Submission Date


Document Type



International Relations

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Evans


Presented during the 22nd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2020 at Ursinus College.

A related presentation is available here.

Project Description

Although there is some debate over the exact number of victims of sex trafficking, it is agreed that it is an issue that affects primarily women and girls around the world. This paper will examine modern-day slavery and the unresolved, century-old debate surrounding sex trafficking and sex work. While abolitionists advocate for the total eradication of all sex work, whether it is consensual or not, libertarians support the right to voluntary sex work while condemning the coercion and exploitation that surrounds all forms of trafficking. I will use an analysis of international conventions and will begin a comparative analysis by looking at the case of France to show how advocates of these different positions have informed and influenced international law and policies. Views on sex work are reflected differently in international treaties and conventions, and I will argue that these international conventions are less abolitionist than earlier documents, accounting for the nuance within the debate of sex work versus sex trafficking.

Open Access

Available to all.