A Foot In and a Foot Out: Sex Migration of Vietnamese Women to Singapore

Rapport de recherche, 2011, Ho Chi Minh Ville: Alliance Anti-Trafic Vietnam

This study addresses the migration of Vietnamese migrant entertainers to Singapore. The recruitment process reveals a complex network of exchange that links the Vietnamese operators within Singapore with the migrant entertainers in Vietnam. This informal and clientelist network is composed of migration brokers and their long-standing customers who introduce and assist new customers in the transnational movement between Vietnam and Singapore. The brokers are able to expand their customer base by incorporating the networks of their previous customers, who in turn become peers of the new recruits. The network appears to be a well-organized and non-exploitative voluntary exchange system. It functions effectively because of the symbiotic relationship between the migration brokers and the migrant entertainers. One of the key findings of this research is that trafficking for sexual exploitation of Vietnamese sampled women and minors to Singapore is irrelevant. This report is based on a five-month ethnographic investigation conducted in a boarding house of Vietnamese migrant entertainers in Singapore. It provides a unique picture of the social organization of the migration network operating between Vietnam and Singapore, and of the transient lives of Vietnamese entertainers in Singapore.