Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses

Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Social Sciences & Humanities.

Based on six years of extended ethnography in multiple agricultural areas of the Eastern United States, Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses is a monograph which explores the lives of migrant ...
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Pp. 325-374 (50)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681081045115010011

Author(s): Keith V. Bletzer


This chapter explores commercial sex work in farming areas, utilizing materials prepared for workshops at migrant stream conferences, attended by frontline migrant service workers. The existence of sex work in areas where farm workers predominate underscores practices of gendered exclusion, which compels local women into survival sex and generates opportunity structures for trafficking. The field materials cover examples of sex work as it occurs in agricultural areas. Many of the women once performed farm labor (a few still do), but gradually left it, as their structural vulnerability compelled shifting into new roles and their corresponding drug use escalated.

This chapter concludes with a discussion of sex work as an example of the consequences that result from few opportunities of meaningful work for women, general attitudes towards women that lead to gray zone practices, and willful neglect that allows sex work in rural farming communities.


Backup protector, brothel, campera women, canvassing, economic entrepreneurship, finishing moment, free union, gendered exclusion, live-in arrangements, managers, mobility inversion, opportunity structures, scouts, seasonal slackness, serial sex, Sex worker, sponsors, street strolls, survival sex, trafficking.