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46 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 271 (2011)
Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl46 and id is 275 raw text is: Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequalitya

Copyright Catharine A. MacKinnon 2009, 2010, 2011
[Flamine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back;
The world is not thy friend nor the world's law;
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.
My poverty, but not my will, consents.
I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.*
No one defends trafficking. There is no pro-sex-trafficking position
any more than there is a public pro-slavery position for labor these days.
The only issue is defining these terms so nothing anyone wants to defend is
covered. It is hard to find overt defenders of inequality either, even as its
legal definition is also largely shaped by existing practices the powerful
want to keep.
Prostitution is not like this. Some people are for it; they affirmatively
support it. Many more regard it as politically correct to tolerate and oppose
doing anything effective about it. Most assume that, if not exactly desirable,
prostitution is necessary or inevitable and harmless. These views of prostitu-
tion lie beneath and surround any debate on sex trafficking, whether prosti-
tution is distinguished from trafficking or seen as indistinguishable from it,
whether seen as a form of sexual freedom or understood as its ultimate de-
nial. The debate on the underlying reality, and its relation to inequality,
intensifies whenever doing anything effective about either prostitution or
trafficking is considered.
a This speech was originally given on Jan. 5, 2009, in Bihar, India. Many of the women
whose situations are evoked in it attended; some spoke as well. The text memorably learned
from later presentations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Basel, and Cambridge,
U.K., among others. Whitney Russell was helpful and insightful. Marijn Heemskirk, Nadia
Ahmad and Rasmus Naeyd helped with specific research problems. Lisa Cardyn's exceptional
research assistance was essential to the published version. Max Waltman provided the
research and exacting translations of the Swedish and Norwegian materials and ongoing
collegial dialogue. Since 1980, it has been women in prostitution who have taught me the
most. Time to finish the writing and final research was supported in part by the Diane
Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professorship in Gender Studies at Cambridge
University in early 2011. The University of Michigan Law Library, as always, was the sine qua
non of the work.

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