Civil Society Taking the Lead in Combating and Preventing Sex Trafficking of Women

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Esther OLIVER, University of Barcelona, Spain
Guiomar MERODIO, University of Barcelona, Spain
Roger CAMPDEPADROS, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Girona, Spain
Historically, women’s and civil rights movements had a major influence on raising awareness about sex trafficking and on the development of international anti-trafficking policies. Contributing also, to the conceptualization of sex trafficking as a type of violence against women, as well as a complex social oppression linked to racial inequalities, poverty, gender issues, among other social disadvantages (Addams, 1912; Leppänen, 2007; Giner, Ruiz, Serrano & Valls, 2015). Since the 2000s, global policies concentrate their efforts on the prosecution and protection of victims in coordination with key partners such as NGOs (United Nations, 2016). However, there is little scientific knowledge about the informal participation of civil society and citizens against sex trafficking. Some studies highlight the relevance of bystander initiatives to address sexual exploitation (Wilson, Critelli, & Rittner, 2015). For instance, in Atlanta (USA), a coalition of women's organization & neighbors, successfully mobilized their community to develop a long term strategy to stop sex trafficking (Boxill & Richardson, 2007). Under the research project END-TRAFFICKING, Changes and social innovations for preventing and reducing trafficking for sexual exploitation, led by Dr. Lidia Puigvert (2015-2017, Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness): (1) we analyzed the evolution of 65 international & European anti-sex trafficking policies, examining the role granted to civil society in these policies; (2) We explored international civil society initiatives that are having political and social impact on the prevention and overcoming of sex trafficking; (3) And, between 2016 and 2017 we conducted 10 in-depth interviews in the USA and Spain with representatives of social organizations that are implementing anti-sex trafficking policies. We achieved to identify 5 international bottom up transformative and solidarity-based initiatives that contribute to fighting sex trafficking, showing that its overcoming demands the commitment and global action of all citizens and sectors of society.