Archive

Law

Ellison, Graham & Dhónaill, Ní & Early, Erin. (2019): “A review of the criminalisation of paying for sexual services in Northern Ireland”.

The review, carried out by Queen’s University Belfast, was commissioned by the Department under section 15 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act 2015 which introduced the offence and required a review of its operation after three years.

The review reported on the impact of the legislation on the demand for sexual services, the safety and well-being of sex workers, and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The review reported that, in the period from June 2015 to December 2018, there had been 15 arrests and two convictions for purchasing sex and 31 arrests and two convictions for human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Higher numbers of sex workers advertising online in the post law period were reported, rising from 3,351 to 3,973: an increase of 622. An increase in demand for sexual services was also reported by sex workers in the period following the introduction of the legislation. However, on-street prostitution has declined in comparison to previous research, reducing from an estimate of 20 active on-street sex workers operating in Northern Ireland in 2014 to currently less than ten.

The research reported that it is not possible to say that the change in the law is responsible for any increase in crime against sex workers, but a heightened fear of crime has contributed to a climate whereby sex workers feel further marginalised and stigmatised.

The review concluded that the legislation has had minimal effect on the demand for sexual services; and due to the absence of any evidence that demand had decreased, it was unable to determine how the offence could have impacted on human trafficking.

Full text available here.

Jean Allain, “No Effective Trafficking Definition Exists: Domestic Implementation of the Palermo Protocol”. 7 Alb. Govt. L. Rev. 112 (2014), 111.

This Article considers the overall regime established by the 2000 Palermo Protocol to demonstrate the manner in which the legal order of States. In so doing, and with special reference to the definition of trafficking, it shows the limited ability of States to actually carry out their avowed wish to suppress the trafficking in persons. Because their jurisdiction over what is termed ‘trafficking’ is different, the ability for the origin, transit, and/or destination countries to ‘join-up’ is rendered unworkable by, for instance, extradition treaties that require crimes to be common to both jurisdictions, or the application of extraterritorial jurisdiction when what is deemed a crime in one jurisdiction is not so in another. Thus, in a very short period of time, legislators around the world have created, under the banner of ‘trafficking,’ an international regime which, through its implementation in the domestic sphere, has fractured its potential effectiveness.

Full article available here.

 

Kotiswaran, Prabha. „Do Feminists Need an Economic Sociology of Law?“ Journal of Law and Society 40(1) (2013): 115–36. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2013.00615.x.
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Abstract
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Feminist legal scholars have long exposed the mutually constitutive relationship between the market and the social sphere, particularly, of the family, as mediated by the state. A peculiar division of labour has emerged in American feminist legal theorizing on the market in the context of care work, on the one hand, and sex work on the other. Care is valorized, thus entrenching the family‐market dichotomy while the sex‐work debates view the market as a source of harm and violence and therefore to be eliminated from the social. This produces a problematic feminist understanding of the market and generates legal reforms that produce unintended consequences for women themselves. The article offers an economic sociology of law pursued in legal ethnographic terms as a way of revitalizing contemporary feminist legal thought on the market and, indeed, the economy, illustrating its use in the context of international anti‐trafficking law and transnational surrogacy.

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

Ross, Becki L. “Sex and (Evacuation from) the City: The Moral and Legal Regulation of Sex Workers in Vancouver’s West End, 1975—1985.” Sexualities 13.2 (2010): 197-218.

For more than a century, prostitution in Vancouver, British Columbia has been at the centre of legal and political debate, policing, media coverage, and policy-making. From 1975 to 1985, a heterogeneous, pimp-free community of sex workers lived and worked on and around Davie Street in the city’s emerging ‘gay’ West End. Their presence sparked a vigorous backlash, including vigilante action, from multiple stake-holders intent on transforming the port town into a ‘world class city’ and venerable host of the World’s Fair, ‘Expo 1986’. In this article, drawing from interviews and archival material, I examine the abolitionist strategies adopted by Vancouver’s residents’ groups, business owners, politicians, and police to criminalize street solicitation and evacuate prostitutes who, in small numbers, ‘whorganized’ to fight back. The collective disavowal of sex workers as citizens was premised on the ‘cleansing’ of the zone under siege, which became whitened and made safe for bourgeois (queer) capitalism, with lethal consequences for outdoor sex workers in the city.

Full text available here.

