Of prostitutes and thieves: the hyper-sexualisation and criminalisation of Venezuelan migrant women in Peru



Based on 12 months of fieldwork, including 72 in-depth interviews and a survey (N100) in five Peruvian cities, this article discusses the higher rates of nationality-, gender-, and age-based discrimination faced by Venezuelan female migrants in Peru, compared to their male counterparts, as well as their experiences with hyper-sexualisation and/or criminalisation. We suggest that these processes, which are grounded on constructions of moral integrity and identity stereotypes at the intersection of gender, sex appeal, nationality, age, and condition as migrants, contribute to the devaluation of Venezuelan migrant women, thus impacting their integration into the country. First, based on our quantitative data, we discuss Venezuelan migrant women’s experiences with different types of discrimination. We then move to the qualitative analysis of their devaluation through hyper-sexualisation and/or criminalisation in both public and workspaces, as well as the effects of these complex processes on their socio-economic incorporation. Finally, we discuss our findings and make suggestions for further research. This paper contributes to the literature on female migrant hyper-sexualisation and criminalisation, as well as to research that examines how the intersectionality of stereotypes and social conditions position migrant women in the Global South.

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