Historisk Tidskrift. Utgiven av Svenska historiska föreningen
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Historisk tidskrift 129:3 • 2009

Innehåll (Contents) 2009:3

Uppsatser (Articles)

Från vit slavhandel till trafficking. En studie om föreställningar kring människohandel och dess offer

Ann Hallner

Fulltext (pdf)


From white slavery to trafficking. A study of conceptions of human slavery and its victims

This article compares the contemporary Swedish conception of human trafficking with the early twentieth-century conception of so-called white slavery. The study focuses on the causes, solutions and victims of trafficking and how the image of these three has been constructed over time. There are noticeable similarities between the discourses surrounding these aspects in the past and in the present. The debate concerning white slavery has been investigated by analysing material from the association Vaksamhet (i.e. Vigilance), which was active in the struggle against prostitution of Swedish women abroad in the early twentieth century. The contemporary debate has been studied through official material published by the Swedish government and the police. Today’s attitudes regarding trafficking are not new. Still, the issue is basically addressed in the same way today, as it was in the beginning of the 20th century. The reason for this continuity over time has to do with the prevailing Swedish conception of prostitution, as well as the morals concerning women and sexuality.


White slavery, trafficking, Vaksamhet, kvinnorörelsen, prostitution