Migration, Trafficking and Sex Work: Links and Papers from Laura Agustin

Commentary on Sex Work and Migration (Early work courtesy of Laura M. Agustín.)

Social-justice activists internationally have hailed as progressive and humane the 1998 report The Sex Sector: The Economic and Social Bases of Prostitution in Southeast Asia. Edited by Lin Lean Lim of the International Labour Office in Geneva, the book recommends that the sex industry be included in official government accountings, first, because of its enormous contributions to regional economies, and second, as the only way to improve the situation of those employed as sex workers.
The Sex Sector: A Victory for Diversity

There is no one study that proves or disproves the "health effects" of prostitution, because that would mean essentialising a single aspect of the lives of all the world's people who have any kind of transactions involving sex and money...
"Health Effects of Prostitution": Which Health? Which Prostitution?

From the point of view of many Third World migrant prostitutes, Europeans are confused about sex. At tourism sites away from home, Europeans seem sophisticated about the possibilities of holiday sex and affection, and many invite new friends or facilitate trips to Europe to work. Yet once in Europe, migrants find that, despite abundant opportunities to work--meaning their services are desired--they themselves are despised, pitied and harassed, often more than they would be at home...
Europeans Confused About Sex, Say Migrant Prostitutes

Los migrantes que vienen a trabajar en la industria sexual europea son de toda clase, color, edad, etnia, nacionalidad, y no sólo son mujeres sino hombres y transgéneros también . . . La gran mayoría, concuerdan fuentes por todos lados del mundo, ha entendido que su trabajo futuro o será directamente prostitución o que tendrá un aspecto sexual...
Trabajar en la industria del sexo

Migrant workers in the European sex industry come from every conceivable background, in terms of class, ethnicity, nationality and age, and they aren't just women but men and transgenders as well. They arrive in Europe via countless routes, alone, with friends, in couples or in accompanied groups. Some of them arrive with money to spend while others arrive indebted. They may be using their own real documents and a tourist visa, or falsified papers and a real work permit or any combination of true and false 'papers'...
Working in the European Sex Industry: Migrant Possibilities

Tanto sociólogos y trabajadores de salud pública como médicos miran a la prostituta no como cuerpo entero sino que sólo como sus partes capaces de portar y transmitir enfermedades sexuales....
Prostitutas de cuerpo entero

"Although commercial sex is now recognised as a global, multi-billion dollar industry, its workers--in their millions--are only referred to as 'illegals', as victims of 'trafficking' and as potential 'vectors' of HIV/AIDS--when they are referred to at all."
They Speak, But Who Listens?

To empower me as sex worker you assume the role of acting on me and you assume that I see myself as an individual engaged in sex work. If I don't see myself this way, then I am disqualified from the empowerment project, despite your best intentions. The 'identity' issue here is crucial...
The Em- Of Empowerment

People in the audience with questions not falling into the CATW line were either ignored, silenced or violently attacked, verbally, by panelists, many of whom were members of CATW. The strong presence of the Coalition was not, however, made public. Janice Raymond spoke with heavy emphasis on the threat of those who do not follow the definitions mentioned above, actually pausing at one point to look around the hall and warn: "There might even be some of them right here in this room with us."
A letter to the Ford Foundation.

Sex Work and Migration

Laura Mª Agustín: Research and education on the sex industry and ‘third world’ migrants. Focus on NGO and ‘solidarity’ projects that work with migrant prostitutes. Affiliations with the Open University, United Kingdom, and Colectivo Ioé (Madrid) and the Society for International
Development (Rome).

In Europe, many recent migrants are destined to work in prostitution. The majority of them, upon leaving their countries, know their work will have a sexual component, but it is difficult for them to know beforehand the common work conditions, the problems associated with using falsified documents and the possibilities of falling into the hands of opportunists or criminals...

Connexions for Migrants/Conexiones para Migrantes: