Week 14 Discussion Prompt: Sex Work, Tourism, Trafficking

Summarize the key interventions of the article about Cabezas, and relate it to the critique of human trafficking in the other article. Keeping in mind last week’s discussion of prison abolition,  do you think all forms of sex work should be made legal? Why or why not?

67 thoughts on “Week 14 Discussion Prompt: Sex Work, Tourism, Trafficking”

  1. Cabezas article talks about the sex industry in the Caribbean. Tourism and globalization have massive impacts on the sex trade around the world. From Cuba to the Caribbean, particularly let’s say, tourist attractions, often lend a hand to the sex trade. A lot of the sex trade developed through complex governments and the culture among the population. The Dominican Republic and Cuba are both impacted heavily by an underground sex industry. “Identified as the most significant social impact of tourism, tourist-oriented prostitution known as sex tourism is a growing phenomenon with far reaching social, political, and economic implications for countries that depend heavily on tourism (Cabeza P92). This industry just doesn’t supply sex but other ways that the prostitutes exploit. Consumption of food, opportunities, recreation and many other ways they use the tourists money to enjoy their own lives. The local participants are happy to engage with someone from a different yet wealthy background and country. Immigration and marriage are also viable options for the participants. Sex tourism is more than just an illicit activity, it involves socially acceptable behaviors and values (Cabeza P993). Again, sex isn’t the only thing that is hustled in these countries. Other ‘’Jineteros”, or hustlers also stake claim to the globalization of tourism. They will sell anything from cigars, rum, guides, escorts, brokers or romantic companions. Anything that can generate money in the tourist area it can be found through them.
    Human trafficking is also a major concern in these countries. Due to the low income and limited opportunities, the participants are eager to find a way out, after all they are selling their bodies for money. Often times they are kidnapped and imprisoned then auctioned off or forced into the prostitution rings. Because it is illegal, it is underground causing thousands of women to be sold and forced into prostitution. The current methods are breaking up the brothels is only stopped that one in particular but the operations don’t and won’t stop. Regardless of the amount of man power and busts, the sex rings continue to operate, in fact, the more they break them up the harsher the conditions for the women because of the cover they try to stay under. Sex work could be made legal however, what would it say about our society? Yet, we can go get a regular massage, rubbed and groomed all over, but as soon as a ‘private’ part is included, it becomes illicit or illegal? It’s a fine line between whats illegal and what isn’t. just like the drug trade, if we legalized marijuana, we wouldn’t have to combat… it’s not that different than the sex trade.

    1. Hi George,

      I enjoyed reading your post. I liked how you summarized Cabezas article. I thought it was interesting that you included how sex tourism includes companionship and emotional support, all socially acceptable things, rather than just sex. I definitely agree with you that the more power that is being pushed to stop trafficking, the more women are getting hurt due to no health precautions and lacking a normal way of life. This issue is a major gray area that is hard to define. Also, I found it interesting that you compared the sex trade to the drug trade. Looking back at last weeks discussion, I understand what you mean by this comparison.

    2. George,
      I like the way you compared the sex work with the drug trade. I personally support the legalization of both the sex work and the drug trade, because they have always existed in society and will remain anyway. Such activities are more dangerous for both providers and consumers when it is underground. How a sex worker can report a physical/sexual abuse and ask for help when his/her job is against the law. I believe the sex workers should be accepted as a part of society because after all they do not intentionally harm other people. In other words, the sex workers are not dangerous people, they are victims themselves, and legalization/acceptance of their activities is an important step to protect them.

    3. I like how you look at the massage industry and the thin line that is drawn between what is legal and what is illegal. It seems that this line along with lines that are drawn with things like alcohol and drugs are based on religious morals, despite the supposed separation of church and state in this country.

    4. Hi George,
      I really like your analysis. I also believe these busts make it harsher on the sex workers and also there is a fine line between what is considered illegal or not. Great summary!

    5. Hey, you brought forth an interesting perspective with the comparison between the sex trade and drugs. But i think they are two completely different aspects of the illicit market. one is a substance the other is the exploitation of humans. I believe sex work can be made legal which would create a safer environment for those in the business.

    6. Hi George, I also liked how you summarized the ideas of the articles. I especially liked your statement: “‘’Jineteros”, or hustlers also stake claim to the globalization of tourism” – I just liked how you worded that. I also agree with your discussion on what’s illegal or legal, such as massages – it’s really silly how black and white people try to make things – that they think an invisible line with the difference of a few inches or millimeters to cross it really can define the difference between good and bad, legal or not.

  2. The article concentrates primarily on two Caribbean Nations (Dominican Republic and Cuba). It discussed their differences but focuses much more on commonalties. The Dominican economy as stated in the article has increased towards free- market reforms. The economy showed high rates of growth during 1990s, however now because of the population of “8.6 million and close to 30 percent of Dominican still living in poverty “the economy is not doing so great. The article further states that countries in Latin America such as Dominican Republic has the lowest share which “ allocates the lowest share of its public capital to education, health, and public safety”. Cuba in the other hand moved very quickly from “state- controlled central planning to a mixed- market economy that emphasizes social welfare”. Unlike Dominican Republic, Cuba has held fast to its health and educational program, continuing to make them universally available. Due to the government/ economy not being strong in country such as Dominican Republic, there is lot of poverty, which leads to people selling their bodies in order to put the food in their table. As the article stated that poverty is one of the main reasons why there are many cases of women/ children selling themselves to survive. When you are living in poverty, you do not have an access to education, health, work, and your only goal is to survive. And for survival these people living in countries such as Dominican Republic will turn to selling themselves or are trafficked by others. I do not think any sort of sex work should be legal anywhere in this world. I think there should be hard/strict punishment for people who commit a crime like this. I do not think anybody deserves to go through life by selling their bodies. I know that the laws/ punishment for this crime sort of crime is very light, and I think it needs to lot strict. I think we should focus more on being aware of such crime. I also believe we need to educate people who live in poverty regarding the health issues they could face if they get involved in sex slave. Lot of these people do not understand that they are being trafficked, and somehow they end up in that industry, that’s why I think education is very important as well as the country and the government taking a lead on this crime to solve it instead of pushing it away.

    1. Alisha,
      While I do not agree with your stance about sex work, I do respect your opinion. Why do you think it’s so bad? You don’t state why you think it should be outlawed and I would like to know more of your thoughts on the issue. After reading the two articles, I came to the conclusion it should be legalised in order to make safer consensual environments. No one should be forced into sexual acts or assaults, and making this kind of behaviour illegal only creates more stress and violence for people who may not have other options or legitimately enjoy their work. Different strokes for different folks.

    2. Hi Alisha,

      I enjoyed reading your post. I liked how you concentrated on the economic side of Cabezas article. Although I do not agree with your perspective about not legalizing sex work, it was very informative and I can now understand better the opposite perspective than mine. The entire issue is a fine line between being forced into sex work and mutual consent with the exchange of gifts/money. I agree that no one should be forced into sex work and there should be taken as a hefty crime but what about those that are not forced in it? This entire issue is a gray area and stands on a fine line between consensual and forced sex work. Also, I agree that impoverished people around the world should be taught about health in particular to their work. Overall, I thought it was very interesting and informative reading your post.

    3. Alisha, while I do agree with the importance of education when it comes to preventing people from being coerced into sex trafficking, I do not agree with your stance on not making sex work legal. Because we live in a over sexualized society I doubt that sex work will ever be eliminated and making it legal will be benifitial to those who partake in it.

    4. Hey Alisha, I like how you included the question of whether people go into sex work as a matter of choice or coercion due to poverty. I like how you highlighted the issue of poverty that plays as one of the main factors of people being coerced into sex work as means of survival. It’s interesting to hear your opinion that you do not think any sort of sex work should be legal anywhere in this world. Do you think all sex work should be criminalized even in the case of a personal choice? I see your point on the moral ethics of selling one’s body, but I wonder if criminalizing all forms of sex work with heavy regulation and harsh punishment is the way to fix the current broken system.

    5. Hi Alisha,
      I agree that such people who are sex slaves should be given the proper education so that they are aware of their situation. Though, I kind of agree with your comment on not legalizing sex work, but I don’t think many men and women who are involved in sex work initially want to sell their bodies for sex. I merely think that this is their last resort to consider, because like you mentioned that no one should be allowed to sell their bodies.

