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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: 22 May 2022

Love, Exploitation, and Trafficking

Love, Exploitation, and Trafficking

(p.124) Seven Love, Exploitation, and Trafficking
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

The chapter focuses on migrant sex workers’ complex understandings of agency and exploitation in sentimental and economic terms, which are intimately interwoven and cannot be read, let alone intervened in, according to reductive, free/forced binaries. The chapter focuses on the experience of Candy, a nineteen-year-old Romanian woman who followed her boyfriend to the United Kingdom and ended up being forced to work in the sex industry. Her story highlights the role played by “love” in the experience of being trafficked, which was corroborated by the accounts of many other female research participants. The chapter also engages with the experiences of Nigerian sex workers in France, who tend to work under the management of older women and to accept being exploited within set time and economic limits in order to reduce the hardship of their families (and themselves) in the long term. Overall, the dynamics analyzed in this chapter show that it is respect for (or betrayal of) the economic and/or sentimental arrangements framing women’s involvement in the sex industry, rather than the involvement in sex work per se, that determines whether they feel exploited, trafficked or not.

Keywords:   migration, sex work, trafficking, love, stigma, filmmaking, third party agents

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