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Tag Archives: Labor relations

Neuwelt-Kearns, Caitlin, Tom Baker, and Octavia Calder-Dawe. 2020. ‘Informal Governance and the Spatial Management of Street-Based Sex Work in Aotearoa New Zealand’. Political Geography 79 (May): 102154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102154.
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While informality has long been studied as a feature of governance in the global South, a growing range of accounts examine informal governing arrangements as endemic to cities and nations of the global North. This paper contributes to such scholarship by drawing attention to informal practices and mechanisms involved in the spatial management of sex work in the global North. Existing literature on the spatial management of sex work has long emphasised how informality shapes local sex work practices and mediates formal state-based regulation. We synthesise these studies to suggest three modes of informal governance: as component, catalyst and alternative to formal regulation. Through a case study of street-based sex work management in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand, we discuss how informal governance emerged as a de facto component of formal regulation at the national scale and an alternative to formal regulation at the local scale. Specifically, we detail how an ambiguous regulatory environment, combined with highly localised understandings of spatial appropriateness, led to and influenced the informal management of sex work through a community-level partnership between local authorities, residents and sex worker advocates. In doing so, the paper advocates for more attention to the multi-modal and multi-scalar aspects of informal governance.

Simpson, Jessica, and Sarah Smith. 2019. ‘“I’m Not a Bloody Slave, I Get Paid and If I Don’t Get Paid Then Nothing Happens”: Sarah’s Experience of Being a Student Sex Worker’. Work, Employment and Society 33 (4): 709–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017018809888.
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Sex work remains a contentious area of debate. Whether or not sex work is considered to be a form of labour is in itself contested. As discussion is often about rather than with sex workers, this article brings Sarah’s experiences of being both a student and a sex worker, in two different areas of the UK, to centre stage. This candid account highlights the precarious and competitive nature of being self-employed within the current neoliberal climate, as well as the similarities sex work shares with other ‘mainstream’ forms of labour particularly within the ‘gig economy’. Existing research has focused on how/why students enter the sex industry leaving a gap in the literature regarding what happens after university in this context. It appears from Sarah’s account that leaving sex work behind may not be as straightforward as she had originally anticipated, for reasons other than just making money.

Benoit, Cecilia, Michaela Smith, Mikael Jansson, Priscilla Healey, und Doug Magnuson. „“The Prostitution Problem”: Claims, Evidence, and Policy Outcomes“. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29. November 2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1276-6.
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Prostitution, payment for the exchange of sexual services, is deemed a major social problem in most countries around the world today, with little to no consensus on how to address it. In this Target Article, we unpack what we discern as the two primary positions that undergird academic thinking about the relationship between inequality and prostitution: (1) prostitution is principally an institution of hierarchal gender relations that legitimizes the sexual exploitation of women by men, and (2) prostitution is a form of exploited labor where multiple forms of social inequality (including class, gender, and race) intersect in neoliberal capitalist societies. Our main aims are to: (a) examine the key claims and empirical evidence available to support or refute each perspective; (b) outline the policy responses associated with each perspective; and (c) evaluate which responses have been the most effective in reducing social exclusion of sex workers in societal institutions and everyday practices. While the overall trend globally has been to accept the first perspective on the “prostitution problem” and enact repressive policies that aim to protect prostituted women, punish male buyers, and marginalize the sex sector, we argue that the strongest empirical evidence is for adoption of the second perspective that aims to develop integrative policies that reduce the intersecting social inequalities sex workers face in their struggle to make a living and be included as equals. We conclude with a call for more robust empirical studies that use strategic comparisons of the sex sector within and across regions and between sex work and other precarious occupations.
Comments to this article have been published in the same journal:

Foley, Ellen E. „“The Prostitution Problem”: Insights from Senegal“. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14. Dezember 2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1368-3.

Vanwesenbeeck, Ine. „The Making of “The Trafficking Problem”“. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11. Dezember 2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1367-4.
Thiemann, Inga K. o. J. „Beyond Victimhood and Beyond Employment? Exploring Avenues for Labour Law to Empower Women Trafficked into the Sex Industry“. Industrial Law Journal 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/indlaw/dwy015.
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This article explores under which circumstances a labour law approach could make a meaningful contribution to combatting human trafficking into the sex industry. In this, I critique the existing criminal law approach to human trafficking and its policies, which focus on trafficked persons as idealised victims in need of protection, rather than on their rights as workers, migrants and women. Furthermore, I also challenge the exclusion of sex workers from arguments for a labour law response to human trafficking, as they maintain the construction of trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour exploitation as separate phenomena. Instead, this article advocates an alternative labour law approach to human trafficking, which incorporates wider interdisciplinary issues of gender equality and societal exclusions for women and migrants, and particularly female migrant sex workers, within a labour response. My focus is therefore on exclusions maintained by existing labour legislation, which are based on the standard employment contract and amplified by barriers to labour protections faced by workers in female-dominated service jobs in general and by sex workers in particular. As sex workers’ embodied feminised labour is deemed not to be ‘real work’, they seem to be unworthy of labour protections. My proposed labour response to human trafficking into the sex industry therefore combines some of the strengths of the existing labour rights-focussed anti-trafficking and exploitation discourse with arguments from feminist labour law theory in order to tackle the intersectional dimension of human trafficking into the sex industry.