    6. Hi Alisha, I too was interested in your stance of wanting strict punishment for sex workers. I respect your opinion, but was just wondering what your opinion is for where the line should be drawn on what sex work is? The first article painted an idea of how convoluted and complicated the idea can be – and how that can actually can sometimes end up punishing people just based on their social class or color of their skin (the discussion of how light and dark-skinned Cubans were treated in this context). Anyway, not attacking your stance at all, just curious to see what your take is on how to define the lines between what is and isn’t.

  3. Cabezas’ article is effective because she succinctly lays out the geopolitical conditions that allowed for the flourishing of informal sex work in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Cabezas pegs the beginning of this trend to early colonization, where “sexual conquest and exploitation were of paramount importance.” (Cabezas pg. 987) The practice was accelerated because of the unique economic role that the geography of the Caribbean necessitated these countries play, in terms of having limited space to develop other industries for economic development, leading to heavy dependence on tourism and cheap-labor driven exports. This geography based decision was (of course) heavily encouraged by the hegemonic control that the U.S. exerted over both the Dominican Republic and Cuba (until the Revolution). The heyday of neoliberalism further entrenched the path dependency on tourism as the main driver of economic growth as social programs such as education and healthcare were dramatically slashed.

    When compared to the IRIN critique of anti-trafficking campaigns, Cabezas’ article seems even more effective because she doesn’t deny the agency of sex workers. At no point in her article does she give into the tired generalization of sex workers as victims. Although she addresses the massive structural inequalities between tourist-sending countries and tourist-receiving countries, she allows the cultural context for these practices to shine through. This is critical, since the whole concept of jineterismo in the Cuban understanding is one of Cuban power over and use of foreign tourists. This is a fundamentally different understanding than assuming that every person involved in sex work has been the victim of human trafficking, as the IRIN piece informs us is often the assumption.

    Now, none of this is to say that this is a good system and that there is not still massive amounts of racism, sexism and generalized exploitation that exists in this situation. Cabezas spells out these flaws. But I find to be a particularly strange moral ambiguity that we (general developed world populace) have much less scruples about wearing clothing made by exploited labor in terrible conditions or eating food that is grown unsustainably and picked by workers that are abused but are so high and mighty in our quest to rid the world of the terrible scourge of sex work. Heaven forbid someone could actually choose to engage in sex work as they do all over the world and have for the entirety of human existence. I think making sex work legal is the only choice to allow us (everyone) the ability to regulate the industry to actually prevent the abuses that no one supports. Want to get rid of pimps, STDs, violence and police harassment? Make prostitution legal.

    1. Maggie,

      You made an interesting point. People never seem to care that their shoes are made by children in sweat shops. Or the suicides are Apple Plants that went into making the new iPhone. They will still line up for two days outside of the Nike or Apple store for the next big thing. I don’t think sex work is that big of a deal as long as it’s safe and consensual.

    2. Maggie,
      You made a good point, people normally do not care where merchandise/products are made and under what conditions, they simply just use them. People have similar attitude about the sex work; they do not care under what circumstances a person is selling his/her sexual services, they just judge them. To me, it will not be one’s decision to be a sex worker, if he/she have different options/opportunities. I is necessary to find effective ways to help sex workers instead of blaming them, abusing them, and putting them in jail. As you mentioned, the legalization of sex work is an important way to support not only the sex workers, but also their clients.

    3. Hey Maggie, I agree with you that there is “still massive amounts of racism, sexism and generalized exploitation that exists” in sex work industry. I also like how you picked out the moral ambiguity that we often end up consuming the products of the broken system such as wearing clothes made in sweatshops, eating food that was picked by abused and exploited workers. It was interesting to read how you said “making sex work legal is the only choice to allow us (everyone) the ability to regulate the industry to actually prevent the abuses that no one supports”. Do you believe all sex work should be legal? Should there at least be a restriction on age? If all sex works become legal, do you think it will help to reduce sex trafficking or actually increase it by making it easier to create loopholes?

    4. I really enjoyed your final paragraph where you point out the paradox of the massive attention that sex work receives as a moral vice that must be stomped out despite the other often horrible conditions that we have an easier time tolerating and overlooking. However, I think the idea of people voluntarily engaging in sex work is a hard notion for many to accept based on societal norms. Even if legality might make the profession safer and empower some, there is a big psychological barrier here that likely will not diminish in the immediate future.

    5. Hi Maggie,
      I really really enjoyed reading your summary. Your last paragraph really grabbed my attention, especially the last line. I do believe violence would decrease drastically if prostitution were made legal. Great job!

    6. Interesting point to make prostitution legal, like all things, if done properly, it is possible. Good write up. Can’t help but think those countries know it goes on, but because of all the money it brings in and ultimately gets circulated, they turn a blind eye.

    7. I enjoyed reading your post. You make a interesting point by saying making sex work is legal and that is only way to regulate the industry to actually prevent the abuses. I personally think that legalizing something like this is gonna cause more problems than solve it, but I do understand your view point as well.

    8. Hi Maggie:

      I agree with your analysis that people they don’t care that much about their products that they get even me as long as it is in a good condition and shape .I know people are suffering and work hard in sweat shops and likewise the environment in China. So if they legalize sex worker they would be safer and avoiding such conditions like health or abusing .

  4. Sexual labor has rooted in the normal political and economic operation in the Caribbean region for more than five hundred years. The Dominican economy rapidly moved toward the operation of neoliberal and free market in the last twenty years. However, still approximately 30 percent of people Dominican people live in poverty. To put this in perspective, a Word Bank report indicated that Dominican Republic distributes a notably low share of the country’s public assets to education, health, and safety. In contrast, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1980s, Cuba transformed from state-controlled to mixed-market economy that stresses social welfare and support of most vulnerable groups of people. This is the main difference between Dominican Republic and Cuba. In both Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the tourism industry is the central economic operation system. Dependence on tourism industry has applied a significant social, political, and economic impacts in these countries. Tourist-oriented prostitution, or sex tourism is a socially acceptable norm in these countries that refers to performing sexual services and activities to tourists with intention of not only making money, but also to receive other possible opportunities such as recreation, consumption, travel, migration, and marriage. “Money or, especially, clothing are accepted from tourists, but this exchange is constructed as ‘help’ from a ‘friend,’ not a payment from a trick” (2001, 22). Even though the male and female individuals that participate in these activities do accept money for their services, they prefer to establish a relationship with tourisms that could possibly lead to return visits, long term relationship, romance, migration, and marriage. It is difficult to define the prostitution and identify the prostitute in these countries because those who provide sexual services develop relationships with tourists and also the fact that they accept other goods rather than cash. Furthermore, the relationship between these people and police is complicated. On one hand there is no lows that precisely ban selling sexual services; on the other hand, police is enable to arrest these people, and keep them incarcerated as long as they don’t pay a heavy fine. Also women are physically and verbally abused, robbed, and raped by the police. Sending these people to jail generates profit for the states, and also gives police an opportunity for bribes and sexual favors. This situation impacts how sex workers perceive help form police to protect them. To support this idea, “Analysis: Sex Workers Bear Brunt of War on Trafficking” states “Whether sex workers have been trafficked or not, their understanding of what the police do is very different than that of other people because they are so often targeted as sex workers, migrants, transgender people, or for other reasons.” To solve the problem associate with sex work and trafficking, first of all the concept of the issue needs to be fully understood and have the sex workers involved in conversations about anti- trafficking policies. As the resolution, in my opinion, the sex work in any kind should be legalized. This is because through legalization of these activities a safer situation for both sex workers and their clients will be created. For example, as the article suggests empowerment of sex workers reduce the risk of HIV.

    1. Hey Fardad,

      Your post offered a great analysis and concise summary of these two articles. I also really liked that you brought up the issues with sex workers and their relationship with the police. I feel like this is such a critical issue in addressing any policy suggestion involving sex workers. I also was glad to see you point out that empowerment of sex workers (not even outright legalization) led to reduced HIV infection rates.

    2. Hey, i totally agree with your idea of legalizing sex work. By doing so sex workers can have the safety of the legal system instead of it working against them. It also allow for a some what regulated industry with standards instead of operating entirely in the dark. I think there will always be sex workers regardless of it being legal or illicit.

