Hwang, Maria Cecilia. “Offloaded: Women’s Sex Work Migration across the South China Sea and the Gendered Antitrafficking Emigration Policy of the Philippines.” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 45, no. 1 (April 9, 2017): 131–47. 

Extract

Adelle had just arrived from the Philippines for a short visit in Hong Kong when I met her in the summer of 2011. I soon learned that since 2006 Adelle has been making regular visits to Hong Kong, where she travels as a tourist and works as an independent sex worker in nightclubs frequented by male expatriates and business travelers from western countries. A single mother in her late thirties, Adelle’s primary source of income is prostitution. For her, the ability to migrate across the South China Sea affords her an economic mobility otherwise denied in the Philippines; and expanding her markets to include Macao and Singapore—extending her time in multiple Asian countries—enables her to further maximize the rewards of her sexual labor. Typically Adelle traverses the South China Sea between Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macao for about three to four and a half months before returning to the Philippines. While she finds migrating [End Page 131] as a tourist stressful, she also relishes that she is her own boss and is able to control certain elements of her migration and labor, including going home to her son regularly. Despite such control over her migration, in recent years Adelle has faced increasing restrictions on her ability to work overseas because the Philippine government considers migrant women workers like her vulnerable to human trafficking.

In this article, I describe the migration of freelance or independent sex workers like Adelle and examine the impacts of the Philippine government’s efforts to control their ability to cross borders. I analyze the effects of the antitrafficking policy of “offloading” which prevents suspected victims of human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and undocumented workers from leaving the country. I argue that a “masculinist logic of protection” (Young 2003), coupled with gendered and classed assumptions about migrant vulnerability, undergirds this policy. I illustrate how the antitrafficking policy of offloading evinces the state’s logic of “benevolent paternalism,” which is defined by Rhacel Parreñas (2008) as the culture of restricting migrant women’s freedom purportedly for their own best interest. My discussion establishes that even though the campaign against human trafficking is considered a critical global feminist project (Doezema 2010), gendered antitrafficking emigration policies may have the contradictory effects of limiting women’s freedom of movement. ….

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Abstract
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Criminologists are increasingly turning their attention to the intersections between immigration and crime control. In this article, we describe and discuss four regulatory practices whereby Norwegian police combine criminal law and immigration law in different ways vis-à-vis migrant women involved in prostitution. These practices target sex workers with exclusionary measures, even though the sale of sex is legal. These regulatory practices illustrate how Norwegian anti-prostitution policies are combined with an anti-trafficking agenda, something which creates a policing regime dependent on extensive forms of surveillance and control over sex workers’ lives and mobility, and on partnerships and networks of governance.

Susanne Hofmann, “Corporeal Entrepreneurialism and Neoliberal Agency in the Sex Trade at the US-Mexican Border”. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 38: 3 & 4 (Fall/Winter 2010)

In this essay I will discuss corporeal entrepreneurialism in the context of commercial sex and neoliberal agency at the United States–Mexico border. I want to situate the sex trade in a larger neoliberal context of economic need, mobility, and commercialization. The essay addresses how bodily entrepreneurialism can function as a gateway to upward social mobility and how erotic capital can level existing social and economic inequalities and thus act as a catalyst to exit marginalized communities. I am drawing on Wacquant’s (1995) work on corporeal entrepreneurs and also on the notion of bodily capital that he has developed therein. Using bodily capital in the context of sex work, it makes sense to talk more specifically about erotic capital, which is the primary currency in the sex trade. Thus, I will integrate Isaiah Green’s (2008) definition of erotic capital and elaborate how women make use of their bodies to enhance their erotic capital and explain what their strategies and perceptions are. Inspired by Alexander Edmonds’ (2007) work on beauty and race in Brazil, I will elaborate how corporeal entrepreneurs strategically use their bodily and erotic capital to counteract their socioeconomic marginalization and challenge traditional hierarchies. As will become clear, corporeal entrepreneurialism ties together women’s agency, market demand, and monetary value, and, to succeed, this endeavor requires enormous levels of discipline, emotional resilience, management skills, stamina, and purposefulness.

Full text available here.

Baratosy, & Wendt. (2017). “Outdated Laws, Outspoken Whores”: Exploring sex work in a criminalised setting. Women’s Studies International Forum, 62, 34-42.

Abstract

This article explores the experiences of sex workers living and working in South Australia under laws that criminalise their profession. A qualitative research methodology was used to interview sex workers about their work experiences. It was found that working in a criminalised setting raised particular concerns for sex workers including an erosion of workplace protections, outreach services, access to health service and increased policing. This article argues that criminalising sex work leads to human rights violations, therefore sex work should be decriminalised to ensure workers are protected. The themes from the interviews build qualitative evidence supporting the decriminalisation of sex work. This research has been supported by the Sex Industry Network of South Australia (SIN).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277539516301273

Abstract

The Legal Aid Society’s Exploitation Intervention Project (EIP) represents most individuals prosecuted for violating New York State prostitution laws. EIP also represents survivors of trafficking into prostitution and works to clear charges from their criminal records if they were a result of having been trafficked. Urban researchers gathered data from both groups of EIP clients to describe who is facing arrest in New York City for prostitution and who has faced arrest and prosecution for prostitution in the past. This study explores the background and needs of EIP clients, in addition to the challenges these clients face within the criminal legal system.

