“What Will Set Yuh Free is Money”

Sex Work, Debt, and the Dynamics of Exploitation in Here Comes the Sun and The Immortals


  • Charlotte Spear University of Warwick




Sex Work, Debt, Caribbean, Rights, Haiti, Jamaica


Studies have noted a dependency on sex work to “make do” in economies ravaged by foreign debt (Harrison 1991; Obregón 2018), necessitating a framing of the dynamics of sex work through a globalized system of enforced debt. This paper explores sex workers’ rights in post-quake Haiti and contemporary Jamaica, through an examination of Makenzy Orcel’s The Immortals (2020) and Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun (2017). Like global debt systems, the exploitation of sex workers relies on a politics of dependency and constructed narratives of victimhood. This results in the refusal to recognize sex work as autonomous labor, meaning sex workers do not possess the protections of labor rights (Mgbako 2019). A literary examination of these debates exposes global debt’s modes of subject creation and the powerful resistance inherent in resubjectifying sex workers as conditionally agential rights claimants. This therefore reflects the Warwick Research Collective’s (WReC) suggestion that world-literature registers the “single but radically uneven world-system” in its form and content (2015). By exposing the tensions in subject-making at the heart of both debt economies and sex workers’ rights debates, Orcel and Dennis-Benn create feminized spaces to narrate sex workers’ negotiations of patriarchal-capitalist structures that peripheralize them.


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How to Cite

Spear, C. (2024). “What Will Set Yuh Free is Money”: Sex Work, Debt, and the Dynamics of Exploitation in Here Comes the Sun and The Immortals . Journal of World-Systems Research, 30(1), 55–77. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2024.1233



Women in World-Literature: A Woman’s Work