Monthly Archives: November 2014

Abstract—Humanitarian efforts have spurred a visual culture that portrays suffering victims in order to elicit concern in audiences across the world. The humanitarian efforts of Western nations have come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. This paper analyzes the response of a sex workers organization in the Asia-Pacific region to the efforts of anti-human trafficking activists. It focuses on two visual images that are used to challenge this humanitarian regime and situates this campaign within the context of other humanitarian criticism.



Gabryszewska, Maria (2014) “Sex Work and Class,” Class, Race and Corporate Power: Vol. 2: Iss. 3, Article 4.
Available at:


Prostitution scandals stigmatize workers for their entire lives, but the politician involved is marred for only one news cycle. “White knight” feminists shame women for sexually catering to the patriarchy but talk from a place of economic privilege. Religious organizations engage in misguided attempts to “save” women who use the industry as a job. Exploitive policies aimed at curtailing sex work hurt the individuals who wish to practice safe sex for their own protection. In the guise of aiding sex workers, or saving them from themselves, those that would advocate for more restrictive policies ignore the ramifications of what these laws would entail.

Susann Huschke, Peter Shirlow, Dirk Schubotz, Eilís Ward, Ursula Probst and Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill, “Research into Prostitution in Northern Ireland: Commissioned from Queen’s University Belfast by the Department of Justice” (October 2014).

No abstract available. Opening text:

“At present in Northern Ireland practices related to prostitution, such as soliciting or loitering for purposes of prostitution, organising or advertising prostitution and brothel keeping (defined as more than one person selling sexual services in a given location) constitute criminal offences under the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008. This cultural and legal context has produced particularly hidden forms of prostitution with the internet becoming a major platform for advertising sexual services and setting up meetings in hotels or apartments. Despite the legal context and alternative discourses concerning prostitution in Northern Ireland there has been a paucity of research on social issues that relate to prostitution, such as migration, trafficking and the nature of prostitution.

Limited research evidence is available with regard to the size and composition of the sex worker population in Northern Ireland. It can be deduced from the few available government and NGO publications that sex workers operating in Northern Ireland include locals and people from other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, as well as sex workers from Europe and from across the world, e.g. Nigeria, Colombia and Brazil. Northern Ireland, and particularly its largest city Belfast seems to be a destination for mobile sex worker. Although some sex workers may sell sex only in one place, most appear to be mobile, moving between different cities across Ireland and the UK, as well as across the continent (e.g. Spain, Italy, Germany). This generally mirrors the practice of sex workers across Europe.

While these reports and studies provide some insight into the lives of sex workers and their clients, the evidence is patchy, largely unsystematic and not as extensive as the evidence available in other parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. So far, reliable academic studies based on interview or survey data from those who sell and buy sexual services in Northern Ireland have generally been unavailable. However, the issue of prostitution has received considerable interest in Northern Ireland over the last year, due mainly to the proposal within Lord Morrow’s Private Member’s Bill (Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill) to criminalise paying for sexual services. This study commissioned by the Department of Justice aims to fill some of the existing research gaps by conducting a mixed methods study of prostitution in Northern Ireland.”

Full text available here.

Stella Nyanzi (2013) Homosexuality, Sex Work, and HIV/AIDS in Displacement and Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Refugees in Uganda, International Peacekeeping, 20:4, 450-468, DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2013.846136

Link to this article:


This article aims to disrupt the silence, invisibility and erasures of non-heteronormative sexual orientations or gender identities, and of sex work, in HIV/AIDS responses within displacement and post-conflict settings in Africa. Informed by Gayle Rubin’s sexual hierarchy theoretical framework,1 it explores the role of discrimination and violation of the rights of sex workers and of gender and sexual minorities in driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic during displacement. Specific case materials focus on ethnographic research conducted in urban and rural Uganda. Recommendations for policy, practice and programmes are outlined.

Escamilla Loredo, M. I. (2014). Developing safer sex negotiation skills among Latin American female sex workers working in Germany. Bielefeld: Bielefeld University.

Executive Summary.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, are among the most important
causes of infertility, long-term disability and death in the world (WHO 2012).
Because of the particularities of their job, sex workers (SW) are at great risk of
acquiring HIV/STIs. It is estimated that around 400,000 sex workers are engaged in
Germany and approximately 1 million men look daily for sex workers’ services in the
country (TAMPEP 2010). In Germany, sex work is a commercial activity
predominantly conducted by migrants and by women (TAMPEP 2010, 2007a, 2007b,
2007d). The largest populations of migrant SW in the country are the groups from
Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America (TAMPEP 2010). Evidence
suggests that sex workers in Germany may not consistently practice protected sex
(RKI 2012; Bremer 2007, 2006; TAMPEP 2010, 2007b, 2007d). Among other
interventions to increase condom use among SW, it is recommended to improve sex
workers’ safer sex negotiation abilities. In this sense, the current study was
conducted to achieve two principal goals: 1) to identify negotiation strategies that
Latin American female sex workers working in Germany (LAFSWs) employ by
attempting to persuade clients resistant to using a condom; and 2) to identify skills
building approaches to teach sex workers condom use negotiation strategies.

Full document available here. 


Julie Ham, Marie Segrave, and Sharon Pickering “In the Eyes of the Beholder: Border enforcement, suspect travellers and trafficking victims” Anti-Trafficking Review, issue 2, 2013, pp. 51—66.


