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Tag Archives: Sex Worker Narratives

Hoefinger, Heidi, Jennifer Musto, PG Macioti, Anne E Fehrenbacher, Nicola Mai, Calum Bennachie, Calogero Giametta (2020) Community-Based Responses to Negative Health Impacts of Sexual Humanitarian Anti-Trafficking Policies and the Criminalization of Sex Work and Migration in the US, Social Sciences, Special Issue: Sex Work, Gender Justice and the Law, 2020, 9(1), 1-30,  https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9010001

Abstract

System‐involvement resulting from anti‐trafficking interventions and the criminalization of sex work and migration results in negative health impacts on sex workers, migrants, and people with trafficking experiences. Due to their stigmatized status, sex workers and people with trafficking experiences often struggle to access affordable, unbiased, and supportive health care. This paper will use thematic analysis of qualitative data from in‐depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with 50 migrant sex workers and trafficked persons, as well as 20 key informants from legal and social services, in New York and Los Angeles. It will highlight the work of trans‐specific and sex worker–led initiatives that are internally addressing gaps in health care and the negative health consequences that result from sexual humanitarian anti‐trafficking interventions that include policing, arrest, court‐involvement, court‐mandated social services, incarceration, and immigration detention. Our analysis focuses on the impact of the criminalization on sex workers and their experiences with sexual humanitarian efforts intended to protect and control them. We argue that these grassroots community‐based efforts are a survival‐oriented reaction to the harms of criminalization and a response to vulnerabilities left unattended by mainstream sexual humanitarian approaches to protection and service provision that frame sex work itself as the problem. Peer‐to‐peer interventions such as these create solidarity and resiliency within marginalized communities, which act as protective buffers against institutionalized systemic violence and the resulting negative health outcomes. Our results suggest that broader public health support and funding for community‐led health initiatives are needed to reduce barriers to health care resulting from stigma, criminalization, and ineffective anti‐trafficking and humanitarian efforts. We conclude that the decriminalization of sex work and the reform of institutional practices in the US are urgently needed to reduce the overall negative health outcomes of system‐ involvement.

Ślęzak, Izabela. 2020. “An Ethnographic Analysis of Escort Services in Poland: An Interactionist Approach.” Qualitative Sociology Review 16(4):122-144. Retrieved 11/2020 (URL: http://www.qualitativesociologyreview.org/ENG/archive_eng.php). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18778/1733-8077.16.4.08

Abstract

Abstract: In the Polish literature on the subject, prostitution is analyzed from various theoretical perspectives, but, first of all, from the perspective of social pathology. This approach makes the researchers focus mainly on the social maladjustment of women providing sex services and the reasons for their violation of the normative order. In my ethnographic research conducted in escort agencies in Poland, I was willing to go beyond this narrow outlook. I have adapted an interactionist perspective to analyze the escort agencies as organizations where intense interactions between employees, as well as employees and clients, take place, the sex work process is organized, and the meanings of prostitution are negotiated. I conducted the analysis according to the procedures of the grounded theory methodology. It allowed me to see and describe such processes as: (re)defining the situation of providing sex services from vice to work, sex work as a collective action, performing sex work, secondary socialization for sex work. The adaption of an interactionist perspective opens some new directions for analysis, which could help to understand the phenomenon of women getting involved in and continuing to provide sex services for a long time.

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Rachok, Dafna. ‘Honesty and Economy on a Highway: Entanglements of Gift, Money, and Affection in the Narratives of Ukrainian Sex Workers’. Economic Anthropology, Early View. https://doi.org/10.1002/sea2.12187.

