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SWAN: the Hidden Harms of Human Trafficking, Dr. Julie Ham

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SWAN: the Hidden Harms of Human Trafficking, Dr. Julie Ham

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SWAN: the Hidden Harms of Human Trafficking, Dr. Julie Ham

  1. 1. SEX WORK AND THE NON-MIGRANT ‘MIGRANT’ Dr. Julie Ham ‘The Hidden Harms of Anti- Trafficking’ Community Forum 15 October 2015
  2. 2. ‘MIGRANT SEX WORKER’ AS CODE Category as code or container for range of social differences (e.g. race, class, gender) Archetypal anti-trafficking narrative Relegated to either: • Probable trafficking victim and/or • Assumed ‘illegal’ migrant in an oft-criminalized work sector 2
  3. 3. IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT AND RACIALIZED SEX WORKERS 65 participants (Vancouver=35, Melbourne=30) •Legally recognised as im/migrants, •Self-identity as im/migrants, •Treated as or assumed to be im/migrants, and/or •Perform race or ethnicity in their work.
  4. 4. LEGAL WORK/ RESIDENCY STATUS •Majority are citizens or permanent residents •84% had documented status •8/65 had ambiguous legal status (visas or unspecified) 4
  5. 5. ETHNICITY   Vancouver Melbourne   Identify as  at work Identify as  personally Identify as  at work Identify as  personally Asian (includes  Southeast, East and  South Asian)  24 23 26 26 European 3 2 1 3 Middle Eastern 6 4     Latin American (includes  South & Central America  and Mexico) 1 2 1 1 Mixed racial heritage  (e.g. Asian/European)   3     Total (interviewees) 34/35 34/35 28/30 30
  6. 6. ENTRY INTO SEX WORK Sex work as a  Canadian or  Australian  experience
  7. 7. ADMINISTRATIVE TO AFFECTIVE CITIZENSHIP Feelings and practices of citizenship and belonging in an industry where the citizenship and residency of racialized sex workers is often disbelieved or considered suspect. Four emergent themes: 1.Negotiating national identity 2.Managing stigma & national identity in the workplace 3.Facilitating mobility 4.Managing motherhood in the sex industry 7
  8. 8. IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP AND NATIONAL IDENTITY (1) Now I don’t feel Canadian, I don’t feel [South American country of origin]. I feel, like, out of place. When I go back home, I have an accent in Spanish and I have an accent in English. So it’s horrible. [What accent do you have in Spanish?] Not [South American country of origin], maybe like Peruvian, or maybe somebody who speak English who’s trying to speak Spanish. [‘Sonia’, immigrant citizen, South American, Vancouver, massage shop worker, 10 years in Canada] 8
  9. 9. IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP AND NATIONAL IDENTITY (2) I always say I’m Chinese….still think I believe, I belong to China, not Australia, yeah, even [living in Australia] for 10 years. No, still want to go back to China. [‘Annie’, permanent resident, Melbourne, brothel worker] I feel I[‘m] Canadian, don’t feel I’m Chinese…..If I go another country, I say I’m Canadian. In Canada, I say I’m Chinese. [‘Bella’, immigrant citizen, Vancouver, massage shop worker, 6 years in Canada] 9
  10. 10. CLIENTS AND MANAGING NATIONALITY IN THE WORKPLACE (1) Some Indians…put you down, like ‘oh, you [are] Indian, why you doing this job’...I just tell them, oh, sometimes I say I’m [Southeast Asian] (laughs), anything…some of them, like they just ‘why you here? Why you doing this job?’ [‘Alicia’, permanent resident, South Asian, Melbourne, brothel worker]   [Re: a Korean client] [L]ong story short, one of them were kind of judgmental….[He said] ‘So why don’t you go back to Korea?’ [I said] Because I, no, first of all, I came here when I was 14, have a degree from here – They’re really pity looking and like, ‘why don’t you, like, quit this and go backto Korea?’ [‘Emma’, independent worker, permanent resident, Asian, Melbourne] 10
  11. 11. IMPLICATIONS  Policing of sex workers;  Theorizing sex work outside administratively determined categories;  Greater analytical precision around ‘culture’, ‘difference’ and ‘migrants’. 11
  12. 12. Thank You 12 Se x Wo rk, Im m ig ratio n and So cialDiffe re nce (Routledge, forthcoming 2016) jham@hku.hk

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