This article tries in a preliminary manner to establish links between sexual labour, the negotiations of everyday life and the reproduction of social relations. The context for this interrogation is the recent ban in 2005 on dancing in beer bars in the Indian city of Mumbai; the attempts by the state to legitimise its action amidst a range of national and international rhetoric on sexual labour, and the voices of women who were disenfranchised due to the state ban. Women’s interrogation of their role in sexual labour and their struggle for dignity and respect in the domain of work is discussed in the light of the negative discourse weighing against them, while also bringing in historical and contemporary accounts of other forms of ‘stigmatised’ labour. The attempt is to understand how notions of dignity and respectability are intertwined with shifts in gender, caste, class locations and the struggles of social movements. Significant in this discussion are various examples of how women choose to ‘move away’ in their constant search for livelihoods and survival. The article is an attempt to illuminate how an expanded notion of social reproduction could recognise labours of different kinds with the voices of those embodying these labours having a say in how justice and entitlements should devolve.
Kelly Karvelis,The Asylum Claim for Victims of Attempted Trafficking, 8 Nw.J. L. & Soc.Pol’y. 274 (2012).
Full paper available here: http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njlsp/vol8/iss2/5
The state of the law regarding refugees in the United States has been
characterized in the recent past by inconsistent rulings among the Circuit Courts, and
narrow applications of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which provides the
basis for asylum eligibility. In the midst of this sometimes-contradictory application of
the INA, victims of attempted sex trafficking (those who have faced threats or attempts by
sex traffickers to force them into sexual slavery) have consistently been rejected for
asylum by U.S. courts. Federal courts have uniformly denied these asylum claims by
ruling that these victims do not meet the INA’s requirement that refugees fall into a
particular social group. Therefore, this Comment focuses largely on the argument that
U.S. courts have interpreted the “social group” provision in an unduly narrow fashion,
and that victims of attempted trafficking do indeed satisfy this element of the INA’s test
for asylum eligibility. This Comment argues that U.S. courts’ rejections of these asylum
claims are inconsistent with the legislative intent behind the Immigration and Nationality
Act of 1952, federal case law that has granted asylum petitions in similar contexts, and
the United Nations’ and international interpretations of refugee law. Based on these
reasons and public policy concerns, U.S. courts should recognize the valid claims of
many of these victims of attempted trafficking, and grant them the asylum that they
Complex combinations of law, policy, and enforcement practices determine sex
workers vulnerability to HIV and rights abuses. We identify “lack of recognition
as a person before the law” as an important but undocumented barrier to accessing
services and conclude that multi-faceted, setting-specific reform is needed—rather
than a singular focus on decriminalization—if the health and human rights of sex
workers are to be realized.
Goldenberg, S.M., Silverman, J. G., Engstrom, D., Bojorquez-Chapela, I. and Strathdee, S.A. (2013), “Right Here is the Gateway”: Mobility, Sex Work Entry and HIV Risk Along the Mexico–US Border. International Migration. doi: 10.1111/imig.12104
Women comprise an increasing proportion of migrants. Many migrate voluntarily for sex work or practise survival sex; others are trafficked for sexual exploitation. To investigate how the context of mobility shapes sex work entry and HIV risk, during 2010 to 2011 we conducted in-depth interviews with formerly trafficked women currently engaged in sex work (n = 31) in Tijuana and their service providers (n = 7) in Tijuana and San Diego. Women’s experiences of coerced and deceptive migration, deportation as forced migration, voluntary mobility, and migration to a risk environment illustrate that circumstances resulting from migration shape vulnerability to sex trafficking, voluntary sex work entry, and HIV risk. Findings suggest an urgent need for public health and immigration policies providing integrated support for deported and/or recently arrived female migrants. Policies to prevent sex trafficking and assist trafficked females must consider the varying levels of personal agency involved in migration and sex work entry.
Human trafficking for forced labor purposes is receiving more and more attention in the public discourse on human trafficking. In this article, we will address a number of questions regarding the work done by trade unions to counteract human trafficking for forced labor purposes, beginning with some thoughts on why unions are active in this field. What examples exist for successful union involvement?
And what difficulties might prevent a stronger and more substantial commitment by unions? Many cases of human trafficking occur in sectors with a low rate of unionization, or areas like domestic services, which are generally difficult for unions to reach. The gap between unions and the sectors that are especially important is increased by a number of unions clinging to “old” traditional industries. Also, many of the people in question are migratory workers. In this article, we will analyze the innovative approaches used by unions to overcome these difficulties – for instance, by organizing migratory workers in unions or union-affiliated associations, and offering low-threshold advice for people who could be potentially affected.
Female sex workers in Russia have been particularly vulnerable to recent social, political, and economic changes. In this article, we describe the facilitators and barriers for sex workers receiving health care services in St. Petersburg, Russia. We conducted observations at medical institutions and nongovernmental organizations and in-depth interviews with 29 female sex workers. We identified the following barriers: poverty, not having documents, lack of anonymity in testing, and the official registration system. We identified the following facilitators: intervention by family members, social connections within the health care system, and referral services from a nongovernmental organization. Our findings indicate a need for reassessing policies and designing programs that better facilitate the use of health care services for the most vulnerable populations. This should include the expansion of support systems and outreach services designed to help female sex workers navigate the health care system.
On 21 December 2012, the Court of Appeal (CA) gave its decision in the case of Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd v Nadine Quashie.1 This case questioned whether Ms Quashie, a lap-dancer, was self-employed or whether she was an employee under a contract of employment. According to the facts laid down in the judgment, Ms Quashie worked a few times a week in a club, paid a fee to work there, was defined as an independent contractor in the club owners’ hand book and the clients took part in the process of payment. The CA reversed the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) and stated that there was no mutuality of obligations such as to constitute a contract of employment, since there was no wage-work bargain between the parties. The club had no obligation to pay the dancer ‘anything at all’,2 and therefore, as the Court said, ‘the dancer took the economic risk’.3 Quashie provides us with an opportunity to consider the tight link that British labour law creates between service workers, gender and precariousness in the context of sex work. Particularly, it offers to rethink the way the court considers the roles of the three parties in interactive service work—workers, management and customers—in its process of fact assessment, and accordingly its decision on whether a contract of employment was constructed.