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The Perfect Business? Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong$
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Sverre Molland

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836108

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836108.001.0001

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Profitable Bodies?

Profitable Bodies?

Chapter:
(p.142) 6 Profitable Bodies?
Source:
The Perfect Business? Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong
Author(s):

Sverre Molland

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824836108.003.0006

This chapter explores the relationship between client demand and the marketing of female bodies and the extent to which it affects value, profit, and employment trajectories of sex workers. Human trafficking literature commonly assumes that there is a correlation between market value of female bodies, profitability, and recruitment. This assumption intertwines the profitability of nonconsensual recruitment with essentialist notions of female bodies (for example, the commodification of virginity). This chapter considers whether the physical appearance of the girls is a major factor in assessing their value as a commodity. More generally, it asks whether client demand, profit, price hierarchies, and deceptive recruitment are interrelated. It argues that the sex industries of Nong Kai and Vientiane, as well as the recruitment practices within them, constitute a mixture of capitalist penetration and patron–client relationships.

Keywords:   client demand, marketing, female bodies, sex workers, human trafficking, market value, profitability, recruitment, patron–client relationships, price hierarchies

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