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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Kimberly Kay Hoang. First, introducing the term perverse humanitarianism, the paper extends work on carceral feminism by offering concrete examples of interagency com- mitments between NGOs and the police.
Second, my ethnography reveals that women framed their relationships with male clients as mutually ben- eficial because the men provided them with alternate pathways to eco- nomic mobility outside of sex work. Drawing on the same tropes of victimhood employed by the NGOs, sex workers elicited sympathy from male clients that they leveraged into gifts of money. This paper is based on 22 months of participant observation conducted in and as well as informal interviews with 71 Vietnamese sex workers, 55 Western male clients, 4 former NGO staff members or directors, and 2 female bar owners in Ho Chi Minh City HCMC , Vietnam.
NGOs engage in what I call perverse humanitarianism a practice that involves the cooperation of local police and NGO workers in raid and rescue operations that reclassify criminalized sex workers as victims of trafficking.
Ironically, the previous carceral paradigm of justice and the new humani- tarian approach embraces similar disciplinary practices of paternalistic control. Focusing on exchanges of intimacy and money Hoang, ; Zelizer, , I argue that sex workers and Johns are engaged in complex relationships that may foster mutual support and choice as well as opportunities for exploitation by one or both parties.
Perverse humanitarianism questions moral and emotional sentiments of justice that gloss over the complex relationships of compassion and exploitation on the ground. They routinely use staged images of women in handcuffs, in chains, or with bar codes across their foreheads to raise awareness. An increasing number of abolitionist organizations have mobilized celebrities to serve as public relations advocates to appeal to donors Haynes, Drawing on this moral discourse, abolitionists advocate for legal protec- tions by pressuring the state to criminalize traffickers and rescue trafficked women Chuang, These advocates aim to rescue, restore, and rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking Soderland, Regarding clients, critical scholarship is largely silent.