[T]here is a regular trade in young girls who are bought and sold, imported
and exported, to and from the ports and cities of Europe.… It will naturally
occur to remark that such a traffic involves slavery…. The business is an
international trade, kept up very much by the movement of girls from one
country to another, and in a very large number of cases the movement [does
not have] the nature of emigration, or free voluntary movement of adults,
but of export, that is, movement of persons under stress of fear or fraud, often
minors incapable of consent.
We want to destroy this traffic. Well, a traffic consists of three parts; first,
there is the supply; second, there are the traffickers; and third, there must
be a demand…. [E]verything that can be done… to improve women's
position … will cut off the supply…. [S]trike at the supply, strike at the
traffickers, but strike also at the demand for the victims.
—Henry J. Wilson
THE TRAFFIC IN WOMEN AND GIRLS FOR Prostitution has captured the attention of academics, activists, politicians, and reporters around the world, spurring an energetic movement to help those involved in the international sex trade. As the introductory quotes suggest, women and girls may be moved across borders into situations of coercive Prostitution tantamount to slavery. What may surprise those who think of trafficking as a recent phenomenon, however, is that the introductory quotes are actually from reformers at an international anti-trafficking congress in 1899.1
It was well over a century ago, amid increasing globalization and the rise of nation-building and imperialism, that the emergence of traffic in women