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Cosmopolitan Sex Workers: Women and Migration in a Global City

Overview

Cosmopolitan Sex Workers is a groundbreaking look into the phenomenon of non-trafficked women who migrate from one global city to another to perform paid sexual labor in Southeast Asia. Through a new, innovative framework, Christine B.N. Chin shows that as neoliberal economic restructuring processes create pathways connecting major cities throughout the world, competition and collaboration between cities creates new avenues for the movement of people, services and goods. Loosely organized networks of migrant ...

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Overview

Cosmopolitan Sex Workers is a groundbreaking look into the phenomenon of non-trafficked women who migrate from one global city to another to perform paid sexual labor in Southeast Asia. Through a new, innovative framework, Christine B.N. Chin shows that as neoliberal economic restructuring processes create pathways connecting major cities throughout the world, competition and collaboration between cities creates new avenues for the movement of people, services and goods. Loosely organized networks of migrant labor grow in tandem with professional-managerial classes, and sex workers migrate to different parts of cities, depending on the location of the clientele to which they cater.

But while global cities create economic opportunities for migrants (and depend on the labor they provide), states react with new forms of securitization and surveillance. As a result, migrants must negotiate between appropriating and subverting the ideas that inform global economic restructuring. Chin argues that migration allows women to develop intercultural skills that help them to make these negotiations.

Cosmopolitan Sex Workers is innovative not only in its focus on non-trafficked women, but in its analysis of the complex relationship between global economic processes and migration for sex work. Through fascinating interviews with sex workers in Kuala Lumpur, Chin shows that sex work can provide women with the means of earning income for families, for education, and even for their own businesses. It also allows women the means to travel the world - a form of cosmopolitanism "from below."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Cosmopolitan Sex Workers offers a rare glimpse into the illicit world and shadow economy of transnational sex work. It adds a new twist to our perspective of the villain pimp, illuminating why they cannot always be reduced to a trafficker and illustrating with complexity how they can also be welcome brokers for agentic sellers of sex. This book is an important addition to the literature on intimate labor, women's migration, and gender and globalization." —Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, University of Southern California, author of Illicit Flirtations: Women, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Christine B. N. Chin is Associate Professor of International Relations in the School of International Service at American University. She is the author of In Service and Servitude: Foreign Female Domestic Workers and the Malaysian "Modernity" Project and Cruising in the Global Economy: Profits, Pleasure and Work at Sea.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Chapter 1. Kaleidoscope of City, Creativity and Cosmopolitanism
Chapter 2. Making of a 'World Class City': The State and Transnational Migrant Labor
Chapter 3. Re-establishing Internal Borders of the Nation: Creatively Repressive State Strategies
Chapter 4. "What is wrong with being a 'Miss'?": Transnational Migrant Women and Sex Work in the 21st Century
Chapter 5. "We Sell Services, We Do Not Sell People": Case Study of 'Syndicate X' in KL
Chapter 6. Knowing and Living in KL's Contact Zones: Gendered and Racialized Cosmopolites
Chapter 7. Conclusion
Notes
References
Index

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