The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to look at how parenthood can often place or keep migrant women in situations of force, fraud, or coercion that characterize human trafficking; and, second, to look at how becoming a parent (or the possibility of reproducing) while in the host country structures a discourse and series of actions that can lead migrant women into trafficking-like situations of becoming undocumented and illegal, being detained, abused, or deported. Drawing on four years of ethnographic research in the UAE between 2007 and 2011, I contrast women’s experiences of parenthood while in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with conversations and discourses constructed about migrant women’s bodies, reproductive capabilities, and sexualities. Beyond looking at the question of intimate labor, I aim to look at the intimate lives of those engaging in intimate labor, asking: what of the personal, affective, and emotional ties of those working in spheres of intimate labor?
Rhacel ParrenasThe Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization (New York: NYU Press2008); Rhacel Parrenas Illicit Flirtations: Labor Migration and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press 2011); Seyla Benhabib and Judith Resnik Migrations and Mobilities: Citizenship Borders and Gender (New York: NYU Press 2009); and Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild eds. Global Woman: Nannies Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy (New York NY: Metropolitan 2002).
Ray Jureidini“In the Shadows of Family Life: Toward a History of Domestic Service in Lebanon,”Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies5 no. 3 (2009): 74-101; and Ray Jureidini “Trafficking and Contract Migrant Workers in the Middle East” International Migration 48 no. 4 (2010): 142-163.