Project

PROSCRIM - Institutionalizing Human Trafficking. A French/German Comparison

Goal: The research project aims at examining the interactions between migrant prostitutes and institutions in charge of their control or assistance, as well as the categorization processes that take place within these institutions. Special attention will be drawn to the negotiations through which specific (foreign) sex workers are defined as genuine victims. The notion of victimhood has indeed become key to the ways in which prostitution of foreign women is being discussed in the media and the political sphere. The German and French regulatory models will serve as case studies, Germany having chosen a regulatory and France an abolitionist policy. In a context where academic research has often been caught up in national controversies over the proper regulation of the sex trade, a comparison between Germany and France offers an opportunity to assess the influence of legal frameworks on local administrative practices. The interdisciplinary team of the project is composed of French and German researchers and post-doctoral researchers specialized in issues of prostitution and trafficking. The team will contribute to the existing literature by combining an analysis of national legal frameworks and ethnographies of governmental and nongovernmental practices of control and assistance to foreign prostitutes. The confrontation between discourses and practices aims at enlightening the (elusive) use of legally available categories in daily interactions. The focus here will be on street level bureaucrats, on the partially overlapping and contradicting criteria, norms and rules they use on their work, and on the conditions under which a specific person is regarded as an offender or a victim. In so doing, this research will open a window onto broader changes in today’s security policies. Studying anti- trafficking policies will also provide a contribution to the comparative sociology of states and their agencies.

