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Around the world for sex

Around the world for sex
Author: Assa Diarisso
1 Commentries
Sex tourism, like so many facets of the world, has not been left untouched by globalisation. The powerful entity that is globalisation has had a profound impact on the arena of sex work. This discussion investigate how area like sex tourism have undergone changes due to globalisation.

KEYWORDS: globalisation, sex work, sex tourism.

Globalisation is a disputed issue, with arguments for and against it. Even the term causes friction. It is recognized by many theorists, as an important force in all areas of life; politics, economics and what we read, wear, watch, eat and even how we speak is affected by it.
One of the most important feature of globalisation is the world interconnectedness it has produced. Held et al. discuss the four types of change that have contributed to this interconnectedness:
The stretching of social, political and economic activities across political frontiers, regions and continents. i.e.: transport, English being a widely spoken language and infrastructures.

The intensification of interconnectedness: the societies become progressively trapped in global systems and networks of interaction.

The internet and faster methods of travel: the Oscars provides a good example,150 countries broadcast this event meaning viewers all over the world are turned in at the same time. (Oscars, 2010).

The extensity of global interactions have a serious impact. The consequence of this being that distant events can have a domestic impact: 9/11 had a worldwide impact.

Sex industry refers to a range of practices involving the exchange of sex and or sexually related goods or services for money (Nagle,1997).These practice can be found in a variety of situations related to sexual activities. These include sex tourism, various kinds of porn ,sexual performances and sex for money.
Leigh claims to have invented the term of "sex work" in order to create an atmosphere of tolerance within and outside the women's movement for women working in the sex industry (Leigh,1997). It acknowledges the work that women and men do, rather than defining them by their status. The international union of sex workers (IUSW, 2010) proudly refer to themselves by this term.

Tourism is one of the most obvious forms of globalization (Held et al.1999, p.360). Holidays have become less to do with the reinforcing of collective memories and experiences and more to do with immediate pleasure (Urry, 2002, p.92). This immediate pleasure could be one of the factors involved in sex tourism, which has seen a major increase in the face of globalisation.

Sex tourism is the incidence of men travelling from more developed countries to less developed countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean for sex that is either not available or more expensive or qualitatively less pleasurable at home. However, this is not restricted to men as there is a discreet stream of travellings by affluent western women to places in the Caribbean and Africa (Phillips,1999); and place as historically Amsterdam has been one of the biggest attractions and prostitution since 1830 (Amsterdam.info, 2010).

The development in information technology such as the world wide web enable tourists to view information and images about every destination across the globe. The "World Sex Guide" acts as a site in which fellow sex tourists can share information about their trips: a Lonely Planet Guide for sex tourists one could say (world sex guide, 2010).

The Caribbean has proven to be a "hot spot" in terms of sex tourism. Globalisation has played its part in this due to its economic system being linked to the wider network that is the global economy. Tourism industry uses the hedonistic images of "sun, sand and sex" to market the island as a tourism destination (Mullings,1999) and the three minute culture has increasing numbers of travellers to consume these sex services.

To conclude, globalisation has had a major bearing on the sex industry and those who work within it. The individual wants and needs, is enjoyed and consumed by sex tourists. Sex tourism can be argued to be a negative or positive industry just as globalisation can be argued to have a negative or positive impact on the world, whatever the result of the argument is, it is quite clear that these two arenas are highly dependant on each other.


Amsterdam prostitution (2010): Amsterdam.info. available at http://www.amsterdam.info/prostitution/.

Held, D et al. (1999) Global Transformation: Politics, Economics and Culture. (Cambridge: Polity Press) ,p.360.

International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) (2010) information: [online].London: IUSW. Available at: http://www.iusw.org/.

Leigh, C. (1997) "Inventing Sex Work". In Nagle, C (Ed.) (1997) Whores and Other Feminists (London: Routledge), p.230.

Mullings, B (1999) "Globalization, Tourism and the International Sex Trade". In Kempadoo, K (Ed.) (1999) Sun, Sex And Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.),p.65.

Nagle, J. (1997) Whores And Other Feminists, (London: Routledge), p.1.

Oscars (Oscars,2010): information: Oscars night.Available at: http://oscar.go.com/oscar-night/the-show?tab=tabIB&cid=10_oscars_landingCallout_oscar-night.

Phillips, J (1999) "Tourist-Oriented Prostitution in Barbados: The Case of the Beach Boy and the White Female Tourist". In Kempadoo, K (Ed.) (1999) Sun, Sex And Gold; Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean.Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc,pp.183-200.

Urry, J. (2002) The Tourist Gaze.2nd Ed.London: Sage Publications Ltd,p.92.

World sex guide (2010) information: London: IUSW. Available at: http://www.worldsexguide.org/WSGMainPage.html.
Excellent conference paper :D
Author: Lisa Walker
I have always been interested in researching sex tourism, yet it seems so controversial that I could never find a way of investigating the area.

The paper has been well structured to show a clear knowledge of the separate factors that contribute to the main study. In addition, the way you have linked globalisation to the factors that effect tourists decisions to holiday in particular areas gives more focus on the study.

The strong sense of understanding that you have perceived is shown though the understanding of the main factors and uses of globalisation.

I think that the paper requires more in depth background coverage of the sex industry, although you have quoted Leigh where they claims to have invented the term of "sex work", yet I think it would have been more useful to have a clearer definition of this term and the impacts it has had on the development of the sex industry in recent years, rather than giving the sense of a created atmosphere and tolerance.

Another point that could have been considered in the overall worries, perceptions and information of the sex trade, is it that sex tourism only happens in less developed countries? Or is it that people or not aware of the situations in their domestic areas? Yes I believe that the sex trade is common in many areas of the world, but I believe that due to media attention so called LEDC's are the focus and have no real way of changing people's views.

You have recognised that the sex trade is not restricted to men as you mentioned that there is a discreet stream of travelling by affluent western women. Even though this is a short paper I think that this area should have been explored in more detail, as it is one that is not well documented as I think this quote from Phillips ahs the emphasis on the word 'discreet'.

You noted that Mullings explored the concept that Globalisation has played its part in sex tourism due to its economic system being linked to the wider network and that certain tourism areas have developed an image of sun, sand and sex. This I believe is true, yet in the same instance ho is it possible to define where sex tourism takes place? In your definitions you stated that sex tourism involved a range of practices involving the exchange of sex and or sexually related goods or services for money, yet would this not happen on a 18-30 holiday to Ibiza?

The final point that I would like to raise for this paper is the influence of the media has not been covered in great detail, I think that it may be possible to investigate the media's influence on the travel companies and their views of tourists travelling to destinations known for sex tourism.
From the point of view of the tourist, possible discrimination maybe formed by them choosing to go to these sex tourism hot spots for their annual holiday. This would be more likely to happen within travel agencies as I believe that the media has formed a stereotypical view of the type of people that travel to these destinations, which then can be interpreted by travel agents to generalise that all people going to the hotspots are only going to part take in sex tourism.

Overall a very interesting piece, which I would be interested in learning more about.