Trafficking in Women (1924-1926)

The Paul Kinsie Reports for the League of Nations - Vol. 2

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This book provides a transcription of the reports written by undercover agent Paul Kinsie for the League of Nations Special Body of Experts on Traffic in Women and Children in the mid-1920s. Between 1924 and 1926, a team travelled to more than a hundred cities in Europe, the Americas and the Mediterranean area to interview individuals involved in the regulation, repression, medical control, organization and practice of the sex trade. American undercover agents were included on the team to infiltrate the so-called ‘underworld’ and obtain ‘facts’ about the traffic. Among these, Kinsie was the most prolific. He visited more than forty cities and produced hundreds of reports in which his contacts with prostitutes, brothel owners, madams, pimps and procurers are described in detail. For a proper contextualization of the reports, scholars from around the world were asked to provide short introductions to the situation with regard to prostitution in each city that was visited. The book offers a unique source of information which is of great ethnographic value for people interested in the history of human trafficking and prostitution.



Prostitution in Tunis

Throughout the interwar years, a public debate took place in Tunis on the subject of prostitution. In the mid-1930s the municipality’s plan to restructure the Hara, the Jewish quarter, also home to the city’s prostitution zone, its quartier réservé, led to a series of proposals over what to do with Tunis’ prostitutes. Some of the options included relocating the quartier réservé to the city’s medina, or even to transfer it to the outskirts of Tunis in order to create a satellite city overflowing with prostitutes, modelled entirely on Casablanca’s Bousbir. The impending resettlement of the quartier réservé sparked intense public discussion in literature, the press and in municipal meetings over the very nature, and indeed existence, of regulated prostitution in the protectorate. While some people sought to maintain the existing system of regulation in place, others, especially leading figures of the Socialist party (namely Dr. Elie Cohen-Hadria and Serge Moati), were outspoken critics of the system and sought an immediate ban on prostitution.


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