Kimberly Page, Ellen Stein, Neth Sansothy, Jennifer Evans, Marie-Claude Couture, Keo Sichan, Melissa Cockroft, Julie Mooney-Somers, Pisith Phlong, John Kaldor, Lisa Maher, and on behalf of the Young Women’s Health Study Collaborative, John Kaldor, Serey Phal Kien, Kimberly Page, Joel M Palefsky, Vonthanak Saphonn, and Mean Chhi Vun. “Sex work and HIV in Cambodia: trajectories of risk and disease in two cohorts of high-risk young women in Phnom Penh, Cambodia” BMJ Open. 2013; 3(9): e003095


HIV prevalence among Cambodian female sex workers (FSW) is among the highest in Southeast Asia. We describe HIV prevalence and associated risk exposures in FSW sampled serially in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Young Women’s Health Study (YWHS)), before and after the implementation of a new law designed to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from two prospective cohorts.

Community-based study in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Women aged 15–29 years, reporting ≥2 sexual partners in the last month and/or engaged in transactional sex in the last 3 months, were enrolled in the studies in 2007 (N=161; YWHS-1), and 2009 (N=220; YWHS-2) following information sessions where 285 and 345 women attended.

Primary outcomes
HIV prevalence, sexual risk behaviour, amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) and alcohol use, and work-related factors were compared in the two groups, enrolled before and after implementation of the new law.

Participants in the two cohorts were similar in age (median 25 years), but YWHS-2 women reported fewer sex partners, more alcohol use and less ATS use. A higher proportion of YWHS-2 compared with YWHS-1 women worked in entertainment-based venues (68% vs 31%, respectively). HIV prevalence was significantly lower in the more recently sampled women: 9.2% (95% CI 4.5% to 13.8%) vs 23% (95% CI 16.5% to 29.7%).

Sex work context and risk have shifted among young FSW in Phnom Penh, following implementation of anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking laws. While both cohorts were recruited using the same eligibility criteria, more recently sampled women had lower prevalence of sexual risk and HIV infection. Women engaging more directly in transactional sex have become harder to sample and access. Future prevention research and programmes need to consider how new policies and demographic changes in FSW impact HIV transmission.

Full text available here.

Gehi, Pooja. “Gendered (In)security: Migration and Criminalization in the Security State.” Harv. JL & Gender 35 (2012): 357.


Over the past decade, both immigrant rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights have been key issues in United States political and legal debates. Yet, the two issue areas have rarely publicly intersected within these debates. The “war on terror” has heightened the public debate around immigration, national security, and border control; however, LGBTQ concerns and a discussion of LGBTQ immigrants continue to be rhetorically separate from these immigration-focused conversations. This rhetorical separation is especially problematic for those living at the intersections of different identities, including LGBTQ immigrants of color who live in poverty. As this Article will show, the separation ignores the ways in which individuals who do not fit the public description put forth by “rights-based” organizations are the most negatively impacted by the laws and regulations that are being publicly challenged by these mainstream groups.

Full text available here.

Sanjeev Singh Gaikwad, Amrita Bhende, Gaurav Nidhi, Niranjan Saggurti and Virupax Ranebennur, “How effective is community mobilisation in HIV prevention among highly diverse sex workers in urban settings? The Aastha intervention experience in Mumbai and Thane districts, India” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 66(suppl 2): ii69-ii77, 2012.


Background This paper examines the association between degree of confidence in collective efficacy and self-efficacy for condom use and empowerment among heterogeneous female sex workers (FSWs) in two metropolitan Indian cities with high HIV prevalence.

Methods The study utilises data from the Behavioural Tracking Survey, a cross-sectional behavioural study with 2106 FSWs recruited from 411 intervention sites in Mumbai and Thane. The key independent measures used determine the degree of confidence in collective efficacy (belief in the power to achieve goals and address problems together) and outcome measures included: self-efficacy for condom use with occasional clients and condom use with regular partners, self-confidence in handling a crisis situation and public speaking ability. Univariate and multivariate statistical methods were used to examine the study objectives.

Results Of the analytical sample of 2106 FSWs, 532 (25.3%) reported high degree of collective efficacy for achieving certain goals and 1534 (72.8%) reported collective efficacy for addressing specific problems. FSWs reporting a higher collective efficacy as compared with those reporting lower collective efficacy were as follows: more likely to negotiate condom use with occasional clients (60.3% vs 19.7%; adjusted OR (AOR) ¼6.3, 95% CI 4.8 to 8.4) as well as regular partners (62.8% vs 20.2%; AOR ¼6.4, 95% CI 4.9 to 8.4); confident in facing troublesome stakeholders (73.5% vs 38.8%; AOR ¼4.3, 95% CI 3.3 to 5.6), confident in supporting fellow FSWs in a crisis (76.1% vs 49.6%; AOR ¼2.9, 95% CI 2.2 to 3.7), received help from other FSWs when a client or partner was violent (73.9% vs 46.3%; AOR ¼3.5, 95% CI 2.7 to 4.5) and had stood up to the police or madams/brokers to help fellow FSWs in the past 1 year (5.8% vs 3.3%; AOR ¼2.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 4.9).

Conclusion The results suggest that the strategy of collectivisation in HIV prevention programme has much broader benefits than merely the promotion of safer sex practices. Future HIV prevention interventions in India and elsewhere may include collectivisation as the core strategy within HIV prevention programmes.

Full text available here.


