"Construction of Spaces of Transnational Life on the Southern Border of Mexico"
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Sérgio Costa (FU Berlin), PD Dr. Martha Zapata Galindo (FU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Marisa Belausteguigoitia (UNAM)
This research is motivated by the concern that ‘prostitution’ exists and persists as a space of extreme marginalization, discrimination and violation of women human rights. In Mexico and Central America. ‘Prostitution’ is usually represented as a homogeneous space formed by victims of human trafficking (migrants women) and victimizers (networks of male traffickers).
My research questions this statement and seeks to understand ‘prostitution’ at the southern border of Mexico as a complex phenomenon, based on sex workers’ perspectives. In this way, my argument challenges the dichotomy victim vs. agents. I suggest that women working in ‘prostitution’ should be understood as women who experience multiple relations of power (domination) but still have the capacity of resistance and individual agency.
The experience of these women can be understood within a specific sexual market conditioned by structural forces (specific historical, economic and political processes, in which social constructs of gender, race, sexuality and nationality intersect), but also by micro social factors. The latter are expressed in the way sex workers organize and understand their everyday practice. In this context, agency is a permanent negotiation and renegotiation between individuals and specific relations of power.
The question to ask, therefore, is: How is the "prostitute" produced at the Mexican southern border? And how do sex workers understand and organize their everyday practices from this subjectivity?
My research proposes to analyse narratives in life-stories of women involved in the sex trade at the Mexican Southern Border. This methodological approach follows feminist methodological strategies that aimed to work with the experiences of muted groups and developed conceptual and theoretical categories on the basis of women’s perspective. In addition, I will carry out an analysis of legal frame (convictions for the crime of human trafficking). This material will be complemented by interviews with governmental officials.