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Conventionally, the literature on world cities describes them as the global hubs that organise ever-more complex flows of information, money and people. Within this literature, it is advanced producer services that are considered to be of crucial importance in articulating this space of flows, often to the neglect of other cultural and social practices that give world cities their distinctive character.
This paper redresses this balance by focusing on sex as one of the drivers of the global economy, arguing that world cities are not merely major markets for sexual consumption, pornography, and prostitution but are the hubs of a global network of sexual commerce around which images, bodies and desires circulate voraciously.
As such, this paper brings the body into discussions of globalization not merely as a vector of disease transmission, an agent of cultural diffusion or a repository of tacit business knowledge, but as a sexualised and desiring body whose intimate geographies are integral to the reproduction of global economic systems which thrive on the commodification of desire.
One manifestation has been the attempts to empirically quantify which cities exercise the highest degrees of centrality and power within the world city network Taylor, While world city rosters and league tables can reveal the most powerful world cities — rather than those which merely boast a large population — we need to be mindful of the basis on which these are constructed given that most prioritize particular types of work, and ignore the embodied dimensions of urban life.
Yet even those accounts seeking to reintegrate elite migration in the study of world cities e. Malecki and Ewers have rarely considered sex, love and intimacy as factors impinging on decisions to migrate, and hence as integral to the making of world city networks. International political economy has rarely considered sex as integral to the dynamics of contemporary globalization except in accounts that focus on sex trafficking and related practices in which women — and children — are exploited for gain.
Such accounts often suggest that these forms of sexual exploitation reproduce geopolitical orders and the dominance of white, male, bourgeois values. All are part of a world city network bound by flows of intimacy and sex as well as money and power. Having massively expanded since the discovery of oil in the s, Dubai has become one of the most important cities on the Arab peninsula, its emergence as a world city associated with its growing role as a centre for financial services as well as its reputation as a luxury tourist resort.
Focusing on the latter, Walsh reports a tendency for young British expats to reject notions of coupledom and instead perform a transient heterosexuality focused on play, freedom and the pursuit of sexual pleasure. Put simply, his thesis is that cities require a critical mass of creatives to thrive, a class of workers whose job is to create meaningful new forms of work Florida According to Florida, for a city to become a magnet for the creative class, it must provide Talent have a highly talented, educated and skilled population , Technology have the technological infrastructure necessary to fuel an entrepreneurial culture and Tolerance having a diverse community, which has a 'live and let live' ethos.
One way that Florida operationalises the latter is by a diversity index based on the proportion of coupled gay households in a region , which he sees as a good predictor of creativity and urban productivity, noting that eleven of the top 15 high tech metropolitan areas in the US also appear in the top 15 of his gay index Florida Moreover, a rising number of city governors acknowledge the importance of adult entertainment in attracting business tourists and conference travellers of all kinds Sanchez Unsurprisingly, few surveys suggest sex is a motivation for business travel, but anecdotal evidence for this is legion, suggesting an important connection between business travel and sexual consumption, especially when such travel allows individuals to escape the confines of an existing, coupled relationship Wonders and Michalowski While this can apply to women travellers, much commentary fixates on the business man , who is assumed to be a significant and sometimes voracious consumer of sexual services.
In Tokyo, visits to massage parlours and hostess bars appear to be as much a part of corporate hospitality as banqueting and karaoke are Allison , whilst in London female employees have complained about the culture of entertaining foreign visitors by taking them to lap dancing and strip shows Rutherford Beyond this, it is clear that hotels catering to business travelers are important sites for escort work and prostitution, while sexual consumption is normalized in the provision of hard-core porn on the pay-to-view channels that constitute part of the in-room entertainment.
Oppermann argues that the vast majority of tourists who visit prostitutes or sites of adult entertainment do not travel for that purpose alone. In most cases, this is a by-product or side attraction rather than the main and sole purpose of travel. O'Connell Davidson describes these as situational sex tourists. Dispensing with clichés of the sex tourist as a predator, travelling solely to exploit and dominate economically subordinate young people, this notion of situational sex tourism suggests that sex and business entwine in a multitude of ways see Hesse and Tutengen, But to suggest the sex industries simply follow existing flows of finance and business is to downplay the importance of the sex industry as one of the drivers of the global economy.
Historically, the sex industry has been associated with centres of trade and finance, with sex workers catering to the wealthy, but sex tourism and adult entertainment has also developed in tourist areas, areas of seasonal employment, in border zones and in centres of conflict such as occupied zones: As such, there are many cities whose importance as centres of sexual commerce is disproportionate to their significance as centres of finance. This implies that whilst all world cities are seductive, some cities are more seductive than others, becoming de facto erotic cities.