    3. Nice write up, education and all the things that 1st world countries focus on are out the door when it comes to the tourist population. All those countries main priority is money, whether it be through sex, small commodties or some sort of trafiking, all they focus on is the bottom dollar. If they legalized it, it’d at least be safer considering they cannot win this war in the sex industry. nice write up!!

  5. In Cabezas’s article, she discusses the sex work within the tourism sector in the Caribbean, such as countries like Cuba and Dominican Republic. Some critiques suggest that, “sex tourism as a form of victimization” (991), whereas as on the other hand, it is suggested that, “sex tourism and as romance tourism as mutually exclusive” (991) in Cuba and Dominican Republic. Both these countries have uneducated and poor people who have no other means of supporting their families, but sell their bodies to make a living. As stated in the article, “the lack of viable work and the dependence on foreign exchange drive young men and women to migrate to tourists areas to earn a living” (992). Young men and women are driven to such tourist attraction jobs because sex tourism has a huge economic impact, which also mandates the necessary needs of the sex worker, and also boosts the hotel and tourism resorts, where many foreigners are likely to stay during their business trips. However, Cabezas does point out in several occasions that, for a sex worker, it is not about sex and money only. Rather, they (sex workers) are in desire to find someone compatible to marry, romanticize, and possibly, even marry that person to make a better life for themselves and for their families. They want to be able to find love, and many of these sex workers actually never end up having sex with the foreign tourist, but just a regular date night, and hopes that they would frequently visit them back. I think for many of these workers, they are hoping to find a better life for themselves. Though, their lack in education and their inability to find work elsewhere, they find that working in big hotels as a “sex worker” will help them support their families and children.
    Cabezas explains the industrialization of sex tourism has influence of people with color. The dark-skinned workers are most likely to be entertaining workers, whereas, light skinned workers are usually at front desk. This again shows the race differentiation between blacks and whites, where whites in this case have the neat and clean jobs, and the blacks have the jobs of providing entertainment to the foreigners. In Dominican Republic, a dark skinned woman can get into trouble and be arrested for bothering the tourists, while a light skinned woman can get away with it.
    I think in Cabezas article and the sex trafficking article, the workers have no legal rights, and are attacked by the law and police for selling their bodies for money. Due to their constrained lives, they have no other practice to make money and support their families. For many of these sex workers, it is not about exploiting and selling their bodies.
    In my opinion, I think it should be legalized, for the safety of sex workers, and for the sake of health concerns for both. There are many countries, where men and women are compelled to be a sex worker, and many of those may want out, but have to earn some money to support their families. They should be given the freedom to do what they want to do with their bodies, without the regular interferences of the police and government.

    1. I completely agree with your views on legalizing sex work. It would allow women and men to stop from being exploited as it would provide legal protection for them, along with giving them the freedom to do what they want with their body as they see fit, with no one telling them otherwise.

    2. Hi!
      I do agree with you they should be given freedom to do what they want with their bodies. I also think it will never go away. we will either allow it or they will continue to do it.

  6. Cuba and the Dominican Republic are both countries that were formerly under U.S. hegemonic control and have limited land. Colonialism and the lack of other economic means has made these countries’ economies dependent on tourism and in turn still dependent on developed countries, in this sense it is the rich people who visit these countries. Cabezas in her article, “Between Love and Money: Sex, Tourism, and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” looks at sex tourism in these countries and how it differs greatly from what countries like the U.S. would describe as sex work. Here the term sex work is ambiguous and flexible, some workers do it for fun, some do it for love, some do it for opportunity, and some do it for business. Of course there are those who are forced into, but the article does not focus on this too much. The author also looks at how race and class play a role in the sex tourism industry, the division of labor in the industry based on these differences, and the differences in treatment from the police. While this article and IRIN article both try to show sex workers as sex workers and not victims, the IRIN article still falls along the same lines as the typical discourse on sex work and trafficking.

    While it seems wrong to punish people for doing work they do on their own free-will there is the flip side that these governments do it to protect people. But if we keep in mind the debate on prisons and how governments used the same excuse there it seems harder to justify, especially with the statistic brought up in the IRIN article, “nearly half of the street-based sex workers in Bangladesh reported being raped by “men in uniform” while 70 percent of sex workers surveyed in India reported being beaten by the police,” it seems that these workers need protection from the government. The targeting of sex workers, as shown in the Cabezas article is shown to be driven by class and race, an attempt to clean up the street for the people with money. There is of course the argument that is often used with drugs that if they are legalized then it will stop trafficking; the same argument could be applied to sex working. It should at the very least be legalized if for nothing more than to gain more rights and better healthcare for the workers.

    1. Hey Ryan,

      I really appreciated that you expressed your opinion on legalization of sex work without discussing the moral argument surrounding it. I also really liked how you connected it to a class/race driven policy to clean up the streets for those that are better of. I thought that the section where Cabezas discusses the shifting of the tourism industry into an all-inclusive model was fascinating because it allowed these countries (well their elites and foreign business partners) all of the benefits of tourism without having to spend the resources to physically police and beautify the rest of the country. Personally, I drew a lot of parallels to the chapter we read in Shock Doctrine about Sri Lanka and your analysis seemed to draw a lot of similar conclusions.

    2. I agree with your comment that sex work should be legalized, if nothing more than to protect the workers from being abused and exploited. It wouldn’t stop trafficking 100%, just like legalization of drugs would not stop trafficking 100%, but it would allow workers legal rights and recourse if they are abused or suffer mistreatment from the hands of traffickers or from police and government officials.

  7. In Amalia Cabezas’ article, she talks about the sex tourism industry within Cuba and the Dominican Republic. She argues that both countries have purposefully made a large part of their tourism appealing and geared towards sex in hopes of luring foreign travelers to visit the countries. These are travelers from countries where sex work would normally be frowned upon. We learn that sex tourism is based on 4 S’s: sun, sand, sea, and sex. Through this model, governments try to get their economies growing. Though, sex workers are not always just looking for profit, as mentioned by Cabezas. Their job is about much more and many are in hopes for a better life and future. Sex workers hope to get involved with the tourists so they could potentially travel, move and maybe even marry them. Romance is a part of their work. If anyone were to have intimate relations with someone, the longing for something more than just sex would arise eventually.
    As we learn in the readings, not all sex workers are trafficking victims. When police interventions occur, it endangers the sex workers. These good-willed actions are not always asked for and are sometimes dreaded. These raids are an intrusion to privacy for some and these anti-trafficking approaches must be revised and tackled differently. Not only do sex workers have to undergo raids, they do not have good relationships with the law enforcement. According to the article and WHO, almost half of the sex workers in Bangladesh have reported being raped by these men in uniform, while 70% have reported being beaten by the police. This has made sex workers fear law enforcement, the people who are “there to protect people from harm.” Where/who are they to turn to if they are victimized? Unfortunately this is not just seen within third world countries, but seen very often in the United States.
    I have never been a sex worker and cannot imagine being put in their shoes, therefore It is a hard question for me to answer whether it should be legalized or not. I believe if sex workers who decide themselves to become engage in sex work, then that is okay and it should be made legal if above a certain age (18). Though, there needs to be a clear distinction made between voluntary sex work and involuntary sex trafficking. I am obviously against involuntary sex trafficking but I am for women being able to engage in sex work if they would like to. I do not know if legalizing sex work would make involuntary sex trafficking easier for pimps and organized crime groups but I do not think not legalizing sex work would help the already vulnerable percentage of sex workers facing abuses. Both groups of sex workers face humiliation, abuses, discrimination, etc. They are people like you and I and deserve to express themselves and work how they want to without fear and punishment. This needs to change.

    1. Hi Leticia!

      Your opinion towards sex work is interesting, and you did really well supporting it. It must be admitted that there needs to be a clear distinction made between voluntary sex work and involuntary sex trafficking. In addition, I actually agree that there could be more regulation involved in sex work if it was made legal. However, I believe that it is hard to not only commit these views to laws but also convince a politician of the need to pass this type of reform.

    2. Leticia, I think that mentioning whether or not that person entered the sex work industry is very important. As we read in the article, some of the hotel workers engage in what other people might consider ‘sex work’, however, they do not identify themselves as sex workers. Regardless of this, legalizing sex work would be beneficial, but that distinction is very important, those who were trafficked into it should be identified and hopefully release from their traffickers.

