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Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor

Sex Work and the Law in India


"This groundbreaking study brilliantly maps feminist ideas that have powerfully influenced law reform around sex work and trafficking. Kotiswaran convincingly makes the case that the welfare of sex workers in the developing world depends on complex factors that can be identified only through a local, legal realist account, and which have been virtually ignored by feminist theory. Read this book: it will challenge what you think you know."--Janet Halley, Harvard Law School ""Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor" makes a great contribution to feminist theory as it takes on the contentious debate within feminism between abolitionist and sex worker perspectives on trafficking. It offers a clear-eyed, judicious analysis of these positions and that of an emerging middle path, enriched by the insights provided by postcolonial feminism and Kotiswaran's fascinating ethnography on sex work in India."--Sally Engle Merry, New York University "This book is fascinating, provocative, and likely to change the reader's ideas about sex work in the global south, about sex work in general, and about feminist responses to sex work. In a word, it is brilliant."--Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School "Prabha Kotiswaran maps, in gifted yet poignant ways, the geographies of injustice in the third-world sex trade. Speaking to specific Indian social, political, and constitutional contexts, she fully addresses the obscenity of global sex trafficking, as well as interlocutes all our rather fond human-rights-friendly yet historically effete discourses. Kotiswaran tests and teases new insights arising from taking seriously the voices of suffering women."--Upendra Baxi, professor emeritus, University of Warwick "A significant contribution to feminist theorization and legal studies of sex work. Taking up the polarized debate about sex work, Kotiswaran powerfully conveys the complexity of sex workers' experiences on the ground. A major strength of her analysis is how it highlights the need to understand the paradoxical effects of legal reform by contextualizing its realization in the web of civil rules, social norms, enforcement cycles, and market forces."--Sealing Cheng, Wellesley College