A neverending stream : human trafficking in Medieval Europe
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study focuses on human trafficking patterns from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Era. I argue that while slavery, as a means of compelling agricultural labor, disappeared across much of Western Europe by the middle of the twelfth century, the commercial sex industry grew. As slavery died out, the slave trade withered across Western Europe and gradually reoriented itself around the Mediterranean basin. Yet, human trafficking networks remained in Western Europe, if in attenuated form. They continued to supply a smaller, but no less persistent, labor demand that was now fueled by brothels and prostitution rings instead of agriculture. I argue further that the experiences of women link the sex trade and the slave trade, and that twelfth-century socio-economic development linked the earlier long-distance slave trade and the local and regional trafficking networks of the later Middle Ages.
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