Tag Archives: Mexico

Pintin-Perez, Margarita, Martha Luz Rojas Wiesner, und Rupaleem Bhuyan. „The symbolic violence of tolerance zones: Constructing the spatial marginalization of female Central American migrant sex workers in Mexico“. Women’s Studies International Forum 68 (Mai 2018): 75–84.

In this paper, we explore how the spatial ordering of sex-work in southern Mexico naturalizes the presence of migrant women in designated “tolerance zones”. Drawing on a feminist approach to ethnographic research in the city of Dominguez, Chiapas, we critically analyze the symbolic powers concealed and enacted through the official discourse of “tolerance” in public health regulations on commercial sex and embodied everyday life of migrant women from Central America. We engage with feminist debates regarding geographies of sex work and oppression to illustrate how tolerance zones mediate and maintain the marginal status of female sex workers who, despite their irregular migration status, are constructed (and view themselves) as bodies in “need of tolerance”. Our analysis of spatial practices that govern tolerance zones illustrates how the discourse of tolerance becomes a vehicle for symbolic violence, naturalizing unequal social relations of power in the lives of migrant Central American women.

Luna, Sarah. „Affective Atmospheres of Terror on the Mexico–U.S. Border: Rumors of Violence in Reynosa’s Prostitution Zone“. Cultural Anthropology 33, Nr. 1 (28. Februar 2018): 58–84.

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.

Gregory Swedberg; Moralizing Public Space: Prostitution, Disease, and Social Disorder in Orizaba, Mexico, 1910–1945, Journal of Social History, 2017


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.

Robertson, Angela M.; Syvertsen, Jennifer L.; Amaro, Hortensia; u. a.: Can’t Buy My Love: A Typology of Female Sex Workers’ Commercial Relationships in the Mexico–U.S. Border Region, in: Journal of Sex Research 51 (6), 2014, S. 711–720.
Female sex workers (FSWs) experience elevated risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through unprotected sex with male clients, yet the complexity of these commercial relationships remains understudied. From 2010 to 2011, we explored FSWs’ conceptualizations of various client types and related risk behavior patterns using semistructured interviews with 46 FSWs in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where FSWs’ HIV/STI prevalence is increasing. Our grounded theory analysis identified four types of commercial relationships: nonregular clients, regular clients and friends, clients who “fell in love” with FSWs, and long-term financial providers who often originated from the United States. As commercial relationships developed, clients’ social and emotional connections to FSWs increased, rendering condom negotiation and maintaining professional boundaries more difficult. Drug abuse and poverty also influenced behaviors, particularly in Ciudad Juárez, where lucrative U.S. clients were increasingly scarce. While struggling to cultivate dependable relationships in a setting marked by historical sex tourism from a wealthier country, some FSWs ceased negotiating condom use. We discuss the need for HIV/STI research and prevention interventions to recognize the complexity within FSWs’ commercial relationships and how behaviors (e.g., condom use) evolve as relationships develop through processes that are influenced by local sociopolitical contexts and binational income inequality.

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.

Dewey, Susan/Kelly, Patty: Policing Pleasure: Sex Work, Policy, and the State in Global Perspective, New York University Press 2011.

Mónica waits in the Anti-Venereal Medical Service of the Zona Galactica, the legal, state-run brothel where she works in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. Surrounded by other sex workers, she clutches the Sanitary Control Cards that deem her registered with the city, disease-free, and able to work. On the other side of the world, Min stands singing karaoke with one of her regular clients, warily eyeing the door lest a raid by the anti-trafficking Public Security Bureau disrupt their evening by placing one or both of them in jail.
Whether in Mexico or China, sex work-related public policy varies considerably from one community to the next. A range of policies dictate what is permissible, many of them intending to keep sex workers themselves healthy and free from harm. Yet often, policies with particular goals end up having completely different consequences.
Policing Pleasure examines cross-cultural public policies related to sex work, bringing together ethnographic studies from around the world—from South Africa to India—to offer a nuanced critique of national and municipal approaches to regulating sex work. Contributors offer new theoretical and methodological perspectives that move beyond already well-established debates between “abolitionists” and “sex workers’ rights advocates” to document both the intention of public policies on sex work and their actual impact upon those who sell sex, those who buy sex, and public health more generally.