Year published :April 2014

Pages :186 pp.

Size :14x21 cm.

ISBN: 9786162150777

Going Down to the Sea: Chinese Sex Workers Abroad

by Ko-lin Chin

In Chongqing, Ling Ling had been a waitress earning twenty-five dollars a month; a few years later in Hong Kong she was making six times that each day. Kelly taught preschool in Beijing for ten years before moving to LA and opening a brothel. These are just two of the eighteen Chinese women interviewed in this book about how they came to sell sex in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, and New York. The women’s candid stories put a human face on globalized commercial sex and offer a raw, inside view of the moneydriven transnational sex industry. The author, an expert in the field of criminal justice, frames these personal accounts with contextual details and incisive commentary to provide a rich understanding of the realities and myths of prostitution and global sex trafficking.

Every year, the United States alone spends hundreds of millions on programs to combat human trafficking and rescue trafficked victims. But what do sex workers themselves have to say about these issues? These eighteen interviews were gathered as part of an extensive research project for the author’s 2012 book, Selling Sex Overseas. With the publication of these full, unvarnished accounts, we are now able to hear firsthand how and why these women left China to work in the sex trade abroad, how much they make, what hardships they face, and what hopes they have for the future.


  • Stories of life in the transnational sex trade, told by the women themselves
  • Details on the inner workings of the sex industry
  • Interviews collected and presented by an expert on Asian criminal networks
  • On-the-ground perspectives on transnational sex trafficking

About the Author

KO-LIN CHIN is Distinguished Professor at the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University–Newark. His books and articles on transnational crime and subcultures have garnered support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, and the Fulbright Program.

What Others Are Saying

“Ko-lin’s in-depth fieldwork has set a new standard for nuanced sociological inquiry into thorny social issues. The women he interviews deserve not judgment but understanding of the complex circumstances and challenges they face. Through sheer tenacity and painstaking documentation, Ko-lin allows us to see for ourselves the human stories behind each veiled entrance and every dimly lit doorway.” —Sheldon Zhang, San Diego State University

“Ambitious in global scope while staying focused on individual stories, this book vividly and poignantly reveals the impact of anti-traffi cking laws and campaigns on the everyday experiences of Chinese sex workers overseas, and illuminates the ways these policies imperil the very people they purport to assist.”—Tiantian Zheng, Professor, Anthropology



    Chinese sex workers | sex industry | human trafficking | Chinese women | transnational prostitution

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