Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England


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Trafficking in Children and Young People

However, the involvement of young people in commercial sex also emerged in a dramatized version, distanced from connections with recognizable daily existence. The story dramatized as the white slave trade in Britain , Europe , and the United States was of the forced abduction of innocent young white girls and women, usually by foreigners, to work in brothels overseas.

While this story says a great deal about racism and social fears regarding the increased freedoms enjoyed by women, changing sexual mores, migration, and new locations of leisure activity, it tells us little about the prostitution of children and young people. Indeed, in the early twenty-first century, when Western governments are becoming increasingly concerned about human trafficking and the supply of girls and women by this means, the mythology of the white slave trade often serves to obscure the real experiences behind the sex trade.

The terminology of trafficking and of slavery remains a part of the debates on child prostitution, but the imperialist and racist emphasis upon the victims being white has largely been dropped. After the mid-twentieth century, trafficking became defined in terms of movement and exploitation rather than color. The movement of children for the purposes of prostitution has historically tended to reflect the economic disparities between rural and urban areas and between richer and poorer regions and countries.

However, other factors, including gender, age, and market factors are clearly important in that they exacerbate the vulnerability of the young especially. Thus, in the late twentieth century, social and economic instability and war in Eastern Europe increased the flow of both women and children into the commercial sex industries of the European Union. However, child prostitution can also be influenced by a perception, supported by global mass marketing and commercialization, that more can be obtained elsewhere.

This series of articles claimed to have uncovered a trade in young girls for brothels in London. The sensational and salacious "Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" stories, which contained subheadings like "Buying Girls at the East-End" and "Strapping Girls Down," excited one of the first national moral panics on the subject of child prostitution.

Introduction

This kind of account entrenched for the next century or more the depiction of children and young people involved in commercial sex as abducted and betrayed innocents. These "Maiden Tribute" articles and the events surrounding them provided the crucial force in Britain to ensure the final passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act , which increased the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen and augmented police powers to deal with vice.

The balance between control and protection was to become an enduring feature of the debates on child prostitution and on the subject of youthful delinquency in general.


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The "Maiden Tribute" furor did at least help to highlight that the commercial sex market was no respecter of age. The late nineteenth century panics in both Britain and America concerning the abuse of children resulted in the establishment of numerous charitable organizations, which thereafter continued to highlight the plight of poor and exploited children.

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Loss of Innocence: Albert Moll, Sigmund Freud and the Invention of Childhood Sexuality Around 1900

Indeed, one of the best sources of evidence on child prostitution is the archives of children's charities. The work of such charities operated to define and separate "delinquent" from "normal" children and associated concepts of dirt, independence, and in particular sexual knowledge and experience with the former.

Children who were believed to have sexual experience, even as a result of abuse, were in some cases taken from their families and placed in institutions for children with "knowledge of evil. In Britain, it was not until the period between World Wars I and II that many feminist and child welfare organizations consistently sought to explain sexual precociousness in young girls as an outcome of sexual abuse, in opposition to the narrow portrayal of immoral girls inviting and seducing older men.

Historically, the international traffic in children and young people has attracted the most official action. Following several conferences in the early twentieth century and an international agreement of for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, the League of Nations in set up a committee to gather information regarding the trafficking in prostitutes.

The work of this committee was taken over by the United Nations in In the United Nations amended the League of Nations Slavery Convention of , which highlighted the human rights issues of slavery and "slavery-like practices," including the slave trade, sale of children, child prostitution, and the exploitation of child labor. Trafficking can occur within a country, often from rural to urban areas, or across national borders.

During the twentieth century, agencies working to combat the exploitation of women and children in its many forms multiplied and the problem of child prostitution became part of the work of international organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF , the International Labour Organization, as well as various nongovernmental organizations. Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child calls for appropriate action to prevent the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in unlawful sexual activity.


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The authors argue that child prostitution needs to be understood within a broader context of child abuse, and that this provides one of the clearest manifestations of the way in which 'deviant groups' can be conceived of as both victims and threats. The picture of child prostitution which emerges is one of exclusion from mainstream society and the law, and remoteness from the agencies set up to help young people in trouble, which were often reluctant to accept the realities of child prostitution.

The evidence provided in this book indicates that the circumstances which have led young people into prostitution over the last hundred years amount, at worst, to physical or psychological abuse or neglect, and at best as the result of limited choice.

Booklist - Prostitution and Sex Work - News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop, Liverpool

Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Looking for beautiful books? Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. Table of contents Foreword 1. Introduction - concepts and contexts 2. Debating nineteenth-century child prostitution 3.

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Edwardian England and the ideal family 4. War and the s 5.


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Prostitution, child abuse and feminism during the s and s 6. Reconstruction and a new society 7.

Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England
Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England
Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England
Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England
Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England Knowledge of Evil: Child Prostitution and Sexual Abuse in Twentieth-century England

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