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Cheng, Sealing. “Echoes of Victimhood: On Passionate Activism and ‘Sex Trafficking.’” Feminist Theory, Oct. 2019, doi:10.1177/1464700119881303.
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The sexually violated woman has become a salient symbol in feminist discourse, government policies, the media and transnational activism at this historical juncture. In this article, I seek to understand the conviction of anti-prostitution activists that all women in prostitution are victims (despite evidence to the contrary), and their simultaneous dismissal or condemnation of those women who identify as sex workers. The analysis identifies the centrality of victimhood to the affective logic of women activist leaders in the anti-prostitution movement, and its embeddedness in discourses of suffering and redemption in Korean nationalist historiography. Sexual victimhood thus acquires the power to incite moral outrage, compel consensus and inhibit dissent. Sex workers further come to bear the historical and political burden of righting all that is wrong with the nation, making their elimination essential for the nation’s rescue. Critiques of capitalism and the state become footnotes and silences in this process. In effect, the victimhood of ‘prostituted women’ allows women activists to circulate effectively in the affective economy of the nation as well as in the global anti-trafficking campaign. The passionate activism of anti-prostitution women activists may say less about the state of prostitution than about the activists’ subjectivity as historical and global subjects, and the symbolic world that they locate themselves in.

Sagredos, Christos. 2019. ‘The Representation of Sex Work in the Greek Press’. Journal of Language and Sexuality 8 (2): 166–94. https://doi.org/10.1075/jls.18012.sag.
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The representation of sex work in the media has received little to no attention in the field of linguistics and discourse analysis. Given that news discourse can have a huge impact on public opinions, ideologies and norms, and the setting of political agendas and policies (van Dijk 1989), the study adopts a Corpus-Assisted Critical Discourse Analysis (CACDA) approach (Baker, Gabrielatos, KhosraviNik, Krzyżanowski, McEnery & Wodak 2008), seeking to explore whether journalists reproduce or challenge negative stereotypes vis-à-vis sex work. Examining 82 articles published in three Greek newspapers () in 2017, this paper considers the lexico-grammatical choices that are typically involved in the representation of sex work and sex workers in the Press. Drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics, the Discourse Historical Approach and corpus linguistics, the analysis links the textual findings (micro-level context) with the discourse practice context (meso-context) as well as the social context in which sex work occurs (macro-context). Findings illustrate that although sex work in Greece has been legalised for about two decades, traces of abolitionist discourses can be found in the Press, building barriers in the emancipatory efforts of sex workers who stand up for having equal civil and labour rights as their fellow citizens.

Simpson, Jessica, and Sarah Smith. 2019. ‘“I’m Not a Bloody Slave, I Get Paid and If I Don’t Get Paid Then Nothing Happens”: Sarah’s Experience of Being a Student Sex Worker’. Work, Employment and Society 33 (4): 709–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017018809888.
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Sex work remains a contentious area of debate. Whether or not sex work is considered to be a form of labour is in itself contested. As discussion is often about rather than with sex workers, this article brings Sarah’s experiences of being both a student and a sex worker, in two different areas of the UK, to centre stage. This candid account highlights the precarious and competitive nature of being self-employed within the current neoliberal climate, as well as the similarities sex work shares with other ‘mainstream’ forms of labour particularly within the ‘gig economy’. Existing research has focused on how/why students enter the sex industry leaving a gap in the literature regarding what happens after university in this context. It appears from Sarah’s account that leaving sex work behind may not be as straightforward as she had originally anticipated, for reasons other than just making money.

Puente-Martínez, Alicia, Silvia Ubillos-Landa, Marina García-Zabala, and Darío Páez-Rovira. 2019. ‘“Mouth Wide Shut”: Strategies of Female Sex Workers for Coping With Intimate Partner Violence’. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 34 (16): 3414–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516670180.
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The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between possible violence suffered by female sex workers in their intimate relationships, with their affects, coping strategies, and emotional regulation to overcome such violence and improve their well-being. Structured personal interviews were carried out with female sex workers in three different settings: street, club, and flats. The sample was composed of 137 Spanish female sex workers (85.4% are foreign and 20% Spanish-born sex workers). High levels of tension and problems with their partners were linked to an affective imbalance and poor well-being. Positive affectivity determined the use of adaptive strategies, whereas negative affectivity predicted dysfunctional strategies. Three different path analyses and theoretical support concluded that self-control was the only strategy related to improve well-being in female sex workers who reported lower potential tension and difficulty in their intimate relationships. In contrast, inhibition was associated with an increase on distress levels when negative affectivity predominated and sex workers had reported potential tension and difficulty situations with their partners. It was a cross-sectional study, and thus we cannot infer causality or direction from the observed associations. Given these findings, violence prevention strategies in the intimate relationships should be prioritized in the prostitution context.

