Chicago News Cooperative on Catharine MacKinnon's Sex Trafficking Talk at the Law School

Pimp and Professor Illuminate World of Sex Trafficking
James S. Warren
Chicago News Cooperative
November 23, 2011

Chicago just hosted an infuriatingly insightful show and tell on sex trafficking, with a prominent legal scholar providing the tell and a West Side pimp the sordid show.

It happened while Catharine MacKinnon packed a University of Chicago Law School auditorium for a lecture on “Trafficking, Prostitution and Inequality” just as a federal courtroom revealed the thankfully short run of United States of America vs. Datqunn Sawyer, a/k/a “Daddy,” “P,” “P Child,” “Pharo,” “Pimpin’ P” and “Rabbit.”

When I mentioned this later, MacKinnon didn’t know of the coincidence. It didn’t matter. Worldwide she’s encountered both the likes of Sawyer, who was convicted Monday of running a prostitution ring, and their mostly female victims.

“The underlying allegations fit perfectly into the world I study and engage,” she told me. “Going after this pimp is exactly what should be done, and the facts are standard,” alluding to the violent ways of Sawyer.

MacKinnon is a charismatic, even intrepid, scholar and feminist activist who helped pioneer the legal claim for sexual harassment. She serves as special gender adviser to the International Criminal Court, helped win a case establishing the rape of Bosnian women by Serbs as an act of genocide, and is one of the most-cited legal scholars in the English language, said Michael Schill, the law school dean.

Michael H. Schill
Geoffrey R. Stone
Richard A. Epstein