This article examines the effects of rumors within the Mexican and U.S. governments’ militarized war on drugs. Focusing on a period during which Mexican drug organizations were strengthened and violence increased, the article follows the lives of Mexican sex workers and their clients, as well as American missionaries living in a prostitution zone in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Borders between narco-controlled and state-controlled territory were shifted in and through the bodies of Reynosa’s residents as a contagion of performative rumors came to occupy la zona. As residents told or listened to stories about torture and murder at the hands of narcos, their perceived vulnerability increased and fear came to predominate. In this article I theorize how rumors of violence shaped affective atmospheres of terror and altered spatial practices in a drug-war zone. Feelings of bodily risk first affected vulnerable populations and later spread to people who had previously felt secure in border zones. These narco-stories not only circulated terror but also allowed people to achieve intimacy and maintain social bonds through the shared experience of terror.
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.
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.
Danielle C. Ompad,, David L. Bell,, Silvia Amesty, Alan G. Nyitray, Mary Papenfuss, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, Luisa L. Villa, Anna R. Giuliano (2013): Men Who Purchase Sex, Who Are They? An Interurban Comparison, Journal of Urban Health May 2013.
Most research concerning clients of commercial sex workers (CSWs) relies upon CSW reports of client characteristics and behavior. We describe correlates of ever purchasing sex among 3,829 men from three cities: São Paulo, Brazil; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Tampa, USA. A computer-assisted self-interview collected data on demographics and sexual behavior. There were significant site differences—26.5 % paid for sex in São Paulo, 10.4 % in Cuernavaca, and 4.9 % in Tampa. In all cities, men who had sex with men and women (versus sex with women only) were more likely to have ever paid for sex. In São Paulo and Cuernavaca, CSW clients were older, had higher educational attainment, and were less likely to be married. In Tampa, older age was associated with being a CSW client but not education and marital status. In São Paulo and Cuernavaca, CSW clients had more partners than men who had never paid for sex. In São Paulo, CSW clients initiated vaginal sex at an earlier age, while in Cuernavaca they were more likely to self-report a sexually transmitted infection. CSW clients varied with respect to demographics across the three cities while the association between paying for sex and risky sexual behavior seems to be somewhat conserved. These findings suggest that interventions among CSW clients should focus on condom use with commercial and non-commercial partners as these men may be at increased risk for transmitting and acquiring sexually transmitted infections to and from their sex partners. Better understanding of client characteristics is needed for targeting interventions and creating culturally appropriate content.