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.
According to dozens of news reports from the mid-2000s, the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was embroiled in a “sex scandal.” In 2004 approximately fifteen indictments were brought against corrections officers and other staff members for participating in sexual relationships with women inmates under their supervision; at least seven were convicted.3 In 2006 another four indictments were brought against eight additional staff members, including four corrections officers, for smuggling drugs into the institution.4 In 2011 another officer was sentenced for sexually assaulting a female inmate,5 and a nurse working at the institution pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual contact with inmates.6 At the end of 2015 yet another officer was arraigned on charges of sexual assault.7 The law itself is unambiguous: inmates cannot consent to have sex with prison staff.8 But in what was often referred to as a “sex for favors scandal” in the local news, women inmates were inscribed simply as (the) addicts and prostitutes (they already were) practicing sex work with their guards for “favors,” cigarettes, and drugs.9
This article attempts to grapple with the complexities of the relationships, both sexual and non-sexual, between inmates and staff members at the Allegheny County Jail, especially during the period of 2003–2005. …
Intersectionality attends to the interactions between social difference and power, although theoretical models vary in their emphasis on one or the other. Difference-centred models often distinguish between processes of constructing social difference, systems that institutionalize social difference and identities that include social difference. This article discusses the analytical expectations that can emerge in intersectional research that focus on difference, by analysing the use and construction of difference by im/migrant and racialized women in sex work. The first analytical expectation is the distinction between salience and difference when starting from the lived realities and voices of individuals, groups and communities. The second analytical expectation concerns the interaction between two intersectional methodologies, between identities and lived experiences, and processes of constructing difference.
Since the late 1990s, many countries have been debating what prostitution policies to apply, and, particularly in Europe, several have changed the overall approach to the phenomenon and the people involved. Prostitution is more than ever before firmly placed on policy agendas as a topic related to gender equality and globalization. Furthermore, it is seen in context with issues relating to organized crime, health, and gentrification. In both policy debates and the academic discourse, particular ways of regulating prostitution are treated as models and a central discussion is which model among these works best. In this article, I argue that this search for a best practice of prostitution policy that can be transferred to and work similarly in a new jurisdiction builds on a lack of understanding of the importance of context and implementation. How policies work depends on, among other factors, aims, implementation structures, and characteristics of local prostitution markets. But I present a broad spectrum of research to clarify what should be taken into consideration when assessing policies’ abilities to achieve diverse goals. I argue that a fundamental problem in both prostitution policy debates and scholarship is that the arguments over prostitution policies have become too detached from the many and differing contexts in which these policies operate and I propose a way forward for resear
The modern‐slavery paradigm promotes analogies between contemporary trafficking and the transatlantic, white, and indigenous slave trade. The analogy some scholars use to address debt bondage in past and present Southeast Asia prompted me to consider the hypothesis that the debts incurred by Vietnamese sex workers with moneylenders, procurers, and migration brokers are a remnant of indigenous slavery. However, the ethnographic and legalistic study of debt in the Vietnamese sex sector across Southeast Asia in relation to debt‐bondage traditions provides limited support to the transhistorical thesis. Nonetheless, it throws light on the creditor–debtor relationship and shows that sex workers need credit to finance production and social reproduction in a region undergoing rapid capitalist development, and that because of their exclusion from financial, labor, and labor migration markets, they access it through personalized arrangements that generate strong obligations and dependencies with the potential for restrictions of freedom, in a social structure that promotes patronage, vertical bonding, and dependency.
This article makes several important contributions to the burgeoning literature on sex work in a digital era. The scholarly literature that has documented the use of the Internet by sex workers has focused almost entirely on prostitution and has yet to make adult webcam modeling a focal point of analysis. This article critically examines the ways in which entry into adult webcam modeling is facilitated by an expectation that sex work in cyberspace maximizes pleasure, primarily because it minimizes the risk of dangers associated with street-based sex work. I conduct content analyses of discussions on a popular online forum for webcam models to explore the themes of pleasure (erotic and affectual) and danger (capping, doxxing, and harassment) in adult webcam modeling. I argue that adult webcam models experience sexual and affectual pleasures in the course of their work and that they are able to experience these pleasures because the computer-mediated sexual exchange acts as a psychological barrier, and that the computer in turn becomes the primary tool that performers use for emotional management. My analysis focuses on how sex workers reconcile the pleasure in their work with the exploitation that is also found there. Here, these camgirls use neoliberal ideas to minimize the perception of danger of their work so that they can experience high levels of pleasure. I further open up a new dialogue about neoliberalism and sex workers by focusing on the neoliberal subject in this new form of sex work.
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