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Migration, Mobility and Sex Work

Migration and sex work are often linked as some migrants may turn to sex work if they cannot find an alternative means of making money. Migrant sex workers often become the targets of both police and immigration officers, especially those who cross borders (both legally and illegally) and do not have immigration status. Other than facing the criminalization of sex work, they may also face surveillance, racial profiling, arrest, detention, deportation and other restrictions on mobility imposed by criminal, immigration and trafficking laws.

As well as selling sex themselves, migrants may become the clients of sex workers as a means of escaping the solitude that often accompanies migration. Another way in which HIV, sex work and mobility are linked is through ‘sex tourism’, whereby clients travel between countries seeking paid sex. Sex tourism is fueling the demand for sex workers in many countries, particularly in Asia and the Caribbean. In some cases, men travel to another country in order to take advantage of lenient age of consent laws, or because they know that it will be easy to find paid sex.

Excerpt taken from, Avert , Sex Workers, HIV and AIDs , 2019

Questions for Reflection

After reading this excerpt, what kind of questions flood your mind?

Do you think that decriminalizing sex work will eradicate the negative impact of sex work?

Do you think legalizing sex work will give sex workers that added legal protection along with their human rights?

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