Trafficking, Profiteering and State Complicity: Researching the Demand Side of prostitution and trafficking in Cyprus

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Trimikliniotis, Nicos & Corina Demetriou (2009) Trafficking, Profiteering and State Complicity: Researching the Demand Side of prostitution and trafficking in Cyprus, Translocations: Migration and Social Change 5(1): 1–32.

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This paper reflects on the issue of trafficking, exploitation and prostitution, primarily looking
at that question from the ‘demand side’. Drawing on primary research on the situation in
Cyprus, based on client interviews, it critically reflects on the meaning of the sex clients’
discourses as particular expressions of Cypriot masculine identities, from the perspective of
regulating ‘demand’ as a means of combating sex trafficking. It locates the various client
discourses within the broader issues which define the content and context of the social
relations, focusing on the demand for sexual labour in the desire industries of Cyprus. The
examination of client discourses reveals the cultural transformations and economic changes
which transformed the nature of entertainment over the last years: uncovering the
contradictions as regard sexualities, masculinities and the gender order is important to
understanding the structure and modus operandi of the system of purchased sex that
generates the demand for trafficking. Yet, such cultural practices are reproduced by the social
structure, the profit-making industry and the complicit state. The paper questions the
assumptions about criminalisation of demand. The case of Cyprus illustrates that trafficking
of women is primarily a question of sexual and bonded labour and can be addressed via
immigration and employment laws and policies.
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