Between 1360 and 1460 the Venetian government established a system of legalized prostitution under the supervision of government officials and confined, in theory, to a limited area of the city. The authorities also attempted to concentrate the management of licit brothels in the hands of women, who thereby emerged as the effective entrepreneurs of the sex trade. This article describes the organization of Venetian prostitution in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries and the relations among government officials, brothel-keepers, and prostitutes. It illustrates the mechanisms of debt and credit used in the sex trade, which often kept the prostitutes subservient to the brothel-keepers and to their other creditors. An effort is made to assess the degree to which sex workers might become integrated into local society and to suggest the general trends in Venetian policy toward prostitution into the sixteenth century.
The purpose of this study is to examine how men who sell sex to men perceive the risks in this activity and what experiences they have of actual denigration, threats, and violence in their relations with customers. We also discuss the self-defense strategies they have used to protect themselves. The study is based on an Internet survey on Swedish websites. Statistical analyses have been carried out, and in interpreting the results, Finkelhor and Asdigian’s revised routine activities theory has been used. The results show that the vulnerability of sellers of sex is greatest during the time when the sexual act is being performed, and that this is primarily linked to the customer’s antagonism and seeking gratification by overstepping agreed boundaries, particularly with regard to sexual services including BDSM. Their vulnerability was also connected to the seller’s diminished capacity for self-protection due to personal and external pressures. A smaller proportion of the men described risk prevention activities. These involved refusing a customer after an initial contact, protecting themselves from infection, being on their guard during the whole process, selecting the place, and deciding not to carry out certain sexual acts. An important implication concerns the occupational health and safety that men who sell sex to men can develop for themselves, while remaining within the law. International studies have demonstrated that selling sex in collective, indoor forms provides the greatest security. For decades, Swedish prostitution policy has had the ambition of reducing prostitution through targeting those who purchase sex, and those who promote prostitution in criminal legislation. This effectively prevents more systematic and collective attempts to create safer conditions for selling sex. In conclusion, it can be stated that while it is legal to sell sex in Sweden, this is done at the seller’s own risk.
The regulation of sex work continues to be a divisive topic in England and internationally. Policies governing the policing of the sex industry in England are continually revised and debated, but are seldom grounded in empirical evidence of sex workers’ experiences. Based on 49 qualitative interviews with sex workers in England, this article finds that indoor sex workers had far more positive experiences with the police than outdoor sex workers. Despite this difference, both indoor and outdoor sex workers perceive their interactions with the police through the lens of their stigmatized status as sex workers and do not expect respectful treatment by the police. This article presents compelling evidence that an enforcement-led approach to policing creates insuperable barriers to the success of protective policing.
Guest Editors: Stef Adriaenssens, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Laura Oso
Quality of Work in Prostitution and Sex Work: Introduction to the Special Section
Stef Adriaenssens, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Laura Oso
On Our Own Terms: The Working Conditions of Internet-Based Sex Workers in the UK
Teela Sanders, Laura Connelly and Laura Jarvis King
Work Conditions and Job Mobility in the Australian Indoor Sex Industry
Fairleigh Evelyn Gilmour
Too Much Suffering’: Understanding the Interplay Between Migration, Bounded Exploitation and Trafficking Through Nigerian Sex Workers’ Experiences
Precarious or Protected? Evaluating Work Quality in the Legal Sex Industry
Transnational Social Mobility Strategies and Quality of Work Among Latin-American Women Sex Workers in Spain
Ambivalent Professionalisation and Autonomy in Workers’ Collective Projects: The Cases of Sex Worker Peer Educators in Germany and Sexual Assistants in Switzerland
Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and P.G. Macioti