    3. Agree with your post. You did a good job explaining it. I also do not think that not legalizing sex work would help the already vulnerable percentage of sex workers facing abuses. I think more emphasize should be education these women than just coming to a conclusion of lets legalize it.

  8. Cabezas’ article discussed two countries, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, in reference to tourism and sex work. It discusses how, due to globalization, these countries rely extraordinary amounts of their economies on tourism. This article sheds light on the aspects of sex work, which includes mutual adoration relationships between tourists and natives and this does not necessarily have to be relating to just sex. This article introduces two perspectives of sex tourism, one where natives are selling their bodies to tourists, and one where there is a relationship made and gifts exchanged. The latter is in hope for marriage or migration. The first one is generalized by the police as any native women talking to foreigners, which is wrong because these two aspects of sex tourism are part of a major grey area in this topic. Overall, Cabezas discusses sex tourism within the resorts, by which natives are looking for relationships, money, or both with foreigners.
    In reference to the article about human trafficking, sex workers are normally grouped in with human trafficking victims and this is not necessarily true. Due to this generalization about sex workers and human trafficking, there are laws and interventions that try and stop human trafficking but this hinders the safety and health of the sex workers. This article also references that the law enforcements should actually discuss with sex workers in order to stop human trafficking and poor police relations.
    Both of these articles discuss the horrible realities behind these laws, regulations, and law enforcement. They also establish that a lot of the wrong people are being targeted in order to stop human trafficking or prostitution. There are poor police regulations that allow room for violence, sexual assault, etc. against a specific population of sex worker. These two articles determine that these issues are too simplified to be generalized in a specific way and not another. These issues need to be more complicated in order to be solved, because the aspects of this are a major gray area. Also, both articles do not generalize sex workers as the societal norms’ victims.
    Similar to last week’s discussion on prison abolition, it is hard to imagine legalizing all forms of sex work due to the fact that it has a lot of grey areas that could make it go very badly. After reading these articles, I understand better about the situations of sex workers but there are still major issues with people being pushed into it without any other options. Whether that be physically or economically or otherwise. It is hard to say what would be the best tactic to be legalizing all types of sex work. Although, I do think that there should be a legalization of different forms of sex workers but there should be laws made to protect them specifically. The legalization of sex workers would improve the quality of life for these sex workers so that they do not have to go “underground” and have little to no health precautions as well as their quality of life would improve. They would also have government and legal protection against potential uniform mishandling and might also curb certain crimes associated with sex work. Also, having sex workers working with the government in order to curb human trafficking would improve the prevention of it. Overall, these articles brought in a new perspective of sex workers and I think that sex work should be made legal.

    1. Hi Rachael!

      I enjoy reading your post. Good job! Although you support the idea that sex work should be made legal, I think it’s difficult to legalize this job because it has a lot of health and ethical issues related. It’s true that they might earn money that prevents them from dying of poverty; however, I believe that this poverty issue is directly related to the government since it’s responsible of its citizens.

  9. The key concepts that are discussed in Cabezas’ reading focuses on different types of sex workers and how they are divided racially and are treated by the locals and the foreigner tourists. Furthermore, the author explains that Sex Tourism is not only an activity; however, it includes direct employment and other opportunities for the sex workers as well. Such as gifts from tourists and migration opportunities. We can relate this to the other article that critiques human trafficking. The article mentions that by raiding and rescuing we are disturbing the privacy of Sex Workers. Additionally, this is violating their rights. We can say the same thing about Cabezas’ study on Cuba and Dominican Republic that expands on the links of Sex working. Both of the authors present reasons why Sex Workers should not be arrested and why they should not be stopped from continuing their sexual services.

    On more thing that both of the articles mention is that Sex Workers in raids are treated terribly. This treatment from the Police might include, beating, verbal abuse, physical abuse and rape. As we see that the authorities that are working to stop Sex Services is involved in it, itself. For example, “According to research compiled by WHO and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, nearly half of the street-based sex workers in Bangladesh reported being raped by “men in uniform.” Furthermore, this is explained to be the reason why the Sex Workers do not believe the police, even if they are trying to do something good for them, such as, presenting programs for their safety or for some other benefit. Sex Workers have adopted this thinking because of the irresponsibility and unjust behavior of the police. Furthermore, it is linked to lack of proper training and law enforcement.

    According to Cabeza’s reading, there are no laws against someone selling their sexual services. However, there are laws against prostitution. Furthermore, there are rehabilitation camps in Cuba in which a woman must prove that she has been rehabilitated before release. From my perspective, I do think that sex work should be made illegal strictly and police must be trained to resolve the issues.

  10. In Cabezas article about sex work in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, she gives a history of sex work in the Caribbean, and focuses specifically on the emergence of the sex industry in the two respective countries. According to Cabezas, sex work in the Caribbean has its roots in the conquest of the islands by Europeans, who sought to exploit the natives both economically and sexually, and would later apply these same styles of exploitation to the African slaves who were brought over in mass to work the plantations that dominated the Caribbean economy. Fast forward to the 20th century, and Cabezas discusses how the process of globalization led to a huge rise in the sex industry in the two countries. In the cases of both Cuba and the Dominican Republic, high rates of poverty and the huge importance of tourism to Caribbean economies led many to start selling their bodies as a way to make money, targeting the influx of tourists as the means to make a living and hopefully escape poverty. Thus the sex industries in these countries became largely focused around the tourism industry, as that was where the money was. This can then be related to the critique of human trafficking, because as Cabezas shows, sex workers are not just objects or women and children that have been trafficked into a life of sex work, but are most of the time poor, or less well off, people looking to find the best way to capitalize on the importance of the tourism industry for their own gain. Instead of being something that needs to be attacked and vilified, it should be viewed as a “normal” economic way of life, like the critique argues.
    I support both the arguments made by Cabezas and the critique article, because I believe that all forms of sex work should be made legal, as that is one of the best, if not the best, ways to police the industry and put a real stop to human trafficking for sex work and the spread of HIV/AIDS. By legalizing sex work, you can make sure that all of the people in the industry are there of their own free will and not being forced or coerced, along with being able to provide tests and sexual education to lower the spread of STDs and STIs. By banning sex work, it just becomes more dangerous and leads to increases in unsafe sex practices, abuse suffered by sex workers, and human trafficking, because people cannot go to law enforcement for protection without the risk of being arrested themselves. By legalizing sex work, it also humanizes the workers in the eyes of people, making them less likely to abuse and harm sex workers.

    1. Hello Michael,

      You have used great critical thinking to analyze both articles. I think it is very important o spread the information about sex related diseases if sex work is going to be made legal.

      Thanks for sharing! Great job.

  11. Cabezas article is about the sex industries in the Caribbean, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Globalization has helped with the sex trading or better known as human trafficking. Tourism is also helping with trafficking. Dominion republic and Cuba are major places where it is happening and it has led to a lot of prostitution. The locals of both countries are more willing to sell themselves to different people that visit the country. The people that are native to the country are literally willing to sell anything the can in hopes that they can make money off of it. Human trafficking is also a major problem in the countries, because they are selling themselves in to modern day slavery. The women ae normally forced into prostitution. In the dominion republic about 30% of the people are living in poverty. Cuba has a great health system in place but they say because of the poverty women and children are selling themselves in to trafficking.
    Human trafficking is defined as trading humans for various things including sex, slavery, and labor and it’s happening all over the world. The internet is also helping to spread the crime by posting online offering sex for money and it’s spreading like wildfire. A lot of the women and children involved come from poor families and cannot be educated so they prostitute themselves out for money. Human trafficking is a major problem all over the world and there isn’t a lot is being done to handle it. Human trafficking is considered to be modern day slavery. Most of the victims of human trafficking are women under the age of 25. A lot of women are promised an education, a new life, money, new opportunities, love, and marriage. If they are recovered, they can suffer from physical issues, anxiety, and hostility while more than likely being scared for the rest of their lives. The victims can contract STDs and serious health related issues. Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and AIDS are prevalent in much of the country due to the high level of prostitution. Every year thousands of men, women, and children are in the hands of traffickers.
    I personally don’t think that selling yourself in to trafficking is acceptable at all. But on the other hand if you need to provide for your family and make sure your children eat, people will do anything. I also think that people do not fully understand trafficking and what come along with it people will promise anything but it does not mean it is real.

