Sylvia A. Law,  “Commercial sex: beyond decriminalization” 73 Southern California Law Review 523 (1999-2000)

No abstract available. Introduction:

“This Article argues that: 1) criminal sanctions against people who offer sex for money should be repealed, 2) legal remedies and programs to protect commercial sex workers from violence, rape, disease, exploitation, coercion and abuse should be enhanced and 3) whether or not commercial sex is prohibited by criminal law, government policy should promote decent working conditions for all workers and should not require people to engage in sex as a condition of subsistence. It further addresses how, as a practical matter, people who provide commercial sex can best be protected against exploitation, both physical and economic. This Article demonstrates that decriminalization of sexual services is a necessary first step toward creating more effective remedies against abuse, protecting vulnerable women and building a more humane society.”

Full text available here.

E. Nick Larsen, “The Effect of Different Police Enforcement Policies on the Control of Prostitution” Canadian Public Policy / Analyse de Politiques, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 40-55

Abstract:

This article conducts a comparative analysis of prostitution control in four Canadian cities using police enforcement policies as the independent variable. Most recent Canadian prostitution research has centred on assessing the adequacy of the existing law, and the majority of analysts have concluded that most prostitution offences ought to be decriminalized. However, the analysis in this article assumes that the law is unlikely to be changed in the near future, and instead argues that Canadian police already possess sufficient legal discretion to decide when and where they will enforce the law. The article conducts a qualitative analysis of police enforcement policies (in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto) ranging from strict enforcement of the law against prostitutes, customers and both prostitutes and customers through to various forms of selective toleration and negotiation among the various affected groups. Based on this analysis, the writer concludes that the most effective way of reducing both the nuisance and the political conflict associated with prostitution involves selective toleration, combined with negotiation between prostitutes and other affected groups. The article concludes with a feminist oriented discussion of the reasons why attempts to suppress prostitution will not work and why the prostitutes themselves must be part of any discussions regarding the control of prostitution.

Full text (in English) available here.

Adriaenssens, Stef, and Jef Hendrickx. “Sex, Price and Preferences: Accounting for Unsafe Sexual Practices in Prostitution Markets.” Sociology of Health & Illness 34, no. 5 (June 1, 2012): 665–80. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01400.x.
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Abstract
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Unsafe sexual practices are persistent in prostitution interactions: one in four contacts can be called unsafe. The determinants of this are still matter for debate. We account for the roles played by clients’ preferences and the hypothetical price premium of unsafe sexual practices with the help of a large dataset of clients’ self-reported commercial sexual transactions in Belgium and The Netherlands. Almost 25,000 reports were collected, representing the whole gamut of prostitution market segments. The first set of explanations consists of an analysis of the price-fixing elements of paid sex. With the help of the so-called hedonic pricing method we test for the existence of a price incentive for unsafe sex. In accordance with the results from studies in some prostitution markets in the developing world, the study replicates a significant wage penalty for condom use of an estimated 7.2 per cent, confirmed in both multilevel and fixed-effects regressions. The second part of the analysis reconstructs the demand side basis of this wage penalty: the consistent preference of clients of prostitution for unsafe sex. This study is the first to document empirically clients’ preference for intercourse without a condom, with the help of a multilevel ordinal regression.

Don Kulick, “Sex in the New Europe: The Criminalization of Clients and Swedish Fear of Penetration”. Anthropological Theory June 2003 vol. 3 no. 2, 199-218.

Abstract:

This article is a critical discussion of the 1998 Swedish law that made it a crime to purchase or attempt to purchase `a temporary sexual relationship’. It discusses the cultural context in which the law was proposed and passed, and it reviews newspaper articles and government commissioned reports that assess the effects of the law. The point of the article is to argue that the law is about much more than its overt referent `prostitution’. Instead, the argument is made that the law is a response to Sweden’s entry into the EU. For a variety of reasons, anxiety about Sweden’s position in the EU is articulated through anxiety about prostitution. The Swedish case is one where we can see that sexuality is one site where boundaries and roles in the new Europe are being imagined and negotiated.

Full text available here.

Annette Jolin, “On the Backs of Working Prostitutes: Feminist Theory and Prostitution Policy”. Crime & Delinquency January 1994 vol. 40 no. 1 69-83

Abstract:

This article explores answers to three questions: Why is prostitution as controversial today as it was 4,000 years ago? Why are feminists embroiled in the prostitution controversy? And, what are the effects of this controversy on the working prostitute? The author suggests that the answers rest historically in a fundamental contradiction in Western culture that arises from the institutionalization of a sexual double standard in patriarchal societies, wherein prostitution owes its existence to an interplay of social and economic arrangements that involve promiscuity, chastity, and inequality. The article looks beyond theoretical issues and examines social policy and its impact on the women who work as prostitutes.

Full text available here.

In the early 1990s, the debate on human trafficking was restricted to a handful of feminists and revolved around establishing “the trafficking of women” as a case of labor migration or one of “female sexual slavery.” Two decades later, the debate is more complicated and widespread, yet within the proliferation of attention, a convergence among some of the most vocal and visible campaigns is discernible. This article takes up three prominent campaigns that dominate contemporary debates internationally—modern anti-slavery, abolitionist feminism, and celebrity humanitarianism—and considers the politics that emerge at the points of their convergence. It is argued that rather than getting to “the bottom of things,” as Emma Goldman urged over a century ago in relation to the “traffic of women,” a 21st-century version of the “white man’s burden” is apparent, supported by contemporary western, neoliberal interests that maintain boundaries between the haves and the have-nots, while bolstering an image of a compassionate, benevolent West. The article points toward an alternate framework, one that is lodged in a commitment to social and economic justice, decolonization, a redistribution of wealth, and respect for subaltern experience and knowledge.

Laite, Julia (2008). Taking Nellie Johnson’s fingerprints: prostitutes and legal identity in early Twentieth-Century London. History Workshop Journal 65 (1), pp. 96-116. ISSN 1363-3554.

Abstract

British laws which sought to control and prevent street prostitution in the early twentieth century all relied on the idea that a ‘common prostitute’ was a legally definable person, and, while prostitution itself was not an offence, that the action of street solicitation represented a special kind of public nuisance. This article explores some of the implications of this legal system, especially after prostitutes were added to the fingerprinting schedule of the London Metropolitan Police in 1917. Centred around one rare case-file concerning the mistaken identity of a street prostitute in 1920, the article explores the way in which women working as prostitutes experienced and negotiated the criminal justice system. In contrast to the historical attention given to the Contagious Diseases Acts, the solicitation laws are seriously under-examined. Yet these laws were put in place prior to the CD Acts, lasted long after their repeal, affected a far greater number of women, and were significantly more important to the police and the state in their control of prostitution than were the short-lived and geographically limited CD Acts. In the context of the CD Acts, historians have looked at the ways in which a prostitute identity was developed and assigned by medical discourse and medical registration. However, the far more common and long-lasting experience of prostitute women in Britain was governed by the solicitation laws and a legal, not medical, process of classification. Through Nellie Johnson’s story, we can begin to explore the intricacies of a legal system of prostitution control peculiar to Britain at a crucial point in its development. This article argues that over the course of the early twentieth century, the criminalization of identity became the grounds upon which the entire system of street- prostitution control in England and Wales rested. The fingerprinting of prostitutes, and Nellie Johnson’s personal experiences, fit into a larger story of modernization in early twentieth-century Britain and the early twentieth-century world. This period witnessed the development of particular, and technical, forms of identification which were applied to particular groups of people, an abstraction which turned the body itself into a text that had very real consequences for women like Nellie Johnson.

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