry, 1995) Nevertheless, given all these policies and their good intentions, the human rights of the trafficked person are still ignored. As one author put it responsive action to the problem of human trafficking is still better than new laws, national or international. (Barry, 1995)
In the 19th century, the military was often ineffective due to venereal disease. Not surprisingly, this was traced to their sexual activities with prostitutes. As a result, the immediate focus of the government was to prevent the contamination but without impinging on the soldiers’ sexual behaviors. A place was set up where public prostitutes were registered and required to have semi-weekly examinations. Trafficking, which was synonymous to prostitution that time, was to be regulated because it was a way of passing on the disease to the military personnel. However, the Act only applied to women.
(Barry, 1995, p.93) “The Contagious Diseases Acts were designed to protect the health of the military men by subjecting any woman whom the special Morals Police identified as a prostitute to a “surgical examination,” which involved the use of crude instruments for special vaginal examinations by often cruel doctors.”
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