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Mobile OrientationsAn Intimate Autoethnography of Migration, Sex Work, and Humanitarian Borders$
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Nicola Mai

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226584959

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226585147.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

The Trafficking of Migration

The Trafficking of Migration

(p.106) Six The Trafficking of Migration
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 6 draws on the findings of Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry, a research project directed by the author between 2007 and 2009. The study found that the large majority of migrants working in the London sex industry are neither forced nor trafficked, and that by selling sex they try to avoid the unrewarding and exploitative conditions they meet in other sectors. The chapter discusses the resistance that the research findings met among sexual-humanitarian institutions and organizations targeting all sex workers as potential victims of trafficking by contextualizing it within the emergence of new forms of affective and ‘post-truth’ global governance. Drawing on the interview with Alina, a young woman from Moldova who had been trafficked and subsequently went on to work in the sex industry autonomously, the chapter shows how the deployment of irony in interviews with former victims of trafficking facilitates the emergence of complex experiences of agency and exploitation. The chapter also discusses the politics of representation of migrant sex workers by introducing Normal, the third film in the author’s Sex Work Trilogy as the interview with Alina inspired the film and formed the basis of one of its six characters.

Keywords:   migration, sex work, trafficking, post-truth, affect, agency, sexual humanitarianism

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