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 Genoa, Naples, Palermo and Rome

The four cities in question encompass the articulation of the “problem” of female prostitution in Italy, set against the backdrop of varied legislative frameworks influenced to a lesser or greater extent by the moralizing hold of the Catholic church. Over the centuries, the church’s stance on prostitution has been one of moral condemnation of women involved in the trade. Despite differences in dealing with prostitution, the end result remained the same: ways of thinking about prostitution ranged from acceptance of prostitution as an inexorable evil, to condemnation of those profiting from it, and encouragement for the prostitute to repent. Notwithstanding the approach adopted, prostitution was perceived as a growing threat in Italy.


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