  12. Sex tourism has far reaching social, political, and economic implications for countries dependent on tourism. In Cuba, the dollarization of the economy has spawned new social classes and inequality and the rapid move to mixed-market system has resulted in a social pyramid that privileges workers in the tourist industries over professionals. From what I understood from Cabezas article, elements involved in sex tourism go beyond monetary exchange and now include an emotional factor that challenges usual assumptions. Many young men and women hope their liaisons with foreigners will lead to marriage and migration. They are more likely to accept gifts instead of a set price because such informal transactions do not foreclose future long-term possibilities. In the Cuban tourism industry, occupational segregation is high due to the importance of physical appearance based on age, weight, height but also race and gender. This seems contradictory to when Cuba comes of anti-sex work, particularly for women, but then institutional practices exploit women’s physical attribute because there is an implicit notion of generating more funds through workers relationship with tourists. As the author says, there is a much more complexity to this issue instead of presuming that all “jinterras” are immoral women that need to be rehabilitated. This is a highly racialized and gendered issue in which dark-skinned Cubans and Dominicans pay the higher price. A dark-skin Dominican woman exiting a disco alone in a tourist area, runs the risk of being incarcerated as part of a mass arrest of tourists. Also, they regulate such woman frequently from mothering tourists because their dress, demeanor, and participatory claim to public spaces construct them as “dangerous”. The news article talks about how sex-work is being conflated to look like anti-trafficking efforts. It talks about bad implementation of policies from law enforcement people and further, the violation of human rights among sex-workers. It is so clear that people pushing for anti-trafficking agenda don’t realize they’re strategies are further damaging the rights of these workers, many of which already lead lives in poverty and are pursuing sex-work to support their families. The police are openly taking advantage of such a stigmatized group in developing countries where patriarchal norms still persist.
    When debating over whether all forms of sex work should be made legal, I think the matter is, even if we all agreed in making it legal, will it every translate well into reality? Just as talked about prison abolition, we take prisons for granted and think of them as part of our society that keep “dangerous” people away. Similarly if sex work was made legal, there would be an outright cry over morality of legalizing this type of labor without an attempt to understand the negative impacts of it on sex-workers at this moment in time. Moreover, it is a highly racialized and gendered issue that sees large amounts of dark-skinned “dangerous” and “undesirable” women being rounded up and thrown in jail. It caters to the racialized institutions and frameworks that have persisted from decades of slavery.

    1. Hello Bharti,

      Nice post. You have done a good job explaining the important points from both articles. I think you are right that it is hard to bring the idea of sex work as being legal. There are many negative impacts that sex working has on the society and we need to consider those and find solutions for them as well.

  13. In the Cabezas article, she talks about the situation regarding sex workers in Cuba and The Dominican Republic. In these Caribbean countries, the poverty rate in astounding. In The Dominican Republic, 30 percent of the population lives in poverty. With no other sources of income, these people sell their sexual services in order to make a living. The men and women don’t see themselves as prostitutes but rather “hustlers”. Their clients aren’t customers but “amigos”. There is no negotiation of a price.

    The sex workers receive gifts from their friends. These gifts will be things such a cash, clothes, food, and monthly payments. The goal for these workers is marriage and migration. They don’t see it as prostitution but kind of like dating. They involve more emotions and romance into the relationship rather than having the physical aspect for an hour and then it’s all over and you’re alone with a stranger. These sex workers operate in tourist areas. They cater to the tourists needs. Often times, these are the hotel and resort workers themselves offering special services. The state of Cuba treats these female sex workers terribly.

    Forget it if they are dark skinned Cubans also. It seems that is a lot of racism in these countries. The lighter skinned women are allowed in club whereas a dark skinned woman would be arrested for moral reasons and inappropriateness. Black Cubans are seen as jineteros and jineteras, while the lighter skinned Cubans fly under the radar. The lighter skinned Cubans who work in the resort, will work at the front desk. The Black Cubans work as entertainers and as the “help”. Also Cuba makes sex work illegal for women. It is celebrated for men as they are conquering the foreign invaders, while women ar thrown in jail for rehabilitation. It’s as if these women have loose morals and that makes them bad people and a threat to the public.
    I think that there should be laws making sex work legal.

    This could provide for the protection of the workers from not only their clients but police also. It could increase sexual health knowledge by educating workers and giving them safe practices training like any other job. In both articles, they talk about the poor relations between police and sex workers. The Police will abuse sex workers in exchange for sexual favours and clemency. These indiviuals aren’t given fair treatment by police if they are raped or hurt. It creates an attitude similar to “she wore a short skirt, so she was asking for it”. It shouldn’t be illegal as some people have no other options for income and some people do probably enjoy their job. Its their proagetive to do what they want with their own bodies. Making sex work illegal is like making tattoos illegal.

    1. Hi Zarah,
      You present a very interesting approach to this topic. You state that making sex work illegal is like making tattoos illegal, which I completely agree with. But as with the case of people with tattoos being prejudiced against, I think the same kind of moral prejudice, perhaps even worse, would be directed towards people whose professions were in sex work, if legalized. Nevertheless, I don’t think that justifies the stigmatization of sex workers as “prostitutes” or “immoral”. As we read in the readings, many of these so called sex workers are indirectly being coerced into such relationships because of the socio-economic environments of their countries.

    2. Hi!
      I do agree with you it shouldnt be illegal and it is their body and they should be able to do what they want with it. It is going to happen rather we like it or not.

  14. Cabezas’ article focuses on the tourism industry (specifically sex tourism) in both, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. As she describes, this industry is booming and it is also corrupt and unfair. Sexual commerce in both countries is stigmatized and criminalized, usually based on race, class, sex and gender. Both countries have also been affected by the adaptation of new economic and political policies. For example, the mixed-market system and the dollarization of the economy have benefited the tourist industry in Cuba. An important issue to point out about the sex industry in these countries is how fluid and ambiguous it can be. Most sex workers in the industry do not consider themselves to be actual ‘sex workers’. The tourist setting also makes it hard for people to distinguish was is prostitution and who can be considered a prostitute. Also, there is no law that prohibits prostitution instead it only punishes those who benefit economically from it, in this case the intermediaries. The settings mentioned above only make this industry more confusing and puts more people at risk of becoming involved. Cabezas mentions the idea of emotional labor, in which the workers become involved with the tourists in hope of not just immediate economic compensation but also long-term benefits, such as possible economic support and/or possible migration outside of the country. The discrimination in the sex industry is also mentioned in both readings. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic usually black women are imprisoned or abused because of their work as sex workers, while white women tend to go unpunished. Women are also abused by policemen and their rights are violated. In the second article, this occurrences has made the sex workers be untrustworthy of the police. The main concern of the writer is that the criminalization of sex work has caused for many human rights violations and its relationship to human trafficking has encouraged police action without proper training. The article criticizes the ‘raid & rescue’ missions as barely effective instead the victims are subjected to police brutality and discrimination. As readers, we are also encouraged to see this issue as one of labour rights, which would call for the legalization of sex work. I personally believe that some types of sex work should be legalize because it would provide safer conditions and benefits, such as health care for the workers. However, not all sex work should be legal especially those involving children.

    1. Hey Julia,

      I enjoyed reading your post. It was interesting. Also I agree with you comment towards the end that certain types of sex work should be legalized but sex work involving children should NOT be. Though, also educating them and legalizing such work, can benefit the workers who have the only means of surviving and supporting their families.

    2. Hi Julia,
      Interesting opinion on legalization of sex work. I definitely agree that legalizing some forms of sex work will progressively eliminate much of the human rights violations and allow for safer conditions when it comes to sex work. Equally important is to recall from the news article that much of the controversy over sex work stems from its comprehension under anti-trafficking agenda. Anti-trafficking is a separate issue from legalizing consented sex work and that’s where I think a lot of the public and policy makers fail to draw the line.

    3. Julia,
      You did a great job summarizing last weeks readings. And I thought it was important that you took the time to explain how the laws are confusing, given that there are no clear laws, yet people still face punishments. Your idea of legalizing sex work isn’t one I originally supported, but I think you may have a point that it could make conditions safer since it is still taking place.

