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III seminar: Of Victims, Sisters and Caring: Anti-trafficking, State and the Sex Workers’ Movement in Sonagachi
Dr Simanti Dasgupta, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Dayton
Dr Samita Sen, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Based on ethnographic work with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (Durbar), a grassroots female sex work organization in Sonagachi, Kolkata, this seminar will examine the politics of care in anti-trafficking work. While anti-trafficking (specifically, the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, ITPA), as a state surveillance apparatus, is ostensibly rooted in caring about and for ‘victims’, the legal construction of the victim itself, within a carceral framework, is often tantamount to the violence of care. However, the care work that has emerged in the Self-Regulatory Board founded by Durbar in 1997 to prevent trafficking in Sonagachi is based on the sex workers’ shared experiences of rural-urban migration, forced displacement and, above all, labour and the search for livelihood. Yet, such spaces of care are both hidden and even devalued in terms of social reproduction.

Jun 7, 2022 12:30 PM in London

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