The Disappearing of a Migration Category: Migrants Who Sell Sex


Agustín, Laura. 2006. “The Disappearing of a Migration Category: Migrants Who Sell Sex.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32 (1): 29–47. 

Author: Laura Agustín


Migrant women selling sex are generally neglected by migration and diaspora studies. The moral panic on ‘trafficking’, a prolonged debate within feminism on commercial sex and some activists’ attempts to conflate the concept of ‘prostitution’ with ‘trafficking’ combine to shift study of these migrants to domains of criminology and feminism, with the result that large numbers of women’s migrations are little known. This article reveals the silences at work and where the attention goes, and theorises that the shift from conventional study to moral outrage facilitates the avoidance of uncomfortable truths for Western societies: their enormous demand for sexual services and the fact that many women do not mind or prefer this occupation to others available to them.

Keywords: sex, prostitution, Trafficking, diaspora, migration

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2006

© 2024 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