Feminists against Prostitution as a Tool of Imperialism Promoting Sexualized Racism

A panel presentation at the 2016 Left Forum, featuring Charie Siddayao of the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC), Nicole Matthews of the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition, Taina Bien-Aimé of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), and Sarah Mah of the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution (AWCEP). Grace Balbutin of AWCEP will chair the discussion.

Over the last century, we have seen the neo-liberal discourse around prostitution and trafficking in women focus on whether to legalize “sex as work”, despite its existence as male violence against women, as well as its long history rooted in colonialism and imperialism. Today, the vast majority of those exploited for the benefit of men are female, brown, and poor. Western imperial powers and corporations have extended their resource extraction to include women as commodity, developing a global sex trade on the backs of women. Military control overseas, past and present, has left a legacy of red light districts, and sparked the demand for brothels and massage parlours in the Western world for men to consume the sexist and racist stereotypes of women, reflected and perpetuated in popular culture and pornography. Black slavery in the US, and the colonialism of Aboriginal women in North America were key to promoting racial conquest that intersects male dominance and sexual exploitation of brown women. In much of Asian and the Global South, countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines have become dependent on sex tourism to support their economies. This panel seeks to reveal the history of how prostitution has turned women into the “spoils of war”. The perspectives offered from panelists will reveal how prostitution has been used to further imperialist objectives of the West, how it has promoted sexualized racism.

Our panelists are representatives from groups that comprise of Asian, Black, and Aboriginal women organizations. With source and destination countries that include Canada, Asia, and the US, these individuals will present a range of analyses on prostitution as violence against women, rooted in historic and social contexts of globalization.

The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution is hosting two panels at the 2016 Left Forum.


Saturday, May 21, 2016 -
5:00pm to 7:00pm
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W 59th St, New York
Room 1.100
New York, 10019