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Can sex tourism be all that bad?: Spreading legs makes bread

Can sex tourism be all that bad?: Spreading legs makes bread
Author: Sophia Das
2 Commentries
Abstract
Sex tourism has received a worldwide criticism that it exploits and dehumanise both men and women. However, the industry is actually benefiting those who are working and involved in this type of job manner. No longer the workers prefer themselves to be identified as victims though few workers gets forced in to this business; therefore it is both exploitative and empowering.

Key words: Sex, sex-tourism, tourism, emotional labour, strategic flirting, empowerment.

Sex tourism has a very negative image in front of the critics and are not very popular. Common perceptions suggests that it impacts on people's lives and it is a form slavery where people are forced and pressurised to work. Nonetheless, it has a contradictory side to it, even though it is a type of exploitation of human beings; it is also able to sustain the socio-economic condition of both developing and industrialised community. In modern day, people can buy sex in four different methods. Clancy (2002) also made clear that sex tourists are able to consume the services in different methods. In this type of behaviour sex workers make clients believe that the whole transaction is special (Wood, 2000). As sex tourism takes place in four different methods, firstly, the transaction between buyer and seller (may happen without tourism). Secondly, sex tourism is highlighted as a prime tourist attraction, in which the tour operator does a block booking of the hotel rooms, airline and transfers for local sexual access. Majority of this activity is found in Western Europe/South East Asian countries. On some occasion travellers organise the trips through professionals and arrange sexual transactions independently. And the last method is when it is opted to book the holiday independently without any support from sex tour companies including the three elements of a holiday (travel, accommodation and transfers); these arrangements are known as sex tourism commodity chain (Clancy, 2002).

Emerging new trends may be the potential reason for it to become legal in cities such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Nevada and Bangkok (massage parlours). Destinations such as these are referred to as paradise of sexual tourism, providing with the services to satisfy one's sexual needs and wants and where sex is lawfully purchased. Sex tourism is in various form such as, cabarets, flirting and/or buying sex (both indoor and on street); this entails working through emotional labour. This means that a sex worker performs activities to stimulate the sexual fantasies for financial remuneration (Hoschild, 1983 in Deshotels and Forsyth, 2006). Nonetheless, it still carries a negative image and is a very complex subject to deter the worldwide acceptability of sex tourism.

Sex tourism is both empowering and exploitative, whereas, the argument is still on whether or not adult sex tourism is morally right as the industry is supported by the local authorities in some countries. Adults are sensible and know the right from wrong therefore, it is one's own will to join in this industry and it cannot be blamed on tourism that it increases prostitution in an area. So there should not be any blunt criticisms regarding this industry and of the sex tourists because in a way foreign aid is being promoted and given to the poor nations. Importantly, the money is not going in the pockets of corrupt politicians/local authorities and bureaucrats instead it goes straight for the worker's household economy. In any situation, if sex tourists limit the travel to these less developed countries then the only affect will be on the poor prostitutes as losing a significant amount of tourists will result into poorer living conditions. People often gets motivated by money and responsibility of families that lead them to work for this industry regardless of gender and choices (Steinfatt, 2002).

It is often considered that working in this sex tourism industry is dangerous but little is known that security is at the top of the agenda, making sure that the workers gets full protection from any type of robbery assault and/or rape (Weitzer, 2005). People who visit these red-light districts are actually being watched by the guards and police; in Netherlands for example, majority of sex workers in brothels, clubs and window units admitted that they always or most of the time feel safe in the working environment (Dalder, 2004 in Weitzer, 2005). In fact indoor prostitution is much safer than the street prostitution. O'Neil (2001) suggested that some sex workers are not victims of patriarchal power systems and also plays a dominion role in this business as the workers have the authority to negotiate the services and fees (in Garrick, 2005). Although Altman (2001) argues that sex workers in third world nations might not have the same kind of power and control in the same way as a high class sex worker in New York/Netherlands (in Garrick, 2005). Nonetheless, workers in less developed nations do not identify themselves as victims. It is suggested that women are actually comfortable with the job and earning good salaries and leading a glamorous life as well as saving money for the future development. (in Garrick, 2005). Deshotels and Forsyth (2006) also found that sex workers in the U.S perceive power over male customers and also workers employs a concept of strategic flirting in which flirting is used as a behavioural strategy to induce customers to give them money.

As Oppermann (1999) described that men who visit these third world nations are of foul-mannered, less than perfect shape, old/middle-aged, in many cases married carries the attributes of a typical sex tourist. Hypothetically, it can be true, however, if this is the case then it is not bad as one can think of because via this method the inequality of the world is reducing and both the parties can identify the needs of each other and can satisfy in one goal that will help in reducing the inequality of the world. Therefore, adult sex tourism in some respect is positive and is becoming acceptable in some parts of the world; providing a different meaning to life for the workers in the developing and developed countries.


Reference List

Clancy, M. (2002) The Globalization of Sex Tourism and Cuba: A Commodity Chain Approach. Studies in Comparative International Development, 36(4), pp. 63-88.

Deshotels, T. and Forsyth C.J. (2006) Strategic flirting and the emotional tab of exotic dancing. Deviant Behaviour, 27, pp. 223-241.

Garrick, D. (2005) Excuses, Excuses: Rationalisations of Western Sex Tourists in Thailand. Current Issues in Tourism, 8(6), pp. 497-509.

Oppermann, M. (1999) Sex Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(2), pp. 231-266.

Steinfatt, T.M. (2002) Working at the bar: Sex work and health communication in Thailand. Westport: Ablex Publishing.

Weitzer, R. (2005) New directions in research on prostitution. Crime, Law & Social Change, 43, pp. 211-235.

