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Tag Archives: Criminalization

Ward, Eilís. ‘“Framing Figures” and the Campaign for Sex Purchase Criminalisation in Ireland: A Lakoffian Analysis:’ Irish Journal of Sociology, 1 December 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0791603520951754.

Abstract

If the concept of social justice posits equality and fairness between subjects in the social order, then the presence of those subjects within that order must first and foremost be acknowledged. In Ireland’s recent reform of prostitution law contained in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, the presence of the sex worker as a rights-bearing subject or citizen, with access to justice in that capacity, was denied. In this article I focus on the use of data by the neo-abolitionist ‘Turn off the Red Light’ campaign to ‘flatten out’ the complexity of sex workers lives and present the figure of the ‘vulnerable prostituted woman’ and the ‘trafficking victim’: tragic, abject, a necessarily violated person and in need of ‘protection’ from the state. I argue that this data, entering public and political discourse as uncontestable truth, constituted what I call, ‘framing figures’, framing an inevitable outcome and precluding certain subjects from the status of equality and fairness. The data allowed campaigners for the Sex Purchase Ban (SPB), and, in turn the state, to eclipse a social justice approach to sex work, such as proposed by the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland and other actors.

Hoefinger, Heidi, Jennifer Musto, PG Macioti, Anne E Fehrenbacher, Nicola Mai, Calum Bennachie, 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, Special Issue: Sex Work, Gender Justice and the Law, 2020, 9(1), 1-30,  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 the 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.

St.Denny, Emily. ‘The Gender Equality Potential of New Anti-Prostitution Policy: A Critical Juncture for Concrete Reform’. French Politics, vol. 18, no. 1, June 2020, pp. 153–74. Springer Link, doi:10.1057/s41253-020-00109-7.
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In April 2016, France adopted a new law enshrining a conception of prostitution as a form of violence against women that needed to be ‘abolished’ and setting up a complex policy framework to achieve this end. This framework comprises a criminal justice ‘pillar’ dedicated to prohibiting and punishing the purchase of sexual services, and a social service ‘pillar’ dedicated to providing financial and social support to individuals involved in selling sex—uniformly assumed to be women and systematically considered to be victims. The new policy was supposed to break from 70 years of symbolic politics characterised by ambiguous regulation, low political attention, and lax policy implementation. Drawing on documentary and interview data, and using the Gender Equality Policy in Practice framework to determine the policy’s current and potential impact on women’s rights and gender equality, this article argues that implementation of France’s new anti-prostitution policy is currently at a critical juncture. Budget reductions, a lack of central state steering, and competing policy priorities are contributing to hollowing out the policy of its capacity to support individuals wishing to exit prostitution while possibly deteriorating the working conditions of those who cannot or do not wish to exit.

Mancini, Christina, Justin T. Pickett, Kristen M. Budd, Stephanie Bontrager, and Dominique Roe-Sepowitz. 2020. ‘Examining Policy Preferences for Prostitution Regulation Among American Males: The Influence of Contextual Beliefs’. Criminal Justice Review, February. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734016820906601.

Abstract
The arguments for criminalizing prostitution surround public concerns—moral order, public health, and safety. For this reason, an understanding of attitudes about the nature and consequences of the practice, particularly among American males, the presumed consumers of sex-related exchanges, is needed. Specifically, how do contextual beliefs about the nature of prostitution (e.g., negative health effects, victimization risk, age of entry) shape policy preferences regarding prostitution? Data from a nationally representative survey developed to solicit sensitive information are utilized to assess these attitudes among a large sample of American men (N = 2,525). Results show that paradoxically most men approve of legalizing commercial sex exchange, even while believing the practice harms prostitutes by increasing victimization risk and reducing their overall well-being. Multivariate analysis indicates divides in opinion regarding legalization support. Implications are discussed.

McMenzie, Laura, Ian R. Cook, and Mary Laing. 2019. ‘Criminological Policy Mobilities and Sex Work: Understanding the Movement of the “Swedish Model” to Northern Ireland’. The British Journal of Criminology 59 (5): 1199–1216. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azy058.
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Abstract

Ideas, policies and models related to criminal justice often travel between places. How, then, should we make sense of this movement? We make the case for drawing on the policy mobilities literature, which originates in human geography. It is only recently that criminological studies have drawn on small parts of this literature. This article argues for a more expansive engagement with the policy mobilities literature, so that criminal justice researchers focus on concepts such as mobilities, mutation, assemblages, learning, educating and showcasing when studying the movement of criminal justice ideas, policies and models. To illustrate our argument, we will draw on a case study of the adaptation of the ‘Swedish model’ of governing sex work by policymakers in Northern Ireland.

