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Amnesty International’s 2015-16 push for the decriminalization of sex work sparked yet another international debate on sex trafficking, with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), together with a long list of celebrities and iconic feminists such as Gloria Steinem, claiming that such measure will only worsen sex trafficking, among other problems, and myriad pro-sex work feminists vouch-ing exactly the opposite.1 This dispute is by no means new-as of 2018, it remains at an impasse-but, interestingly, while sociologists and women’s studies scholars have been discussing sex trafficking issues for decades now, and despite its intimate relation to postcolonialism and globalization, the topic has gained prominence in postcolonial studies fairly recently. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin’s Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts, for example, only in its third edition of 2013 includes for the first time a definition of “trafficking” and provides a few examples of postcolonial fiction dealing with the topic: one of them Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street (2009), the novel this article explores in detail.


This article was originally published in the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, available at



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