Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Combatting human trafficking does not have to be at the expense of sex workers.
Authors: Baylis, Grace
Advisors: Katz, Stanley
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: The relationship between human trafficking and prostitution is one that has been heavily influenced by media sensationalism and fierce political debates. Contrary to popular research and influential scholars, this thesis demonstrates that prostitution does not cause human trafficking, and subsequently, human trafficking policies do not need to come at the expense of the sex industry and sex workers’ rights. Many policies claiming to protect the victims of human trafficking abuses have often led to awful consequences for sex workers. An example of this is the Nordic Model that has been implemented in places like Sweden, France, and Norway. The Nordic model punishes buyers of sex with the hope that this will reduce prostitution and ultimately result in less human trafficking. Yet this had not been the case in Sweden. Sex workers argue that rather it has just worsened their working conditions and made the industry more aloof, harder to manage, and dangerous. The thesis compares the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in their approaches to the sex industry and reducing human trafficking. Having grown up in London, I can remember hearing the awful stories of human trafficking on the news and seeing the public education campaigns on the train. Because of this, I chose to focus on the United Kingdom. But further research also taught me just how ambiguous the law was for prostitution and the sex industry. There were feasible policy changes that the United Kingdom could make its legislation to not only reduce human trafficking but make the sex industry safer. The Netherlands, on the other hand, is widely thought of as a trailblazer when it comes to liberal social policies. However, the Netherlands also has one of the most prominent and oldest sex industries in the world, the Red-Light District. Past policy as early as 1811 is considered for both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in an attempt to understand how both countries arrived at their current legislation but also societal outlook. I gathered primary sources form both the British National Archives and the Amsterdam Archives to help with this. This thesis then interviewed a variety of individuals on their opinions on the sex industry and human trafficking. These semi structures interviews allowed interviewees to express their thoughts and opinions on what the best course of action is. Individuals ranged from ex-sex workers turned activist to a longtime resident of Amsterdam and even leadership in the largest national charity in the Netherlands dealing with human trafficking. I deliberately wanted a variety of people that were all connected to the sex industry and human trafficking crisis differently. Too often previously scholarship has failed to take this holistic approach and neglected critical groups from research. Due to the constraints of the research capabilities, I was unable to speak to sex workers or human trafficking victims themselves, so I utilized sex workers’ and sex worker unions/groups’ blogs to understand their perspective on many of my questions. Ultimately this thesis suggests five feasible policy recommendations that the United Kingdom could implement. The knowledge amassed from the interviews drives these policy recommendations which is critical when discussing human trafficking and prostitution. Too often policy and legislation have been created based on lawmakers’ biases and emotional beliefs of what human trafficking and prostitution are. It is time for that to end, it is time to create policies that effectively combat the crime of human trafficking whilst simultaneously protecting sex workers and their rights. The thesis proves that both are achievable if we let go of our historic preconceptions and listen to those directly affected.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2020

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
BAYLIS-GRACE-THESIS.pdf3.19 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.