Full report available here.

Call for Papers: AAA Annual Meeting “Anthropology Matters!”
November 29-December 3, 2017
Washington, DC

Session Title: The Politics and Practice of Sex Work Research
Organizer: Megan Lowthers
Discussant: Sealing Cheng

Session Abstract:
Both feminist ideologies and political movements have had a profound impact on sex work research design, implementation, and dissemination. In response to moralistic anti-trafficking campaigns that misrepresent the lived experiences of sex workers as well as the exclusion of sex workers from research processes, many researchers have argued for a shift from research on sex workers to non-exploitative research with sex workers. In the social sciences, sex work researchers have been at the forefront of engaging reflexively with questions surrounding inclusivity, voice, and representation in research, and how their research can be relevant to sex working communities and the sex workers’ rights movement. As a result, critical sex work research has sought to increase ethical practices by employing participatory research methods (Dewey and Zheng 2013), arts-based research (Desyllas 2013), and photovoice projects (Cheng 2017, Oliveira 2016), as well as its impact on policy, advocacy, and activism (van der Meulen, Durisin, and Love 2013).

The goal of this organized session is to engage with questions and debates in the discipline of anthropology and in research that draws from anthropological perspectives surrounding, why, how, and to whom sex work research matters. Within the subject of sex work research individual abstract submissions are not limited; however, topics could include:

– Sex work research design
– Ethics and sex work research
– Researcher and participant relationships
– Sex worker-led research methodology
– Innovative research methods
– Action research
– Policy relevant research
– Sex workers’ rights, activism, and research
– Sex work research challenges

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to Megan Lowthers at lowthers@yorku.ca no later than Wednesday, April 12th. You will be notified if your abstract is accepted the same day. If your abstract is selected for this session you will be required to register for the AAA conference and submit your individual abstract by Friday, April 14th.

References Cited

Cheng, Sealing. 2017. “The Voice of Images: Photovoice, Sex Workers and Affective Engagement.” In Prostitution Research in Context: Methodology, Representation and Power, edited by Marlene Spanger and May-Len Skilbrei. Oxon: Routledge.
Desyllas, Moshoula Capous. 2013. “Using Photovoice with Sex Workers: The power of Art, Agency, and Resistance.” Qualitative Social Work 13 (4):477-501.
Dewey, Susan, and Tiantian Zheng. 2013. Ethical Research with Sex Workers: Anthropological Approaches. New York: Springer.
Oliveira, Elsa. 2016. “Empowering, Invasive or a Little Bit of Both? A Reflection on the Use of Visual and Narrative Methods in Research with Migrant Sex Workers in South Africa.” Visual Studies 31 (3):260-278.
van der Meulen, Emily, Elya M. Durisin, and Victoria Love, eds. 2013. Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy, and Research on Sex Work in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Abstract

The Archives de la Préfecture de Police de Paris have served as an important source base for historians of both female prostitution and male homosexuality during the nineteenth century. Although the archives often place these two forms of sexual marginality in the same series, cartons, and dossiers, historians have almost always treated the two as distinct social categories. This article argues that this separation results from an overreliance on the modern sexual identity categories that serve as our point of departure. Instead, we should approach the archive without identifying with it in order to formulate a vision of the sexual past that may or may not reflect our own sexual organization. In dialogue with a broader discourse that conflated male same-sex sexual activity with female prostitution, these archives participate in the production of a sexual category that has as much to do with the selling of sex as it does with same-sex sexual desire.

Les historiens de la prostitution féminine et de l’homosexualité masculine au dix-neuvième siècle ont abondamment utilisé les archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris. Bien que les archives situent souvent de ces deux formes de marginalité sexuelle dans les mêmes séries, cartons, et dossiers, les historiens les ont presque toujours traitées comme des catégories sociales distinctes. Le présent article affirme que cette séparation repose sur une dépendance des catégories qui fournissent le point de départ des enquêtes historiques. Le refus de s’identifier à l’archive est une étape nécessaire pour formuler une vision du passé sexuel qui peut—ou pas—refléter notre propre organisation sexuelle. En dialogue avec un discours combinant les activités sexuelles entre hommes avec la prostitution féminine, ces archives participent en effet à la production d’une catégorie sexuelle qui a autant à voir avec le commerce du sexe qu’avec le désir homosexuel.