Women's Day Tribute
Life & Culture Politics & Economy

Give sex workers a choice

Stories of migrant sex workers constitute
one of the most neglected segments

In past few decades, there has been an emergence of collective consciousness that discusses about the unspoken, unique and oppressed. Migration has contributed to the richness of cultural diversity, which has nurtured several narratives about diasporic subjects.

However, stories of migrant sex workers constitute one of the most neglected segments in contemporary literary and critical discourses. They not only struggle for justified treatment in real lives but also strive to break the cultural and moral biases set against them via their stereotyped portrayal in plenty of artworks, where their struggle as a migrant is merely reduced to a ‘fallen’ character.

Amidst exhausting sex for little money, constant abuse and dreams of bare survival, the migrant sex workers find themselves fiddling in the moments of emotional loss and nostalgia from their native lands. However, unlike most other migrants, sex workers usually do not have a choice and agency to return to their homelands.

Women's Day Tribute

Unlike others who switch places in hope of a stable future full of opportunities and security, sex workers switch places to manage to exist. Most often they are trafficked and their choice of living or not living at a certain place is given no priority.

While migration invites ample space for cultural exchange and enhancement of one’s experience, sex workers most often find themselves rather exposed to the exchange of flesh and currency only. Even when a worker from sex industry travels with their own will and choice, they are often not welcomed with same respect in their families and society as other foreign returns.

When migrant sex workers undergo the diasporic experience amidst unknown lands and people, they not are not only discomforted amidst foreign elements and new experiences, but are also ridiculed by their own people back home due to their profession.

This Women’s Day, let us at least pledge to respect someone’s existence and their survival narratives, keeping our biases regarding their gender and profession aside. 

PhD Research Scholar & Bilingual Literary Artist