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Zed Books

Sex Traffic : Prostitution, Crime and Exploitation

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Sex Traffic
Author(s): Paola Monzini

Paola Monzini's new book focuses on the experiences of migrant women and girls who have very little choice or control over their lives. They can be distinguished from those women who do work as prostitutes, with some autonomy, however limited. Rooting her analysis firmly within the context of neo-liberal globalization, Monzini views these women and girls as the new 'slaves' of the contemporary era. The annual worth of this global industry is now estimated to be in the region of USD7 billion, making it particularly attractive to organised crime networks. In China, traffickers can buy a girl for USD20-50 and sell her to a brothel in San Fransisco for USD3,000. This situation has resulted in increasing numbers of women forced to compete for work in conditions of extreme sexual exploitation, often being exposed to risky sexual practices, high levels of HIV, violence and murder. As in many other contexts, the laws of the marketplace are applied with extreme brutality.


“Critically addressing gender relationships, the author gives a poignant account of the linkage between sexual exploitation, prostitution and human trafficking. Violence and gender is an old problem to which the author responds with a new awareness. Placing the emphasis on the pull factors and exploitation structures in the destination countries, she invariably takes the reader back to the root causes, among which patriarchal structures, the myth of male superiority and the mind-sets of men as well as the prevailing market mechanisms provide fuel for discrimination on the basis of sex and race.” —Helga Konrad, OSCE Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

“The book is strongest in describing the operation of criminal networks in various locations around the world and the precise mechanisms they use....The information provided here is very useful for those trying to understand exactly how the criminal process works.” —Leslie Ann Jeffrey, University of New Brunswick, Saint John

“This absorbing, thoughtful and elegantly written book gives readers a major insight -both empathetic and analytical - into the demand, supply and contextual mechanisms that underlie the traffic in women and other forms of living off prostitution that have spread along with it.” —Michael Levi, Cardiff University

“An uncompromising analysis of how inequality at international level designates who buys and violently possesses whom and of how disadvantaged countries, in order to survive, are required to deliver sex services to the men of sexually liberated' countries.” —Vincenzo Ruggerio, Middlesex University

ISBN:  9781842776254