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.
Mary Jane Hayes was a “deviant” woman—a “drunken prostitute” who was in and out of both the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum and Fremantle Prison from 1871 to 1898. One of twelve women in the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum records to have been referred to as a prostitute, Mary Jane was particularly reviled: her alcohol consumption and unsavoury lifestyle were often blamed as the cause of her violent behaviour and insanity. Prison and asylum records reveal several arrests for drunkenness and vagrancy, with an estimated 67 convictions; newspaper articles also depict her numerous convictions for indecent behaviour, obscene language and larceny. Mary Jane Hayes’s contact with both the asylum and prison, as well as her mentions in newspapers, allows for an archival and media content examination of late 19th-century Fremantle society and its treatment of deviant women who fell into the category of moral insanity: madness caused by a moral failing, especially alcohol and sex. This article will make a wider contribution to colonial Australian history, particularly the history of Fremantle, by developing a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of women and moral insanity in the late 19th century.
Intersectionality attends to the interactions between social difference and power, although theoretical models vary in their emphasis on one or the other. Difference-centred models often distinguish between processes of constructing social difference, systems that institutionalize social difference and identities that include social difference. This article discusses the analytical expectations that can emerge in intersectional research that focus on difference, by analysing the use and construction of difference by im/migrant and racialized women in sex work. The first analytical expectation is the distinction between salience and difference when starting from the lived realities and voices of individuals, groups and communities. The second analytical expectation concerns the interaction between two intersectional methodologies, between identities and lived experiences, and processes of constructing difference.
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’
Campbell, R and O’Neill, M (eds) (2006) Sex Work Now, Willan Publishing.
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.
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.