Monthly Archives: June 2016

Julie Ham, Kyungja Jung, and Haeyoung Jang “Silence, mobility and ‘national values’: South Korean sex workers in Australia” Sexualities, vol. 19, no. 4, 2016, pp. 432-448.


Korean women sex workers have attracted attention from Australian border security, South Korean government officials and Korean-Australian communities. This article considers how the bodies of these women have become the ‘iconic sites’ (Luibhéid, 2002: ix–xxvii) on which the South Korean government and immigrant Korean-Australian communities perform ‘national values’. Within Korean-Australian communities, Korean sex workers have been perceived as threats to the immigrant project of socio-economic mobility and ‘legitimate’ citizenship. We consider the silence that is desired of sex workers within immigrant communities and how this can be co-opted by anti-trafficking discourses that are still predicated on the helpless, voiceless female victim.


Sharon Pickering, and Julie Ham “Hot pants at the border: Sorting sex work from trafficking” British Journal of Criminology, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 2-19. 


The role of borders in managing sex work is a valuable site for analysing the relationship between criminal justice and migration administration functions. For the purposes of this article, we are concerned with how generalized concerns around trafficking manifest in specific interactions between immigration officials and women travellers. To this end, this article contributes to a greater understanding of the micro-politics of border control and the various contradictions at work in the everyday performance of the border. It uses an intersectional analysis of the decision making of immigration officers at the border to understand how social differences become conflated with risk, how different social locations amplify what is read as risky sexuality and how sexuality is constructed in migration. What the interviews in our research have demonstrated is that, while the border is a poor site for identifying cases of trafficking into the sex industry, it is a site of significant social sorting where various intersections of intelligence-led profiling and everyday stereotyping of women, sex work and vulnerability play out.

Also see:  In the Eyes of the Beholder: Border enforcement, suspect travellers and trafficking victims, anti- trafficking review 2 (2013).


This article reports on the results of a study on men who pay for sex across Ireland. In presenting a detailed picture of the diverse group of sex workers’ clients, their motives and attitudes, we debunk the prevalent stereotypes about men who pay for sex, as continuously used in the public discourse about sex work on both sides of the Irish border: we show that the majority of clients do not fit the image of violent, careless misogynists. We argue that these debates about commercial sex as well as the experiences of those who pay for sex are shaped and nurtured by the specific local context, by conservative Christian morals and the dominant sex-negative culture across Ireland. Finally, we argue that the criminalization of paying for sex which came into effect in Northern Ireland in 2015 and is being discussed in the Republic of Ireland will likely not stop the majority of clients from paying for sex and thus fail to achieve its aim to reduce or abolish sex work.


Japan has one of the world’s largest and most diverse legal sex industries. In a limited female labor market, sex industry work is a stigmatized yet lucrative form of women’s short-term employment and advertisements for recruiting new employees are prominently displayed across urban spaces associated with feminized consumption. In this article, I examine the ideological impasses that adult Japanese women working in Tokyo’s sex industry express when talking about their motives for pursuing this work. Female sex workers commonly justify their work as the necessary sacrifice of filial daughters. This rhetoric of reluctant acceptance for the sake of others, however, obscures the reality that many sex workers are middle-class and college-educated women who find the financial opportunity and flexibility of this industry appealing in contrast to more dominant forms of feminized labor. These women express the ambivalence of their desires for economic self-sufficiency through narrating the dependence of others on them. Examining these ambivalences, I argue that sex workers’ motivations can only be understood through considering the ethical and moral frameworks that define the gendered economies in which they labor.