This article is about the lives of Nigerian sex workers after deportation from Europe, as well as the institutions that intervene in their migration trajectories. In Europe, some of these women’s situations fit the legal definitions of trafficking, and they were categorized as “victims of human trafficking”; others were categorized as undocumented migrants—“criminals” guilty of violating immigration laws. Despite the growing political attention devoted to protecting victims of trafficking, I argue that in areas of Nigeria prone to economic insecurity and gender-based violence, the categories of “victim” and “criminal” collapse into, and begin to resemble, one another once on the ground. The need to identify and distinguish groups of migrants from one another illustrates the dilemmas that have arisen in the wake of increasingly restrictive European immigration policies. Furthermore, the return processes create a hierarchical structure in which the violence women experience in the sex industry in Europe is imagined to be worse than the everyday violence they experience at home.

Goldenberg, Shira M., Jill Chettiar, Paul Nguyen, Sabina Dobrer, Julio Montaner, and Kate Shannon. “Complexities of Short-Term Mobility for Sex Work and Migration among Sex Workers: Violence and Sexual Risks, Barriers to Care, and Enhanced Social and Economic Opportunities.Journal of Urban Health 91, no. 4 (August 1, 2014): 736–51. doi:10.1007/s11524-014-9888-1.

Despite research on the health and safety of mobile and migrant populations in the formal and informal sectors globally, limited information is available regarding the working conditions, health, and safety of sex workers who engage in short-term mobility and migration. The objective of this study was to longitudinally examine work environment, health, and safety experiences linked to short-term mobility/migration (i.e., worked or lived in another city, province, or country) among sex workers in Vancouver, Canada, over a 2.5-year study period (2010–2012). We examined longitudinal correlates of short-term mobility/migration (i.e., worked or lived in another city, province, or country over the 3-year follow-up period) among 646 street and off-street sex workers in a longitudinal community-based study (AESHA). Of 646 sex workers, 10.84 % (n = 70) worked or lived in another city, province, or country during the study. In a multivariate generalized estimating equations (GEE) model, short-term mobility/migration was independently correlated with older age (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.95, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.92–0.98), soliciting clients in indoor (in-call) establishments (AOR 2.25, 95 % CI 1.27–3.96), intimate partner condom refusal (AOR 3.00, 1.02–8.84), and barriers to health care (AOR 1.77, 95 % CI 1.08–2.89). In a second multivariate GEE model, short-term mobility for sex work (i.e., worked in another city, province, or country) was correlated with client physical/sexual violence (AOR 1.92, 95 % CI 1.02–3.61). In this study, mobile/migrant sex workers were more likely to be younger, work in indoor sex work establishments, and earn higher income, suggesting that short-term mobility for sex work and migration increase social and economic opportunities. However, mobility and migration also correlated with reduced control over sexual negotiation with intimate partners and reduced health care access, and mobility for sex work was associated with enhanced workplace sexual/physical violence, suggesting that mobility/migration may confer risks through less control over work environment and isolation from health services. Structural and community-led interventions, including policy support to allow for more formal organizing of sex work collectives and access to workplace safety standards, remain critical to supporting health, safety, and access to care for mobile and migrant sex workers.

Sherief Gaber, “Verbal Abuse: Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and Violence Against Women”. 2009 winner, Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights (School of Law, University of Texas at Austin).

No abstract available. Introduction:

There is a significant debate in contemporary feminist political thought and amongst activist organizations regarding the “trafficking of women” and the questions and problems attendant to this phenomenon. Furthermore, the work of many feminist groups now concerned with and often party to the exercise of state and international regulatory power has drawn a great deal of attention to trafficking within the United Nations, individual nation-states (particularly the United States) and a slew of increasingly powerful NGOs. These different organizations all operate at a similar structural and prescriptive level, using legal and normative models to enact protocols and legislation specifically naming, defining and acting on human trafficking. Regardless of the apparent fervor and media attention given to trafficking in recent years, the problem is still widespread, and there is significant criticism of existing trafficking models, both for their failure to achieve even stated goals, and for the way their definitions of trafficking – particularly sex trafficking – affect women.

Primarily, it is not within the scope of this paper to cut the knot tying structures that produce sex work and trafficking and the agency of sex workers. The author presumes here that sex workers, as much as any other individual or group, are capable of and do express agency – within the confines or limits established by given structural conditions – even if the sex workers operate in much more marginal(ized) positions. As such, the paper is concerned with the appropriation of the sex worker by anti-trafficking forces and how these forces interrupt potential agency – limiting and forcibly circumscribing what sex workers can and do achieve through organization and activism. The question then becomes how anti-trafficking rhetoric constructs the agency of the sex worker to justify and promote its own interventionist politics.

Full text available here.

Dewey, Susan, and Tonia P. St Germain. “Sex Workers/Sex Offenders Exclusionary Criminal Justice Practices in New Orleans.” Feminist Criminology, September 16, 2014, 1557085114541141. doi:10.1177/1557085114541141.

Link to the study.


Until 2012, the New Orleans criminal justice system forced persons convicted of certain prostitution offenses to register as sex offenders under an antiquated (1805) statute that criminalizes oral or anal sex in exchange for compensation. This article explores attitudes and beliefs that enabled Louisiana’s misuse of the sex offender registry against primarily indigent African American street-based sex worker women and transgender individuals. Findings presented here derive from a feminist interdisciplinary (cultural anthropology and law) methodological strategy that included qualitative ethnography, quantitative examination of Louisiana’s 64 parish-specific sex offender registries, and legal/policy analysis.



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