Traffic Jam: Gender, Sexuality, Labor, Migration and Trafficking in Dubai


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project investigates interactions between issues of labor, gender, sexuality, and statehood through the lens of Dubai’s foreign migrant workers. Using ethnographic research methods, preliminary findings stress: 1) Dubai’s rapid emergence onto the international scene has made it an attractive venue for migrant labor and the trafficking of women (particularly into sex work); and 2) Dubai is characterized by a unique lack of civil society. Minimal social service providers, if any, are not controlled and operated by the state, raising accessibility and privacy concerns. The project explores the conflation of discourses on trafficking, migration, and sex work through women’s own narratives.