Labels, victims, and insecurity: an exploration of the lived realities of migrant women who sell sex in South Africa

  title={Labels, victims, and insecurity: an exploration of the lived realities of migrant women who sell sex in South Africa},
  author={Rebecca Walker and Treasa Galvin},
  journal={Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal},
  pages={277 - 292}
ABSTRACT Based on research work among cross-border migrant women who sell sex in South Africa, this paper examines the ways in which the label ‘victim’ of human trafficking ignores the complex realities of human mobility. We argue here that as state legislative and policy measures, in relation to human trafficking, justify the securitisation of borders and the curtailment of migrant rights, an accompanying hegemonic discourse serves to deny the agency of migrant women sex workers. As a result… 

‘Skeptics’ and ‘believers’: anti-trafficking, sex work, and migrant rights activism in South Africa

ABSTRACT Very little is known about activism, as it relates to the issue of migration in South Africa. Yet, migration policy and migration governance are increasingly becoming important to states

Single-Mothering as a Category of Concern in Times of Displacement: The Case of Internally Displaced Persons in Southern Philippines

Abstract This qualitative study examined the experiences of displaced single-mothers because of conflict. The study drew findings from 16 single-mother internally displaced person (IDP) participants

The Narratives of Shia Madurese Displaced Women on Their Religious Identity and Gender Citizenship: A Study of Women and Shi’as in Indonesia

It is argued that religious identity and gender citizenship are constructed by these displaced Shias women concerning their belief as to what is considered ‘true’ in Islam, acquired from the ‘Islamic traditions’ of their local Islamic teacher (s).

“It’s a Big Umbrella” Uncertainty, Pentecostalism, and the Integration of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Immigrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

: Th is article questions the dominant narrative that considers displaced persons as victims, powerless, and lacking agency to shape their individual and collective conditions. Based on an

Gendering (in)security: interrogating security logics within states of exception

This collection contributes to debates, which seek to move feminist scholarship away from the reification of the war/peace and security/economy divides, and foregrounds the empirical reality of the breakdown of these traditional divisions, paying particular attention to the ‘state of exception’ and similar frameworks.

Zimbabwean Migrant Domestic Worker Activism in South Africa



The Perverse Politics of Four-Letter Words: Risk and Pity in the Securitisation of Human Trafficking

This article unpacks two constructions of human trafficking: as a security threat and as a humanitarian problem. Restricting its focus to trafficking of women for the sex industry, the article

The Difference Borders Make: (Il)legality, Migration and Trafficking in Italy among Eastern European Women in Prostitution

About the book: Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration is a groundbreaking exploration of the parallel and entwined meanings of home and migration. Contributors draw on feminist and

Trafficking (in) Representations: Understanding the Recurrent Appeal of Victimhood and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Representations of trafficking and forced labour are pervasive within media, policymaking, and humanitarian debates, discourses and interventions. The terms exploitation and trafficking are

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When the women’s movement reverted back to the nineteenth-century Victorian concept of ‘trafficking in women’ to address abuses of migrant women in the sex industry, it unwittingly adopted not only a

SEX WORK AND MIGRATION: The Dangers of Oversimplification- A Case Study of Vietnamese Women in Cambodia

In recent years, the international sex trade has received increasing media coverage and policy attention, particularly in regard to associated migration and the growing role played by organized

Human Trafficking and Sex Industry: Does Ethnicity and Race Matter?

In this article, I argue that racial and ethnic women are likely exposed to trafficking due to (1) structural poverty and marginalisation and (2) sexual violence is a common fact in domestic and

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In December 2002 the UN adopted a definition of ‘trafficking’ that critics worry discounts female agency in commercial sex and migration. This definition was already being used in Bosnia-Herzegovina

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A recent, in-depth study of the sex work industry in Cape Town by the ISS and SWEAT calls into question allegations that there is large-scale trafficking into the sexWork industry and suggests that a law enforcement approach may not be the most appropriate way to counter the problem.

Sex trafficking, human rights and social justice

1. Introduction 2. The NGO-ification of the Anti-Trafficking Movement in the United States Jennifer Lynne Musto 3. Beyond 'Tragedy' Sholeh Shahrokhi 4. From Thailand with Love Sine Plambech 5. Beyond


Hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children are being forced into situations of labour and sexual exploitation both on the continent and abroad every year. Internationally, trafficking