Tag Archives: Criminology

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.

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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.

Weitzer, Ronald (2007): The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking: Ideology and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade


The issue of sex trafficking has become increasingly politicized in recent years due to the efforts of an influential moral crusade. This article examines the social construction of sex trafficking (and prostitution more generally) in the discourse of leading activists and organizations within the crusade, and concludes that the central claims are problematic, unsubstantiated, or demonstrably false. The analysis documents the increasing endorsement and institutionalization of crusade ideology in U.S. government policy and practice.

Impacts of the Swedish Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex on Sex Workers (Jay Levy, 2011)

This paper draws on interviews and participant observation undertaken during
research I have conducted in Sweden since 2008. Outcomes of the Swedish
sexköpslagen, the 1999 law criminalising the purchase of sex, were investigated, with
Sweden being the first ever state to adopt such legislation.
Respondents of ongoing research include sex workers, politicians, NGO workers,
spokespeople for lobby and activist groups, police, healthcare providers and social
workers. Relationships have been established with Rose Alliance, Sweden’s only sex
workers rights collective, Stockholm and Malmö prostitution units, LBGT
organisation RFSL, and drug users rights organisations Svenskabrukarföreningen and
RFHL. These drug users rights unions have allied with sex work collective Rose
Alliance, reporting similar experiences with service providers and authoritative
groups, as well as similar alienation, patholigisation and exclusion from political
discourse, debate and evaluation. Additionally, a trip to Norway in a month will
involve an exploration of how the criminalisation of the purchase of sex has impacted
Norwegian sex work.
The paper will start with an examination of how sex work has come to be understood
in Sweden, tying this in with some discursive and legislative history. The main focus
will be a discussion of how discourses and legislation have come to impact service
provision and ideas surrounding harm reduction. The impacts of laws on levels and
spaces of sex work will additionally be discussed. I will not be discussing non-female
sex work or the patholigisation of sex buyers in Sweden, though these are additional
areas of research focus.