Monthly Archives: January 2014

Danna, Daniela (2012): Client-Only Criminalization in the City of Stockholm: A Local Research on the Application of the “Swedish Model” of Prostitution Policy, Journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy  Volume 9, Issue 1 , pp 80-93 

The Swedish prostitution policy model aims at abolishing prostitution, the direct exchange of sexual services for money or other values, by penalizing only its demand. Offering sexual services is not punished by law. According to official sources, preventing prostitutes from earning by selling sexual services is a way of pressuring them into abandoning the trade, and it discourages trafficking in women. How is this policy model implemented at the local level? Seven years after the new law against clients came into force, a research in Stockholm contributes to mapping shifts in prostitution. It reports on the activities of social services and police efforts against clients and trafficking and discusses the evaluations made by other researchers on Swedish prostitution and trafficking laws, including the official evaluation (SOU 2010, 49).

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Jean Allain, “Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia: The European Court of Human Rights and Trafficking as Slavery” (2010) Human Rights Law Review 10:3(2010), 546-557

Full text available here.

No abstract available. Opening paragraph:

On 7 January 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (the ‘Court’) rendered judgment in Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia, a case that will be laurelled for revealing the human cost of sex tourism in Europe and the Court’s willingness to take on the issue of trafficking of women. That human cost is brought into sharp relief with the fate of Oxana Rantseva, a 21-year-old woman from Russia, who stepped off a plane in Cyprus in 2001 and less than a fortnight later was dead. As important as this case is for taking aim at the exploitive nature of the sex industry and the willingness of States to turn a blind eye to it, Rantsev brings with it questions regarding the very ability of the Court to adjudicate over issues emanating from Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). With the determination of the Court that obligations emanating from Article 4 of the ECHR come into play because trafficking is based on slavery, the Court reveals itself as not having truly engaged with the legal distinctions that exist between these two concepts. As a result, the Court has further muddied the waters as to where legal distinction should be made regarding various types of human exploitation, be it the forced labour, servitude or slavery.

Diana Tietjens Meyers (2013): Feminism and Sex Trafficking: Rethinking Some Aspects of Autonomy and Paternalism, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. DOI10.1007/s10677-013-9452-1


This paper argues that potential cases of oppression, such as sex trafficking, can sometimes comprise autonomous choices by the trafficked individuals. This issue still divides radical from liberal feminists, with the former wanting to ‘rescue’ the ‘victims’ and the latter insisting that there might be good reasons for ‘hiding from the rescuers.’ This article presents new arguments for the liberal approach and raises two demands: first, help organizations should be run by affected women and be open-minded about whether or not the trafficked individuals should remain in the sex industry. Second, the career choices of trafficked individuals should be expanded by the introduction of an opportunity-extending right to asylum.

Anderson, Bridget/O’Connell Davidson, Julia (2003): Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? A Multi-Country Pilot Study, IOM. 

Full report available here. 


The ASEM Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and
Children (2001), stressed the need to encourage research on the demand for the most
common forms of exploitation of trafficked women and children, in particular for
commercial sex services, and recommended a multi-country study into the
demand side of trafficking as one of its follow-up actions.
In response to this recommendation, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Sida and Save the Children Sweden, commissioned the authors to coordinate a pilot
research study on the demand underlying two sectors where the labour/services of
trafficked persons are known to be subject to exploitation: prostitution and domestic
work. This report sets out some of the findings of the pilot study and ongoing
research concerning employer demand for domestic workers in private households,
and consumer demand for commercial sexual services in selected European and Asian
The research discussed in this report suggests that three related factors are key to
explaining the exploitative conditions experienced by many migrant domestic and
sex workers: (a) The unregulated nature of the labour market segments in which they
work; (b) the abundant supply of exploitable labour and (c) the power and malleability
of social norms regulating the behaviour of employers and clients. The continued
expansion of any unregulated market is likely to require and facilitate the exploitation
of vulnerable labour. Both paid sex and domestic work are peculiar market
segments in the sense that there is both political and social unease regarding those
who buy and sell in them as workers or consumers/employers. In both sex and
domestic work, the absence of effective regulation is one of the factors that help to
create an environment in which it is possible and profitable to use unfree labour.

Giorgia Serughetti Prostitution and Clients’ Responsibility, Men and Masculinities April 2013 16: 35-48, first published on December 16, 2012 doi:10.1177/1097184X12467008



In the last decades of the twentieth century, a major change has occurred in the public understanding of prostitution, with the focus shifting from the sex worker to the client. On the social scientific side, studies on clients have growingly shed light on motivations and behaviors of men who buy sex. On the juridical-political side, in many countries across the globe a trend has emerged towards the criminalization of clients, represented as responsible for the perpetuation and proliferation of the sex market and for its oppressive and victimizing effects on sex workers. The aim of this paper is to retrace this turn and to discuss its political and cultural meaning, showing how the discourse on male responsibility in prostitution involves the risk of unilateral stances and partial views on the sex market. What I argue is that new gender-sensitive thinking on prostitution is needed, context-rooted and free from prejudicial understandings.

McMillan K., and H. Worth (2011) Risky Business Vanuatu: Selling sex in Port Vila. International HIV Research Group, UNSW, Sydney.

Full text available here.

No abstract available. Introductory paragraphs:

This report documents the findings of a qualitative investigation into the selling of sex in Port Vila. It is intended that this information will be useful to HIV prevention strategies and programs aimed at serving sex workers. The report is based on fieldwork carried out during November and December 2010 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. In-depth interview data were gathered from 18 young women and 2 young men, who talked about their lives and their personal experiences of selling sex.

“The research was conducted by the International HIV Research Group (IHRG) of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia in partnership with the Pacific STI and HIV Research Centre (PSHRC) of the Fiji School of Medicine. The study was funded through an AusAID targeted HIV social research grant and contributes to a larger regional project investigating sex work, HIV prevention and transmission risk behaviour in the Pacific that is currently being undertaken by IHRG.

Seshu, M. S. and Pai, A. (2014), Sex Work Undresses Patriarchy with Every Trick!. IDS Bulletin, 45: 46–52. doi: 10.1111/1759-5436.12067

Full article available here. 


Some feminists argue that sex work reduces the female body to an object of sexual pleasure to be exploited in the marketplace by any male – an argument consistent with patriarchal notions of protection, reverence and control, the construction of women as a devi[goddess], the dasi [slave] or the veshya [sex worker]. This article addresses our work with collectivising rural women not in sex work (Vidrohi Mahila Manch [Platform for Rebellious Women] (VMM) Sangli) and rural women in sex work (Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP)) from South Maharashtra and North Karnataka, India. It examines the apparent control adult women in sex work have over their own bodies and lives. Although it is true that unless acting collectively, they are less successful in confronting organised criminal gangs and the brutal side of law enforcers, most of them boldly confront sexual relations with individual male clients and men from their own community.