NON-CHINESE

SEX WORKERS IN

HONG KONG

AND EMERGING

SEX WORK SPACES

2016-2020

This project explored women's management of sex work in the context of other stigmatized or marginalized identiities, and examined the nature of the informal sex work sector in Hong Kong, in collaboration with 青鳥 Action for Reach Out (AFRO), a sex worker support organization in Hong Kong.

This project was supported by the Research Grants Council, Early Career Scheme

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PUBLICATIONS

SCRIPTING PRAGMATIC INTIMICIES IN SEX WORK, MIGRATION AND INTIMATE-MATERIAL EXCHANGES 

ABSTRACT

This paper examines women’s movement between sex work and intimate economies, with a specific focus on how non-Chinese women in Hong Kong leverage intimacy as a means of managing legal and socio-economic precarity within various institutional and individual constraints. To capture the diversity of women’s experiences, we use the term ‘intimate-material exchanges’ to broadly refer to compensation or material support provided in exchange for sexually intimate relations. We ground our analysis of the interactional processes involved in intimate-material exchanges in 39 interviews with ethnically non-Chinese women and men in Hong Kong. For the women in this study, intimate-material exchanges were shaped by migration and distinguished by pragmatism, strategy and intentionality that involved adapting, improvising and experimenting with sexual scripts in an ambiguous legal space in order to derive maximum material benefit. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of migration and intimate-material exchanges for sex worker rights.

Ham, J. & Gheorghiu, I. (in press). Scripting pragmatic intimacies in sex work, migration and intimate-material exchanges. Culture, Health & Sexuality. doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2020.1785011
Ham, J., Gheorghiu, I. & Lestari, E. (forthcoming). Migrant domestic workers, asylum-seekers and premonitions of anti-trafficking in Hong Kong. In K. Kempadoo and E. Shih (Eds.), The Race and Racism of Anti-trafficking. Routledge.

MEDIA

HONG KONG

FREE PRESS

22 OCTOBER 2017

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

The Non-Chinese Sex Workers in Hong Kong and Emerging Sex Work Spaces research project developed a series of leaflets based on some of the main issues raised in interviews with 39 interviews with women and men in sex work and intimate economies. To receive these leaflets, contact Action for Reach Out (AFRO) here.