    4. Hi Julia:

      I totally agree with your post indicating that sex work should be legalize and has some sort of policies or rules however, not for children of course. They need another salutation not within sex work. Personally, I think if the government educate them and give them part-time or full time job I mean for the sex worker they will avoid to work in such environment.

  15. In Cabezas article she focuses on the Caribbean region specifically on Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Both of these countries are emerging into the free market and well fare state in Cuba’s case. These transitions have shocked the system and a majority of citizens in both countries are living in rampant poverty. The education systems and industries are still too few to provide mass sustainable jobs that don’t yet exist. A rapidly growing industry in both countries is the sex industry conjoined with tourism industry is an illicit and lucrative business. Because of the economic difficulties within the countries women especially have been focusing on the foreigners entering the country to make a living. They work as sex workers around the major tourist attractions to lure visitors looking for an exotic experience. But to the women it isn’t all about making a business transaction selling their bodies but rather to find love. They all would like to escape the burden of poverty so finding someone they can fall in love with and take care of them is another allure of the industry. These women are also forced to do so by pimps and traffickers but that is another topic of its own. Most of these women’s customers are wealthy and looking to escape their busy lives by doing something fun and adventurous. These men are intelligent enough to know they are exploiting these women because it is cheaper and not as frowned upon as in their home country. But for these women they don’t see it that way because they have no other options in such a cut throat economic situation. They are regularly abused physically and verbally, robbed, and harassed by law enforcement that knows the women can’t do anything against them. Due to their desperate need to make money and with no other viable options it is very difficult to put an end to human trafficking and prostitution. So no matter how many they shut down another one immediately replaces it, a more progressive approach is necessary to resolve the issue. Another topic focused on by Cabezas is the issue of racial differences, which is evident and splits the countries. For instance white individuals are provided with the comfy jobs in the tourism industry such as receptionists. Whereas the black individuals are forced to work in the background as entertainers and what some consider unpleasant. These racial preferences really hinder the black communities in the countries from equally working and earning the benefits of the tourism industry. I believe sex work should be legal in the sense that some women do it out of their own will but forced sex work should be illegal. I say this because if you look at the porn industry a majority of those women do it out of their own will and compensated for their work in a fairly structured industry. All forms of sex work that is forced upon an individual or results in inhuman and predatory treatment should be illegal. If a country cannot regulate or have some sort of system to ensure the safety and rights of sex workers than it should be illegal as well.

  16. Cabezas’ article explains the sexual labor that has been a part of several regions in the Caribbean for hundreds of years. With the increase of globalization and tourism, particularly in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, sex trade has developed rapidly. In both countries Cabezas explains how the high rates of poverty and the huge economic factor tourism plays both contribute to people selling themselves in order to make a living. Sex workers primary target audience has become tourists as they hope that this will somehow enable them to escape poverty by building a relationship with their customer eventually leading to either marriage or migration. One perspective that is presented in this article that many people typically oversee when talking about sex work is that people are a part of this industry not by physical force but because of their economic status. Often time’s people are not trafficked into sex work but rather are poor and rely on capitalizing on the tourism industry the best they can. In addition to this perspective, the second article brings to attention the effect that the misunderstanding of sex working has brought upon different places in the world. The raid and rescue method that many places of highly concentrated sex work have implemented has not been effective. This is due to the corruption of the police force who are many times violent and sexually abusive. This has caused sex workers to fear the police and has skewed their perception of what the police are there to do. In addition, the raid and rescue method is preventing other NGO organizations from working as efficiently as they can. For example, SANGRAM, a grassroots HIV organization in India targets making the sex labor industry safer by ensuring the safety of sex workers whether it be from STD’s or abusive clients. This organization understands the culture and what the industry means to the workers. It is their livelihood whether they chose it or not. I do not believe legalizing all forms of sex work will solve the problem of trafficking. I think that if it were to become legal, people would still exploit the workers in a way they shouldn’t be. However, it is important for organizations like SANGRAM to be taken seriously by the government because they are more understanding of the situation and can help the industry take a positive turn. Additionally, the rescue and raid method should be approached with caution as it has proven to be negative in the past. In conclusion, there is a perspective around sex working and while many people may be correct about what goes on in the industry, it is important for people to be aware of the several reasons people do it willingly and the implications of trying to stop it.

  17. Amalia L. Cabezas looks at the ‘sex industry’ in Cuba and the Dominican Republic through the lens of a very different paradigm, and discusses how everything can become blurred between sex, labor, and money, with ideas of possibilities of love or companionship. She discusses how globalism , coupled with pro-market ideas and neo-liberal policies have been some driving factors of the growth of sex tourism. (p. 1010). She really looks at the tourism industry and hotel workers, those who come into close contact with tourists, and discusses how in these cases, the traditional ideas of a ‘sex worker’ are challenged. The workers may discreetly offer anything from friendship or companionship, or sex, and may or may not take payment in currency (which they call “gifts” from friends). Their roles are very ambiguous and fluid, and they themselves don’t consider it necessarily a business enterprise, and rarely do they view their patrons as ‘clients.’ They themselves do not identify themselves as sex workers, and often look at it as a way to find love, and escape from poverty – as occasionally some may lead to boyfriends or husbands who would take them away overseas. By looking at individuals in these particular roles in the tourism industry, she finds a huge gray area that may not be considered by those who seek to prohibit ‘sex work’, and shows how several of these individuals have been targeted or harmed by those seeking to “reform” them.
    More importantly perhaps, she really looks at who is and is not characterized as a “sex worker”, and how they are treated and classified as sex workers is quite racialized. Those with lighter skin are able to escape the stigma, and can altogether avoid being classified as a ‘sex worker’, while those with darker skin can be subject to punitive measures if they are found in the vicinity of tourists on the street, or coming out of a club, they can be accused of being sex workers, and can be arrested, and in the case of Cuba, can be sent for “rehabilitation” and placed in camps away from their families for up to four years. Many have been subject to all different types of abuse by police and authorities – including physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. While sometimes they are given ‘jobs’ in the camps, they are often paid considerably less, and some point out that they would still return to sex work if they were free. This also related to what we were talking about prisons – making things illegal that really perhaps aren’t harming anyone, and then imprisoning them or removing persons from society to make sure that the ‘reserve army’ isn’t too large…
    I was also surprised at how vastly different Cubans viewed male vs. female sex workers, with the females being viewed negatively, while the males were being celebrated or viewed as ‘manly’ and “vanquishing the foreign intruder” (p. 1008).
    As for whether or not sex work should be legal or not – I am in the middle between either choice. . . for some people, I think this article highlighted that it really is a choice that has to do with what they want to do with their own bodies, and how and with whom the want to share it. On the other hand, there is still a problem of human and sex trafficking in several places. The IRIN article outlines how response to sex trafficking can actually be extremely detrimental to the health and safety and well-being of the workers. Perhaps the response should be just to take down individuals who control sex workers – the pimps – and try to dismantle any forms of control or coercion above sex workers. Thus, if there was free agency for the workers, perhaps that would significantly reduce trafficking, and all who were in would be in it by choice.

