Ethical and Epistemological Challenges in Urban Ethnography: Exploring the Dynamics of Venezuelan Migrants Street-based Sex Work in Lima
Dec 8, 2023 — 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Event organized by the Research Centre on the Future of Cities and the Laboratory for Engaged Research.
Julien Brisson, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
The Venezuelan refugee crisis has triggered the largest mass migration event in Latin America, displacing over 20% of Venezuela's population. Peru, a significant host country, currently accommodates around 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants, with 85% settling in Lima, one of South America's largest and geographically expansive cities. Lima's diverse administrative districts range from affluent central areas to impoverished peripheries, where the majority of Venezuelan migrants reside.
This migrant population in Lima confronts pressing challenges, such as xenophobia, limited job prospects, and constrained healthcare access. Many migrants, facing survival pressures, turn to sex work, navigating legal complexities. Engaging in illicit sex work elevates risks, including HIV/STI transmission and violence, particularly in street-based sex work, prohibited in Peru.
Our ongoing research project employs mixed methods—interviews, surveys, and ethnography (participant observation)—to address healthcare needs among Venezuelan sex workers in Lima. Emphasizing the sensitive nature of sex work, our urban ethnographic study delves into street-based sex work within the Venezuelan migrant community. This presentation will cover the initial four months of our ongoing research and will explore the ethical and epistemological challenges associated with conducting an urban ethnography of street-based migrant sex workers.