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COLOFON Now if these women were described as travelling to work and seeing something of the world at the same time, it would at least be possible to tell their stories. On the way, quite a number of injustices, most of them structural, would be revealed, and researchers could

thinking about the five women I met last October, as well as for the great majority of those I’ve met who work in the sex, domestic and ‘caring’ services (for children, the elderly and the ill). When I lived in the Caribbean, it was common to talk to people who were thinking about going abroad to travel and work as migrants, and We do not need more research these are the same people who are imposed by people who believe working now in Europe, Australia, Japan. they know best how other people By locating these women as migrants rather than ‘sex workers’, ought to live whether exploited or not, it is possibe happy to have them exposed. But also the ble to include them in the growing body of aspect of these women’s lives that we never research on diasporas, globalisation, immigrahear about would be brought out: their leadtion law and international relations. A migraing role in their own life stories, complete tion framework allows consideration of all with making decisions about taking risks in conceivable aspects of people’s lives and travorder to get ahead in life – what academics els, locates them in periods of personal call agency. growth and risk-taking and does not force them to identify themselves as sex workers (or Research without prejudice as maids, or ‘carers’, for that matter). The goal of research is to answer questions that will help societies understand themselves The publication of research that looks at better, and these questions cannot avoid migrant sex workers’ lives in a myriad of ways existing within some kind of framework. For would eventually affect how society at large example, interviews with sex workers about considers them. It would inevitably reveal that their lives can be carried out within a frame of a minority suffers from disease and violence, ‘life histories’, the goal being to publish voices while the majority can be seen as resourceful that have been marginalised before. Or interentrepreneurs or pragmatic workers trying to views with police can attempt to show how make their way within government policies they perceive their jobs, inside a criminological and structures that are all against them. Harm framework. There can be ethnographies of reduction and other social projects could conbrothels (anthropology), surveys on how sex centrate on supporting such people at a speclub owners view the business (urban studies), cific stage of their lives but could also expand comparative work with people before they into different areas and not be forced to conwork in the sex industry and after (labour tinue to work uncomfortably inside stigmatisstudies, psychology), investigations on how ing frameworks (those that construct all small family-and-friends networks function to migrants as victims of trafficking or risk facilitate migrations (sociology). The list of groups for the transmission of disease). It’s possibilities is endless, and all would be useful worth a try. for improving our understanding of the sex industry and the people who work in it. Note However, whatever ‘field’ the frame belongs 1. M. Farley, Prostitution in Five Countries: to, we do not need more research imposed by Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. people who believe they know best how In: Feminism & Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 4, p. other people ought to live and who have 406, 1998. already taken a moralistic position before research is begun. An example is the stateAbout the author ment “We began this work from the perspecLaura Agustín is a life-long migrant and fortive that prostitution itself is violence against mer educator in Latin America who now women.”1 On the contrary, we need a lot of researches on the sex industry, is affiliated research undertaken by people who are very with the Open University, lives in Spain and close to sex workers’ lives, or who are sex has been contracted by the ILO and the Euroworkers themselves, but who will above all pean Commission to evaluate sex work-relatcommit themselves to honestly recording all ed programming. She moderates a romancethe different and conflicting points of view language e-mail list called IndustriadelSexo. and stories they run into during the research. Contact person Migration as a research framework Laura Agustín In my view, migration studies is the research Phone: +34-958-296327 framework that makes the most sense for E-mail:


Research for Sex Work is a newsletter designed for sex workers, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and others who professionally have to do with HIV/AIDS prevention and/or sex work. This special issue on migration and mobility was produced with financial support of Hivos, the Netherlands. Editors: Nel van Beelen (VU medical centre) Ivan Wolffers (VU medical centre) Licia Brussa (TAMPEP) Design: Nicole van den Kroonenberg Photo cover: Timothy Ross Printing: Den Haag offset, The Netherlands Back issues: 1. Peer education, June 1998 2. Appropriate health services, August 1999 3. Empowerment, June 2000 4. Violence, repression and other health risks, June 2001 Back issues or extra copies of this issue can be ordered for free. Please specify which issue(s) you would like to receive. Issue No. 5 is also available in Spanish. Contact person: Patricia Brinckman Department of Health Care and Culture Vrije Universiteit medical centre Van der Boechorststraat 7 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands Phone: +31-20-4448266 Fax: +31-20-4448394 E-mail: Web: