Historically, academic literature on sex work has documented the changing debates, policies, and cultural discourse surrounding the sex industry, and their impact on the rights of sex workers worldwide. As sex work scholars look to the future of sex workers’ rights, however, we are also in a critical moment of self-reflection on how sex work scholarship engages with sex worker communities, produces knowledge surrounding sex work, and represents the lived experiences of sex workers’ rights, organizing, and activism. In this short Communication, proceedings from a recent sex work research symposium entitled, Sexual Economies, Politics, and Positionality in Sex Work Research are presented. Held at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, this symposium is a response to the need for sex work researchers, sex workers, and sex worker-led organizations to come together and critically examine the future of research on sex work and the politics of documenting sex workers’ rights.
This article attempts to understand anti-trafficking interventions in Assam with special reference to sex trafficking. It critically analyses ideologies determining the functioning of anti-trafficking networks and its impact on combating sex trafficking. Of specific concern is to understand the ways in which policies of rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration are implemented and whether such implementation places at its centre the standpoint of the marginalised, that is, women in commercial sex—trafficked or otherwise. This article is based on data collected from rescued trafficked women, current sex workers, state and non-state anti-trafficking personnel, observation at shelter homes and case studies. It argues that anti-trafficking networks in Assam work within the neo-abolitionist approach resulting in the patronisation and infantilisation of women in commercial sex. Despite its effectiveness in certain aspects, it more often than not leaves these women in a state of limbo.
Many studies have demonstrated the prominent role legal frameworks and local policies play in the shaping of prostitution, by informing to a large extent the conditions governing the exercise of the sex trade, while promoting a certain definition of this activity and its protagonists. However, the role of private organizations delegated the mission of providing social or medical assistance to people selling sex should not be overlooked. These organizations are still under-researched, despite the fact that they often occupy a pivotal position between those involved in the sex trade, public authorities, and the general population. Our contribution aims to provide an overview of the relevant landscape of third sector organizations in both Belgium and France and, more specifically, retrace the genesis of associations that have implemented programs to prevent sexually transmitted infections. We will also examine their relations with the public authorities and the legitimacy they enjoy in each country, before highlighting their potential influence on the structuring of representations and regulation of prostitution.
Anasti, Theresa. 2018. „Survivor or Laborer: How Human Service Managers Perceive Sex Workers?“ Affilia, Mai, 0886109918778075. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109918778075.
Regardless of primary population served, human service organizations are likely to come into contact with individuals who have been currently or formerly involved in the sex trade. In the United States, social workers have had a fraught history with this population, either treating them like delinquents or like victims in need of rescue. Sex worker activists in the United States continue to decry the negative treatment provided by individuals in the helping professions, even as harm reduction, the practice of reducing the harm of risky behaviors, has entered the service provision lexicon as an antidote to abstinence-only services. This article uses qualitative interviews with managers of human service organizations in the city of Chicago to determine how they think about their work with sex workers and how they perceive the proposed solutions to “fixing” the sex trade: abolitionism and decriminalization. Findings show that despite the dominant discourse of abolitionism in the United States, most of managers in this project believe full decriminalization of sex work will best assist their sex worker clients. Future research needs to understand how this finding holds in different settings and how this affects current efforts to advocate for decriminalization.
This paper aims to identify the reasons why sex workers strike/occupy churches comparing the sex workers strikes/church occupations in France (1975) and the UK (1982). In order to understand why “sex workers” strike, the paper briefly introduces the available literature on why workers strike. Noting the differences between workers’ and sex workers’ strikes, the former usually being unionised and the latter being nonunionised, and with the latter’s emphasis on non-material rather than material interests, the paper also explores theories on new social movements, collective action and contentious politics. With these theoretical discussions in mind, the events leading to the sex workers’ strikes/church occupations in France and the UK are briefly described. After this description, the paper presents a comparative analysis of the reasons underlying the two cases of strike/church occupation. The research question is answered in this paper. The basic argument is that despite the fact that France has a more closed, and the UK has a more open political input structure, the reasons underlying sex workers’ strikes/church occupations are similar and that sex workers’ strikes were part of the general strike wave in Europe. In both cases, the available repertoire of action was exhausted before going on strike. The basic actors in both cases were the police, the law, politicians, organised crime, pimps and sex workers themselves. In both cases, the choice of church occupation as a form of action was inherited from other social movements and was a strategic rather than a symbolic choice. The main difference between the two cases is that the sex workers that struck in the UK was more organised than their French counterparts. While the strikers in France had the Nid as their ally while those in the UK had Black Women for wages for housework and women against rape. The basic argument is that sex workers in these two cases struck due to an amalgamation of material and non-material interests. It calls for the amalgamation of Marxist, feminist, new social movements, social movements and collective action theories to set up an analytical framework to study sex workers’ strikes. In order to refrain from eclecticism while doing so, the paper suggests going to the field. In conclusion, the paper also touches upon the factors that should be taken into account before continuing strikes as a form of action for the state’s recognition of sex work as work, and the extension of social, economic and political rights to sex workers.