Ola Florin, “A Particular Kind of Violence: Swedish Social Policy Puzzles of a Multipurpose Criminal Law” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, September 2012, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 269-278

This article explores the policy underpinning Sweden’s 1999 ban on purchases of sexual services with a focus on the social and health service sectors and their role vis-à-vis people who sell sex. It argues that the rationale behind the ban is difficult to reconcile with legislation and practices beyond the merit of criminal justice. While an understanding of prostitution as “men’s violence against women” may serve symbolic functions at central policy level, it can hardly guide local implementation without conflicting with core social policy principles. The article concludes that there is a need to address the agency of people who sell sex, since denying or minimizing such agency may be counterproductive to the policy’s own objectives.

Full text available here.

Sylvia A. Law,  “Commercial sex: beyond decriminalization” 73 Southern California Law Review 523 (1999-2000)

No abstract available. Introduction:

“This Article argues that: 1) criminal sanctions against people who offer sex for money should be repealed, 2) legal remedies and programs to protect commercial sex workers from violence, rape, disease, exploitation, coercion and abuse should be enhanced and 3) whether or not commercial sex is prohibited by criminal law, government policy should promote decent working conditions for all workers and should not require people to engage in sex as a condition of subsistence. It further addresses how, as a practical matter, people who provide commercial sex can best be protected against exploitation, both physical and economic. This Article demonstrates that decriminalization of sexual services is a necessary first step toward creating more effective remedies against abuse, protecting vulnerable women and building a more humane society.”

Full text available here.

E. Nick Larsen, “The Effect of Different Police Enforcement Policies on the Control of Prostitution” Canadian Public Policy / Analyse de Politiques, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 40-55

Abstract:

This article conducts a comparative analysis of prostitution control in four Canadian cities using police enforcement policies as the independent variable. Most recent Canadian prostitution research has centred on assessing the adequacy of the existing law, and the majority of analysts have concluded that most prostitution offences ought to be decriminalized. However, the analysis in this article assumes that the law is unlikely to be changed in the near future, and instead argues that Canadian police already possess sufficient legal discretion to decide when and where they will enforce the law. The article conducts a qualitative analysis of police enforcement policies (in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto) ranging from strict enforcement of the law against prostitutes, customers and both prostitutes and customers through to various forms of selective toleration and negotiation among the various affected groups. Based on this analysis, the writer concludes that the most effective way of reducing both the nuisance and the political conflict associated with prostitution involves selective toleration, combined with negotiation between prostitutes and other affected groups. The article concludes with a feminist oriented discussion of the reasons why attempts to suppress prostitution will not work and why the prostitutes themselves must be part of any discussions regarding the control of prostitution.

Full text (in English) available here.

Brendan M. Conner, In Loco Aequitatis: The Dangers of “Safe Harbor” Laws for Youth in the Sex Trades, Stan. J. C.R. & C.L.(forthcoming 2016).

Abstract

The accompanying Article provides the first critical analysis of safe harbor laws, which rely on custodial arrests to prosecute or divert youth arrested for or charged with prostitution related offenses under criminal or juvenile codes to court supervision under state child welfare, foster care, or dependency statutes. This subject is a matter of intense debate nationwide, and on January 27, 2015 the House of Representatives passed legislation that would give preferential consideration for federal grants to states that have enacted a law that “discourages the charging or prosecution” of a trafficked minor and encourages court-ordered treatment and institutionalization. Nearly universally lauded, the sound bite of safe harbor’s proponents has obscured the truth of its potential impact: increasing arrests, extending the length of involuntary commitment, and ratifying a pattern of endemic law enforcement harassment and brutality. This Article offers new perspectives on the debate and examines challenges presented to legislators considering adoption of safe harbor laws.

Full article available here.

P. Hubbard and J. Prior, “Out of sight, out of mind? Prostitution policy and the health, well-being and safety of home-based sex workers” Critical Social Policy February 2013 vol. 33 no. 1 140-159

Abstract:

Policy discussions relating to the selling of sex have tended to fixate on two spaces of sex work: the street and the brothel. Such preoccupation has arguably eclipsed discussion of the working environment where most sex is sold, namely, the private home. Redressing this omission, this paper discusses the public health and safety implications of policies that fail to regulate or assist the ‘hidden population’ of sex workers, focusing on the experiences of home-based workers in Sydney, Australia. Considering the inconsistent way that Home Occupation Sex Services Premises (HOSSPs) are regulated in this city, this paper discusses the implications of selling sex beyond the gaze of the state and the law. It is concluded that working from home can allow sex workers to exercise considerable autonomy over their working practices, but that the safety of such premises must be carefully considered in the development of prostitution policy.

Full text available here.