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SEX WORK AND TRAFFICKING IN ”WESTERN” DISCOURSE: Examining the dissonances between US narratives and Cambodian women’s experiences
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

By examining Cambodia as a case study, this thesis is exploring the resonances and dissonances between “Western” discourse reflected in US policies and NGOs and women’s experiences of sex work and trafficking. The massive attention to human trafficking driven by the US “War on trafficking” has undoubtedly had tremendous consequences on women’s lives in Cambodia, as the US still exerts a very prominent influence on the country especially through development aid. Examining the discourse upheld by US policies and NGOs in relation to that particular issue and comparing it to Cambodian women’s lived experiences allows us to reflect on the possible power relations that still subsist in the representations of sex trafficking. Taking a post-colonial perspective, this study uncovers the problematic “Othering” imbued in US discourse, creating a patronizing attitude towards “non- Western” women onto whom the victim status is projected, therefore reproducing colonial tropes. The result is that women’s voices and their multilayered experiences are silenced and remain largely unexplored. When listening to the women and those working close to them we learn that sex, money, desire, love, kinship, and Khmer norms all come together to influence women’s decisions to migrate and to enter the sex industry. In Cambodia, there is a complex interplay between structural factors, social obligations and personal desires which is crucial to understand sex work and trafficking. In other contexts, this interplay of factors might take different forms but structural conditions must always be examined and labor migration and participation must be linked to the context-specific economic, political and ideological landscape in which women act.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
sex trafficking, sex work, Cambodia, US discourse, post-colonialism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-403195DiVA, id: diva2:1388527
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Master Programme in Political Science
Presentation
2020-01-14, 05:24 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-01-27 Created: 2020-01-25 Last updated: 2020-01-27Bibliographically approved

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Department of Government
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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