A Very Un-English Predicament: 'The White Slave Traffic' and the Construction of National identity in the Suffragist and Socialist Movements' Coverage of the 1912 Criminal Law Amendment Bill)

Attwood, R. 2021. A Very Un-English Predicament: 'The White Slave Traffic' and the Construction of National identity in the Suffragist and Socialist Movements' Coverage of the 1912 Criminal Law Amendment Bill). National Identities . Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14608944.2021.1895096

Title A Very Un-English Predicament: 'The White Slave Traffic' and the Construction of National identity in the Suffragist and Socialist Movements' Coverage of the 1912 Criminal Law Amendment Bill)
TypeJournal article
AuthorsAttwood, R.
Abstract

The measure promoted as England's first law against sex trafficking, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, journeyed through Parliament in 1912. Amid mounting extra-parliamentary protest over votes for women, workers' rights, and Home Rule for Ireland, the country's suffrage and socialist groups chose to engage with the somewhat ancillary Bill and the issue of trafficking (or ‘white slavery' as it was popularly known) through the powerful medium of their periodicals. They did so largely because they saw the value to their wider campaigns of using trafficking - a phenomenon often cast by reformers as involving the sexual exploitation of working-class women - to forge connections (or highlight disjunctures) between the suffragist and socialist movements. Ideas of race, national identity, and empire attached to configurations of ‘slavery' were central to their rhetoric, and to the links the groups made between trafficking and the political emancipation they sought. These ideas give a valuable insight into influential representations of trafficking in 1912 and the campaign against ‘white slavery' during what was a fundamental, transnational moment in the history of trafficking. They also illuminate suffragist and socialist rhetoric of the day, and the conflicting ideas of ‘Englishness’ therein. This article strives to unlock some of these insights.

Keywordstrafficking, race, migration, women, national identity, Modern England, Edwardian
JournalNational Identities
ISSN1460-8944
1469-9907
Year2021
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14608944.2021.1895096
Web address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14608944.2021.1895096
Publication dates
Published online03 May 2021
Supplemental file
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)

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