Wood, E.A. (2000) Working in the Fantasy Factory: The Attention Hypothesis and the Enacting of Masculine Power in Strip Clubs. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 29(1), pp. 5-31.
Can sex tourism be all that bad?: Spreading legs makes bread
Author: Magdalena Berus
The work that has been produced for this conference paper is very sound in its knowledge and raises many good points. I decided to comment on this paper because sex tourism was part of my own work.
Sex is a natural part of life. As you mentioned sex tourism has a very negative image in order to sex workers. I totally agree with you. However, there are some positive and negative aspects of sex tourism in general. For the most part, the relationship between sex and tourism it is positive, involving consenting adults engaging in a equally gratifying, and often relationship - reinforcing activity. As well, tourism related sexual activities may represent a break from the person's regular behavioural patterns. But there is also a dark side to sex and tourism and this is clearly highlighted in your discussion. Dark side to sex and tourism as tourism- related sexual activities can be exploitative and damaging. (Bauer and McKercher, 2003).
As you mentioned sex tourism takes places in four different methods. This is clearly explained in your work. Additionally, sex tourism is not simply about sex, but it is a reaction to the complex relation of gender, class, cultural, sexual and power in both the tourist's and the sex worker's society which sanctions the adaptation of certain human relationships. (Cliff and Carter, 2000).
Sex represents an important tourist attraction in many countries, moreover very clearly, as in the case of Thailand and Amsterdam, or more secretly, as in a number of Asian or African countries. For most people, travel and sex are frequently linked, even between those travelling in their own countries. According to Cliff and Carter, (2001) sex is generally understood to be part of the tourists' experience, and whether with other tourists, with local "holiday romance," or with sex workers, many people expect to have more sex when they are on holiday.

Popular destinations for sex tourism include Nevada, Amsterdam, Brazil, Thailand, Cambodia, Costa Rica, and Cuba. Also since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic have also become popular destinations for sex tourists. Working in sex tourism industry is dangerous. Sex worker performs activities to stimulate the sexual fantasies for financial remuneration. Sex workers gets full protection and the security is well organised. However, according to Altman (2001) sex workers in third world nations might not have the same kind of power and control in the same way as a high class sex worker in developed countries.(Garrick, 2005).
Sex tourism still carries a negative image and is a very complex subject to deter the worldwide acceptability of sex tourism. However, adult sex tourism is becoming acceptable in some parts of the world providing a different meaning to life for the workers in the developing and developed countries. Finally, I found this particular summary very interesting to read.

References
Bauer, T. and McKercher, B. (2003) Sex and Tourism: Journeys of Romance, Love, and Lust. London: Haworth Hospitality Press.
Stephen Clift and Simon Carter (2000) Tourism and Sex - Culture, Commerce and Coercion. London, Wellington House.
Garrick, D. (2005) Excuses, Excuses: Rationalisations of Western Sex Tourists in Thailand. Current Issues in Tourism, 8(6), pp. 497-509.
Can sex tourism be all that bad? Spreading legs makes bread.
Author: David Humphreys
This paper shows a good understanding of the sex industry, especially in developed regions such as Western Europe. The reason I have chosen to provide a commentary on this paper is because the issue of sex tourism is controversial to some and is an interesting choice of topic. The paper shows that there is both a good side as well as a dark side to sex tourism which include the exploitation of women workers, I agree with the writer however the dark side of sex tourism extends beyond exploitation and the theme could have been explored further. For example the paper looks at the morality of sex tourism and concludes that is the consenting adults responsibility to join the sex industry but does not take in to consideration people who are forced in to the industry via sex trafficking.

The relationship between sex and tourism is not all bad; sex tourist's travel in pursuit of sexual activity with prostitutes in exchange for money, and the adults in this transaction are consenting therefore making it a legitimate deal where prostitution is within the law. As well as this, the writer highlights the economic benefits brought about by prostitution and identifies that it is the prostitutes who take home all the money, the paper does not take in to consideration the fact that prostitutes in brothels and windows often have to pay high rental fees or commission, and in some areas where street prostitution is common, there are often pimps involved who extort women.

The conditions in which tourists buy and consume sex are highlighted very well by the writer as shown by Clancy (2002) and the content of the paper raises sum valid issues. The motivational factors of both the tourist in pursuit of sex and prostitutes are touched on briefly bout could have been explored in more detail, it does not take in to consideration enjoyment factors or what it is that motivates the tourist to travel to foreign countries to engage in sexual activity.

Sex is a natural part of life which represents an important tourist attraction in many destinations such as Amsterdam, according to Cliff and Carter (2001), tourists often tend to expect to have more sex whilst away on holiday, this can be explained by the concept of liminality which is used to describe the way in which tourists relax their inhibitions and the normal limits of thought and results in a change of normal behaviour, as well as this many hotels, airlines and tour operators often advertise the concept of sun, sea and sex which promotes the idea of pursuing sex or romance. (Chesney-Lind. M, Lind. I. Y. 1986).

It is difficult to cover all aspects of sex tourism as there are many types including male sex tourism, female sex tourism and child sex tourism, the paper shows a clear understanding of the legal aspects of sex tourism and provides an interesting read, however the information given is quite general and can be applied to the more developed sex tourism destinations appose to the role prostitutes play in third world countries such as Africa.


References
Chesney-Lind. M, Lind. I. Y. (1986) Visitors As Victims- Crimes Against Tourists in Hawaii. Annals of Tourism Research. Vol. 13 pp. 167-191

Clancy, M. (2002) The Globalization of Sex Tourism and Cuba: A Commodity Chain Approach. Studies in Comparative International
Development, 36(4), pp. 63-88.

Stephen Clift and Simon Carter (2000) Tourism and Sex - Culture, Commerce and Coercion. London, Wellington House.