Most historians concur that nineteenth-and early twentieth-century paranoia about the so-called “white slave trade” constituted a moral panic fostered by the then-unprecedented migration of poor white women in search of employment in industrializing Western European and North American cities (Donovan 2006 ; Walkowitz 1980 ). Contemporary discourses on sex work are also related to a politico-economic context that makes “sex traffi cking” 2 what political scientist Nancie Caraway calls “a metaphorical expression of the psyche of twenty-fi rstcentury market globalism” (Caraway 2008 : 266). As I have documented elsewhere (Dewey 2008 ), sex work-related policy decisions are determined with striking frequency by political institutions far removed from the individuals such measures ostensibly assist. Accordingly, this article employs two case studies that suggest “sex traffi cking” is increasingly being used as part of state efforts to limit migration. It asks three central questions: [1] how are women’s agency and labor constrained by the neoliberal state’s discourses of protection? [2] What relationship does this discourse have to the rise of privatization and concomitant tightening of borders? [3] What do intersections between the feminization of poverty and increased state regulation of feminized labor reveal about the unequal terms upon which anti-traffi cking discourse functions to constrain women’s working conditions?