LIBRARY

Here you will find a growing collection of resources on sex and sex work.

Another decade of social scientific work on sex work: a review of research 1990-2000. Ine Vanwesenbeeck. (fulltext here)
Annual Review of Sex Research, 2001; 12, 242.
The illegal status of sex work and its consequences violate civil and workers’s rights and integrity of sex workers. Pathology has only been demonstrated in very specific groups of prostitutes, such as juvinile prostitues. Most research on prostitutes in done among specific, select samples of prostitutes, such as street prostitues or incarcerated prostitutes. Drug use is not related to entrance into prostitution except for street prostitutes. Condom use is generally found to be high in commercial contacts, prostitutes do not play a decisive role in the spread of HIV. Social condemnation is more harsh when sex workers say they like their work. Researchers have difficulty understanding rational and positive reasons for chosing sex work and think of prostitutes as victims. This may lead to sex workers stressing negative motivations. Factors such as sexual abuse, self-esteem and drug use fail to discriminate between sex workers and non-sex workers. However, abuse and trauma are correlated with running away and homelessness which can lead to survival-prostitution. Street prostitution is correlated to factors such as behaviour disorders in childhood, drug use and sexual abuse. In prostitutes in non-Western world economic considerations and adventurousness seem to be of greater significance than those of social stress of abuse. There is no reliable evidence that migration for sex work has increased in the last decades. For sex workers in the Western world, economic motivation is major factor in the choice for prostitution. Abuse by partners does not seem to be higher among prostitutes. Distress found in sex workers might be a consequence of the social stigma around sex work. Most sex workers do not feel comfortable being completely open about their work. Distancing strategies are found to be used by sex workers, as well as others in caring professions. However, it seems that distancing is not as much as associated with sex work per se, but with sex work under certrain conditions. Sex workers appear to use safer sex practices and actually teach their clients about safer sex. Contact with sex woorkers’ organisations is possitive correlated with safer sex practices in sex workers. Prohibitive and restrictive policies violate sex workers’ right, undermine their health and well-being, enhance power of third parties and undermine their social and occupational status. In the Netherlands, no labor-emancipatory policies or policies against social exclusion or stigma have been proposed. The only authorities actively dealing with sex work are the tax office, the police and the immigration authority. Sex workers’ organisations rarely play a role and have little social or political power.

New directions in research on prostitution by Ronald Weitzer (fulltext here)
(Crime, Law & Social Change (2005) 43: 211–235
Most clients of sex workers are non-violent and reject rape myths. Sex workers prefer the term ‘sex worker’ to agency-denying terms as ‘prostituted women’. Only a minority of prostitutes work on the streets. Assault, robbery and rape are uncommon among off-street workers. Among call girls, 97% report an increase in self-esteem after the began working in prostitution, 75% felt their life had improved since working in prostitution. Call girls are generally emotionally healthy, Half of call girls and brothel workers felt that their job was a “major source of satisfaction” in their lives and 7 out of 10 say they would “definitely choose” this work if they had it to do over again. Sex trafficking has been called a moral panic, reliable statistics on the extent of trafficking are unavailable and inflated figures and anecdotal horror stories are used to support the claim that there is a worldwide epidemic
of coerced prostitution. In the Netherlands, the “the vast majority” of workers in brothels, clubs, and window units report that they “often or always feel safe” and 75% report that they enjoy their work.

Amnesty Prostitution Policy document (fulltext here)
Conflation of sex work with human trafficking leads to policies and interventions which undermines sex workers’ sexual autonomy, and causes them to be targets of exploitation and abuse, as well as may enable violation of their human rights. Men and women who buy sex from consenting adults are exercising personal autonomy. At times, sex work is conflated with trafficking, leading to coercive or overreaching interventions such as brothel raids or
“rescues” that often violate human rights and actually decrease the safety for sex workers. Criminalization of sex work adds to rather than subtracts from, the risk of police abuse and extortion. Sex workers and their clients are arbitrarily detained or held in shelters or
“re-education centers”  from where they cannot leave voluntarily.

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