Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

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The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a sex worker-exclusionary radical feminist group that promotes carceral feminismWikipedia and a controversial definition of the term trafficking that has been criticized as ideological and overly broad. Its origins are closely associated with the Satanic ritual abuse moral panic within radical feminist circles of the 1980s. It is a major player in what critics have described as the trafficking hysteria and the hyper-criminalization of sex workers.[1] It has also been criticized for relying on racist stereotypes and for essentializing women with no regard for intersectional discrimination. It also has significant links to anti-trans organizations, with one of its regional branches being a signatory of the Women's Declaration International manifesto against trans rights.[2]


The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's views are rooted in radical feminism, and the group thus advocates the view that sex work is a form of violence against women regardless of the circumstances, and a promote an ideological interpretation of the term trafficking that includes all forms of sex work. It is strongly opposed to the perspectives of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women and the sex workers rights movement. The trafficking narrative promoted by CATW has been linked to the Satanic ritual abuse moral panic, that was promoted by many radical feminists especially in the 1980s and 1990s, including several key figures within CATW.

It has been described as a "neo-abolitionist lobby group" that represents a "carceral feminist anti-trafficking practice that primarily criminalizes, censors, and oppresses the agency, behaviors, and needs of structurally marginalized communities" and that contributes to "essentializing women with racialized and marginalized identities in sex work, with no discursive recognition of intersectional structural inequalities."[3]

Alison Murray criticized CATW of racism, of using non-participatory research methodologies and of creating an "erotic pathetic stereotype of the Asian prostitute which creates the possibility for middle-class women’s trafficking hysteria."[4][5]

CATW's former executive director Gunilla Ekberg was featured in the documentary The Gender War that discussed radical feminism and Satanic ritual abuse panics in Sweden. In the documentary Ekberg threatened journalist Evin Rubar.[6]

CATW has collaborated with some of the leading anti-trans groups globally, notably including Women's Declaration International (WDI). Its regional branch, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean, is a signatory of the manifesto of Women's Declaration International.[7][2] CATW's regional director in Latin America Teresa Ulloa has also appeared as a speaker at WDI events.[8] Sheila Jeffreys has also linked her work with WDI to her work with CATW.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. JK McGibbon, Anti-trafficking and the hyper-criminalization of sex workers, University of Georgia, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Leveille, Lee. "Rights For Me, Not For Thee: How Anti-Trans Feminists Took Their Advocacy to the United Nations". 
  3. Hu, Ran (2021). "Problematizing the Educational Messaging on Sex Trafficking in the US “End-demand” Movement: The (Mis)Representation of Victims and Anti-Sex Work Rhetoric". Feminist Inquiry in Social Work 37 (3). doiWikipedia:10.1177/08861099211058827. 
  4. A Murray, ‘Debt Bondage and Trafficking: Don’t Believe the Hype’ in K Kempadoo and J Doezema (eds), Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance and Redefinition (1998)
  5. Simm, Gabrielle: "Negotiating the United Nations Trafficking Protocol: Feminist Debates", Australian Year Book of International Law
  6. "Experten hotar kritisk reporter". 
  7. "Declaration Signatories". Women's Declaration International. 
  8. "Mexico". Women's Declaration International.