Paying the Price for Sexual Gratification

  • Sophie Clark


Would I be right in assuming the glaring red lights of Amsterdam’s legalised prostitution district would appear in one’s mind when mentioning the phrase ‘sex tourism’? Paying for intimacy and pleasure may seem a bewildering concept for some. Conversely, the iconic destination which is filled with exotic museums, massage parlours and sex shops, attracts 200,000 visitors each year, all travelling with the intention of purchasing a sexual service (, 2018).

This piece highlights how sex tourism is dependent upon globalisation for facilitating movement within people. Without migration, the sex industry would be limited as individuals from developing countries seek employment within prostitution. Women situated in highly indebted countries have limited access to jobs and therefore sex work is an economic survival option. This work considers how sex traffickers make money off the back of vulnerable women through the commodification of the body (Sassen, 2003). It is recognised that the tourist gaze shadows the harsh reality of sex work and the coercion of women (Urry & Larsen, 2011). Throughout this reflection I will critique how organised crime has made abused and oppressed women a crucial part of the global economy. The bodies of poor women are now a key commodity, which generates billions.