Positioned within East-West flows of tourism, a context of rural deprivation, gendered inequality and a predominant Buddhist attitude which is tolerant of many forms of sex working, Thailand has been a notorious centre for sex tourism since at least the s, when US military en route to Vietnam stopped there for rest and recreation Askew Gambling remains the cornerstone of the economy, but even conservative estimates suggest there are more employed in the sex industry than in the casinos.
Penttinen has accordingly used the concept of shadow globalization when referring to the global flows of migrants who are employed in the sex industry. Indonesia, Surinam and Antilles. In a contemporary context, there is much concern that a large proportion — and maybe even a majority — of these men and women will have been trafficked for the express purpose of sexual exploitation. Indeed, it is estimated somewhere between , and 1,, people are trafficked globally annually, with a significant — but ultimately immeasurable — number ending up sex working see Hubbard et al.
Particularly problematic is the distinction between migration via smuggling networks and enforced migration at the hands of traffickers — a distinction many human rights organizations claim is irrelevant given those seeking to migrate with the aid of people smugglers do so in desperate circumstances and with little knowledge about employment opportunities Hughes However, others reject this to posit a more complex range of scenarios situated at different points on a continuum of voluntary and involuntary migration.
For example, Agustin argues that the poor pay and conditions in caring and servicing work means that many migrants prefer to sell sex or sell it as a second job, despite the stigma attached to it.
The sex industry thus provides a paid occupation for many millions of people worldwide, offering much higher wages and often more freedom and flexibility than other jobs available: Mai found that migrant sex workers in London reported better working and living conditions than those they encountered in other sectors mainly in the hospitality and care sectors. Tellingly, only a handful around 6 per cent of female interviewees in his sample felt that they had been deceived and forced into selling sex in circumstances in which they had no share of control or consent.
Even in nations where governments have sought to block adult content and prevent peer-to-peer file sharing, it remains relatively easy to access sites where sexual imagery can be freely viewed and posted , whilst there are thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of sites where video content is available to download on a subscription of a pay-to-view basis. The rise of the Internet and the putative pornification of society are hence intimately connected, with pornography producers being early innovators in the use of online and visual technologies to disseminate adult content.
Une de ces jeunes filles a récemment déclaré au magazine du Bureau de la coordination des Affaires humanitaires des Nations unies, Irin News:. Ni aux pédotouristes, ni à leurs victimes. Située à une soixantaine de kilomètres au sud de Tunis, la capitale, c'est l'une des principales stations balnéaires de la Tunisie.
Mais la ville est surtout une destination réputée pour être un véritable lieu de débauche. On peut les voir aussi dans certains restaurants huppés de la ville, quand ils ne les accompagnent pas tout simplement sur les petites plages privées naturistes que compte Hammamet.
En Afrique du Nord, la station balnéaire est devenue, depuis plusieurs années, une destination de choix pour les touristes sexuels. Tout le monde est au courant, mais presque personne n'en parle. Ni les autorités, ni les populations locales. A ce croisement de rues, se sont installés les principaux bars et cabarets ainsi que les plus grands restaurants qui rythment les soirées de cette petite ville de Et pratiquement tous à la recherche de ce que Kribi offre de plus exotique en plus de son cadre paradisiaque: Ces chiffres ont été rapportés il y a quelques temps par le journal camerounais Le Messager.
Même si elles ont fait adopter en une charte contre le tourisme sexuel, signée par tous les acteurs de la filière touristique. Chaque année, ils sont entre Conséquence, elle accueille essentiellement une clientèle aisée. Les prostitués, hommes et femmes, ont bien vu la manne et ont eux aussi envahi Marrakech. Des associations se sont engagées dans la lutte contre ce fléau et ont forcé les autorités à agir.
Les autorités craignent de porter préjudice au tourisme en ternissant la réputation du pays. Mais la nuit tombée, la première destination touristique malgache se transforme en une véritable plaque tournante du commerce du sexe. Loin des plages de sable fin et des eaux luxuriantes de la mer, les pédotouristes, parmi les Une population de quelques Raoul Mbog est journaliste à Slate Afrique.
Il s'intéresse principalement aux thématiques liées aux mutations sociales et culturelles et aux questions d'identité et de genre en Afrique. Le Cameroun désapprouve vivement les propos de l'ambassadeur américain. Troubles au Cameroun anglophone: Mauritius, by garybembridge via Flickr CC.
Le célèbre guide français du Routard, il y a quelques années, décrivait ainsi froidement ce petit village chaud de la commune de Mbour: Une de ces jeunes filles a récemment déclaré au magazine du Bureau de la coordination des Affaires humanitaires des Nations unies, Irin News: AFP Le Cameroun désapprouve vivement les propos de l'ambassadeur américain.
AFP Troubles au Cameroun anglophone: Homosexualité Ce pasteur qui aime les gays.