Tag Archives: Criminology

This article analyzes celebrities’ norm entrepreneurship through a specific instance of its enactment: Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s media campaign against human trafficking (the K&M Campaign). Drawing from literatures about celebrities and politics and norm entrepreneurship, and using qualitative-interpretive methods of data collection and analysis, I show how the K&M Campaign provides an early, high-profile example of this norm entrepreneurship that demonstrates why and how celebrities communicate norms to the broader public. To illustrate, I show how changing political-economic conditions have facilitated celebrities’ ascendance in the polity, and I argue that Kutcher and Moore have emerged under these conditions to actively oppose human trafficking. Using their considerable resources, they have promoted an “individual responsibility” norm that instructs the public to avoid coercive sexual and labor activities and trafficking situations. I then argue further that the K&M Campaign provides broader lessons about norms’ fluidity: even when they are seemingly incontrovertible and their entrepreneurial proponents (celebrities) have extensive resources, norms may be contradicted and contentious nonetheless. In this case, by promoting an individual responsibility norm, Kutcher and Moore inadvertently conveyed retrograde gender norms and minimized the importance of broader structural solutions to human trafficking.

Dr Teela Sanders and Dr Kate Hardy (2013) Sex work: the ultimate precarious labour?, Criminal Justice Matters, 93:1, 16-17, DOI: 10.1080/09627251.2013.833760

Teela Sanders and Kate Hardy assess sex work within wider processes of ‘flexibilisation’

Link to paper

Campbell, R and O’Neill, M (eds) (2006) Sex Work Now, Willan Publishing.

Preview at Google Books

Sex Work Now provides an authoritative overview of female sex work and policy in the UK, and addresses a number of key contemporary issues and debates. These include sex worker unionization, migrant sex work and trafficking, communities and sex work, male clients of sex workers, the policing of prostitution, zoning of street sex work, young people and sexual exploitation, drug use and sex work, exiting, violence and sex work. Throughout the book is shaped by the lives and experiences of sex workers themselves drawing on applied, policy or participatory action research. This book approaches the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, cutting across conventional boundaries of sociology, criminology, politics and social policy. Contributors to the book include academics, researchers, practitioners and activists who are among the leading commentators on prostitution in the UK. provides overview of sex work in UK considers impact of recent legislation and policy, especially Sex Offences Act 2003 focus on lives and experiences of sex workers themselves

Cultural Criminology and Sex Work: Resisting Regulation through Radical Democracy and Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Journal of Law and Society Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 210–232, March 2010

Author: Maggie O’Neill

Abstract: Taking a feminist cultural criminological analysis to the regulation of sex work in the United Kingdom, this paper argues against the dominant deviancy and the increasingly abolitionist criminal justice model for regulating sex work. The paper begins by offering a critique of the dominant regulatory regimes which have operated since the Victorian era, amended in part in the 1950s with Wolfenden, and currently being reinscribed with the Home Office strategy on prostitution and various pieces of legislation. The focus is specifically upon research with female sex workers and the usefulness of using Participatory Action research methodologies (PAR) with sex workers, agencies, and policy makers in order to foreground the diverse voices and experiences of sex workers, challenge the current focus on abolitionist criminal justice regimes and outcomes, and offer an alternative framework for a cultural materialist analysis of sex work, drawing upon the work of Nancy Fraser.

Read article here.

Oselin, Sharon S./Weitzer, Ronald (2013): Organizations working on behalf of prostitutes: An analysis of goals, practices, and strategies, in: Sexualities, 16(3-4), pp. 445-466. 


Views on female prostitution are diverse and often hotly contested, both inside and outside academic circles. Some contend that prostitutes are universally exploited, while others argue that they are workers and should be recognized as such. Yet there is little analysis of the role that service-providing organizations play in this larger debate. This article examines programs that offer direct services to prostitutes–which we call prostitute-serving organizations (PSOs)–in order to document both the kinds of services they provide and to assess whether they engage in efforts to change larger social or legal arrangements that impact their constituents. The article draws on data from multiple sources, including the website content of 37 PSOs, 21 in-depth interviews with PSO staff members, and published secondary sources. The organizations are categorized in terms of their core perspective on sex work, which we link to one of the three main theoretical paradigms in the sex-work literature. We distinguish the different types of organizations, describe how their ideological stance impacts their goals, identify their main actions as service and/or advocacy, and suggest factors that account for these practices.

Musto, Jennifer (2013): Domestic minor sex trafficking and the detention-to-protection Pipeline, in: Dialectical Anthropology, May 2013. (Open Access, full paper available)

Notable discursive changes are afoot with respect to individuals, particularly sex trade–involved youth in the United States. Where once they may have been profiled as juvenile offenders, they are now, thanks to widespread attention to human trafficking, provisionally viewed by law enforcement and their non-state allies as potential victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, replete with traumatic pasts and turbulent family histories that authorize state intervention. This article examines how anti-trafficking policies have been discursively re-imagined to expand policing and rehabilitative interventions for youth. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, it tracks the discursive sites and spaces in which criminal justice and social justice agendas have coalesced to assist youth and further assesses how attention to domestic minor sex trafficking has simultaneously authorized a multiprofessional detention-to-protection pipeline.

Steele, Sarah (2011): “’Combatting the Scourge’: Constructing the Masculine ‘Other’ through US Government Anti Trafficking Campaigns , in: Journal of Hate Studies 9(1), pp. 11-32.

PDF also available here:


The author argues that nativism, racism, and anti-immigrant sentiment presented by representatives of the U.S. government in the context of human trafficking leaves both victims and traffickers portrayed as one-dimensional criminals. Current anti-trafficking regimes embody and restate xenophobic reactions directed against illegal migrant men, while often disguising the role domestic actors have in trafficking.  Additionally, the images presented imply that traffickers are lacking in “proper” masculinity, particularly of the sort embraced by Americans.  This article not only explores how government anti-trafficking statements made between 1998 and 2010 create and reinforce divides in masculinities based on regimes of racial domination, but also notes particularly how anti-trafficking furthers the domination of white American masculinity.  The author describes the ineffectiveness of such an approach and suggests that we must move beyond racial stereotyping and the immigration frame if we hope to broaden our definitions and understandings in a way that will deepen our thinking and allow us to see those involved in this trade as multi-faceted and textured human beings, thereby allowing us to pursue social change more effectively.
Note: Access to the contents of the Journal of Hate Studies is free after registration.