Many studies have demonstrated the prominent role legal frameworks and local policies play in the shaping of prostitution, by informing to a large extent the conditions governing the exercise of the sex trade, while promoting a certain definition of this activity and its protagonists. However, the role of private organizations delegated the mission of providing social or medical assistance to people selling sex should not be overlooked. These organizations are still under-researched, despite the fact that they often occupy a pivotal position between those involved in the sex trade, public authorities, and the general population. Our contribution aims to provide an overview of the relevant landscape of third sector organizations in both Belgium and France and, more specifically, retrace the genesis of associations that have implemented programs to prevent sexually transmitted infections. We will also examine their relations with the public authorities and the legitimacy they enjoy in each country, before highlighting their potential influence on the structuring of representations and regulation of prostitution.
In addition to money or other compensation, other motives for selling sex may be important in a welfare country such as Sweden. The aim of this study was to carry out an exploratory investigation of adolescents’ motives for selling sex in a population-based survey in Sweden. A total of 5839 adolescents from the third year of Swedish high school, mean age 18.0 years, participated in the study. The response rate was 59.7% and 51 students (0.9%) reported having sold sex. Exploratory factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis were used to identify groups of adolescents according to underlying motives for selling sex. Further analyses were carried out for characteristics of selling sex and risk factors. Three groups of adolescents were categorized according to their motives for selling sex: Adolescents reporting; 1) Emotional reasons, being at a greater risk of sexual abuse, using sex as a means of self-injury and having a non-heterosexual orientation. 2) Material but no Emotional reasons, who more often receive money as compensation and selling sex to a person over 25 years of age, and 3) Pleasure or no underlying motive for selling sex reported, who were mostly heterosexual males selling sex to a person under 25 years of age, the buyer was not known from the Internet, the reward was seldom money and this group was less exposed to penetrative sexual abuse or using sex as a means of self-injury. In conclusion, adolescents selling sex are a heterogeneous group in regard to underlying motives.
Paradoxically, in the 19th century, an era very concerned with public virtue, prostitutes were increasing being represented in Western European cultural expressions. Prostitution was a prevalent social phenomenon due to the rapid urbanization of Western Europe. People were on the move as both urban and rural areas underwent considerable material and normative change; the majority of Western European cities grew rapidly and were marked by harsh working and living conditions, as well as unemployment and poverty. A seeming rise in prostitution was one of the results of these developments, but its centrality in culture cannot be explained by this fact alone. Prostitution also came to epitomize broader social ills associated with industrialization and urbanization: “the prostitute” became the discursive embodiment of the discontent of modernity.
The surge in cultural representation of prostitutes may also be seen as an expression of changing norms and a driver for change in the public perception of prostitution. In particular, artists came to employ the prostitute as a motif, revealing contemporary hypocrisy about gender and class.
An exploratory/descriptive study of 33 migrant Hungarian prostitutes who travel to Switzerland for sex work was conducted in Zurich by Hungarian social workers in cooperation with Swiss social workers. A new methodology (Hungarian Street Work Interpersonal Support) was developed to compare support networks both at home and while working abroad. Vulnerability and potential risk were mapped, finding networks at ‘home’ being supportive and non-risky with the opposite occurring ‘abroad’. Little use was made of protective relationships (police and social workers) in both locations. The primary motivation for engaging in migrant sex work was to provide for their children at home.