Trafficking and Sex Work in Cambodia
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Cambodia has long been identified as a human trafficking hotspot and, after sustained pressure from the US and other governments, in February 2008 the Cambodian government promulgated its Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. This law equates sex work with human trafficking and has led to the criminalisation of sex work in Cambodia.
This book shows how policies to combat human trafficking and regulate sex work have shaped both the structure of the modern Cambodian sex industry and sex workers’ experiences. It is rich in empirical detail, based on extensive long-term fieldwork and in-depth interviews and highly original, as the author describes the largely undocumented experiences of male and female sex workers to show how sex work remains prevalent in Cambodia and continues to be a dynamic terrain responding to global and local socioeconomic forces and moulded by government control and people’s constantly changing social and sexual tastes. The analyses unpack the very serious consequences of the conflation between sex work and human trafficking. In tracing contemporary shifts and changes in the sex industry and sex work practices, the book draws clear connections between attempts to regulate the industry and transformations in contemporary sexual practices. Thus, it shows the extent to which regulations determine the structure of the industry and conditions under which male and female sex workers operate. Ultimately, the author argues that understanding sex workers’ experiences of the implementation of anti-trafficking measures is essential to the development of evidence-based policy necessary to respond to the growing crisis in the region.
A significant political intervention, the book gives an impetus to programmatic change, particularly relating to how governments develop and implement legal frameworks that combat human trafficking and advance knowledge on Southeast Asia. It makes a vital contribution to public debates and scholarship about human trafficking and will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience in the fields of Southeast Asia Studies, Human Rights Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Socio-Legal Studies, Human Geography, Gender Studies, Criminology, Sexuality Studies and Public Health Studies.
Table of Contents
2. Srey Mom: Staging the trafficking victim
3. Anatomy of a raid: Raids/rescues and the anti-trafficking movement in Cambodia
4. The Frontlines: Implementation of Cambodia’s 2008 Human Trafficking Law
5. States of Play: Sex work and sex workers under the Human Trafficking Law
Larissa Sandy is Lecturer in Justice and Legal Studies at RMIT University, Australia. She is an anthropologist whose work focuses on gender, sexuality and culture in Southeast Asia. Her previous book Women and Sex Work in Cambodia was also published with Routledge (2014).