Cosmopolitan Sex Workers is a groundbreaking work that examines the phenomenon of non-trafficked women who migrate from one global city to another to perform paid sexual labor in Southeast Asia. Christine Chin offers an innovative theoretical framework that she terms "3C" (city, creativity and cosmopolitanism) in order to show how factors at the local, state, transnational and individual levels work together to shape women's ability to migrate to perform sex work. Chin's book will show that as neoliberal economic restructuring processes create pathways connecting major cities throughout the world, competition and collaboration between cities creates new avenues for the movement of people, services and goods (the "city" portion of the argument). Loosely organized networks of migrant labor grow in tandem with professional-managerial classes, and sex workers migrate to different parts of cities, depending on the location of the clientele to which they cater. But while global cities create economic opportunities for migrants (and survive on the labor they provide), states also react to the presence of migrants with new forms of securitization and surveillance.
Migrants therefore need to negotiate between appropriating and subverting the ideas that inform global economic restructuring to maintain agency (the "creativity"). Chin suggests that migration allows women to develop intercultural skills that help them to make these negotiations (the "cosmopolitanism"). Chin's book stands apart from other literature on migrant sex labor not only in that she focuses on non-trafficked women, but also in that she demonstrates the co-dependence between global economic processes, sex work, and women's economic agency. Through original ethnographic research with sex workers in Kuala Lumpur, she shows that migrant sex work can provide women with the means of earning income for families, for education, and even for their own businesses. It also allows women the means to travel the world - a form of cosmopolitanism "from below."