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Armstrong, Lynzi. “Diverse Risks, Diverse Perpetrators: Perceptions of Risk and Experiences of Violence amongst Street-Based Sex Workers in New Zealand.” International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 3, no. 3 (December 1, 2014): 40–54. doi:10.5204/ijcjsd.v3i3.146.

Abstract

The management of violence-related risks on the street invariably relates to individual perceptions of violence amongst street-based sex workers. This paper explores perceptions and experiences of violence amongst street-based sex workers in Wellington and Christchurch. This paper begins with an overview of how risks of violence have been conceptualised and how the diversity of these risks is reflected in the perceptions and experiences of the women interviewed. Some complexities in how these risks were constructed and managed by the women are then explored, including perceptions of the street as a work environment. To conclude, I discuss the significance of these findings in the context of debates on sex worker safety.

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Background

Community mobilization is a participatory intervention strategy used among Female Sex Workers (FSW’s) to address HIV risks through behavior change and self empowerment. This study quantitatively measure and differentiate theoretically defined forms of FSW participation’s and identify their contextual associated factors.

Method

Data was derived from cross-sectional Integrated Bio Behavioral Assessment conducted among FSW’s in Andhra Pradesh (AP) (n = 3370), Maharashtra (MH) (n = 3133) and Tamil Nadu (TN) (n = 2140) of India during 2009-2010. Information’s about socio-demography, community mobilization and participation experiences were collected. Conceptual model for two contexts of mobilization entailing distinct FSW participations were defined as participation in “collective” and “public” spaces respectively. Bivariate and multiple regression analysis were used.

Result: The level of participation in “collective” and “public” spaces was lowest in MH (43.9% & 11.7% respectively), higher in TN (82.2% &22.5% respectively) and AP (64.7%&33.1%). Bivariate and multivariate regression analysis highlighted the distinct nature of “participations” through their varied associations with FSW mobilization and background status.

In MH, street FSWs showed significantly lower collective participation (36.5%) than brothel FSWs (46.8%) and street FSWs showed higher public participation (16.2%) than brothel FSWs (9.7%). In AP both collective and public participation were significantly high among street FSWs (62.7% and 34.7% respectively) than brothel FSW’s (55.2% and 25.4% respectively).

Regression analysis showed FSWs with “community identity”, were more likely to participate in public spaces in TN and AP (AOR 2.4, 1.5-3.8 & AOR 4.9, CI 2.3-10.7) respectively. FSWs with “collective identity” were more likely to participate in collective spaces in TN, MH and AP (AOR 27.2 CI 13.7-53.9; AOR 7.3, CI 3.8-14.3; AOR 5.7 CI 3-10.9 respectively). FSWs exhibiting “collective agency” were more likely to participate in public spaces in TN, MH and AP (AOR 2.3 CI 1-3.4; AOR 4.5- CI 2.6-7.8; AOR 2.2 CI 1.5-3.1) respectively.

Conclusion

Findings reveal FSWs participation as a dynamic process inherently evolving along with the community mobilization process in match with its contexts. Participation in “Collective” and Public spaces” is indicators, symbolizing FSWs passage from the disease prevention objectives towards empowerment, which would help better understand and evaluate community mobilization interventions.

A ‘victim of trafficking’ is an identity that an individual can adopt to access legal resources that would otherwise not be open to them. However, this identity contains certain implicit assumptions about that individual and their experiences. This article analyses 12 applications for a one-year visa, written by women from the former Soviet Union who were trafficked to Israel and forced to sell sex. To apply for a visa as a ‘victim of trafficking’ applicants assert certain narrative tropes to emphasise their desire to belong in Israel. These tropes obscure the complexities of their experiences by emphasising themes of naivety and innocence, a commitment to familial obligations and a lack of agency. They reject the alternative identity of a migrant sex worker and distance themselves from any implication of a desire to illegally cross national borders. When they describe their hopes for the future, they assert normative gendered desires to marry and have children. This article argues that by closely aligning themselves with gender norms, these women seek to respond to conceptualisations of individuals who transgress gender and moral norms and who pose a threat to national borders and integrity.