Della Giusta, Marina & Di Tommaso, Maria Laura & Jewell, Sarah & Bettio, Francesca, 2019. “Quashing Demand Criminalizing Clients? Evidence from the UK,” IZA Discussion Papers 12405, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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We discuss changes in the demand for paid sex accompanying the criminalization of prostitution in the United Kingdom, which moved from a relatively permissive regime under the Wolfenden Report of 1960, to a much harder line of aiming to crack down on prostitution with the Prostitution (Public Places) Scotland Act 2007 and the Policing and Crime Act of 2009 in England and Wales. We make use of two waves of a representative survey, the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal2, conducted in 2000-2001 and Natsal3, conducted in 2010-2012) to illustrate the changes in demand that have taken place across the two waves. We do not find demand decreasing in our sample and find a shift in the composition of demand towards more risky clients, which we discuss in the context of the current trends towards criminalization of prostitution.
Full article available here.
Klambauer, Eva. „On the Edges of the Law: Sex Workers’ Legal Consciousness in England“. International Journal of Law in Context, undefined/ed, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744552319000041.
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In England, sex workers are placed at the edges of the law. How the social and legal status of sex workers impacts on their perception of and interaction with the law in a semi-legal setting has not yet been explored. Drawing on fifty-two qualitative interviews with indoor and outdoor sex workers in England, this study investigates their disposition to the law, legality and the state. The commonalities and discrepancies between the experiences of indoor and outdoor sex workers reveal the influence of the combination of legal framework and social status on sex workers’ legal consciousness. This study finds that, even in a setting of semi-legality, sex workers attempt to avoid contact with state authorities. However, this aversion to the current law does not prevent them from making claims for legal change. Surprisingly, indoor and outdoor sex workers hold opposing views on the appropriate level of regulation and state involvement in the sex industry. Remarkably, although outdoor sex workers have more negative experiences with arbitrators of the law, they desire the law’s protection. In contrast, indoor sex workers’ main grievance is for sex work to be a legitimate industry that can operate with only minimal state control. These differences in outdoor and indoor workers’ legal claims are explicable by sharp cleavages in social status, vulnerability and degree of criminalisation. These findings demonstrate that intra-group differences in the legal consciousness of marginalised groups are key to understanding the role of social and legal status in shaping legal claims.
Brunovskis, Anette, und May-Len Skilbrei. „Individual or Structural Inequality? Access and Barriers in Welfare Services for Women Who Sell Sex“. Social Inclusion 6, Nr. 3 (28. September 2018): 310–18. https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v6i3.1534.
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It is often taken for granted that women who sell sex are vulnerable, that welfare services can and should alleviate this vulnerability, and as such, being defined as ‘vulnerable’ can be beneficial and associated with special rights that would otherwise be inaccessible. At the same time, ongoing debates have demonstrated that establishing individuals and groups as vulnerable tends to mask structural factors in inequality and has negative consequences, among them an idea that the path to ‘non-vulnerability’ lies in changing the ‘afflicted’ individuals or groups, not in structures or in addressing unequal access to resources. In this article, we take this as a starting point and discuss challenges for the welfare state in meeting the varied and often complex needs of sex sellers. Based on qualitative research with service providers in specialised social and health services in Norway, we examine access and barriers to services among female sex sellers as well as how vulnerability is understood and shapes what services are available. An important feature of modern prostitution in Norway, as in the rest of Western Europe, is that sex sellers are predominantly migrants with varying migration status and corresponding rights to services. This has influenced the options available to address prostitution as a phenomenon within the welfare state and measures that have previously been helpful for domestic women in prostitution are not easily replicated for the current target population. A starting point in a theoretical understanding that considers vulnerability to be a human predicament (rather than the exception to the rule or a deficit in individuals or groups) allows for a discussion that highlights the centrality of structural conditions rather than a need for change in the individual. In order to understand the limitations of the welfare state in addressing modern prostitution as such, it is highly relevant to look at the structural origin of vulnerabilities that may look individual.

Vuolajärvi, N. “Governing in the Name of Caring—the Nordic Model of Prostitution and its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex” Sex Res Soc Policy (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0338-9

This article examines the so-called “Nordic model” in action. Using feminist argumentation, the model aims to abolish commercial sex by criminalizing the buying of sexual services while not criminalizing the selling, as the aim is to protect, rather than punish, women. Utilizing over 2 years of ethnographic fieldwork and 195 interviews in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, this article argues that in a situation where the majority of people who sell sex in the region are migrants, the regulation of commercial sex has shifted from prostitution to immigration policies, resulting in a double standard in the governance of national and foreign sellers of sexual services. Client criminalization has a minor role in the regulation of commercial sex in the area, and instead, migrants become targets of punitive regulation executed through immigration and third-party laws. Nationals are provided social welfare policies to assist exit from commercial sex such as therapeutic counseling, whereas foreigners are excluded from state services and targeted with punitive measures, like deportations and evictions. My fieldwork reveals a tension between the stated feminist-humanitarian aims of the model, to protect and save women, and the punitivist governance of commercial sex that in practice leads to control, deportations, and women’s conditions becoming more difficult. The article concludes that when examined in action, the Nordic model is a form of humanitarian governance that I call punitivist humanitarianism, or governing in the name of caring.

Drawing upon over a decade of research in our respective communities, we argue that the intergenerational socioeconomic insecurities and violence prevalent in the lives of North American street-involved women, their families, and others in their social circles constitute a set of shared precarities. Taking both socioinstitutional and interpersonal forms, shared precarities obviate the women’s rights to access the lived experience and social status of motherhood. Yet they also engender maternal subjectivities reflective of the ambivalence, temporal ambiguity, and interconnections between family and state structures that characterize the women’s child custody arrangements. These maternal subjectivities, and the shared precarities that give rise to them, emphasize how individual members of marginalized communities cope with violence generated by the legitimation of particular family forms and devaluation/criminalization of others.