Title

Perceptions of Sex Trafficking: Asian Women and Massage Parlors

Poster Number

8

Lead Author Major

History, Gender Studies

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Gesine Gerhard

Faculty Mentor Department

History, Gender Studies

Abstract/Artist Statement

This paper examines the way in which sex trafficking is viewed in America. Sex trafficking is typically seen as a one dimensional issue that prescribes to an abolitionist viewpoint only. This viewpoint defines sex trafficking as an industry which is always a forced profession with unwilling victims. However, sex trafficking is actually an industry that includes women who work as sex workers because it is an economically viable option for gainful employment. This fact is often forgotten though with the many ways in which the abolitionist viewpoint has been promoted and encouraged in U.S. society. U.S. legislation has been influenced by this viewpoint as well as modern-day media which tends to focus on young girls being pimped out. In particular western perceptions of Asian women have made it so they are always perceived to be the ones sexually exploited. Essentially, the abolitionist viewpoint of sex trafficking and its prevalence throughout history, in U.S. legislation and in media sources contributes to the sexualization and victimization of women, particularly Asian women, in American society. In order to discover American perceptions of sex trafficking and Asian women, both will be contextualized historically and these perceptions will be connected to our micro-study of Sacramento area massage parlors as an example of the more ambiguous nature of sex trafficking. Overall, sex trafficking proves to be an ambiguous issue as it is not always clear who is a victim, but it is clear that there are prevalent Western perceptions of Asian women as sexual objects.

Location

Tiger Lounge

Start Date

21-4-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2012 12:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 10:00 AM Apr 21st, 12:00 PM

Perceptions of Sex Trafficking: Asian Women and Massage Parlors

Tiger Lounge

This paper examines the way in which sex trafficking is viewed in America. Sex trafficking is typically seen as a one dimensional issue that prescribes to an abolitionist viewpoint only. This viewpoint defines sex trafficking as an industry which is always a forced profession with unwilling victims. However, sex trafficking is actually an industry that includes women who work as sex workers because it is an economically viable option for gainful employment. This fact is often forgotten though with the many ways in which the abolitionist viewpoint has been promoted and encouraged in U.S. society. U.S. legislation has been influenced by this viewpoint as well as modern-day media which tends to focus on young girls being pimped out. In particular western perceptions of Asian women have made it so they are always perceived to be the ones sexually exploited. Essentially, the abolitionist viewpoint of sex trafficking and its prevalence throughout history, in U.S. legislation and in media sources contributes to the sexualization and victimization of women, particularly Asian women, in American society. In order to discover American perceptions of sex trafficking and Asian women, both will be contextualized historically and these perceptions will be connected to our micro-study of Sacramento area massage parlors as an example of the more ambiguous nature of sex trafficking. Overall, sex trafficking proves to be an ambiguous issue as it is not always clear who is a victim, but it is clear that there are prevalent Western perceptions of Asian women as sexual objects.