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Title: The white slave trade and the music hall affair in 1930s Malta
Authors: Knepper, Paul
Keywords: Music-halls -- Malta -- History -- 20th century
Human trafficking -- Malta -- History -- 20th century
Prostitution -- Malta -- History -- 20th century
Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Citation: Knepper, P. (2009). The white slave trade and the music hall affair in 1930s Malta. Journal of Contemporary History, 44(2), 205-220.
Abstract: The music hall affair in 1930s Malta serves as a window into wider social, political issues embodied in the recurring furore that was ‘white slavery’. Sparked by accusations in London newspapers about sexual exploitation of English women who had come to work as music hall artistes, politicians, newspaper editors, the police and the church in Malta addressed the issue. Although the claims about English women were not true, the stories raised larger questions about prostitution in Malta’s night-time leisure economy, and sexual exploitation of foreign artistes and Maltese barmaids did occur in this context. The British reaction followed the pattern of response in other colonies: military authorities chose to focus on the health threat to their personnel posed by what they saw as an indigenous problem of prostitution, rather than acknowledge the effects of colonial rule on local society. Maltese authorities chose to avoid political and economic truths of colonial rule as well: they decided to make the immoral character of the women involved the problem to be addressed. The music hall affair did not champion international human rights, but reflected parochial fears of foreigners and colonial others.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCWHMlt

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