Regulating sex for sale through the intersection of migration and anti-trafficking policy

Spanger, M. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Within the Danish policy field of prostitution, the problematisation of migrant women who sell sexual services is primarily narrated as displaced victims ending up in the sex industry. How such a displacement are represented as a problem relies on two arguments that often supplement each other and are embedded in a feminist and a social policy discourse: first, that the victim is forced by physical violence or tricked by criminal organizations or a potential husband from the receiving country. Second, that human trafficking are caused by lack of gender equality, poverty, unemployment, poor opportunities for education, corruption or political instability combined with the demand for women in the global sex industry. These arguments (physical violence and
global structural inequalities) ground the outreach work of social workers among migrant sex workers. The presentation investigates how the complexity of power and trust relations conditions the negotiation between the social worker and the migrants selling sexual services. For instance, the ‘caring’ element in terms of ‘help’, ‘guidance’ and ‘direction’, but also ‘condemnation’ condition the negotiations. The presentation is based on a fieldwork among Thai migrant sex workers and their encounter with Danish social worker.
Period30 Mar 2017
Event typeConference
LocationKøbenhavn, Denmark
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • sex for sale
  • migration
  • prostitution policies