Consent and vulnerability: some intersections between child sexual abuse and the trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation* * Translated by Stela Oliveira. A preliminar version of this article was presented at the Work Group "sexualidades que confrontam", at the X Reunión de Antropología Del Mercosur (RAM), Córdoba (Argentina), 2013, coordenated by Maria Elvira Diaz-Benítez and Jorge Leite Jr. The text was also discussed with the research group coordenated by Adriana Piscitelli, at the Núcleo de Estudos de Gênero-Pagu. I am grateful for the rich debates and suggestions in these two occasions.

Laura Lowenkron About the author


From the rapprochement between some aspects of the definition and management of the child sexual abuse and trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual exploitation as social problems, the present article argues that consent andvulnerability are complementary and key concepts for understanding the contemporary regimes of legal regulation of sexuality and of the social and political sensibilities which guide the perception of violence. By analyzing the assumptions of the concept of consent and its interrelations with the idea of individual autonomy, as well as the power and the ambiguities of the notion of vulnerability, understood as a category capable to deconstruct the central value of consent in the new sexual order oriented by liberal ideas and ideologies, I seek to illuminate some ethical and political dilemmas in the process of definition of violence and in the construction/deconstruction of the idea of victimization.

Key Words:
Vulnerability; Autonomy; Violence; Victimization

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