"Shades of Grey": Spaces In and Beyond Trafficking for Thai Women Involved in Commercial Sexual Labour in Sydney and Singapore

Citation:

Yea, Sallie. 2012. “‘Shades of Grey’: Spaces In and Beyond Trafficking for Thai Women Involved in Commercial Sexual Labour in Sydney and Singapore.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (1): 42–60. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2011.617906.

Author: Sallie Yea

Abstract:

In this article I explore the migration trajectories of some Thai women trafficked internationally for commercial sexual exploitation, suggesting that many figuratively ‘cross the border’ between coerced and consensual existence in volatile migrant sex industries during the course of their migration experiences, thus complicating debates around the notion of choice in ‘sex’ trafficking. In exploring these women's transitions I seek to understand why women who had either never previously been sex workers or who were sex workers operating without duress, but who were then trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation remain in, or re-enter volatile forms of migrant sex work at a later point under voluntary arrangements. In answering this question I focus on the temporal and spatial aspects of individual women's experiences in migrant sex industries drawing in detail on the narratives of two Thai women trafficked to Sydney, Australia and Singapore. I make some suggestions about methodologies used in trafficking research that can assist in bringing to light some of these complex time–space dimensions of women's experiences through their shifting positions in commercial sexual labour. The article also reflects on the implications of these women's trajectories for the ‘prostitution debate’ as it relates to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation by suggesting that many trafficked women occupy ambiguous or in-between positions in migrant sex industries, neither easily distinguishable by the label of victim of trafficking or migrant sex worker.

Keywords: sex trafficking, commercial sexual labour, methodologies, migration trajectories, Thailand

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Political Economies, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Thailand

Year: 2012

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.