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.

Kontula, Anna (2008): The Sex Worker and Her Pleasure, in: Current Sociology July 2008 vol. 56 no. 4, pp. 605-620.


The stereotypical view of prostitution is based on the idea that sex work destroys the woman’s capability for sexual pleasure and alienates her from her sexuality. The author argues that the idea of the destructive capacity of sex work is not universally obvious. Sex workers interviewed seem to derive sexual pleasure in both commercial and private relationships. Professional sex work can be perceived as a distancing from the prostitute’s own enjoyment but it can also be a channel to a more emancipated and pleasurable sex life.

Doezema, Jo (2001): Ouch! Western Feminists’ ‘Wounded Attachment’ to the ‘Third World Prostitute’, Feminist Review [serial online]. Spring 2001;67(67):16-38.

Article available here. (PDF) or here (HTML)

The subject of ‘trafficking in women’ has, since the mid 1980s, received increased international attention. Currently, negotiations are underway at the UN Crimes Commission in Vienna around a new international agreement on trafficking in women (Draft Protocol To Combat International Trafficking In Women And Children Supplementary To The Draft Convention On Transnational Organized CrimeA/AC.254/4/add.3). This new agreement has been the subject of lobbying by feminist anti-trafficking NGOs. The lobby efforts are split into two ‘camps’. One, the Human Rights Caucus, sees prostitution as legitimate labour. The other, represented by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), sees all prostitution as a violation of women’s human rights. While there are some similarities in their representations of the ‘third world trafficking victim’, CATW in particular views ‘third world prostitutes’ as helpless victims in need of rescue. This paper analyses CATW’s position and the writings of its founder, Kathleen Barry. It suggests that CATW’s construction of ‘third world prostitutes’ is part of a wider western feminist impulse to construct a damaged ‘other’ as the main justification for its own interventionist impulses.

The central argument of this paper is that the ‘injured body’ of the ‘third world trafficking victim’ in international feminist debates around trafficking in women serves as a powerful metaphor for advancing certain feminist interests, which cannot be assumed to be those of third world sex workers themselves. The term ‘injured body’ is drawn from Wendy Brown’s States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (1995). In this work, Brown argues that modern identity politics are based on a feeling of ‘injury’ caused by exclusion from the presumed ‘goods’ of the modern liberal state.

Author: Vancouver Police Department (assisted by WISH, Pivot, BC Coalition of Experiential Communities, PEERS, PACE)

Citation (APA): Vancouver Police Department (n.d.). Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines. Retrieved from


The VPD has engaged in a variety of strategies to reduce crime and improve the safety of all
Vancouver residents. However, these strategies can sometimes come into conflict with each
other. For example, enforcement action is sometimes at odds with relationship building, though
both are necessary as part of a comprehensive approach to policing. These conflicts are
particularly frequent when dealing with individuals involved in the sex industry as a result of
inconsistent public attitudes, community complaints, and messaging from the courts on sex
industry related cases. For example, indiscriminate enforcement of the prostitution laws can
undermine sex workers’ relationships with police and decrease their ability to reach out to police
for help.

As a police agency, the VPD is obligated to enforce the laws of Canada, although police also
have considerable discretion in deciding when and how to enforce laws. Given that some
sections of the Criminal Code related to the sex industry are the subject of several constitutional
challenges, the VPD recognizes that these guidelines may need to be amended when the courts
issue their rulings.



When responding to sex work-related calls or situations, the Vancouver Police
Department’s priority is to ensure the safety and security of sex workers. Police calls
regarding violence against sex workers are a priority for assessment and response. Read More