Over the past decade, the border and border policing has figured as central to identifying and responding to trafficking. This article draws on original research into immigration officers’ decision-making — both at the border and within the nation — to identify the persistent preoccupation with suspect travellers. Examining research in Australia and Thailand that spans seven years, the article brings together research that demonstrates the predominance of the binary category of victim of trafficking/unlawful migrant worker and highlights the ambiguity of daily decision-making processes that categorise women who come into contact with immigration authorities. While the policy rhetoric is based on categories and risk profiles for identifying suspected victims of trafficking or those deemed at risk, we contribute to the growing body of work that has highlighted the presence of gendered and racialised stereotypes in immigration decision-making and consider implications this may have on women’s mobility across and within borders.

Full text available here.


The expansion of Chinese activities in Africa has been accompanied by a growing number of young Chinese women migrants engaged in prostitution, transforming the red-light districts of some African cities from markets almost entirely monopolized by local sex workers into highly competitive Chinese commercial sexualized sites. In Cameroon, disgruntled local sex workers now point to a ‘Chinese sexual invasion’ and blame young Chinese women for the decline in their business. This article explores some of the remarkable tactics devised by local sex workers in Douala to deal with the ‘unfair competition’ represented by Chinese sex workers. These tactics include the production of extremist discourses that construe Chinese sex workers as economic predators, and characterize them as dangerous putes sorcières (bitch-witches). The article concludes that the pervasive idiom of occultism, embodied by the concepts of “magic body” and “cursed sex” that permeate much of the popular imagination of Chinese sex labourers in Cameroon, reflects a broader disenchantment with recent China–Africa cooperation, which is increasingly perceived as an attempt by China to control Africa’s immense natural resources under the guise of mutually beneficial relations.

Article available for free here.

Shdaimah, Corey S., and Chrysanthi Leon. “‘First and Foremost They’re Survivors’ Selective Manipulation, Resilience, and Assertion Among Prostitute Women.” Feminist Criminology, November 10, 2014, 1557085114553832. doi:10.1177/1557085114553832.
Based on qualitative data from three sites (N = 76), we describe prostitute women’s agency and problematize dominant assumptions. Prostitute women exhibit creative, resilient, and rational conduct. Rejecting victimhood, our respondents demonstrate moral reasoning, make choices, work systems that dominate their lives, and assert power and control when they can. Their resistance, while serving a symbolic function, also expresses their system savvy and self-advocacy that produce measurable benefits. We distinguish between “being manipulative” and context-specific ethical conduct intended to further their survival.

Nicklas Dennermalm “Resistance to the Swedish Model through LGBTQ and Sex Work Community Collaboration and Online Intervention – Digital Culture & Education.” Accessed November 6, 2014.

In Sweden, sex workers are often viewed as ‘victims in denial’ by public health authorities.  As a result, Swedish sexual health interventions have traditionally focused on women and utilised face-to-face interventions and exit strategies. Unmistakably, interventions targeting male and/or transgender sex workers that utilise harm reduction approaches or low threshold on-line interventions remain marginalised or non-existent.  This stands in opposition to recent Swedish research on the sexual health of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG).  This research stresses the need for targeted community-based sexual health services. Recent Swedish research also highlights the success of innovative on-line approaches that help male sex workers and TG understand personal risk to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), their legal rights and how to access community-based health services. Responding to the research and not viewing sex workers as victims, this paper outlines the design of Sweden’s first bespoke online platform targeting male and transgender sex workers. We outline our unique approach and the steps we undertook to design the Röda Paraplyet webpage ([1]) in collaboration with male sex workers and Rose Alliance, a leading sex worker organisation. We argue the voices of sex workers are essential to shifting the Swedish discourse around sex work from one of victimisation that limits sex workers access to Sweden’s extensive evidence-based health care to one that is empowering and increases the safety of sex work, explores how to negotiate condom use and educates sex workers about their rights. In conclusion we illustrate how a broad coalition between organised and non-organised sex workers, LGBTQ organisations, academics and the health care system is essential for creating a sustainable platform of multi-disciplinary knowledge to improve the sexual health and legal rights of sex workers in Sweden and globally.

Leyla Gülçüra and Pınar İlkkaracanb, ‘The “Natasha” experience: Migrant sex workers from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in Turkey’, Women’s Studies International Forum, Volume 25, Issue 4, July–August 2002, Pages 411–421


Women have been migrating across the world in increasing numbers and the sex industry remains one option for work in host countries. While there is currently much controversy over whether sex work is “forced” versus “voluntary,” the underground nature of the sex industry, combined with prevalent restrictions on illegal/undocumented immigration in host countries, creates working and living conditions for women that facilitate health risks, violence, harassment, police bribery, detention, and arbitrary deportation.

In this paper, we focus on the case of migrant sex workers from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in Turkey. Using a combination of sources including newspapers, participant observation, interviews with key informants and with migrant sex workers, we document the experiences and working conditions of women who travel periodically from their own countries to Istanbul to undertake sex work. We conclude that policy debates regarding sex work should focus not so much on whether women “choose” to enter this profession but should instead focus on the need to ameliorate migrant women’s living and working conditions by addressing restrictive and abusive immigration policies and by decriminalizing undocumented sex work.

Full text available here.