Sex Work and Stigma Management in China and Hong Kong: The Role of State Policy and NGO Advocacy

Susanne Y.P. CHOI*, Ruby Y.S. LAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the impacts of state policies and NGO advocacy on female sex workers’ identity and how they manage stigma. Comparing three groups of sex workers – those born and working in mainland China, those born and working in Hong Kong, and those born in mainland China who later migrated to Hong Kong and entered the sex industry – this paper suggests that differences in state policies on prostitution and the different degrees of visibility of NGOs campaigning for sex workers’ rights are related to three strategies used by sex workers to construct a positive self-image to counteract the stigma they face: gendered obligation fulfilment, professional work and responsible citizenship. The paper illustrates that stigmatized-identity management involves complex relationships among individual interpretation, selection and mobilization of gender, work and citizenship scripts, which are contingent on structural features of the environment and may change during migration and relocation.

本文探讨了国家政策及非政府组织倡议对女性性工作者的身分及污名应对策略所带来的影响。透过比较三组性工作者:(1)在中国大陆出生和工作、(2)在香港出生和工作,及(3)在中国大陆出生并移居香港从事性工作的女性,本研究发现,政府针对性工作的政策的差异以及非政府组织的权利倡议的能见度,均模塑了性工作者用以建构正面的自我形象以抵消社会污名的三种策略:履行性别义务、性工作作为专业,和实践尽责公民的身分。本研究显示,管理污名化的身分与个人对性别、工作,及公民身分脚本的传释、选择和挪用存在复杂的关系,而这些脚本亦取决于个人身处的环境及其背后的结构特征,並因着个人的迁移与重置而发生变化。
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalThe China Quarterly
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by a grant provided by the HKSAR Research Grants Council (Grant No. CUHK442107). We thank the respondents for trusting us and for sharing their stories and experiences with us. We are also grateful to the staff of the NGOs in China and Hong Kong. This research would not be possible without their assistance. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments.

Keywords

  • sex work
  • stigma
  • state policy
  • NGOs
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • 性工作
  • 污名
  • 国家政策
  • 非政府组织
  • 中国

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sex Work and Stigma Management in China and Hong Kong: The Role of State Policy and NGO Advocacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this