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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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Interviewing Agents

Interviewing Agents

(p.142) Eight Interviewing Agents
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

Drawing on original and unique research material—interviews with thirty-three male third-party agents from Albania and Romania—chapter 8 questions the usefulness of profiling male agents as “traffickers” to understand their diverse life and work experiences in the sex industry. The experiences of agents who managed sex work through violence (and ended up in jail) in early postcommunist Albania are compared with the more consensual and fluid management techniques adopted by Albanian and Romanian agents in later postcommunist times. The chapter shows that the sex-gendered subjectivities, interpersonal relations, and roles that agents embody reflect ambivalences and contradictions mirroring those faced by the women they manage. These shared ambivalences and contradictions are embedded in the deep socioeconomic and geopolitical transformations taking place in the societies of origin and destination of migrants working in the sex industry. The chapter also discusses the implications of these intersubjective dynamics and socioeconomic transformations for antitrafficking interventions, which should acknowledge that migrant and nonmigrant sex workers, including minors and people working under the management of third-party agents, can and do consent to work in the sex industry in order to fulfill their mobile orientations.

Keywords:   third party sex work, agents, trafficking, migration, sex work, postcommunism, gender

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