In this article, we present and discuss the intended and unintended effects of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, which criminalises the purchase of sex within a context where the sale of sex is legal. Whether or not this means of regulating prostitution is successful, and whether it has negative consequences for people who sell sex, are important questions in international policy and academic debates. This article builds on a scoping study aimed at identifying relevant sources of information as to the consequences of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, then summarising and discussing these findings. The article offers policy makers and scholars a comprehensive presentation of the evidence and a discussion of the methodological, political and theoretical challenges arising from this.
Tetyana I. Vasylyeva, Samuel R. Friedman, Lenore Gensburg, Pavlo Smyrnov; Engagement in sex work does not increase HIV risk for women who inject drugs in Ukraine, Journal of Public Health, Volume 39, Issue 3, 1 September 2017, Pages e103–e110, https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdw070
We studied the association between sex in exchange for money, drugs or goods and HIV for women who inject drugs (WWID) in Ukraine, as previous data on this association from the post-USSR region are contradictory.
Data come from the Integrated Bio-Behavioral Survey of Ukrainian people who inject drugs collected in 2011 using respondent-driven sampling. Participants were interviewed and tested with rapid HIV tests.
The sample included 2465 WWID (24% HIV positive); 214 (8.7%) of which reported having had exchange sex during the last 90 days. Crude analysis showed no association between exchange sex and HIV (OR = 0.644; 95% CI 0.385–1.077). No confounders were found to alter this result in a multivariable analysis. Further modeling showed that exchange sex modifies association between HIV and alcohol use: no association between HIV and daily alcohol use was found for those women who exchanged sex (OR = 1.699, 95% CI 0.737–3.956); while not engaging in sex work and daily using alcohol reduced odds to be HIV infected (OR = 0.586, 95% CI 0.389–0.885).
Exchange sex may have less impact on the HIV status of WWID who are exposed to injecting risks. The finding that daily alcohol use appears protective against HIV among WWID who do not exchange sex requires more research.
Bridie Sweetman, “The judicial system and sex work in New Zealand” Women’s Studies Journal, Volume 31 Number 2, December 2017: 61-68
Sex work policy is a highly contentious topic. Various political approaches attempt to repress it, restrict it, or integrate it. This paper canvasses repressive approaches, restrictive approaches and the New Zealand model, which decriminalises sex work. The latter is then examined through a human rights lens, with five specific human rights discussed: the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to safety, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to freedom of association, and the right to health. This is accompanied by an examination of how the New Zealand judiciary have used the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and other laws to protect and promote the rights, welfare and health and safety of sex workers. The article concludes by expressing a hope that the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and New Zealand case law can serve as precedent for other jurisdictions when considering sex work law and policy.
Full text available here
Lammasniemi Laura, ‘Anti-White Slavery Legislation and its Legacies in England’ (2017) 9 Anti-trafficking Review.
This paper argues that the foundation of modern anti-trafficking laws in England and Wales was created at the turn of the twentieth century, during the peak of white slavery hysteria. It shows that a series of interrelated legal interventions formed that foundation. While white slavery as a myth has been analysed, this paper turns the focus on legal regulation and shows why it is important to analyse its history in order to understand modern responses to trafficking. It focuses, in particular, on the first legal definition of victims of trafficking, involvement of vigilance associations in law reform, and on restrictions put in place on women’s immigration. Finally, it reflects on how laws enacted at the turn of the twentieth century still resonate with those of today.
Leigh-Ann Sweeney, Sharron FitzGerald, (2017) “A case for a health promotion framework: the psychosocial experiences of female, migrant sex workers in Ireland”, International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-04-2016-0017
The purpose of this paper is to examine the barriers preventing women in prostitution from accessing co-ordinated health services in the Republic of Ireland. By examining the experiences of migrant women engaged in prostitution, the research contributes to knowledge pertaining to the psychosocial experiences of female sex workers’ access to healthcare.
Full text available here.
Elizabeth Bernstein, “Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36, no. 1 (Autumn 2010): 45-71.
Over the past decade, abolitionist feminist and evangelical Christian activists have directed increasing attention toward the “traffic in women” as a dangerous manifestation of global gender inequalities. Despite renowned disagreements around the politics of sex and gender, these groups have come together to advocate for harsher penalties against traffickers, prostitutes’ customers, and nations deemed to be taking insufficient steps to stem the flow of trafficked women. In this essay, I argue that what has served to unite this coalition of “strange bedfellows” is not simply an underlying commitment to conservative ideals of sexuality, as previous commentators have offered, but an equally significant commitment to carceral paradigms of justice and to militarized humanitarianism as the preeminent mode of engagement by the state. I draw upon my ongoing ethnographic research with feminist and evangelical antitrafficking movement leaders to argue that the alliance that has been so efficacious in framing contemporary antitrafficking politics is the product of two historically unique and intersecting trends: a rightward shift on the part of many mainstream feminists and other secular liberals away from a redistributive model of justice and toward a politics of incarceration, coincident with a leftward sweep on the part of many younger evangelicals toward a globally oriented social justice theology. In the final section of this essay, I consider the resilience of these trends given a newly installed and more progressive Obama administration, positing that they are likely to continue even as the terrain of militarized humanitarian action shifts in accordance with new sets of geopolitical interests.
Full text available here.