cover of book

Mobile Orientations: An Intimate Autoethnography of Migration, Sex Work, and Humanitarian Borders
by Nicola Mai
University of Chicago Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-0-226-58514-7 | Cloth: 978-0-226-58495-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-58500-0
Library of Congress Classification HQ119.4.E85M35 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.743094

Despite continued public and legislative concern about sex trafficking across international borders, the actual lives of the individuals involved—and, more importantly, the decisions that led them to sex work—are too often overlooked. With Mobile Orientations, Nicola Mai shows that, far from being victims of a system beyond their control, many contemporary sex workers choose their profession as a means to forge a path toward fulfillment.

Using a bold blend of personal narrative and autoethnography, Mai provides intimate portrayals of sex workers from sites including the Balkans, the Maghreb, and West Africa who decided to sell sex as the means to achieve a better life. Mai explores the contrast between how migrants understand themselves and their work and how humanitarian and governmental agencies conceal their stories, often unwittingly, by addressing them all as helpless victims. The culmination of two decades of research, Mobile Orientations sheds new light on the desires and ambitions of migrant sex workers across the world.

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