Monthly Archives: September 2018

Walker, Rebecca, und Treasa Galvin. 2018. „Labels, victims, and insecurity: an exploration of the lived realities of migrant women who sell sex in South Africa“. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal 3 (2): 277–92.

Based on research work among cross-border migrant women who sell sex in South Africa, this paper examines the ways in which the label ‘victim’ of human trafficking ignores the complex realities of human mobility. We argue here that as state legislative and policy measures, in relation to human trafficking, justify the securitisation of borders and the curtailment of migrant rights, an accompanying hegemonic discourse serves to deny the agency of migrant women sex workers. As a result, the linkages between human trafficking and migration are experienced by migrant women sex workers through new layers of vulnerability and insecurity.


Anthony Marcus & Robert Riggs & Amber Horning & Sarah Rivera & Ric Curtis & Efram Thompson. “Is Child to Adult as Victim is to Criminal? Social Policy and Street-Based Sex Work in the USA” Sex Res Soc Policy (2012) 9:153–166DOI 10.1007/s13178-011-0070-1

Longstanding policy debates over how prostitution/sex work should be thought about and responded to have been upended in the USA by a growing tendency to conflate the practice with sex trafficking. US law and social policy have converged most fully on this issue in a movement to eradicate what has come to be known as the commercial sexual exploitation of children. One outcome of this movement has been an expanded focus on prosecuting and imprisoning pimps and other legal adults who support or abet juridical minors involved in the sex trade. This paper will show that the simplistic, one-size-fits-all narrative of the child victim and the adult exploiter inherent in this policy does not reflect the realities of street-based sex work in the USA. After 2 years of ethnographic and social network research in two cities, we find that sex market-involved young people participate in a great diversity of market–facilitation relationships, many of which provide the only or the most crucial foundation for their support networks. A social policy based on a one-dimensional construction of the child victim and the adult exploiter not only endangers these crucial relationships but also disappears the real needs of young people involved in the exchange of sex for money.

Full text available here.

Lainez, Nicolas (2018), The Contested Legacies of Indigenous Debt Bondage in Southeast Asia: Indebtedness in the Vietnamese Sex Sector. American Anthropologist. doi:10.1111/aman.13105


The modern‐slavery paradigm promotes analogies between contemporary trafficking and the transatlantic, white, and indigenous slave trade. The analogy some scholars use to address debt bondage in past and present Southeast Asia prompted me to consider the hypothesis that the debts incurred by Vietnamese sex workers with moneylenders, procurers, and migration brokers are a remnant of indigenous slavery. However, the ethnographic and legalistic study of debt in the Vietnamese sex sector across Southeast Asia in relation to debt‐bondage traditions provides limited support to the transhistorical thesis. Nonetheless, it throws light on the creditor–debtor relationship and shows that sex workers need credit to finance production and social reproduction in a region undergoing rapid capitalist development, and that because of their exclusion from financial, labor, and labor migration markets, they access it through personalized arrangements that generate strong obligations and dependencies with the potential for restrictions of freedom, in a social structure that promotes patronage, vertical bonding, and dependency.

Swedberg, Gregory. 2018. „Moralizing Public Space: Prostitution, Disease, and Social Disorder in Orizaba, Mexico, 1910–1945“. Journal of Social History 52 (1): 54–73.
This article explores how women working as prostitutes in Orizaba, Mexico, laid claim to a more revolutionary vision of women’s citizenship. Prostitutes pushed the state to realize the promises of the Mexican Revolution, even as officials and many local residents—rich and poor—retained outmoded notions of gender and citizenship. This research indicates that “respectable” poor and working-class individuals gravitated toward traditional gender values so as to position themselves as respectable in the eyes of state agents charged with policing morality and public health. State officials’ rhetoric of egalitarianism that followed the Mexican Revolution fell flat for the public women whose pecuniary position persisted long after the guns fell silent.

The journal “Sexualities” published a discussion around Ronald Weitzer’s piece “Resistance to sex work stigma” in its September 2018 issue.

From the Editor’s Note:
“Professor Ronald Weitzer has written a short piece to Sexualities. It is a commentary in which Weitzer examines the notion of stigma in the context of sex work. He points out that stigma is not determined but has the possibility of change and suggests ‘a set of preconditions for the reduction and, ultimately, elimination of stigma from sex work’, which includes neutralization of language, a more balanced representation of sex work in the mass media, decriminalization, industry mobilization, sex worker activism, and intervention from the academia. We thought this piece would generate discussion and thus open up theoretical debate as well as practical concern about policy and legislation regarding sex work and stigma. We then invited scholars to comment and the following have agreed to write a commentary: Professor Teela Sanders, Professor Wendy Chapkis, Professor Jo Phoenix, and Professor Minichiello (together with Professor John Scott and Mr Cameron Cox).”

Read full note here (freely available).

The contributions to the discussion can be found here (paywall).