Updates
0 new
3
Recommendations
0 new
0
Followers
0 new
6
Reads
0 new
92

Project log

Julia Leser
added a research item
Anti-trafficking has become a subject of state action in which humanitarian, social and caring logics, on the one hand, and criminal law logics, on the other hand, are coupled, thereby requiring a reconciliation between their sometimes-conflicting requirements. In the practice of street-level bureaucracy, this is often solved through an institutional separation of responsibilities between law enforcement agencies and social welfare institutions/counseling centers. In our contribution, we use the German case to discuss the conditions of constitutively conflictive cooperation between police units that prosecute trafficking from a criminal law perspective and non-state organized counseling centers for trafficked persons, which follow a more socially oriented, human rights logic and are frequently critical of state-repressive authorities. We focus on the question of how such unlikely cooperation is possible at all. We show that in this context, “trust” becomes an important resource that achieves various things: it enables information exchange but can also replace it, thus productively combining cooperation and distance. Written cooperation agreements help to secure this trust by, among other things, organizing clear responsibilities and stipulating distance and confidentiality obligations in addition to cooperation. In this context, “trust” always remains underdefined as it is understood and used differently by each of the participants. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// La lutte contre la traite est devenue un champ d’action étatique dans lequel s’entremêlent logiques humanitaire, sociale et d’assistance d’une part, et logiques pénales d’autre part, leurs exigences parfois contradictoires devant être conciliées. La négociation de ces deux logiques au niveau de la street-level bureaucracy se retrouve généralement dans la répartition des responsabilités entre les autorités pénales d’une part, et les acteurs en charge de l’aide aux victimes d’autre part. Cet article propose d’étudier, à la lumière du cas allemand, les conditions de la coopération par essence conflictuelle entre des unités de police qui combattent la traite des êtres humains dans une perspective de droit pénal et des centres de consultation non gouvernementaux destinés aux victimes de la traite, qui suivent une logique sociale et de droits humains, et sont souvent critiques envers les autorités gouvernementales répressives. Il s’agit ici de saisir ce qui rend possible cette coopération a priori improbable en mettant notamment en lumière le rôle décisif de la « confiance » dans ce contexte : elle permet en effet l’échange d’informations, mais peut également s’y substituer, et allier ainsi de manière productive coopération et distance. Les accords de coopération écrits aident à sécuriser cette confiance en clarifiant les responsabilités de chaque famille d’acteurs mais aussi en donnant un cadre, outre à la coopération, à des formes de distance et au devoir de réserve. La « confiance » reste ainsi constamment « sous-définie », ce qui permet à chacune des parties de la concevoir et de la mettre en œuvre de manière différenciée.
Rebecca Pates
added a research item
Three ways of governing sex work dominate the international debate: Prohibition, Non-Regulation, and Regulation. The German tradition has been long been regulatory. Sex work is permissible under certain conditions depending on the location (vicinity to schools and churches must be avoided), the registration (for taxation purposes), and the migratory status of the sex worker (illegal immigrants or tourists ought not to ply the streets). In addition, one has to be of a certain age, compos mentis, and engage in sex work using a certain amount of discretion. Otherwise, one moves into the realm of illegality. The regulatory measures traditionally aim at maintaining three public goods: public mores, public health, and public order. To these desiderata, the prostitution law of 2002 added a new public objective: labor rights for sex workers. The legislators’ intent was to remove stigma and improve working conditions. This law remains without much effect in practice. In this paper, I try to show why. First, the governments of the Länder refuse (or fail) to pass implementation guidelines. Second, the old logics of interference prevail at an institutional level. And third, individual administrators focus on paternalistic or punitive logics rather than on the guaranteeing of human rights.
Julia Leser
added 3 research items
For this chapter, ethnographic methods (participant observations) have been applied to analyse police raids in areas of commercial sex work as a standardised operating procedure with the purpose of identifying victims of human trafficking. The aim of this chapter is twofold: first, it shows how local policing practices revolve around different and rather contrasting forms of subjectivities – the absent victim and the problematic sex worker –, and second, it indicates how police officers perform their role as saviour and upholder of the social order in their daily practices.
This paper explores the policing of vices and offers a critical inquiry into the affective politics of policing practices seen through police and state ethnography, political anthropology, and the ‘affective turn’ in social and cultural theory. It shows how the moral worlds of policing sex work and performing raids in the red-light ‘milieu’ are constituted in the making of boundaries through visual, olfactory, somatosensory, and auditory sensations, which can be understood as normative performances in the realm of morality. Police officers do not engage in a neutral gaze but transform the sensuous into sensations that enact these normative distinctions between the ‘normal’ and the ‘abnormal’ – the morally questionable red-light ‘milieu.’ These practices can be read in regard to a morality that is conveyed in and through the officers’ sensational performances in an observingly affective and somatic manner. Morality not simply is but is being done—and performing affects and sensations plays a significant role in the making of moral worlds in the realm of policing. Raiding the red-light ‘milieu’ is a performance on disorder and order, on what is normal and what is not, and thus a deeply political practice that reveals how order- and boundary-making operates through basic sensations and feelings, of the sensuous, the aesthetic, and the somatic.
This article makes a twofold claim. First, the notion of ‘culture’ is inherently interwoven with the classification system that organises the daily work of police officers. In their understanding, culture is a one-size-fits-all category to produce boundaries in terms of gender, ethnicity, class, and the willingness of a population to submit to police authority. The second claim is that ‘culture’ has a particular functionality in the field of policing practices. For police officers, ‘culture’ solves complex problems. It breaks down the complexities of the social world that the officers face, as it operates both as a meaning-making and complexity-reducing mechanism that ultimately counters particular dilemmas. In this regard, ethnographic research of a vice squad conducted in a mid-sized German city in 2015 revealed the kind of dilemma that exemplifies the argument of this contribution: the dilemma of the absent victim and its counterpart, the irritated police officer. Keywords: Policing, culture, bureaucracy, human trafficking, state
Julia Leser
added a research item
The state cannot be conceived as an apparatus of purely rational decision-making, as we argue in this paper using the case of governing human trafficking. We used a state ethnographic approach to reveal the three functions borne by affects in the governing of trafficking prevention projects. First, in affective displays used by police officers to regulate and govern the clients they encounter in their everyday practices. Second, the role of affective displays in boundary-making. And third, we will illuminate the epistemological function of affects in assessing the behaviour and the features of potential victims of trafficking.
Rebecca Pates
added a research item
Neben der Ethnisierung der Problematisierung der Prostitution, welche zwischen „Geborenen Opfern“ („Osteuropäerinnen“ bzw – meist mündlich – „Roma“) und „Professionellen Sexarbeiter*innen“ („deutschen“) unterscheidet, mit einem klaren (wenn auch in der Praxis oft frustrierten) Rettungsauftrag für erstere zeichnen sich anhand der Bundestagsdebatte zwei weitere Themen ab, welche die Debatte um Prostitutionsregulierung bestimmen und auf welche ich im Weiteren eingehen möchte: 2.) Die Vorstellung des Staates als Retter und 3.) sein Scheitern in diesen Rettungsaktionen, sprich: der Unmöglichkeit, aus den Arbeits- und Lebensbedingungen der Mühseligen und Beladenen in der Prostitution Fälle von Menschenhandel zu machen. Der Artikel ist im Kontext einers DFG/ANR geförderten Forschungsprojektes „Menschenhandel im Lichte institutioneller Praktiken—Ein deutsch-französischer Vergleich“ (2014-2017) entstanden.
Rebecca Pates
added a research item
Comprehending the term " victim of human trafficking " as a classification in the sense of Ian Hacking (1999), we studied mundane institutional practices aimed at the classification of migrant sex workers as " victims of human trafficking " in German police offices, victim counselling centres, and in trials. Following the tradition of an ethnography of the state (Lipsky 1980, Dubois 2010), we regard the practices of so called street-level bureaucrats not as merely implementing national policies and legislation, but rather as producing governmental action as such in the first place. In doing so, institutional practices have to be understood and analysed within a bureaucratic context with emergent and deployed bodies of hybrid knowledge and discourse, which are the effect of and at the same time producing subjectifications that are deeply emotionally embedded. The bureaucrats' emotions and beliefs actually inform the identification processes and the management of trafficking victims. Thus, instead of constituting a Weberian rational authority who solves problems exclusively in accordance with organisational and legal guidelines, the bureaucrat in our study appears
Julia Leser
added a research item
Comprehending the term “victim of human trafficking” as a classification in the sense of Ian Hacking (1999), we studied mundane institutional practices aimed at the classification of migrant sex workers as “victims of human trafficking” in German police offices, victim counselling centres, and in trials. Following the tradition of an ethnography of the state (Lipsky 1980, Dubois 2010), we regard the practices of so called street-level bureaucrats not as merely implementing national policies and legislation, but rather as producing governmental action as such in the first place. In doing so, institutional practices have to be understood and analysed within a bureaucratic context with emergent and deployed bodies of hybrid knowledge and discourse, which are the effect of and at the same time producing subjectifications that are deeply emotionally embedded. The bureaucrats’ emotions and beliefs actually inform the identification processes and the management of trafficking victims. Thus, instead of constituting a Weberian rational authority who solves problems exclusively in accordance with organisational and legal guidelines, the bureaucrat in our study appears to act according to modes of knowing that are always already situated within a specific social setting. This, we argue, changes the picture of governance. Thus, we shall theorise practices of governance that draw on emotional logics and affective rationalities within emergent state discourses and the ‘politics of pity’ (Aradau 2004) and, additionally, offer a new perspective on how to study the role of emotions, values, and affects in legal and bureaucratic classificatory practices.
Julia Leser
added an update
Symposium "State of the Abject"
Leipzig University
January 12--13, 2017
see program for details
 
