For those at the high end of the trafficking chain, the sex trade is an alluring and lucrative business: the supply of girls is constant, the costs of operations are low, and interference from law enforcement is weak to non-existent. Anti-trafficking organizations and governments commonly appropriate such market metaphors of supply and demand as they struggle with the moral-political dimensions of a business involving trade, labor, prostitution, migration, and national borders. But how apt are they? Is the sex trade really the perfect business? The Perfect Business? Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong, by Sverre Molland, is a provocative new book that examines the social worlds and interrelationships of traffickers, victims, and trafficking activists along the Thai-Lao border. It explores local efforts to reconcile international legal concepts, the bureaucratic prescriptions of aid organizations, and global development ideologies with on-the-ground realities of sexual commerce.
Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3653-5 / $26.00 (PAPER)