Trade circles: Aspirations and ethnicity in commercial sex in Laos

Chris Lyttleton*, Sisouvanh Vorabouth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The contours of commercial sex in Lao PDR are significantly shaped by forces facilitating the entry of women from one ethnic group, the Khmu, into this service industry niche. Agricultural transitions, development policies, changing gender roles, ethnic hierarchies, snowballing recruitment networks and growing capitalist sensibilities collectively prompt poor Khmu women to aspire to material gain via selling beer and sex. Their predominance in lower echelons of the sex industry demonstrates how forces of neoliberal expansion build on both opportunity and enduring marginalisation and that material economies are closely intertwined with intimate economies as trajectories of modernisation evolve in contemporary Laos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S263-S277
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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