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Date and Venue

December 1 2023 | 17:00-18:30 JST

In-person at Waseda University

Room 711, Building 19, Waseda University


Event details:


The communication will present first results of a collaborative research project on cross-border migration involving sex trade. It concerns both migrant sex work and trafficking in persons into the sex industry, with a critical view that it is necessary to break the dichotomy between sex work based on self-determination and victims of trafficking as part of an organized crime. The starting point of the research was not to argument about prohibiting (or not) migration into sex trade, but to document conditions and resources that would make these migrants’ journeys safer.

The presentation proposes a French-Japan comparison. It explores socio-legal settings and relational networks of the migrants in the sex trade. It analyses how state funded anti-trafficking or community health NPO/NGOs, the police, the third persons (agents, intermediaries, etc), the sex work or ethnic communities, etc., can be resources to limit situation of exploitation.

(The presentation is part of a JSPS funded project called "Between global sex work and human trafficking: an analysis of interviews and networks” directed by Pr. Kaoru AOYAMA, Kobe University)



Hélène Le Bail is a research fellow at the CNRS (French National Research Center) and Sciences Po Paris-CERI. She is currently invited scholar at Dôshisha University.

Her research focuses on Asian migrations and minorities (in Japan and France) with as pecial focus is made on female routes of migration (marriage, reproductive labour, sex work) and on mobilization, collective actions and political participation of migrants and their descendants.

Among her recent publications are : Aren’t Sex Workers Women? Ladies, Sex Workers and the Contrasting Definitions of Safety and Violence (with Marylène Lieber); The national and moral borders of the 2016 French law on sex work: An analysis of the ‘prostitution exit programme’ (with Calogero Giametta); How marginality leads to inclusion: insights from mobilizations of Chinese female migrants in Paris (with Ya-Han Chuang)

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