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.

Brents, Barbara G., Takashi Yamashita, Andrew L. Spivak, Olesya Venger, Christina Parreira, and Alessandra Lanti. 2020. ‘Are Men Who Pay for Sex Sexist? Masculinity and Client Attitudes Toward Gender Role Equality in Different Prostitution Markets’: Men and Masculinities, February. https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184X20901561.

Abstract

Prostitution clients’ attitudes toward gender equality are important indicators of how masculinity relates to the demand for commercial sexual services. Research on male client misogyny has been inconclusive, and few studies compare men in different markets. Using an online survey of 519 clients of sexual services, we examine whether male client attitudes toward gender role equality are related to the main methods customers used to access prostitution services (i.e., through print or online media vs. in-person contact). We found no differences among men in these markets in attitudes toward gender role equality in the workplace and home. This is in a context where all clients had more egalitarian attitudes toward women’s roles than the U.S. male population in the General Social Survey (GSS). However, clients in in-person markets were less supportive of affirmative action than in online markets in a context where all clients were less supportive compared to the national average. These findings point to need to rethink how masculinity and gender role attitudes affect patterns of male demand for paid sex.

Hoefinger, Heidi, Jennifer Musto, P. G. Macioti, Anne E. Fehrenbacher, Nicola Mai, Calum Bennachie, and Calogero Giametta. 2020. ‘Community-Based Responses to Negative Health Impacts of Sexual Humanitarian Anti-Trafficking Policies and the Criminalization of Sex Work and Migration in the US’. Social Sciences 9 (1): 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9010001.

Abstract

System-involvement resulting from anti-trafficking interventions and the criminalization of sex work and migration results in negative health impacts on sex workers, migrants, and people with trafficking experiences. Due to their stigmatized status, sex workers and people with trafficking experiences often struggle to access affordable, unbiased, and supportive health care. This paper will use thematic analysis of qualitative data from in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with 50 migrant sex workers and trafficked persons, as well as 20 key informants from legal and social services, in New York and Los Angeles. It will highlight the work of trans-specific and sex worker–led initiatives that are internally addressing gaps in health care and the negative health consequences that result from sexual humanitarian anti-trafficking interventions that include policing, arrest, court-involvement, court-mandated social services, incarceration, and immigration detention. Our analysis focuses on the impact of criminalization on sex workers and their experiences with sexual humanitarian efforts intended to protect and control them. We argue that these grassroots community-based efforts are a survival-oriented reaction to the harms of criminalization and a response to vulnerabilities left unattended by mainstream sexual humanitarian approaches to protection and service provision that frame sex work itself as the problem. Peer-to-peer interventions such as these create solidarity and resiliency within marginalized communities, which act as protective buffers against institutionalized systemic violence and the resulting negative health outcomes. Our results suggest that broader public health support and funding for community-led health initiatives are needed to reduce barriers to health care resulting from stigma, criminalization, and ineffective anti-trafficking and humanitarian efforts. We conclude that the decriminalization of sex work and the reform of institutional practices in the US are urgently needed to reduce the overall negative health outcomes of system-involvement. View Full-Text

Jones, Angela. ‘Where The Trans Men and Enbies At?: Cissexism, Sexual Threat, and the Study of Sex Work’. Sociology Compass 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12750.

Abstract
In this article, I examine the existing research on transgender sex workers and explore how cissexism and sexism overlap and shape this work. Overall, researchers assume that all trans sex workers are women, and all male sex workers are assumed to be cisgender. Transmasculine and other gender non‐conforming sex workers are absent from studies of sex work. Researchers in public health and criminology dominate the literature and this research is limited because it focuses only on trans women and because it focuses primarily on disease and trauma, and almost exclusively on HIV. The literature I examined treats transgender women as a public health “problem” to be solved, rather than addressing their experiences and needs as workers and as people in our society. I argue that in order to have useful applied and policy implications aimed at harm reduction, researchers must use a sociological lens to document what structural conditions push and pull people of various genders into sex markets in the first place. Finally, I advocate for the use of queer, intersectional, and transnational frameworks in future lines of inquiries as a way to push the sociological and public health literature on sex work forward in a way that will benefit all sex workers, their advocates, and service providers.

Birgit Sauer (2019). Mobilizing shame and disgust: abolitionist affective frames in Austrian and German anti-sex-work movements, Journal of Political Power, 12:3, 318-338, DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2019.1669262

This article analyses anti-sex-work mobilization in Austria and Germany since 2014. An affective perspective on the websites of these groups shows how their framings run the risk of establishing a disciplinary regime of governing people, of a restrictive, heterosexist norm of sexuality, and of gender inequality. Abolitionist strategies in the two countries thus produce an affective governmentality excluding those who should not belong to the affective community, i.e. those who do not submit to limiting their sexuality to the private realm of monogamous relationships. Finally, the article suggests that the abolitionist affective mobilisation feeds into the self-affirmation of traditional branches of women’s movements in the two countries.

Sexual Commerce: Troubling Meanings, Policies, and Practices” – Special Issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16(2), June 2019.

Crowhurst, Isabel. 2019. ‘The Ambiguous Taxation of Prostitution: The Role of Fiscal Arrangements in Hindering the Sexual and Economic Citizenship of Sex Workers’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 166–78. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0368-3.

Crowhurst, Isabel, Niina Vuolajärvi, and Kathryn Hausbeck Korgan. 2019. ‘Sexual Commerce: Troubling Meanings, Policies, and Practices’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 135–37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-019-00390-4.

David, Marion. 2019. ‘The Moral and Political Stakes of Health Issues in the Regulation of Prostitution (the Cases of Belgium and France)’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 201–13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0333-1.

De Lisio, Amanda, Philip Hubbard, and Michael Silk. 2019. ‘Economies of (Alleged) Deviance: Sex Work and the Sport Mega-Event’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 179–89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0319-z.

Garofalo Geymonat, Giulia. 2019. ‘Disability Rights Meet Sex Workers’ Rights: The Making of Sexual Assistance in Europe’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 214–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-019-0377-x.

Kuhar, Roman, and Mojca Pajnik. 2019. ‘Negotiating Professional Identities: Male Sex Workers in Slovenia and the Impact of Online Technologies’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 227–38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0330-4.

Outshoorn, Joyce. 2019. ‘Ward, Eilís and Gillian Wylie (Eds.), Feminism, Prostitution and the State. The Politics of Neo-Abolitionism’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 251–53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0369-2.

Petrunov, Georgi. 2019. ‘Elite Prostitution in Bulgaria: Experiences and Practices of Brokers’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 239–50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0353-x.

Pitcher, Jane. 2019. ‘Intimate Labour and the State: Contrasting Policy Discourses with the Working Experiences of Indoor Sex Workers’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 138–50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0323-3.

Stapele, Naomi van, Lorraine Nencel, and Ida Sabelis. 2019. ‘On Tensions and Opportunities: Building Partnerships Between Government and Sex Worker-Led Organizations in Kenya in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 190–200. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0337-x.

Vuolajärvi, Niina. 2019. ‘Governing in the Name of Caring—the Nordic Model of Prostitution and Its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex’. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 16 (2): 151–65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0338-9.