Response to Link Between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration

Response to Link Between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration

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My main motivation to attain an education has been to become an immigration lawyer one day to help those that are discriminated and underrepresented because of their legal status. Before the course, I had never thought about the intersection between immigration and the lgbt community.  People who are both queer and undocumented are almost invisibilized within the national discussion of the issue.  The truth is that there is no legal path for them to legalize their status in the country. Same-sex marriage continues being a major national debate with no clear end.

I found Julio Salgado’s work not only amazing, but also inspiring that he is not afraid to express what it means to be an undocumented queer of color.  My favorite image is the one of the male with the butterfly wings for multiple reasons. The most obvious are the variety of colors used. The words written on the wings are not only strong, but also in both English and Spanish. I also liked that the characters body figure is very realistic as opposed to the typical Abercrombie and Fitch model. Salgado’s paintings challenge many different issues at the same time, which I just find fascinating.

Furthermore, the short interview video with him is not only insightful, but also very educational. I learned what “gold star” means in the lgbt community –somebody that has not had sexual contact with a person of the opposite sex. My favorite part of the video is when Salgado says “You cant eat your undocumented cake and deport it at the same time” because it is a reality that the nation faces.  The United States government and society at large benefit from the labor of immigrants, yet they are alienated and framed as not belonging here and interfering with the “American way of life”. When in reality they only contribute to facilitating it for very cheap.

Generating Discussion: Continuities and Change

Five Centuries of Prostitution in the Caribbean by Kamala Kempadoo 

prostitution

Kempadoo presents the historical practices of prostitution –the exchange of material goods for sex, organized within the tourism industry in the Caribbean.  Her approach towards the subject is a very professional one, as she remains respectful of those individuals that willingly decide to engage in sex work. The female colored body is thought about as sexually promiscuous and immoral due to colonial notions regarding racial hierarchies. White master’s ownership over black slave women gave them access to the latter’s free labor and body. Rape and sexual abuse over time became institutionalized in the Caribbean as prostitution. The discourse around the female colored body persists today and is disguised under new practices and names such as that of “marriage tours”.

Foreign men view women of the mixed race such as the mulatta or mestiza as sexually desirable and exotic. Women of color in the past have served as both mistresses and housekeepers. Despite that colonial rule has ended women of color continue to perform such labor. Marriage tours have become popular in Colombia since agencies advertise the Latina woman as being warm, loving, and beautiful. American men travel thousands of miles in search of “love” and for a new wife –or they say. It seems that the tourism industry has extended prostitution into the official business of promoting Latinas as housekeepers and sex workers. Kempadoo notes that slaveholders “pimped” women’s manual and sexual labor the same way that the tourism sector and its extensions do today.

It is important to note that the women who participate in these marriage tours do so voluntarily and not all of them seek economic benefits. Nonetheless, a majority of them would like to escape the country’s poor economic conditions. Women of color are perhaps using to their advantage the discourse around the sexuality of the colored body the same way that some enslaved women made strategic uses of their sexual labor. Many enslaved black women achieved their freedom and even attained property –Beckles called this “sexual alliances”. Sex labor within such framework can be viewed as a liberation strategy from the control and domination of white men.

State governments have tried to mark the social distinction between sex workers and chaste women through multiple regulations. In the Caribbean, regulations to contain prostitution have varied from the official listing of prostitutes to the creation of prostitution zones. However, such distinctions are blurred with the romanticizing of prostitution practices between tourist and locals. Marriage tours are a good example being that the women involved are not explicitly selling sex labor making it harder to classify them in a particular way. Many of these women often fantasize about the foreign man and want to engage in transnational marriages trying to change their lives positively or at least they think it will.

Prostitution is a complex subject that entails many shades of gray and is not as simple as the imagined exchange of money for sexual pleasure. It is important to remember that women are subordinated within the practices of prostitution. Domestic work and sexual relations with men are an extension of such practices. In the Caribbean sex work has served to produce and reproduce capital. Sexual pleasure along with domestic labor are used to form tourist packages such as that of the marriage tours where you can go on a one week vacation and find “love”.

Questions: 

Should women that participate in marriage tours be considered as voluntary sex workers? If so, why? If not, how can we describe their participation? It is just “dating”?

Do you think that government deregulation of prostitution would help decrease the stigma surrounding sex workers? What about the idea that sex worker are to blame for the spread of venereal diseases?

Prostitution is often viewed as being solely heterosexual, but what about same-sex services? Do you think that the Caribbean’ sex tourism industry includes or excludes these bodies? Why?

Argument Seed

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The Business of Child Prostitution 

Foreword

My topic for the class project has somewhat shifted into a new direction since my last blog post. I will now be examining the institution of child prostitution and its practices within the Caribbean island of Jamaica.  The country’s economy and tourism sector will form a large part of my research. I seek to find the implications of underage-sex for sale on the broader idea of prostitution and sex workers.

