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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From State Pimp to Transnational Abolitionist


Buzz words such as “human trafficking,” “sex work,” and “slave trade” haunt the daily media and evoke a gamut of emotions. Enunciated by activists, sectarians, public officials, and sex workers alike, discourses on prostitution abound. Why are such discussions on prostitution so prolific? And, what is at stake for the people who publicize them? How do the words and ideas that surround and define “the prostitute” shape the business of sex work in the first place?

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