This article explores the experiences of sex workers living and working in South Australia under laws that criminalise their profession. A qualitative research methodology was used to interview sex workers about their work experiences. It was found that working in a criminalised setting raised particular concerns for sex workers including an erosion of workplace protections, outreach services, access to health service and increased policing. This article argues that criminalising sex work leads to human rights violations, therefore sex work should be decriminalised to ensure workers are protected. The themes from the interviews build qualitative evidence supporting the decriminalisation of sex work. This research has been supported by the Sex Industry Network of South Australia (SIN).
Read this sample of Culture, Health & Sexuality’s top papers in sex, sexuality and sex work. Papers will be free to access until the end of 2016.
Marhoefer, Laurie. “Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933.” German Studies Review 34, no. 3 (2011): 529–49.
Ideas about hereditary degeneration animated two powerful movements for sexual liberation during the Weimar Republic. One reform won the decriminalization of female prostitution. The other nearly won the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law. Activists for these reforms argued that the state could extend greater sexual freedom to most Germans if it curtailed the excesses of supposedly degenerate men and women. The Weimar Republic offered greater sexual autonomy to many of its citizens, at the expense of a small minority of people who were deﬁned as degenerate.
This article reflects on some ethical dilemmas presented by an ethnographic study of prostitution that I conducted in the 1990s. The study drew one research subject into a long and very close relationship with me, and though she was an active and fully consenting participant in the research, she was also objectified within both the field relationship and the textual products it generated. This kind of contradiction has been recognized and discussed as a more general problem for ethnography by feminist and critical ethnographers. In this article it is considered specifically in relation to informed consent as an ethical issue. If an ethnographer secures the free and informed consent of a research subject, does this necessarily make the intimacy of their subsequent relationship ethical? Is it possible for anyone to genuinely consent to being objectified through the research process?
The invisibility of men and boys in scholarly discussions of the global sex trade was analyzed through a sample of 166 recent articles published in social science journals. Most failed to acknowledge the existence of male sex workers at all. When male sex workers were discussed, they were assigned considerably more agency than female sex workers, the chief danger ascribed to them was HIV rather than violence, and the question of their sexual orientation was always addressed, whereas female sex workers were always assumed heterosexual. The results are discussed in the context of world system theory, Orientalism, and heteronormativity.
Full text available for free at academia.edu
It’s often claimed that the “average age of entry” into sex work is under 18, sometimes as young as 12-14. While this myth has been debunked many times (most recently here), it continues to spread, in part due to the lack of reliable data on the true average age.
So what is the true average age? A precise figure is unobtainable, as we will never have a representative sample of sex workers. Nonetheless, it may be possible to shed some light on the subject by looking at the age of entry findings from different pieces of research. We at Sex Work Research have decided to host a page where age of entry stats can be compiled – not for the purpose of replacing one unreliable stat with another, but just to get a better sense of what research on this subject has actually found.
Inclusion in this compendium does not imply endorsement of the study or its methodology. We simply want a broad overview of the research. This is a work in progress, and data will be added as we find it. Please feel free to suggest additional studies in the comments (preferably with links). They will be added to this post when time allows.
The data so far …