Between Rhetoric and Reality: Exploring the Impact of Military Humanitarian Intervention upon Sexual Violence – Post-Conflict Sex Trafficking in Kosovo

Citation:

Godec, Samantha T. “Between Rhetoric and Reality: Exploring the Impact of Military Humanitarian Intervention upon Sexual Violence – Post-Conflict Sex Trafficking in Kosovo.” International Review of the Red Cross 92, no. 877 (March 2010): 235–58. doi:10.1017/S1816383110000159.

Author: Samantha T Godec

Abstract:

Adopting a feminist perspective, this paper analyses the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and its impact on women in recipient states, particularly with regard to sexual violence. By analysing the phenomenon of post-conflict trafficking in Kosovo following the NATO intervention, the author presents a challenge to the ‘feminist hawks’ who have called for military intervention in situations of systematic sexual violence. It is the author’s contention that such intervention would be counterproductive for women’s rights and thus constitute a disproportionate response to sexual violence in terms of the international law governing the use of force. 

 

Annotation:

Godec discusses current critiques of militarized humanitarian intervention and delivery of aid, which do not consider women or a gender analysis of women’s post-intervention experience. This article seeks to analyze the impact of militarized humanitarian intervention in relation to sex trafficking & forced prostitution in Kosovo.  Prior to 1999, Kosovo did not have a thriving sex-industry but within months of the troops, NGO’s, and UNMIK personnel arriving due to the conflict with Serbia, brothels were established around the military bases.  Due to this influx of militarized aid deliverers, Kosovo is now a major destination country for trafficking women & children and the author attributes this to:

1.     Sudden presence of military personnel creating immediate demand for sexual services

2.     Post-intervention of Kosovo sustained the demand & fostered an environment where organized criminal network could reap the profits

3.     Disruption of society & economy resulted in increased numbers of women & girls in need of income thereby creating a supply for the sex industry

4.     Failure of the UNMIK to address the problem of trafficking allowed for a culture of impunity to prevail

In addition to a developing sex industry, the greater the military presence the greater gender-based-violence increased in Kosovo. Godec cautions that the same pattern of international presence and the subsequent outcome on women & girls is arising in conflict areas such as: Kuwait, Afghanistan & Iraq.  As a preventative, Godec calls for gender awareness and education to be brought to peacekeepers and the military.  “The key criterion is whether the benefits of the use of force will outweigh the costs.”

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Analysis, Humanitarian Assistance, International Law, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Kosovo

Year: 2010

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.