Is it Prostitution or Sex Trafficking?: Working With Women Behind Bars to Better Understand Both

Jill McCracken | September 21 | 9:00-10:00 AM | Room 3010A

This presentation outlines collaborative work done with women who are currently incarcerated to better understand trafficking legislation and how to best support victims of trafficking. Through video chats, email, and post mail, our team defined the central research questions, determined how best to gather the data, and, most importantly, worked to effectively integrate the vision, perspectives, and voices of those who are marginalized and silenced by the prison industrial complex. Early on, the definitions and identities surrounding prostitution and trafficking in the sex industry became untangled, which then directly informed the research design, outcomes to be achieved, and difficulties encountered when incarcerated and non-incarcerated activists combine efforts to create knowledge. Ethical issues that occurred are explained and strategies are offered for making this scholarship available to legislators and the larger public.

Presentation Objectives:

·       Offer a research model that centers those most directly affected by US prostitution and trafficking laws

·       Explore the thin line that exists between individuals engaged in prostitution, victims of trafficking, and those convicted of trafficking as defined by current legislation.

About the Presenter