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Author Archives: sexworkresearch

Hock, Stefan. 2019. ‘To Bring About a “Moral of Renewal”: The Deportation of Sex Workers in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War’. Journal of the History of Sexuality 28 (3): 457–82.

In January 1915 European consuls in Istanbul gave the city’s police commissioner, Osman Bedri Bey, a list of names of known procurers. The accused traffickers included Russian, Argentinian, Romanian, American, Austrian, French, British, and Greek citizens. All but one of them were deported; 151 were banished from the country, 11 were sent to Sivas, and 5 were sent to Kayseri, cities in the interior of Anatolia that were far removed from the capital.1 Bedri quickly rose through the ranks of Ottoman civil officialdom as he was a close friend of Talaat, the powerful interior minister who became grand vizier in 1917. Read more…

Rachok, Dafna. 2019. ‘“Nothing about Us without Us”: Sex Workers’ Informal Political Practices in Ukraine’. Anthropologica 61 (2): 261–69.

Abstract

How do vulnerable populations engage with politics? And what does politics mean to them? Building on four months of ethnographic fieldwork and 15 semistructured interviews with sex workers in Kropyvnyts’kyi, Ukraine, I show how informal political practices are employed by marginalised groups like sex workers to promote their agenda of the normalisation of sex work. Examining sex workers’ activism in Ukraine through empowerment strategies and resistance politics, I enquire about formal and informal political strategies that sex workers resort to, how these strategies are used, and whether informal political practices can lead to the community’s empowerment. With a focus primarily on street sex workers who are engaged in community organisation, I show how a controversial topic such as sex can be utilised by sex workers to attract attention to their marginalised situation and politicise their activism. Complicating the discussion of politics and political participation by viewing it through the lens of feminist anthropology, this paper attempts to contribute to the discussion about women’s empowerment and to expand the category of “political practice” and “political activism.” This paper concludes that Kropyvnyts’kyi sex workers often resort to small-scale political tactics in order to probe the limits of political possibility.

Tyburczy, Jennifer. 2019. ‘Sex Trafficking Talk: Rosi Orozco and the Neoliberal Narrative of Empathy in Post-NAFTA Mexico’. Feminist Formations 31 (3): 95–117.https://muse.jhu.edu/article/748843

Abstract

This article is a case study that draws from three interrelated artifacts from research conducted in Mexico City: an interview with anti-sex trafficking activist Rosi Orozco, the visual rhetoric of iEmpathize, a transnational organization affiliated with the Orozco anti-trafficking network, and Orozco’s 2011 book, Del Cielo al Infierno en un Día. I analyze these artifacts to critique how Orozco, one of the most powerful anti-sex trafficking activists in Mexico City, uses empathy as an affective tool for motivating action. In focusing on these particular artifacts, the objective is to show how empathy can circulate within neoliberal discourses of feeling that are steeped in heteronormative and racialized notions of gender and sexuality. Within sex trafficking discourse in what I refer to as post-NAFTA Mexico, empathy aids in the elision of “prostitution” with “trafficking” and creates visually identifiable “victims” that perpetuate the boom, not just in sex trafficking talk, but in the rescue industry as an economic and cultural force.

Sex WorkLabour, Mobility and Sexual Services. By Jane Maree Maher, Sharon Pickering, Alison Gerard

Book Description:

Sex work has always attracted policy, public and prurient interest. Currently, legal frameworks in developed countries range from prohibition, through partial legalisation to active regulation. Globalisation has increased women’s mobility between developing and developed countries at the same time as women’s employment opportunities in the developed world are shifting. Family and intimate relationships are being transformed by changing demographics, shifting social mores and new intersections between intimate lives and global markets. Sex work is located at the nexus of new intimacies, shifting employment patterns and changing global mobilities.

This volume examines the working lives of contemporary sex workers; their practices, their labour market conditions and their engagement with domestic and international regulatory frameworks. It locates the voices and experiences of workers in Melbourne, Australia, at the centre of the sexual services industry as they reflect on brothels and independent escort work, on working conditions and managers, and on the relationships they form with clients. It offers a new account of sex work where women’s labour and mobility is understood as central in local and global imperatives to offer sexual services. It examines how these new imperatives intersect with, challenge and exceed existing regulatory frameworks for sex work.

Sex work: labour, mobility and sexual services draws together the everyday practices of sex workers and the broader global markets in which workers negotiate employment. In bringing together these two important intersecting areas, it offers a grounded and innovative account of sex work which will be of interest to academics and policy makers concerned with sex work, gender studies and the sociology of labour.