Briggs, Daniel. „Commodifying Intimacy in ‚Hard Times‘: A Hardcore Ethnography of a Luxury Brothel“. Journal of Extreme Anthropology 2, Nr. 1 (26. April 2018): 66–88. https://doi.org/10.5617/jea.5621.
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This paper is a methodological reflection on an ongoing covert ethnography I have been undertaking in a luxury brothel in Madrid, Spain. By accident, this study became a research project when I was employed by the manager to review porn forums offering feedback on the women that worked there and taught English to him. For 18 months now, I have worked in the brothel a couple of nights a week doing these duties and have come to know the manager’s closest friends and family, the women who work there and the security staff. The context for the work is the expansion of the sex industry in an era of consumer society and self-gratification coupled with austerity politics which has disproportionately affected the opportunities for women in the formal labour market thus catapulting many into precarious situations in which selling sex becomes an option. This has crudely mixed with cultural change in Spain in the wake of increased neoliberal economics which have hollowed out notions of family, tradition and intimacy.
Anasti, Theresa. „The (Non)Use of Alcohol in Topless Establishments: Protection for Women or Gender Policing?“ Sexualities, 26. Februar 2018.
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This article considers current and proposed restrictions placed on the adult industry in Chicago in order to explore the attempts made through legislation to control legal forms of sex work, specifically exotic dancing and burlesque. I focus specifically on the recent debate within the city of Chicago as to whether or not alcohol should be allowed in places where women are topless. While exotic dance is often discussed as a type of exploitation and a cause of urban blight, burlesque is uniformly discussed as positive and empowering, which affects discussion around the introduction of alcohol into each respective club. I conclude by discussing the possibility that the differentiation between exotic dance and burlesque may be a false dichotomy, and that regulations need to be talked about in conjunction with individuals who work in these industries, instead of the assumption that politicians have the laborers’ best interests in mind.

P Duff, J Sou, J Chapman, S Dobrer, M Braschel, S Goldenberg, K Shannon; Poor working conditions and work stress among Canadian sex workers , Occupational Medicine, Volume 67, Issue 7, 1 October 2017, Pages 515–521, https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqx092
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Background

While sex work is often considered the world’s oldest profession, there remains a dearth of research on work stress among sex workers (SWs) in occupational health epidemiological literature. A better understanding of the drivers of work stress among SWs is needed to inform sex work policy, workplace models and standards.Aims

To examine the factors that influence work stress among SWs in Metro Vancouver.Methods

Analyses drew from a longitudinal cohort of SWs, known as An Evaluation of Sex Workers’ Health Access (AESHA) (2010–14). A modified standardized ‘work stress’ scale, multivariable linear regression with generalized estimating equations was used to longitudinally examine the factors associated with work stress.Results

In multivariable analysis, poor working conditions were associated with increased work stress and included workplace physical/sexual violence (β = 0.18; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06, 0.29), displacement due to police (β = 0.26; 95% CI 0.14, 0.38), working in public spaces (β = 0.73; 95% CI 0.61, 0.84). Older (β = −0.02; 95% CI −0.03, −0.01) and Indigenous SWs experienced lower work stress (β = −0.25; 95% CI −0.43, −0.08), whereas non-injection (β = 0.32; 95% CI 0.14, 0.49) and injection drug users (β = 0.17; 95% CI 0.03, 0.31) had higher work stress.Conclusions

Vancouver-based SWs’ work stress was largely shaped by poor work conditions, such as violence, policing, lack of safe workspaces. There is a need to move away from criminalized approaches which shape unsafe work conditions and increase work stress for SWs. Policies that promote SWs’ access to the same occupational health, safety and human rights standards as workers in other labour sectors are also needed.

Megan Lowthers, “On Institutionalized Sexual Economies: Employment Sex, Transactional Sex, and Sex Work in Kenya’s Cut Flower Industry,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 43, no. 2 (Winter 2018): 449-472.

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Today Kenya boasts the longest standing, largest, and most lucrative cut flower industry across Africa, concentrated around Lake Naivasha. Naivasha’s flower farms depend on a female migrant labor market that operates within a system of intense gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual-economic exchange. Female labor migrants sometimes participate in types of sexual commerce that are so entrenched within the cut flower industry that they can be termed an “institutionalized sexual economy.” Drawing on feminist ethnography and migration stories, this article documents the gendered and unequal labor continuum of sexual commerce that exists at Naivasha’s flower farms. This includes how female labor migrants exchange sex for employment at the flower farms—what I call “employment sex”—and how they engage in transactional sex with flower farm managers, supplement their incomes with part-time sex work, and move in and out of full-time, street-level sex work as their temporary flower farm contracts turn over. Examining this labor continuum of sexual commerce provides insight into the broader context of local employment options and conditions, work practices and policies, migration patterns, gender relations and unpaid labor, and the sex workers’ rights movement. This article is the first to use critical feminist theories to examine sexual commerce at flower farms and to place the sex-work-as-work debate squarely in the context of the cut flower industry. The absence of this subject from scholarship to date has contributed to a lack of sex worker perspectives, experiences, and sociocultural understandings of institutionalized sexual economies in Africa.

Van Meir, Jessica. 2017. “Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador.” Soc. Sci. 6, no. 2: 42.
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While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.

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Jessica Van Meir’s Blog with reflections and notes on her research.