Cabezas, Amalia L. “Between Love and Money: Sex, Tourism, and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.” Signs 29.4 (2004): 987-1015. JSTOR. Web.

A tourist dances with local hospitality worker in the Dominican Republic

This photograph was chosen from the Trip Advisor website. I thought that it showed the accuracy of Cabezas’ article given that it was taken from an actual tourism website, and that it specifically shows a tourist dancing with an animador, or an animator, whose position entails entertaining hotel guests through various forms of recreation. Although this worker and man might not be involved in the sexual commerce in the Dominican Republic, Cabezas’ article suggests that most of these workers follow the trend of being “young, scantily clad, dark-skinned young men and women” whose work is “mainly physical and sensual and often involves suggestive and sexualized contact with guests.” This image fits such a description. This concept furthermore demonstrates the role which colonialization has played in influencing the sexual commerce in the Caribbean given the population which appears to be being objectified. The caption which this tourist left under the photo reads, “Excellante.”

Amalia Cabezas discusses the comparative similarities between sexual commerce in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.  Specifically, this article concentrates on relationship between tourism and the economy, leading to the minimization of boundaries between what is considered ‘sex work’ and a romantic relationship.  The article further analyzes the racial undertones involved in the hospitality business and the ways in which colonialism has lead to the objectification of specific local populations, leading to trends in both the categorization of ‘sex workers’ and in the official hospitality positions allotted to individuals based on their characteristics and the occupations’ proximities to clients.

This article would have done a more precise job in analyzing sexual commerce in Cuba and the Dominican Republic were it to analyze the sexual commerce that is less ambiguous and more clear-cut towards the definition of ‘human trafficking’.  This being said, the article brought up some important points concerning the relationship between the label ‘sex worker’ and the law enforcement work being done to criminalize women of ‘questionable morality.’  This leads to further questions concerning the human rights aspect of the persecution of people based on racial biases and sexual preference, and the motives and methods behind individual governments’ methods of dealing with sexual commerce.

This article largely deviates from the subject of of individuals’ rights within traditional human trafficking industries in the Caribbean.  This being said, the article does provide some potentially useful background information.  Not only does this article touch on the violations of people potentially involved in this industry on a state-level, but it demonstrates the social context in which this subject is placed.  Thus, the article has many implications towards the study of human rights.  As a whole, however, is more directed towards the ambiguity of certain relationships between tourists and locals as they are perceived as both incidences of sexual commerce created by economic hardships and the lasting effects of colonization as well as mutual relationships. The evidence presented in this article would suggest that this situation lends itself to being a human rights issue while maintaining a social context.

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