From sex shacks to mega-brothels: The politics of anti-trafficking and the 2006 soccer World Cup

Abstract

This article examines the discourses of forced prostitution that circulated in the US and European media and government publications in the context of the soccer World Cup in 2006. This analysis of the public discourse around prostitution reveals two themes: concerns about immigration and border security, and representations of gender binaries that serve to relegate migrant women to the status of victim. The fears of increased sex trafficking and the condemnation of so-called ‘sex shacks’ and ‘mega-brothels’ for the World Cup 2006 served as foils for other perceived crises produced by globalisation. The debates struggle with a marked ‘other’ that reveals new forms of racialised ‘othering’: dangerously white, understood as both of Europe and a threat to it. The 2006 World Cup historical moment has implications for how international sports, consumer culture and feminist activism inform and conceal human agency.

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