Dancing Across Borders: Exotic Dancers, Trafficking and Immigration Policy

This article analyzes a Canadian immigration program that authorizes issuance of temporary work visas to ‘exotic dancers.’ In response to public criticism that the government was thereby implicated in the transnational trafficking of women into sexual exploitation, Citizenship and Immigration Canada retained the visa program de jure but eliminated it de facto. Using a legal and discursive analysis that focuses on the production of female labor migrants variously as workers, as criminals and as bearers of human rights, the article argues that the incoherence of Canadian policy can only be rendered intelligible when refracted through these different lenses. The article concludes by considering policy options available to the state in addressing the issue. en

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