  18. The article by Cabezas focuses of sex work and prostitution in the Caribbean, specifically in Cuba and the Dominica Republic. Although, prostitution is not explicitly illegal in these parts the government has shown clear disapproval and has made steps towards making it harder for sex workers to operate. The confusing part is that when deterring sex workers the government seems to make concessions for some while strictly punishing others. “For example, a mulata from Santiago living in Havan, seen in the company of foreigners, is automatically categorized as a sex worker. But a pale-skinned university student, who only dates foreigners and eventually marries a Frenchman, is not considered a sex worker.” Because of the incredibly negative views of prostitution most sex workers refuse to call what they are doing acts of prostitution. They further try to move away from that by often times not taking money from their companions, but instead accepting “gifts” and hoping to work towards something more tangible like boyfriend/girlfriend status or even marriage. This tendency towards making distinctions over sex work that is “ok” and ones which are “not”, are described by Gayle Rubin, “‘good’ sex acts are imbued with emotional complexity and reciprocity, sex acts ‘on the bad side’ of the line are considered utterly repulsive and devoid of all emotional nuance.” This only further complicates the living for all women, because even normal relationships can be taken to be an act of solicitation for sex, even if there isn’t an explicit play for monetary or “gift” compensation. And while the police can’t arrest sex workers for prostitution they have policies that allow arrests to be made on grounds that they are “bothering” tourists. This can lead to women being taken to prison for days for something as simple as walking home alone at time and talking to some one passing you on the street. As the article explains there are now rehabilitation centers, which women who have enough “strikes” can be taken to for up to four years. The article on human trafficking makes a critique of the ways that police handle the workers upon raids. The UN reports that oftentimes these raids derail much, if any of the work these women have made to better themselves and their health. Additionally, as was explained in the article by Cabezas these women and sometimes men, see abuse from police when they are arrested, i.e. beatings, rapes, etc. To go back to last weeks readings, it is my personal opinion that prisons should not be abolished because I believe that people who commit crimes deserve to be punished. However, reading these cases the arrests can be made on completely arbitrary grounds. Walking out of a disco unaccompanied is in no way grounds for a four day arrest during which you are beaten up, must reserve a vaginal exam, and have counseling…for what? I still do not think that sex work should be legalized because I think that it will only contribute to problems and I do think that as people we need to have rules against something’s, such as prostitution and drugs.

  19. Cabezas’ article describes the growing sectors of sex tourism in Caribbean countries, especially Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The sex industry of Cuba is one that operates within the resorts, mostly involving hospitality workers who provide sexual favors. This is because the all-inclusive tourist industry in the Dominican Republic and Cuba has forced workers who generally get their wages through gratuities, have seen those gratuities dry up. Most of these hospitality workers turn to the sex industry because of this. These workers work at the resorts where they change sheets and provide sexual favors to the guests in some cases. According to Cabezas, an individual can suggest that the state exploits women in varied ways. Some organizations exist Cuba, which traffic young girls from other neighboring countries for sexual exploitation. Some tourists who may have significant information about the sex labor issues in Cuba and Dominican republic have lost their children in that country, and most of them never recovered. It seems that women have an insignificant voice in the community, which hinders them from condemning the immoral act.

    Furthermore, Cabezas points out that the governments in these countries play insignificant roles in fighting this act because some of the political leaders may be part of the immoral activities. Some of the key interventions mentioned by the writer depict that sex, travel, and globalization in Cuba and Dominican Republic relate to each other. Cuba attracts tourists who wish to have a good time with women without feeling out of place. In such a case, some prominent leaders from big firms and organization from other countries take their vacations to Cuba for sexual exploration. Eventually, the female gender assists the state in this region to attract more tourists as a ways of increasing the states revenue in varied ways.

    The other article on sex workers highlights the dangers of police intervention that can do more harm than good to sex workers. It goes into great detail about the ongoing efforts to put an end to the human trafficking and sex work. However, “laws and interventions aimed at reducing human trafficking by targeting commercial sex workers can, whatever their good intentions, actually endanger their health and result in human rights violations”. The raids they have attempted to break up these operations have often led to even more violence against sex workers, making them less safe. In places like Bangladesh, many people report being raped by “men in uniform”, and in India, many report being beaten by police. Meanwhile, the author also believes that the majority of the sex workers value their work. Some of the sex workers argue that they join the work willingly. Therefore, it becomes difficult to fight for this group who believe who value sex work.

    From my perspective, I believe that all sex work should not be made legal. It will lead to even further exploitation of men and women, boys and girls. Firstly, respectable woman should not sleep around with different men in search for money. The person should have faith and indulge in other moral activities that reduce cases of regretting in the future. Secondly, men can learn to respect women if the female prove to value their gender. There is no doubt that countries should not encourage sex working. Fighting sex trafficking should begin by women and eventually gain strong support of the government.

    1. While I agree that sex work, even if legal, is not the kind of work I personally would ever endorse, you have to account for the desperate situations that some people find themselves in. Morality means little to many when basic survival is the main concern, and thus some might legitimately need to participate in sex work as a vocation. I believe the only way to truly combat a patterns of sex work is to offer viable economic alternatives that can enable people to support themselves. I think many would voluntarily chose to not participate if they have this choice. This will also allow for a better differentiation of who is being exploited and who is engaging in sex work voluntarily, simplifying enforcement. However, to say that people should just engage in more moral activities ignores much of the complexity regarding sex work in the contemporary world.

    2. I really liked your last point because I think it is something that I can relate to, and I think that because men don’t respect women and see them as objects it’s harder for women to get out of their situations because men are willing to pay them money. Although people are in desperate situations I don’t think selling yourself will help your situation, but instead put you in a worse situation than you were once in. I think the government should pass legislations to protect men, women, and children who are sex workers, but I know its nearly impossible because sex = $ and for countries where they depend on tourism…it’ll be impossible to rule sex out.

  20. In the article “Between Love and Money: Sex, Tourism, and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic” by Amalia Cabezas, several key points are made concerning elements of the sex industry. She focuses specifically on how it has become intertwined with the tourism industry that has arisen in the context of neo-liberalism and globalization, particularly in certain countries within the global south, leading to common manifestations in different contexts. She also examines the greater degree of nuance that exists in defining the narrative of sex workers, arguing that many are unfairly victimized by mainstream contemporary portrayals that are often racist and classist in nature and ignore the crucial economic role that sex plays in supporting livelihoods. In regard to the common social and economic manifestations of the sex industry in the context of international tourism, Cabezas examines Cuba and the Dominican Republic. These two countries have numerous differences between them in terms of their politics and histories, yet they both turned to tourism as a primary source of economic growth along what Cabezas refers to as the four S’s, sun, sea, sand, and sex, leading to similar social outcomes. These social outcomes refer to several changes wrought upon each society by tourism including (1) the reorganization of labor that encourages informal markets and blurs the boundaries between the formal and informal economy while shifting notions of romance, love, and sex, (2) the role of sex workers in defining and challenging the labor processes that the contemporary transnational structure has imposed through new notions of intimacy and sexuality, and (3) how perceptions of sex workers informed by morality and understandings of citizenship affect enforcement of anti-sex work norms, a problematic notion due to a narrow definition of sex work and its connection to labor. Cabezas concludes with the proposal that integrating notions of sex as labor and new definitions of sexuality could allow for better outcomes in terms of human rights.
    Cabezas analysis strongly supports the conclusions of the article “Analysis: Sex workers bear brunt of war on trafficking.” This article asserts that sex as a form of commerce and involuntary sex trafficking are very different, and that a distinction needs to be made when dealing with issues of law enforcement so as not to victimize people who voluntarily use sex as a method to make a living. This fits into Cabezas notion of sex as a necessary form of labor for some who might view it as an escape from poverty and deprivation in their countries. It might be their only way of dealing with poverty and may not involve exploitation. Thus a redefinition and possible abolition of bans on sex work seems to be the logical path, a choice that might help defend sex workers from the dehumanization and abuse that appears to result from the criminal labelling of their work.
    I personally believe that all forms of sex work should not happen in the first place. I have moral qualms with either men or women using sex as an acceptable method of work and I believe that to allow it to become a norm would legitimize something that will have a corrupting effect on society. People who feel that sex work is necessary for survival should instead be offered new opportunities to make a livelihood through economic growth. However, I also believe in self-determination and recognize that sex work will exist with or without legal restrictions. If some degree of regulated legality could prevent the worst elements of exploitation, then perhaps there should be some discussion towards that end.

