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 Marseille is indissociable from its history as a port city. Until 1748, the rebel city, which challenged royal power for the whole of the late sixteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth century before it was conquered by Louis XIV, had a military role and was used as a penal colony which also held an important arsenal. Convicts, soldiers, sailors, apprentices, craftsmen and labourers working in the port represented a young and usually single workforce. The city offered job opportunities and attracted seasonal workers and migrants coming from the rural hinterland or from foreign countries which increased their sense of uprooting and the destructuring of their families. Those elements secured the early development of prostitution in the modern era on a large scale. After 1748 and the transfer of the penal colony to Toulon, the commercial role of the city became prominent while the seagoing population remained a potential sizeable eclientele for prostitution that continued to grow.


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