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Rachel Marshall, Sex Workers and Human Rights: A Critical Analysis of Laws Regarding Sex Work, 23 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 47 (2016), http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmjowl/vol23/iss1/5

From:

2016 Special Issue: Combating Human Trafficking Through Law and Social Policy, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Volume 23 (2016-2017), Issue 1 (2016)

 

Abstract
Most studies of media focus on production, representation, or audience. Using rhetorical analysis and ethnographic field methods, my article offers one way to study media production contexts, representations, and audience interactions in relation to one another. For this project, I conducted a narrative rhetorical analysis of the reality docu-series Cathouse that takes place in a legal brothel in Nevada, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. In addition, I visited the brothel and used ethnographic field methods of participant observation and interviewing to investigate the lived experiences of the women working at the Ranch. My analysis revealed a web of intertextual discourses of prostitution that I could not have accessed had I not used these methods in conjunction with one another. By bringing perspectives from rhetorical inquiry, cultural and media studies, and ethnography into conversation with one another, I provide a framework for analyzing production, representation, and audience for the Cathouse series, while attending to both the content of the women’s stories and how these participants rhetorically constructed and performed their identities. Finally, my analysis offers insights into ethnographic and textual “crises of representation” in relation to the concept of “rhetorical authenticity” in media representations, the relationships between audience members, production, and representation in reality television, and material impacts for the women who work at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch that I could not have accessed without using these methods together.

Abstract

Much has been said about tourist sexual behavior in the Global South. These studies range from those who view men’s and women’s sexual sojourn as distinctly different activities (sex versus romance tourism respectively) to those who consider sex and romance tourism as independent of sexed and gendered bodies. This work attempts to assess this critical aspect of tourism in Jamaica. Through data collection in two phases and using mixed methodology, the study seeks to assess the perception of local hotel workers and female tourists to the issue of sex and romance tourism. Findings indicate that while male and female hotel workers tend to view men as searching for sex and women for romance, female tourists are largely discrediting the perception that men and women seek distinctly different things while on vacation. The paper argues that there is therefore need to shift the paradigm of sex tourism research to include a wider range of perceptions. The implications for destination marketing are then discussed.

Wright, Micah. “‘Protection against the Lust of Men’: Progressivism, Prostitution and Rape in the Dominican Republic under US Occupation, 1916–24.” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (November 1, 2016): 623–40. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.12242.
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Abstract
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This article explains the disparity between the United States (US) military government’s efforts to defend and empower local women during the first occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916–24) and its reputation for tolerating sexual assault. It argues that US officials, inspired by a progressive ideology that linked the social, economic and political spheres, set out to reshape Dominican sexual and gender norms as a means to ensure political stability. Yet, these efforts fell victim to both Dominican and US Marines’ conceptions of gender and normative sexuality. Building upon a thriving body of scholarship that addresses the significance of US efforts to redefine Dominican gender norms, this article analyses the military government’s policies towards women and provost courts’ responses to sexual assault. It concludes that, combined with an aggressive anti-prostitution campaign, the military government’s reforms succeeded only in creating an atmosphere favourable to crimes against women. Moreover, rape and the way it was prosecuted revitalised the patriarchal norms that US officials had set out to transform, thus setting the stage for the regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, whose thirty-year dictatorship depended on the conspicuous control of women. Thus, US policies and attitudes not only ensured the failure of progressive reform but also contributed to the ongoing subjugation of the very women the military government had pledged to empower.
Dewey, Susan, Jennifer Hankel, and Kyria Brown. “Transitional Housing Facilities for Women Leaving the Sex Industry: Informed by Evidence or Ideology?” Sexuality & Culture, August 12, 2016, 1–22. doi:10.1007/s12119-016-9379-5.
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This article juxtaposes the results of descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, derived from 125 client case files at a Denver transitional housing facility for women leaving the sex industry, with the results of a content analysis that examined how all 34 similar U.S. facilities represent themselves, their clients, and their services on their websites. Content analysis results ascertained four primary findings with respect to transitional housing facilities for women leaving the sex industry, including their conflation of sex trading with sex trafficking, dominance by Christian faith-based organizations, race-neutral approach, and depiction of their clients as uneducated and socially isolated. Yet our statistical analysis revealed that significant differences exist between women’s sex industry experiences in ways that are strongly determined by ethno-racial identity, age, marital status, and exposure to abuse throughout the life course. Juxtaposing the results of these analyses highlights some rather glaring disconnects between the ways that facility websites depict their clients and the meaningful differences between women seeking services at the Denver transitional housing facility. These findings raise significant concerns regarding approaches that ignore ethno-racial differences, collapse the sex industry’s complexity, make assumptions about the women’s educational or other needs, and neglect the importance of women’s community and relational ties. Taken together, these troubling realities suggest a need for evidenced-based, rather than ideology-based, alternatives for women who wish to leave the sex industry.
Jackson, Crystal A. “Framing Sex Worker Rights How U.S. Sex Worker Rights Activists Perceive and Respond to Mainstream Anti–Sex Trafficking Advocacy.” Sociological Perspectives 59, no. 1 (March 1, 2016): 27–45. doi:10.1177/0731121416628553.
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This article examines how U.S. sex worker rights activists articulate “rights-based frames” to counter mainstream “victim frames” that conflate sex work and sex trafficking. Drawing on interviews with 19 U.S. sex worker rights activists conducted between 2010 and 2012, and participant observation of a national sex worker rights conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010, I illustrate how activists create sex worker rights frames that (1) contest the labeling of sex workers as victims and (2) contest the accuracy and emotionality of stories and statistics used in mainstream anti–sex trafficking efforts. This rights-based framing draws on two master frames, labor rights and equal rights, to redefine the criminalization and stigmatization of sexual labor as a social problem, rather than prostitution itself. In the framing conflict over sex work, a rights-based approach also problematizes the intent and outcomes of anti–sex trafficking efforts to protect and rescue. To the extent that U.S. policy and advocacy efforts assume that sex work is a social problem and morally reprehensible, and that abolition of prostitution is a sound goal, those who challenge these assertions are at a disadvantage for acquiring credibility, voice, and support.

Melissa Ditmore, Sex Workers Project, “The Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking in Persons”. New York: Urban Justice Center, 2009

This report summarizes the findings of a human rights documentation project conducted by the Sex Workers Project in 2007 and 2008 to explore the impacts and effectiveness of current anti-trafficking approaches in the US from a variety of perspectives. It is among the first efforts since the passage of the TVPA to give voice to the perspectives of trafficked persons and sex workers who have experienced anti-trafficking raids. A total of 46 people were interviewed for this report, including immigrant sex workers and trafficked persons who have experienced raids or otherwise had contact with law enforcement, along with service providers, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel.

The data collected from this small to medium-sized sample is extremely rich, and suggests that vice raids conducted by local law enforcement agencies are an ineffective means of locating and identifying trafficked persons. Our research also reveals that vice raids and federal anti-trafficking raids are all too frequently accompanied by violations of the human rights of trafficked persons and sex workers alike, and can therefore be counterproductive to the underlying goals of anti-trafficking initiatives. Our findings suggest that a rights-based and “victim-centered” approach to trafficking in persons requires the development and promotion of alternate methods of identifying and protecting the rights of trafficked persons which prioritize the needs, agency, and self-determination of trafficking survivors. They also indicate that preventative approaches, which address the circumstances that facilitate trafficking in persons, should be pursued over law enforcement based responses.

Full text available here.