Introduction

 European invasion of the Americas during the 16th century gave rise to prostitution in the Caribbean being that slavery represented both the extraction of sex and labor. Race, class, and gender together continue to perpetuate the business of sex for sale. Notions of the time about the colored body as sexually desirable, promiscuous, and sensuous still exist today. It is very evident in the growing trend of Western tourist traveling to less developed countries for an exotic getaway. The international world in recent decades has brought attention to the increasing problem of child prostitution. Scholars argue that children are stripped of their childhood, abused, and thought to use their bodies as a commodity. It is difficult to discuss prostitution specifically to that of children without addressing the whole institution itself as it proves to be problematic. Some issues of relevance include who is reaping the benefits of the business, the legal framework is formed to target who, and what are the implications involved.

Jamaica’s tourism industry emerged in 1891 in an effort to relieve economic problems following the International Monetary Fund’s failed structural adjustment programs. Today close to thirty percent of the country’s gross domestic product is in the form of foreign exchange creating a dependency on tourism.  Scholars argue that the industry markets Jamaica as offering the four S’s –sun, sand, sea, and sex. I found a statement by the Research Department of the Jamaica Tourist Board quite interesting that “we have nothing to do with the socioeconomic situation in the country –it has to do with a type of Jamaican who has no intentions of earning an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work but is much more comfortable preying upon others –be they visitors or Jamaicans” suggesting that the issue dwells on sex workers and not the institutions themselves. I believe that government entities and corporations try to conceal the inhumane practices taking place on the island because they are ultimately receiving a piece of the pie.

In-Depth Subtopics

  • Organization of sex for sale within marketed tourist packages
  • Difference between coerced prostitution and sex work as labor
  • The reasons children are pulled into the business
  • Factors that affect sex workers earnings
  • Access to health care services
  • Possible solutions to address the problem (nationally and globally)

 Sources:

Kempadoo, K. (1999). Sun, sex, and gold: Tourism and sex work in the caribbean. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Prostitution in Jamaica -children? women? men?

Jamaica's Prostitution Market

Jamaica’s Prostitution Market

I will be examining Jamaica’s prostitution business for the class project. I want to demonstrate that prostitution does not only target women and children but also men. I want to include the country’ social, political, and economic history to gain a better understanding of how the country ever reached this point. I am interested in this topic because tourism from the northern part of the globe largely support this inhumane practice. I think that a feminist transnational analysis can help us understand this problem better by examining the power relations that structure the sex trade business.

So far I have found the following links to be of interest and closely related to my topic:

Jamaica's prostitution market is out of control.

Jamaica’s prostitution market is out of control.

http://www.westernmirror.com/index.php/permalink/6026.html

  • Article highlights a current investigation taking place regarding children trafficking from Jamaica to other countries. So far one United Kingdom male has been taken into custody and is believed to be involved in the business. We see here international entities stepping in and enforcing international laws against sex trade.

Child Sex Slaves

http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/projects/childlabour/news/newspaper_articles/2002/jobserver-21jul02.pdf

  • Article provides results for a 2000 study about Jamaica’s child sex workers. Study found that most of the children were females and that certain sexual acts and behavior are divided on the basis of gender. The piece argues that this business teaches children to sell their bodies as a commodity.
Map of popular destinations

Map of popular destinations

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/general/100421/sex-tourism-jamaica-prostitution

  • Article brings to light the tabooed topic of female sex tourism and how it is actually taking place all over the world today. It also tries to answer the question who is the blame: locals or tourists? Author states that every year close to 80,000 women travel every year to Jamaica in search of “love”. But a certain type of women, European middle-aged wealthy women.
An example of the homes that Jamaican prostitutes reside.

An example of the homes that Jamaican prostitutes reside.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20050904/focus/focus2.html

  • Article brings to discussions the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution in Jamaica. Notes whether such action would make any sense since the country is believed to be based on strong christian values. (Where are these values today?) Topics of importance relating to the issue include health, income, and employment. Has sex evolved to be another commodity in today’s globalized world?
Help stop the tears.

Help stop the tears.

http://endhumantrafficking.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/jamaica-soroptimists-speak-out-about-human-trafficking-for-international-womens-day-2013/

  • Article notes organizations trying to end human trafficking during this year Women’s International Day 2013. The International Women’s Organization has been working close to 50 years trying to end abuse and violence against women and currently have 2 clubs in Jamaica. The Purple Tear Drop campaign seeks to educate communities about cultural practices that perpetuate sex trade and human-trafficking markets.

Some of the questions that I will be researching include: 

How did Jamaica’s colonial history influenced society today? What ties disappeared? Which ties are still present?

Why is prostitution still taking place in 2013? What is the government’s role on the issue and what initiatives have been taken if any? Laws to protect citizens?

Society’s acceptance? Why?

Does religion have a say on the issue? Is it ignored by everyone?

What is the international community doing to help or victimize these sex slave workers? What have been some of the repercussions revolving this issue? Economic drive? Human rights?

& many more…