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Black Market BusinessSelling Sex in Northern Vietnam, 1920-1945$
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Christina Elizabeth Firpo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752650

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752650.001.0001

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Late Colonial Vietnam and the Development of the Black Market

(p.1) Introduction
Black Market Business

Christina Elizabeth Firpo

Cornell University Press

This chapter introduces the black market sex industry in late colonial Vietnam. It argues that the interwar black market sex industry thrived in spaces of tension, which were created by the confluence of economic, demographic, and cultural changes sweeping late colonial Tonkin. Tension developed in sites of legal inconsistency, cultural changes, economic disparity, rural–urban division, and demographic shifts, brought about by colonial policies. An investigation of this black market shows how a particular population of impoverished women — a group regrettably understudied by historians — experienced the tensions. Marginalized by the colonial economy and swayed by new cultural trends, these women came to participate in black market sex work by choice, by force, or, more often, by some combination of the two.

Keywords:   black market, sex industry, colonial Vietnam, tension, Tonkin, colonial policies, legal inconsistency

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