While slavery in the seventeenth century included a substantial traffic in Asian women, it was only in the late nineteenth century that the rise in trafficking in women in Asia came to the attention of international humanitarians who sought to combat this new form of post-abolition slavery. The increasing emphasis on women as slaves, held for the purposes of sexual exploitation, was to a large extent brought to public attention as the result of the enactment of the British Contagious Diseases Ordinance of 1870, which required that women working in prostitution be registered and counted. It was European colonialism in Southeast Asia and its reliance on the labor of Asian male migrant workers that had encouraged the increase in trafficking of women into Southeast Asia. Despite this, however, most European colonial officials sought to portray themselves as abolitionists and regarded trafficking as an Asian problem. This rhetoric of Asian slavery and European abolition was mobilized to provide moral justification for colonial expansion. By the early twentieth century international observers, under the auspices of the League of Nations, again sought to raise public awareness of the traffic in women, highlighting the cases of Chinese and Japanese women travelling into Southeast Asia. Once again, however, colonial governments sought to underplay any suggestions that they might be complicit in encouraging such traffic.
Individualisation theory has mainly focused on the deregulation of religion and dissolution of traditional majority churches, but there is less evidence of its appropriateness for religious minorities. In this paper I contribute to this debate by analysing how Jews in Spain construct their Jewish sense of belonging in the context of a diverse, traditionally Catholic society. My main argument is that Jews, as a small and invisible minority, confronted by the exigencies of a secular and plural context, combine notions of religious choice and ethnic ascription in narrating their individual and collective identities. Consequently, while the theory of individualisation partly accounts for this identity construction, the specificities of the context and the minority condition require additional conceptual tools about collective identities and symbolic boundaries.