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.



London and Liverpool

London and Liverpool are cities with very different histories, and in many ways very different histories of commercial sex, but taken together they demonstrate well both the diversity of prostitution in modern Britain and also some of its common and enduring developments and themes. London had always been a centre of prostitution in the British Isles; Roman occupation especially encouraged the establishment of brothels and the growth of prostitution in the area. In the medieval period, London’s brothel prostitution was partially regulated just outside the city walls, but that regulation ended in the sixteenth century. In the early modern period, brothels and street prostitution continued to thrive, although the lines between commercial sex and other forms of sexual “immorality” were indeed blurry in the existing law, and therefore also difficult to separate in the records that have been left behind. By the modern period, when records had become less ambiguous, it is clear that London had developed into a city with one of the largest commercial sex scenes in the world.


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