Kerwin Kaye, “Sex and the unspoken in male street prostitution”. Journal of Homosexuality (2007) 53(1-2):37-73.

Abstract:

Although the overwhelming majority of male prostitutes work through agencies or by placing their own ads, most studies of male prostitution focus upon young men who work on the street. Remarkably, these studies seldom identify the dynamics of poverty and street-level violence as important elements of their examination. Investigations of male sex work-few though they are-focus almost exclusively upon sexual aspects of “the life.” Despite the importance of these networks in shaping the contours of street life, and often in enabling one’s very survival, the primary research focus has remained on questions of sexual identity, sexual practices with clients, and sexual abuse as a causative factor. Meanwhile, studies that do examine the dynamics of male street life typically do not examine questions of prostitution or other issues related to sexuality. A dominant theme within this literature consists of specifying the social mores of the most aggressive and socially problematic participants within street society, particularly gang members and drug dealers. The dissimilar nature of these images relates directly to the political projects of the dominant culture, which, in a very general way, seeks to “rescue” (reintegrate) deviant white youth, while controlling and excluding deviant youth of color. The political aim of reintegrating runaways into middle-class trajectories has the effect of authorizing certain discourses regarding their behavior on the streets, while marginalizing or completely disallowing others. This article seeks to examine and challenge these trends of representation.

Full text available here.

Abstract

Despite the significant emphasis given to the trafficking of Brazilians to the sex industry of the Iberian Peninsula, the concepts of “victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation” used in these three countries vary. This article analyses the positions of Brazil, Spain and Portugal regarding the conceptualisation of “trafficking victim,” focusing on their legislation and policies, as well as on relevant narratives which show how these policies are being applied. It showcases how the incompatible definitions being used compromise genuine anti-trafficking actions and may be an indicator that stopping trafficking may not be the primary concern of the policies developed by these governments.

Kerwin Kaye, “Naked but Unseen: Sex and Labor Conflict in San Francisco’s Adult Entertainment Theaters” Sexuality and Culture Vol 3 (1999) p.39

Abstract:

San Francisco has been the site of an ongoing labor struggle in the city’s strip clubs. During the past few years, management at several clubs has dramatically altered the terms under which dancers work, imposing strict daily quotas and appropriating greater quantities of cash from the dancers for the “privilege” of working. Several clubs have simultaneously built secluded back rooms, introducing a place in the theaters where prostitution can occur. At the same time, police in San Francisco has stepped up its harassment of prostitutes working in other venues or on the streets, pushing many women directly into the clubs. Facing increasingly sexual competition, many dancers now feel compelled to either “put out” or quit the only well-paying job accessible to them. While some dancers have resisted the situation, many newly-hired workers have chosen to embrace the possibilities for larger sums of money available through prostitution. The intent of this essay is to document the nature and causes of these recent changes occurring within the industry. Conflicts between women working in the clubs is also examined to allow a more detailed characterization of the shifting working conditions.

Full text available here.

Abstract

Several studies have cited economic hardships or poverty as the main reason for women’s entry into sex work in India. While this may be true, it is still a vague reason. For better understanding and to develop meaningful intervention, we need to dig deeper and find more specific reasons for women’s entry into sex work. In addition, while most studies conducted among sex workers in India rely on survey-based approaches to explore women’s reasons for entry into sex work, there have been no studies to date which have used cultural biography to examine how sex work becomes a livelihood option for women in Indian society. Based on the analysis of the 46 short-life portraits and three life-history interviews collected from ‘flying’ or mobile female sex workers over a period of 7 months (December 2009–July 2010) in Kolkata, India, this paper examines the socio-cultural and economic factors that influence women’s decisions to enter into sex work. This study found that women choose sex work vis-à-vis other employment opportunities because it provides them with more freedom and autonomy over their bodies, higher earnings, flexible hours of work, and much flexibility to manage their dual responsibilities of a nurturer and provider. Because of this complex structure of causation, HIV prevention programs must address the larger issues of workplace sexual harassment, minimum living wage and child day care policy to disincentivize women’s entry into the sex industry.