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 Alexandria, Egypt

The construction of the Mahmudiyya Canal in 1820 gradually transformed Alexandria, Egypt, into a bustling Mediterranean port city that attracted migrants with promises of fortune and social mobility. Over the next 30 years, the population of the city soared from 12,000 to 104,000, reaching over 320,000 by the end of the century. Given the high degree of mobility and anonymity in that rapidly expanding city, prostitution soon became a profitable economic venture. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, prostitution in Alexandria was tolerated yet informally relegated to the social and geographic margins of the city by state officials and local communities. That practice of unofficial zoning gave rise to the formation of red-light neighbourhoods in Kom al-Nadura, Kom Bakir and Al-Tartushi, which were roughly within the boundaries of the Al-Labban district of Alexandria. Despite efforts to isolate sex workers, some women navigated the boundary between respectability and abjection by engaging in prostitution temporarily and covertly, plying their trade outside the boundaries of red-light districts.


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