  21. In her article, Cabezas talks about the colonial history of sex work in the Caribbean and its impact on the sex work industry in Cuba and Dominican Republic today. Cabezas writes that concept of sex work was introduced in the Caribbean as a form of exploitation by the Europeans. Cabezas argue that such form of exploitation by the West on native population still continues today in a different form. If the European colonizers sexually exploited the native population and their African slaves by force, now the natives of the Caribbean are being exploited by the rich, Western tourists because of economic pressure. The two countries Cabezas uses as examples of this is Cuba and Dominican Republic. Both countries’ economies suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment, and both are heavily dependent on tourism industry as main source of economic venture. But in the process of globalization in 21st century, tourism industry and sex work industry formed a close partnership, where the two almost go hand-in-hand for countries like Cuba and Dominican Republic. Cabezas writes how the natives and African slaves of Caribbean in the past were forced to give their bodies to their European colonizers, now the rich, Western tourists are exploiting and benefiting the cheap sex work that many Caribbean have to offer to escape poverty. Reading the article, it almost sounded like Cabezas is making the argument that tourism industry is a form of neocolonization that economically and sexually exploits the poor. Cabezas also writes this in the angle of human trafficking, where sex workers are not always voluntarily selling their bodies, but are forced into it because of debt or they were sold into it. On the other hand, the article “Analysis: Sex workers bear brunt of war on trafficking” argues that sex work is another form of utilizing the worker’s body and labor, and individuals have the right to sell their bodies if they want to. The articles gives accounts of sex workers in Southeast Asia who have been negatively affected by organizations that see all sex workers as victims of human trafficking and try to “save” them. The article offered good critiques on the notion of sex trafficking, a very western concept of equality and freedom that often times West – like the U.S. tries to impose on other parts of the world by seeing all the sex workers as victims of poverty and exploitation, rather than seeing them as workers with rights and dignity.
    Personally, I don’t think all forms of sex work should be made legal. Children under age of 18 (or whatever is considered as adult in a society) should be allowed to sell their bodies. Besides issue of child labor in the sex industry, I think legalizing sex work will actually help to bring some of its current problems to light. If sex work is legalized, it won’t have to be a hidden industry in an economy, and the workers will be able to access labor rights and protection. But at the same time, I wonder how much of legalizing sex work will actually help to reduce human trafficking. Just because it’s made legal, it doesn’t guarantee exploitation won’t end.

    1. I like how you bring up the problem of children sex trafficking, I agree that if sex work should be made legal, there should still be strict laws against underage sex work. and whether or not legaling sex work will help stop human trafficking, I think it will help because like drugs, there is trafficking and a hidden underground market because it is made illegal, making things legal would probably help put the underground market out of business.

    2. I liked your point on how legalizing sex work will shed some of the current problems to light, but like you said it doesn’t guarantee that it will end exploitation. I agree that children sex trafficking should be illegal and in no way should they be forced into prostitution, even if there is no way out. It’s sad that organization who are trying to help sex workers are seeing an adverse affect on their efforts. I think it’s hard for me personally to see sex workers as anything but victims because I feel like they think that it’s the only way out of their situation, and it’s even more depressing because there are people who are willing to pay for sex, which further prevents sex workers from getting out.

    3. Sarah,
      I enjoyed reading your response and think you did a good job of highlighting the key points from our readings such as human trafficking that sex work brings. Your conclusion makes a good point. Bringing sex work to light by legalizing the industry would be a huge step, but may in fact help those involved have better protection, while keeping children out of it.

  22. Amalia L. Cabezas takes a look at Cuba and Dominican Republic, two countries that have a high percentage of people living in poverty and have turned to the sex industry as a source of income. Women have become targets of the sex industry as a result; either being kidnapped of forced into it to make a living. However, some women enjoy working in the sex industry because they don’t see it as work but more of a way to escape from reality. Women sometimes don’t accept money but instead accept gifts from their clients, whom they sometimes think as boyfriends. They see it more as a relationship and want to work towards having a marriage to escape the poverty that they live in. Cabezas explains that Dominican Republic “is notable in Latin America as the country that allocates the lowest share of its public capital to education, health, and public safety. This is an important distinction between the Dominican Republic of China.” (Cabezas, 989) This has resulted in 30% of the 8.6 million residing in Dominican Republic to live in poverty. Cuba has flourished despite odds and has continued to make its health and educational programs available. However, Cabezas explains that “the dollarization of the economy has spawned new social classes and inequality, which for the first time in more than forty years have fueled the reintroduction of two vile vestiges of the old capitalist social order – internal prostitution among Cubans an the reinstitution of domestic services” (Cabezas, 989-990). Tourism has become the major economic development strategy for Cuba and the Dominican Republic and sex tourism has become a growing phenomenon. For these Caribbean countries they rely heavily on tourism as a source of income. Cabezas argues, “both tourism and remittances represent the major earnings for the state, signifying a continual reliance on former colonial powers and outside forces for economic stability” (Cabezas, 992). Globalization plays a huge role in this, and as a result women have no choice but to sell their bodies. Prostitution is looked down upon and it’s interesting because based on skin color women are discriminated against. Dark skinned women are automatically looked down upon and seen as prostitutes whereas light skinned women who are prostitutes get away with it. In the article it explains that police interference actually makes it harder for the sex workers and there is distrust between women and police offers. In the article by IRIN news it states, “nearly half of the street-based sex workers in Bangladesh reported being raped by men in uniform while 70% of sex workers surveyed in India reported being beaten by police.” It also stated, “activists say violent interventions also negatively affect efforts to strengthen sex worker rights and anti-trafficking initiatives.” Women are sometimes taken to “rehabilitation” centers just based on the their appearance or by talking to someone, which goes back to last week’s topic on the abolition of prisons. Because of tourism, women are often exploited and have no one to depend on – not even the police who verbally, emotionally, and physically abuse them. I personally don’t know how I feel about the legalization of prostitution, because I don’t think anyone should have to sell him or herself in order to survive. But at the same time I think we should crack down on the people responsible for it and have the government interfere and create a better quality of life and standard of living for its people.

  23. Amalia Cabezas aims to get solutions to questions such as, what is new about global human trafficking for sexual exploitation and how globalization has created conditions which lead to sexual acts and sexualized identities. The author reflects on some of the growing tendencies of sexual commerce in relation to Cuba and the Dominican Republic. This paper, in addition to summarizing the key interventions in the Cabezas article, also addresses the reasons why all forms of sex work should not be made legal.
    Implementation of pro-market forces and neoliberal reforms are among several interventions that have led to the increased sex labor. However, the level of sex tourism is not measurable, and a broader framework is required so as to control the provisional practices which constitute the sexual markets. Clift (2000) indicates that the jurisdiction of sex work is vague and there is no law which coordinates the sexual market. Most of the key interventions in the article target women’s behavior as more immoral compared to men who engage in similar practices.
    Amalia Cabezas’ article relates to human trafficking critiques that argue that the anti-trafficking actions go against sex workers rights and reduces the demand for prostitution. The two articles are in agreement that sex work is important for the survival of the tourism industry and that sex workers should get their rights preserved. The author describes how sex work has improved the economy of the Cubans and Dominicans. IRIN (2013), on the other hand, highlights that the anti-trafficking activities reduce the demand for sex workers and eventually affect the economy negatively.
    The author argues against the lack of adequate approaches which enlighten people on sexual citizenship and analyses the conditions of sexual labor. In addition, tourist-oriented prostitution has become the most crucial social impact of tourism. In other words, sex tourism is becoming a growing tendency which possesses economic, social and political importance for the countries greatly depending on tourism sector. The local authorities have failed to adequately address this challenge and it is hard for researchers to get accurate statistics. The authority has to ensure that sex workers identify themselves for actual statistics and law enactment.
    Sex work of any forms should not be legalized. The fact is that sex work affects the involved parties both emotionally and psychologically. Their self-esteem gets slowly eroded along the way. Esteem issues eat into the core of man and interfere with how he handles things. Many sex workers having a difficult time are possessed of great abilities and talents. However, their current way of making a living may negatively affect their long-term prospects for another occupation.
    Affected productivity and a reduced belief in their abilities mean that they are less likely to engage in activities or jobs that would benefit the economy as a whole. Some sex workers hold different and more respectable jobs during the day. Such people would constantly worry that someone might find out about their night job. The hours they work may also leave them fatigued after a while, thus reducing their productivity during the day. Consequently, the economy continues to stagger since sex workers do not pay taxes from their earnings.
    Most sex workers interviewed in different areas say that they would not keep doing it if they had other easier means of income acquisition. Some of them state that they engage in sex labour to provide for their children. However, the children in such families may be negatively affected if they find out how their parents earn a living. If the law eliminates the opportunity to earn from sex work, the sex workers will have to figure out alternative means to supplement their regular income.
    Sex work indeed reduces the financial problems of an individual who engages in it, but the long term effects far outweigh the short term benefits received. It is obvious that sex work affect the participants’ life negatively in terms of emotional health. If sex labour was illegalized, the problems associated with it would be gradually eliminated.

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