Full Text: PDF
Full Text: PDF
Stephanie Sexton, “Over the Parapet: a short study into the needs and aspirations of sex workers in Edinburgh” (Scot-pep, July 2009).
Why ‘Over the Parapet’?
All those who work with people be that in the voluntary or public sectors are very familiar with the terms user involvement or stakeholder engagement. User involvement in service planning and in service scrutiny is a key theme in Government thinking.
We need to find ways to hear the voices of those who use services so that we are able to meet their needs and can respond positively to their aspirations. We need to understand what we are doing right, what we could do better, and what we need to change fundamentally.
This requires us to make space for those who use services to say what they really think, ‘rather than tell us what they think we want to hear’; and to take time to understand the subtlety or complexity of the challenges service users face in their daily lives – directly and indirectly related to their presenting issue.
Those who use our services often feel powerless to affect change. Some feel anxiety that to challenge will be construed as negative criticism and may affect the way services are provided in the future.
Sex workers operate in an environment, which is hostile; rarely valued for who they are; they experience explicit and implicit messages that reduce them to people who represent parts of society that we would rather keep hidden or lose altogether. The implicit message is for them to keep hidden or stop work altogether.
Against this backdrop, women are loath to put their head above the parapet, to talk directly about their needs and aspirations; to talk about their concerns about services and policing; about friendship and family; or about their children.
This study has been commissioned as a step towards that being achieved. It is a first step, but a courageous one. The expectation is that no one cares, will take notice, or will say ‘we are doing all this already’, or say ‘do something else’. We hope that this attempt to stand up and make themselves vulnerable so that others can hear their voices will be respected – as they should be respected, and that the issues and ideas expressed will be considered with a willingness to take steps to meet their overriding need – that to be treated with dignity and respect.
This article examines the St. James Infirmary (SJI), a nonprofit occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers in San Francisco, to consider how particular organizational spaces and practices may challenge gender ideologies in the United States—in this case, of women sex workers as “victim-criminals.” Drawing empirically from multimethod qualitative research and theoretically from feminist institutionalism, I indicate how the SJI’s broader institutional context has (re)produced a victim-criminal ideology of women in prostitution. Next, I consider the SJI’s organizational emergence and operations to argue that, by deploying particular spatial-discursive practices and operational procedures, nonprofits with legacies of activism may draw from these to challenge dominant gender ideologies, even as they work alongside the broader institutional structures that promote them. Although single case studies like the SJI cannot establish broad theoretical generalizations and propositions, I use it to build knowledge and highlight important lessons about nonprofits, gender, and institutional change.
As of today, the pieces are freely accessible. This may not be the case in the future.
Jayashri Srikantiah, “Perfect Victims and Real Survivors: The Iconic Victim in Domestic Human Trafficking Law”, 87 Boston University Law Review 157 (February 2007).
Recent groundbreaking legislation created new immigration relief for victims of human trafficking, who would otherwise be subject to deportation after escape from exploitation. However, few trafficking victims have successfully obtained relief under its provisions. Existing critique has focused on international and domestic definitions of human trafficking and appraisal of the statutory language. This Article explores the problem through a new analytical lens. I suggest that federal agencies implementing the statute have restricted relief based on a flawed understanding of victim volition, under which victims who appear to be under the total control of a trafficker are viewed as worthy of relief, and other victims are rejected as undeserving. Drawing on criminal and domestic violence law as well as immigration legal history, the Article examines the forces animating the regulatory conception of deserving victims as “iconic victims” who are understood to be under a trafficker’s total control, both as to their entry into the United States and as to their subsequent exploitation for forced labor or sex. I posit that the current federal agency approach stems from concerns about differentiating victims from other undocumented migrants and mandating victim participation in the prosecution of traffickers. The Article concludes by suggesting an alternative approach that better engages in the complex factual task of identifying victims.
Full text available here.
Recent articles have raised important questions about the validity of prevalence data on human trafficking, exposing flawed methodologies behind frequently cited statistics. While considerable evidence points to the fact that human trafficking does exist in the United States and abroad, many sources of literature continue to cite flawed data and some misuse research in ways that seemingly inflate the problem, which can have serious implications for anti-trafficking efforts, including victim services and anti-trafficking legislation and policy. This systematic review reports on the prevalence data used in 42 recently published books on sex trafficking to determine the extent to which published books rely on data estimates and just how they use or misuse existing data. The findings from this review reveal that the vast majority of published books do rely on existing data that were not rigorously produced and therefore may be misleading or at minimum, inaccurate. Implications for practice, research, and policy are discussed, as well as recommendations for future prevalence studies on human trafficking.
Extensive research documents that female sex workers (FSWs) in Russia are very vulnerable to abuses from police, including police sexual coercion. However, despite qualitative data suggesting abusive policing practices are more likely for FSWs contending with substance abuse issues and risky sex work contexts, there is a paucity of quantitative study evaluating these associations specifically in terms of police sexual coercion. Such research is needed to guide structural interventions to improve health and safety for FSWs in Russia and globally.
The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of police sexual coercion among FSWs from two Russian cities, St. Petersburg and Orenburg, and to determine whether riskier sex work behaviors and contexts and substance use behaviors, including both IDU and risky alcohol use, are associated with increased risk for sexual coercion from police.
FSWs in St. Petersburg and Orenburg were recruited via time-location and convenience sampling and completed structured surveys on demographics (age, education), sex work risks (e.g., violence during sex work) and substance use. Logistic regression analyses assessed associations of substance use and risky sex work with police sexual coercion, adjusting for demographics.
Participants (N=896) were aged 15 and older (94% were 20+ years). Most (69%) reported past year binge alcohol use, and 48% reported IDU the day before. Half (56%) reported 4+ clients per day. Rape during sex work ever was reported by 64%. Police sexual coercion in the past 12 months was reported by 38%. In the multivariate model, both current IDU (AOR=2.09, CI=1.45-3.02) and past year binge alcohol use (AOR=1.46, CI=1.03-2.07) were associated with police sexual coercion, as was selling sex on the street (not in venues) (AOR=7.81, CI=4.53-13.48) and rape during sex work (AOR=2.04, CI=1.43-2.92).
Current findings document the substantial role police sexual violence plays in the lives of FSWs in Russia. These findings also highlight heightened vulnerability to such violence among self-managed and substance abusing FSWs in this context. Structural interventions addressing police violence against FSWs may be useful to improve the health and safety of this population.