Rebecca Pates
added a research item
Das deutsche Strafrecht unterscheidet Menschenhandel zum Zweck der Arbeitsausbeutung von Menschenhandel zum Zweck der sexuellen Ausbeutung. Unsere Untersuchungen zeigen, dass das soziale Objekt „Opfer von Menschenhandel“ trotz geschlechtsneutraler Gesetzgebung in popkulturellen Narrativen aber auch in Praktiken der Rechtsprechung stark vergeschlechtlicht ist. An die Zeuginnen bzw. Zeugen werden geschlechtlich codierte Erwartungen herangetragen. Dies ist nicht einfach in einem Sexismus der RichterInnen begründet, sondern ein struktureller Effekt der Logik von Rechtsprechung und institutioneller Pfadabhängigkeiten. So werden Standardnarrative zum weiblichen, unschuldigen Opfer sexueller Ausbeutung in der Prostitution zum Deutungshorizont in Gerichtsverfahren, an dem die realen Personen, die als Geschädigte aussagen, gemessen werden. Zur Arbeitsausbeutung fehlen dagegen verfestigte Narrative, und die Unterstützung von Betroffenen ist weit weniger institutionell verankert. Fälle von Arbeitsausbeutung werden deutlich seltener angeklagt, und die Betroffenen erscheinen vorrangig als ökonomische Subjekte und häufiger als Mitschuldige. In beiden Fällen resultiert dies in einem Verschwinden von Opfern: Im einen Fall aufgrund der Überdeterminierung, im anderen Fall aufgrund von Unterbestimmung. ----- Difficult relations: How the Gender of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings affect Abstract: Trial Outcomes Abstract German criminal law distinguishes between trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced labour and for sexual exploitation. Though the language of the law is gender neutral, our research shows that “victim of trafficking” as a social object is strongly gendered, both in standardized narratives about trafficking and in juridical practice. Courts and other institutional actors attending to witnesses in such trials work in accordance with strongly gendered expectations, not because of the sexism of individual judges, but due to the structural logic of German legal practice and institutional path dependency. Standardized narratives featuring feminine, innocent victims of sexual exploitation in prostitution structure the expectations of those who hear actual victim statements in trials, and affect how their statements are evaluated. Victims of labour exploitation reach the courts far less, and the victims are framed as economically interested subjects and often as active participants in their victimization. In both cases victims disappear: the one set of victims is over-, the other underdetermined, by expectation.
Anne Dölemeyer
added a project goal
The research project aims at examining the interactions between migrant prostitutes and institutions in charge of their control or assistance, as well as the categorization processes that take place within these institutions. Special attention will be drawn to the negotiations through which specific (foreign) sex workers are defined as genuine victims. The notion of victimhood has indeed become key to the ways in which prostitution of foreign women is being discussed in the media and the political sphere. The German and French regulatory models will serve as case studies, Germany having chosen a regulatory and France an abolitionist policy. In a context where academic research has often been caught up in national controversies over the proper regulation of the sex trade, a comparison between Germany and France offers an opportunity to assess the influence of legal frameworks on local administrative practices. The interdisciplinary team of the project is composed of French and German researchers and post-doctoral researchers specialized in issues of prostitution and trafficking. The team will contribute to the existing literature by combining an analysis of national legal frameworks and ethnographies of governmental and nongovernmental practices of control and assistance to foreign prostitutes. The confrontation between discourses and practices aims at enlightening the (elusive) use of legally available categories in daily interactions. The focus here will be on street level bureaucrats, on the partially overlapping and contradicting criteria, norms and rules they use on their work, and on the conditions under which a specific person is regarded as an offender or a victim. In so doing, this research will open a window onto broader changes in today’s security policies. Studying anti- trafficking policies will also provide a contribution to the comparative sociology of states and their agencies.