White Slave Traffic

The White Slave Traffic is the basis of what is today recognized in international law as human trafficking is an account which is only now emerging from the archives and the pens of historians. The history of the white slave traffic is grounded in the issue of venereal disease. It found its origins in a Victorian paternalism of the late nineteenth century which sought to control women in the face of communicable diseases which were playing havoc on troops destined to engage in Europe’s colonial project. At the international level the issue fell to attempts to control women, during the Age of Steam, who sought to accompany armies in the field, as mass prostitution was ‘organized to serve the needs of colonial troops. The outcome manifested in the 1910 Convention is an agreement on the minimum which states were to suppress.


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