Sex Tourism, Trafficking, and the Limits of Transnational Mobility in Bahia
This chapter examines the racialization of trafficking-related discourse in ways that reflect state migration policies in Brazil. In particular, it shows how trafficking discourse is used as a convenient mechanism to deny Afro-Brazilian women who work as prostitutes in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, their right to freedom of movement, and thus their opportunities for transnational mobility. It first discusses public debates surrounding sex tourism as well as the effects and limitations of anti-sex tourism campaigns launched by the state and civil society in Bahia, with particular emphasis on the work of the nongovernmental organization CHAME. It then considers how such campaigns often reproduce stereotypical images and sensationalized stories that contribute to a “moral panic” over interracial sex and transnational border crossings. It also describes the work of the Association of Prostitutes of Bahia as a model for untangling the sex work-trafficking conflation.
Keywords: racialization, trafficking, Afro-Brazilian women, prostitutes, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, transnational mobility, sex tourism, anti-sex tourism campaigns, Association of Prostitutes of Bahia
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