Frauenhandel und Zwangsprostitution in Bosnien und Herzegowina

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:CCS Working Papers (Band 7)
Main Author: Kötter, Henriette
Format: Article
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2008
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Table of Contents: Human Trafficking is a phenomenon often observed in post-conflict environments and as such can be analysed from the stand of peace and conflict studies. Trafficking in women for the purpose of forced prostitution has been a serious problem in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. A prominent approach is to look at the international personnel as a factor influencing the fast growing sex industry. I argue that such a view is too short-sighted and that social factors play a vital role for the degradation of women to objects. The militarisation of society and a hatred of women before, during and after the war facilitated the trafficking in women. After having looked at the phenomenon of trafficking and reasons for women to migrate, I then examine the factors that helped to make Bosnia and Herzegovina a destination country for trafficked women. One factor that remains is the involvement of international personnel. The trafficking was facilitated by a weak juridical system and a corrupt police. Then I turn to the factors within the Bosnian society: I show that even though the communists declared the “women’s question” as solved, they could not change gender relations in former Yugoslavia to a true gender equality. During the break-up of Yugoslavia, traditional gender relations became part of the war strategy, using gender images either to form a group or dissociate it from the other. In this context, rape also aimed at humiliating the other groups and served as a tool of communication between men. This misogynist strategy laid ground for trafficking and trading women like commodities. The presence of international personnel is thus only one factor for the expansion of prostitution, albeit the most visible. The other factors are deeper embedded within society and its specific post-conflict situation.