Abstract

Sex work provides a particularly good example to consider the relationships of money, authenticity, and intimacy. Many scholars who research intimacy point to the fact that seeing sex work as an exchange of money (or goods) for sex is a simplistic and reductive approach. Building on the existing research that complicates the idea of sex work as an emotionally detached sex‐for‐money transaction, this article looks at the coexistence of references to gift exchange, informal economy, and service economy in the narratives of street sex workers from the cities of Kropyvnyts’kyi and Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine. Focusing on sex workers’ attempts at discursive legitimization of sex work and on the narratives of their relationships with clients, I argue that the market rhetoric and the gift economy are not incommensurable for my participants. I show that though sex workers’ local “workplace ethic” is permeated with references to competition and productivity, they still don’t see sex work as qualitatively different from other forms of intimacy and don’t treat their clients as mere customers because of multiple emotional and affectionate attachments that exist between them. I conclude by considering the coexistence of various economic narratives in relation to the economic self.

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Ham, Julie. (2020). Rates, roses and donations: Naming your price in sex work. Sociology 2020 (Online First). https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0038038520906773

Abstract

Questions about payment and what it signifies, lie at the heart of feminist debates concerning the morality and legitimacy of sex work. Yet the materialities of payment still remain interestingly under-explored in sex work research. This article addresses this gap by examining immigrant, migrant and racialized sex workers’ pricing practices in Vancouver, Canada and Melbourne, Australia. Determining one’s prices or rates in the sex industry was not a neutral, market-driven calculation for many workers, but was infused with strong ideas about safety, risk, experiential knowledge and the specificities of sex work. Analysing prices and pricing practices through a practice theory lens offers an opportunity to re-think the role of choice in feminist debates about sex work, by highlighting the decisions workers make on a day-to-day basis and capturing the myriad knowledges gained more commonly through experience rather than instruction.

Sex Workers’ Personal and Professional Lives” – Special Issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34(3), 2019.

Antebi-Gruszka, Nadav, Daniel Spence, and Stella Jendrzejewski. 2019. ‘Guidelines for Mental Health Practice with Clients Who Engage in Sex Work’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 339–54. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573978.

Bahri, Jacenta. 2019. ‘Boyfriends, Lovers, and “Peeler Pounders”: Experiences of Interpersonal Violence and Stigma in Exotic Dancers’ Romantic Relationships’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 309–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1617415.

Bloomquist, Katie, and Eric Sprankle. 2019. ‘Sex Worker Affirmative Therapy: Conceptualization and Case Study’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 392–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1620930.

Dickson, Holly. 2019. ‘Sex Work, Motherhood, and Stigma’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 332–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573980.

Johnson, Joey. 2019. ‘Dating While Sex Working: Civilian Dates Carry More Risk for Sex Workers’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 329–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1624713.

Matos, Bella, and Lola Haze. 2019. ‘Bottoms up: A Whorelistic Literature Review and Commentary on Sex Workers’ Romantic Relationships’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 372–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1636958.

Rayson, Josephine, and Beatrice Alba. 2019. ‘Experiences of Stigma and Discrimination as Predictors of Mental Health Help-Seeking among Sex Workers’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 277–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1628488.

Sawicki, Danielle A., Brienna N. Meffert, Kate Read, and Adrienne J. Heinz. 2019. ‘Culturally Competent Health Care for Sex Workers: An Examination of Myths That Stigmatize Sex Work and Hinder Access to Care’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 355–71. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1574970.

Tempest, Tiffany. 2019. ‘Relationship Boundaries, Abuse, and Internalized Whorephobia’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 335–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1574400.

Wolf, Ariel. 2019. ‘Stigma in the Sex Trades’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 290–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573979.

Heineman, Jenny. 2019. ‘Pussy Patrols in Academia: Towards a Disobedient, Sex-Worker Inclusive Feminist Praxis’. Feminist Formations 31 (1): 45–66. https://doi.org/10.1353/ff.2019.0008.
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Abstract
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The “pussy patrols” in academia are the economic, discursive, sexual, and epistemological forms of violence in academia that control, silence, and reroute all femmes—not just cis women—in higher education. Although feminists have long examined sexual harassment in educational and occupational spaces, very few have turned their attention to the specific, embodied experiences of sex-working academics. Employing “epistemic disobedience” and “Critical Life Story” interviewing methodologies, I look at the experiences of thirteen sex-working academics, including my own experiences as a sex-working undergraduate and graduate student. I disrupt the false dichotomy of empowerment/oppression in the sex industry; I ask if higher education is necessarily emancipatory; and I offer suggestions, based on the forced rerouting and silencing of sex-working academics, for moving forward as activist-academics. Indeed, the time for rebelling against the strict academic codes that rely on Cartesian dualism is now.

