, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 207-225

Of Frames, Cons and Affects: Constructing and Responding to Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation

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Abstract

This article provides a critical analysis of the manner in which prostitution and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation was ‘framed’ by official discourses in order to support the reforms in England and Wales contained within the Policing and Crime Act 2009. Drawing upon the recent work of Judith Butler, emphasis will be placed on how the schema of the vulnerable prostitute was fundamental to invoking emotional affects, which justified certain political effects, especially the move towards criminalising the purchase of sexual services. However, on closer analysis the article will uncover an agenda influenced by law and order/morality, immigration and a ‘fear of the enemy’. Furthermore, it will be argued that New Labour’s framing of the problematic enabled the State to avoid dealing with the more difficult, but more urgent, issues of the differential distribution of wealth, precarity and the engendering of an ethical and global responsibility for the other.