Sex Work, Immigration and Social Difference (Hardback) book cover

Sex Work, Immigration and Social Difference

By Julie Ham

© 2017 – Routledge

176 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-08-19
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About the Book

Public discourses around migrant sex workers are often more confident about what migrant sex workers signify morally but are less clear about who the ‘migrant’ is. Based on interviews with immigrant, migrant and racialized sex workers in Vancouver, Canada and Melbourne, Australia, Sex Work, Immigration and Social Difference challenges the ‘migrant sex worker’ category by investigating the experiences of women who are often assumed to be ‘migrant sex workers’ in Australia and Canada.

Many ‘migrant sex workers’ in Melbourne and Vancouver are in fact, naturalized citizens or permanent residents, whose involvement in the sex industry intersects with diverse ideas and experiences of citizenship in Australia and Canada. This book examines how immigrant, migrant and racialized sex workers in Vancouver and Melbourne wield or negotiate ideas of illegality and legality to obtain desired outcomes in their day-to-day work.

Sex work continues to be the subject of fierce debate in the public sphere, at the policy level, and within research discourses. This study interrogates these perceptions of the ‘migrant sex worker’ by presenting the lived realities of women who embody or experience dimensions of this category. This book is interdisciplinary and will appeal to those engaged in criminology, sociology, law, and women’s studies.

Reviews

"Julie Ham delivers a compelling, multi-faceted account of ‘migrant sex work’. Starting with the lived realities of the women involved, she challenges public and policy perceptions of the industry. Ham’s leading-edge methodology (grounded in community engagement and reciprocity) will be a key reference for new scholars; her conclusions, a beacon for policy development and social change. A must-read for academics, lay scholars, and policy-makers alike."

Frances M. Shaver, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University, Canada, and researcher at (understanding) sex work: a health research & community partnership.

"This impressive piece of research takes an empirically grounded approach to sex work in Melbourne and Vancouver that develops into a fascinating contribution to intersectionality theory. Its critique of the category of migrant sex worker and its engagement with ideas of racial difference offer important new ways to understand the positions and struggles of migrant workers more generally."

Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director of COMPAS, University of Oxford, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Investigating agency in sex work research

3. Intersectionality and social difference in sex work research

4. Power, positioning and other methodological challenges in sex work research

5. Sex work and the non-migrant ‘migrant’

6. Using legalities and illegalities in sex work

7. Co-workers, clients and knowledge production in sex work

8. Conclusion: Agency, security, mobility and social difference in sex work

About the Author

Julie Ham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. She has published on sex work, anti-trafficking, gender and migration, feminist participatory action research, and activist efforts by trafficking survivors, sex workers and domestic workers. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology, she worked with the Border Crossing Observatory, Monash University; the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW); and with community-based research projects and organizations in Canada, working with sex workers, immigrant and refugee communities, women substance users, low-income urban communities, and anti-violence organizations.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship

Globalizing forces have had a profound impact on the nature of contemporary criminal justice and law more generally. This is evident in the increasing salience of borders and mobility in the production of illegality and social exclusion. Immigration and its control are highly charged topics in contemporary crime policy and politics. In the past two decades such matters have become subjects of extensive scholarly analysis throughout the social sciences. Though criminology has been a relative latecomer to this body of work, it is now possible to speak of an emerging ‘criminology of mobility.

Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship showcases contemporary studies that connect criminological scholarship to migration studies and explores the intellectual resonances between the two. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the theoretical and methodological challenges posed by mass mobility and its control. By doing that, it aims to chart an intellectual space and establish a theoretical tradition within criminology to house scholars of immigration control, who have traditionally published either in general criminological or in anthropological, sociological, refugee studies, human rights and other publications.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC004000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology