Session 28: Sex work – voices and identities 2

The mythical 40.000. Discourses on sex work and trafficking during the soccer World Cups 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa
Carolin Kuppers

Ahead the Soccer World Cups 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa, the media was abuzz with articles on sex work and human trafficking. It was especially striking that a specific number – 40.000 anticipated extra sex workers to meet the needs of the male World Cup visitors – occurred in many articles before both World Cups, 2006 and 2010. In Germany, these 40.000 sex workers often became 40.000 trafficking victims, mostly from Eastern Europe. Even though there was no evidence for 40.000 extra sex workers in 2006, this rumour was kind of recycled in South Africa in 2010, and sometimes even increased to 100.000 people who were feared to be trafficked into the country. The paper analysed some of the discourses that adapt to this number and which fears might have been effected by it:

1. Major sporting events seem to be linked to a higher need in sexual services. Football with its references to ‘real’ masculinity and obvious heteronormativity offers a ‘battlefield’, in which the discourses on Sex Work are part of a discursive field that interrelates with hegemonic constructions of maleness and male, heterosexual sexuality.

2. The conjured ‘fact’ of 40.000 extra sex workers who are expected to enter the country, as well as all the world cup visitors, disclose the fears of open or permeable borders. Linked to it are xenophobic discourses of ‘the others’ who are regarded as threatening: either the foreign soccer fans to ‘our women’ or the foreign sex workers to ‘our morality’.

3. There seems to be a discursive need of the ‘female victim’, which becomes obvious in the constant conflation of human trafficking and sex work.

4. There is the binary of female sex workers as either victims or villains. Therein Sex Workers can be regarded as the ‘abject other’ to white procreative heterosexuality.

On improving performance labor within the pornography industry: female producers and the politics of providing an ethical working environment
Rachel Libermann

Independent sex work: entrepreneurial cultures in the informal economy?
Jane Pitcher. Department of Social Sciences,Loughborough University

Drawing on an on-going study based primarily on interviews with female, male and transgender sex workers to explore their job-related experiences and perceptions of the conditions and nature of their work, this paper will examine labour processes in different indoor settings.

Jane argues that independent escorts’ presentation of themselves as small business managers who take control of their work organization and practices challenges dominant narratives of sex work as an extreme response to desperate circumstances. Her findings so far show that participants working as independent operatives view themselves as exercising a considerable degree of autonomy compared with workers in many other precarious service sector occupations.

Ms Pitcher both draws on and interrogates theories of emotional labour and identity management to make sense of the way in which independent escorts and also sex workers in other settings, such as managed working flats, develop strategies to manage the client-worker relationship and draw boundaries between intimate labour and non-commercial intimate relationships. She also suggests ways of reconceptualising forms of indoor sexual labour to take into account not only market structures and differential skills requirements, but also the aspirations of workers and the comparative levels of agency they experience.

Jane may be contacted via her department.

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