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Phillips, Joan--Tourist-oriented Prostitution in Barbados

Phillips, Joan--Tourist-oriented Prostitution in Barbados -...

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182 L. Mayorga & P. Velasquez 3. We decided to make our first contact with research participants through a re- search assistant who had been a sex worker locally. We recruited this assistant . through Cormujer, a Colombian sex workers' organization. Thirteen young women agreed to participate in the study. Ten were aged fifteen to seventeen years and three were between the ages of nineteen and twenty. They were currently working as prostitutes in the downtown area of Cartagena, where they had sex mostly with local men. Most of them supplemented their earnings by working with Colombian and foreign tourists in the beach hotel area a few times a week. All of them had first en- tered into prostitution between the ages of nine and fifteen years. Nine of the re- search participants appeared to have an Afro-Colombian ancestry and four seemed to be mestizas (a mix of indigenous and Spanish heritage). We did not ask any of them to identify their racial or ethnic background, however. A Life Course perspec- tive (Elder et al. 1993, Elder 1998) was adopted for data gathering and analysis. 4. According to the Planning Department of Bolivar, 54 percent of the depart- ment's population resides in Cartagena. 5. In 1989, in all of Colombia, 14.2 percent' of employed women worked as do- mestic workers (Florez and Cano 1993). 6. Of the thirteen prostitutes we interviewed, eleven work in Bocagrande because they earn more there than they would in another part of the city. One of them told us that in Bocagrande, prostitutes of all ages work, as well as children and transves- tites. 7. However, since Streicker did his field research, the number of people displaced by violence nationwide has increased, and, in particular, those from the coastal de- partments have settled in Cartagena. Hence, it is now more difficult to sell Cartagena as more Caribbean than Colombian, because the city attracts those fleeing violence in neighboring (coastal) regions. 8. The phenomenon is not unique to Colombia. According to a recent study in Brazil, a country widely noted for its racial heterogeneity, blacks earn half as much as whites (EsnaI1998). The study cited is George Reid Andrews, Blacks and Whites in SdoPaulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. ~RC£~ SW\\ S~ 4- Gt\J: ~ W •.. j"",~~\b~ I£.-~ ~ M~1n> l~4\.J~~ (~~~ 8 Tourist-Oriented Prostitution in Barbados The Case of the Beach Boy and the White Female Tourist JOAN L. PHILLIPS This ethnographic study focuses on the relatively recent phenomenon of male tourist-oriented prostitution in Barbados. It explores issues of gender identification and negotiation between the white female tourist and the black, often dreadlocked "beach boy." Predominantly qualitative research methods were employed in order to gain an ernic (insider) view of the phe- nomenon and discover how these actors conceptualized their situation.' The study argues that male tourist-oriented prostitution is based on a quest for the sexual Other. This quest is structured along racial and gendered lines, where the white emancipated Western female goes in search of the quintes-
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