This article discusses how the Western imaginary that the market and intimacy are separate and hostile spheres affects some women’s migratory projects in Italy. It traces the place and meaning of this trope within contemporary feminist and sex workers rights’ activists debates on prostitution. Drawing from ethnographic research, it shows how migrant women prevail in and navigate jobs that transgress this normative separation–care and sex work–resulting in their positioning as ‘intimate Others’ or ‘risky tenants’. It argues that addressing women’s predicaments requires tackling the intersecting structures of inequality moulding the conditions under which they perform and exchange labour.
- Care work
- sex work