Klambauer, Eva. „On the Edges of the Law: Sex Workers’ Legal Consciousness in England“. International Journal of Law in Context, undefined/ed, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744552319000041.
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Abstract
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In England, sex workers are placed at the edges of the law. How the social and legal status of sex workers impacts on their perception of and interaction with the law in a semi-legal setting has not yet been explored. Drawing on fifty-two qualitative interviews with indoor and outdoor sex workers in England, this study investigates their disposition to the law, legality and the state. The commonalities and discrepancies between the experiences of indoor and outdoor sex workers reveal the influence of the combination of legal framework and social status on sex workers’ legal consciousness. This study finds that, even in a setting of semi-legality, sex workers attempt to avoid contact with state authorities. However, this aversion to the current law does not prevent them from making claims for legal change. Surprisingly, indoor and outdoor sex workers hold opposing views on the appropriate level of regulation and state involvement in the sex industry. Remarkably, although outdoor sex workers have more negative experiences with arbitrators of the law, they desire the law’s protection. In contrast, indoor sex workers’ main grievance is for sex work to be a legitimate industry that can operate with only minimal state control. These differences in outdoor and indoor workers’ legal claims are explicable by sharp cleavages in social status, vulnerability and degree of criminalisation. These findings demonstrate that intra-group differences in the legal consciousness of marginalised groups are key to understanding the role of social and legal status in shaping legal claims.
Middleweek, Belinda. (2019). Pussy power not pity porn: Embodied protest in the #FacesOfProstitution Twitter network. Sexualities. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718818964
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The use of selfies as a political tool is critical to the form, shape and expression of online activist networks. In the trending Twitter #FacesOfProstitution, such self-presenting practices challenged the prevailing politics of anonymity around sex work and articulated new modes of political organizing, agency and information dissemination within a networked online community. Analysing the sex worker online campaign using feminist materialist approaches to the body this interdisciplinary article contributes to current discussions about selfies and embodied forms of activism in online spaces and addresses a gap in sex advocacy literature on digital protest cultures.

Ham, Julie. „Using difference in intersectional research with im/migrant and racialized sex workers“. Theoretical Criminology, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480618819807.

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Abstract
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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.

Tomura, Miyuki. „A Prostitute’s Lived Experiences of Stigma“. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 40(1) (2009): 51–84. https://doi.org/10.1163/156916209X427981.
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Abstract
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This research used a semi-structured interview method and Smith and Osborn’s (2003) interpretive phenomenological analysis to investigate a female prostitute’s experiences of stigma associated with her work. To structure the interview schedule, Seidman’s (2006) in-depth phenomenologically based interviewing method, which comprises three areas of focus, “focused life history,” “details of the experience” under investigation, and “reflection of the meaning” of the experience, was used as a general guide. Ten broad psychological themes were identified: 1) awareness of engaging in what people think is bad; (2) negative labeling by people who discover she is a prostitute; 3) hiding and lying about her identity as a prostitute to avoid being labeled negatively; 4) hiding and lying about her prostitution identity result in stress, anxiety, and exhaustion; 5) wishing she did not have to hide and lie about being a prostitute; 6) questioning and objecting to the stigmatization of prostitution; 7) managing the sense of stigmatization by persons who know about her prostitution by shifting focus away from devaluing and toward valuable qualities of prostitution; 8) developing occupational esteem and self-esteem through reflection of values; 9) compassion towards other people who suffer from stigma; and 10) resiliency.

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