Chetry, Pooja, and Rekha Pande. 2019. ‘Gender Bias and the Sex Trafficking Interventions in the Eastern Border of India–Nepal’. South Asian Survey, August, 0971523119862476. https://doi.org/10.1177/0971523119862476.
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The present article looks at gender bias and sex trafficking interventions in the eastern border of India–Nepal. It attempts to understand the socio-economic conditions and other influencing factors that circumscribe a woman’s migration. It documents the interventions by anti-trafficking networks and explores the experience of intercepted women. It attempts to show how interception methods as techniques of intervention to combat trafficking in persons are gender biased. Interception, as a primary method of intervention, is used by anti-trafficking organisations to prevent the occurrence of human trafficking cases in its origin/source country. On suspicion, a woman or a girl crossing the border alone or in all-female groups is stopped and intercepted by the anti-trafficking activists on the ground of her being a potential victim of sex trafficking. Such interception generally takes place within 3 km radius of the border of Panitanki, India, to Kakarbitta, Nepal in order to prevent the unsafe and illegal migration of girls/women. The cross-questioning method is used to extract information and validation about her identity and travel. This article, therefore, examines interception methods as techniques of intervention to combat trafficking in persons. It shows how this intervention method in certain aspect is patriarchal in its form. It reinforces the patriarchal belief of women’s vulnerability in the absence of male authority leading to discreet dangers.

Hu, Ran. 2019. ‘Examining Social Service Providers’ Representation of Trafficking Victims: A Feminist Postcolonial Lens’. Affilia, August, 0886109919868832. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109919868832.
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As anti-trafficking social service providers (SSPs) facilitate the process of victim recovery and empowerment, they also participate in the dissemination of trafficking-related knowledge to the general public. Drawing on a feminist postcolonial framework, this study sought to examine how anti-trafficking SSPs represent trafficking victims in written narratives published on their organizational websites. Thirty-three narratives were drawn from the websites of 10 New York–based anti-trafficking SSPs. Despite the widespread adoption of a strength-based term, “survivor,” the narratives were found to reinforce a gendered and racialized representation of trafficking victims as sex trafficked women from the “global South” and to (re)produce many “ideal” trafficking victim stereotypes that have been dominating the current discourses of trafficking. A “life transformation” discourse was pervasive, discursively foregrounding the positive impact of the SSPs on trafficking survivors. The findings suggested a need for anti-trafficking SSPs to engage with critical reflection on their positionality and intentionality in representing trafficking victims/survivors and to adopt a survivor-led storytelling paradigm. This study also provided a timely reminder for social work practitioners and researchers to continue to challenge the dominant narratives embedded in their fields of practice, to exercise critical self-reflexivity, and to provide a discursive space for those who have been deprived of voices.

Berg, Rigmor C, Sol-Britt Molin, and Julie Nanavati. 2019. ‘Women Who Trade Sexual Services from Men: A Systematic Mapping Review’. The Journal of Sex Research, July, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1624680.
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Most research on transactional sex frame men as buyers and females as sellers of sex. We conducted a systematic mapping review of the empirical research on transactional sex where women form the demand (buyer) and men the supply (seller). We included 46 studies, of which 25 explicitly researched women as buyers of sex from male sellers, and 21 studies where this topic was a subset of larger topics. The majority of research on women who trade sexual services from men is published in the last 15 years, by female researchers, using cross-sectional or qualitative/ethnographic design, and from the perspective of males as sellers. While the women appear to be mature and financially independent, the men are young and socioeconomically vulnerable. Men’s main motivation for the sexual-economic exchanges with women is financial, whereas women’s motivations are largely satisfaction of sexual needs and a stereotyped erotic fantasy of black male hypersexuality. Condoms are often not used. Our review shows that there is a – possibly growing and diversifying – female consumer demand for male sexual services, and transactional sex where women trade sex from men is a complex social phenomenon firmly grounded in social, economic, political, and sexual relations.