Elisa Camiscioli, "Selling French Sex: Prostitution, Trafficking, and Global Migrations" (Cambridge UP, 2024)


Selling French Sex: Prostitution, Trafficking, and Global Migrations (Cambridge UP, 2024) is an illuminating account of the cultural, social, and economic history of the sale of 'French sex'. It explores the discourses and experiences surrounding the early twentieth century debate on sex trafficking, which mobilized various international reform movements to combat the coerced prostitution of young women abroad. According to popular legend and empirical studies, French women were present in brothels all over the world, where they were the most desired and best paid in the business. But were they trafficking victims or willing migrants? In this timely book, Elisa Camiscioli reconstructs the networks and mechanisms of cross-border migrations for sexual labor; elucidates women's motives for leaving and staying; and explains why French migrant sexual labor occupied such a prominent place in the underworld of prostitution, as well as in the imaginaries of anti-trafficking campaigners, immigration officials, and ordinary consumers of vice.

Elisa Camiscioli is a professor of history at Binghamton University. She specializes in immigration to and from France, sex trafficking, and race and sexual politics in modern France and its empire. She completed a B.A., cum laude, at University of Pennsylvania and earned a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In addition to a number of peer-reviewed articles, she is the author of Reproducing the French Race: Immigration, Intimacy, and Embodiment in the Early Twentieth Century (Duke University Press. 2009). Dr. Camiscioli was co-editor of the Journal of Women's History from 2015 to 2020.

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Michael Vann

Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.

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