Seminar at the ESF
What is wrong with the current anti-trafficking politics?

Thursday 4 May, 10.00-13.00 Room F27

Victims of organized crime. Victims of male violence. Sex-slaves. These are the terms commonly used to describe migrant women in the EU’s sex industry. Trafficking, in contrast to ‘voluntary’ migration such as smuggling, is defined as an involuntary and non-consensual form of migration geared towards exploitation of migrants’ labour whether in sex or some other kind of industry. This conceptualization of trafficking resulted in NGOs and states’ intervention along two main lines: first, establishing of protective schemes for victims of trafficking and second, the tightening of borders and visa regimes to combat organized criminal networks.

This seminar brings together migrant, feminist and sex workers’ rights activists to engage and question such an understanding of trafficking. Rather than viewing trafficking as a matter of organized crime, violence against women and slavery, we propose to discuss trafficking from the perspective of migration, labour and rights. We will address critically the ways in which:
- the term ‘sexual slavery’ feeds into moral panic, hides the link between current transformations of labour relations and restrains imposed upon migrants’ (labour) mobility
- the focus on organized crime hinders an understanding of various different actors and networks involved in organizing migrants’ travel and labour. The idea of trafficking an organized crime initiative also consigns women to the position of victims and prevents our seeing them as labour migrants
- the existing border and visa regime reduce women’s, men’s and trans-people’s autonomous mobility and result in trafficking and smuggling networks becoming an alternative to legally sanctioned systems of migration
- the anti-trafficking policies lead to anti-prostitution laws, subsume all migrant sex workers under the category of victims and worsen sex-workers’ working conditions and rights
- the category of trafficking damages both the migrants’ rights movements and the sex workers’ movements since it furthers the political isolation of migrants who work in the sex industry both from the other workers of that industry, and from the other migrants

Shifting the terms of analysis of trafficking from violence and organized crime to migration and labour creates new political and interpretative possibilities. Analytically, it provides us with a framework to examine the impact restrictive immigration and labour policies on migrant workers lives and on sex workers’ lives. Politically, it avoids the danger of the collusion between feminist and states’ anti-immigration agenda, which occurs when victimhood is the main frame of reference, and it proposes a political alliance centered on freedom of movement and resistance against labour exploitations

Organisers Frassanito Network, NextGENDERation network, International COmmittee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, Anti-Trafficking Centre (Belgrade)

Speakers Bridget Anderson (Kalayaan, UK), Rutvica Andrijasevic (Frassanito/NextGENDERation Network), Jelena Djordjevic and Sandra Ljubinkovic (Anti-Trafficking Centre, Serbia), Giulia Garofalo (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe), Camille Barbagallo and Ana Lopes (International Union of Sex Workers)

Workshops at the Autonomous Playground

Thursday 4 May
18.00 - 20.00 Workshop on cartography in the Borders - actions against the borders with an emphasis in the Meditareannean and the South of Europe (by Frassanito and Ya Basta!)
20.00 - 22.00 Assembly on migration and precarity - european prespectives - ways of thinking and acting on those fields

Friday 5 May
16.00-20.00 Queer / Gender Isuues
. Sex Work moves...
Let's talk practices of resistance in terms of sex workers organising, and in terms of interconnections - and conflicts - with other movements, like the migrants movements and the feminist and the lesbian, and the queer... and the possibilities and the hopes... (by Next Genderation)
. Feminist perspective in the movement networking
. Queer perspective (belgrade, israel, greece)
. Constructed identities through male\female (divided groups) experience and patriarchy
21.00 Sexism inside the movement (the conclusions of the above workshop, will be unified in a common discussion)
23.00 Queer Party