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Journal ArticleDOI

Unlinking Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: Response to Commentaries

06 May 2019-Archives of Sexual Behavior (Springer US)-Vol. 48, Iss: 7, pp 1973-1980
TL;DR: It is argued that the most robust empirical evidence supports the idea that prostitution is principally sex work, and called for more rigorous studies within the sex sector and comparative studies of sex work to other personal service occupations.
Abstract: In our Target Article, “The Prostitution Problem”: Claims, Evidence, and Policy Outcomes” (Benoit, Smith, Jansson, Healey, & Magnuson, 2018b), we summarized recent scholarship on prostitution/sex work, attempting to distill the main debates and the outcomes of Criminal Code and other legal policies executed in different countries to address the so-called “prostitution problem.” We differentiated two main positions that captivate academic scholarship seeking to understand the situation of people who engage in sexual activity in exchange for payment: (1) prostitution is principally an institution of hierarchal gender relations that legitimizes the sexual exploitation of prostituted women by male buyers, and (2) sex work is a form of human labor where multiple forms of social inequality (including class, gender, and race) intersect in neoliberal capitalist societies. Those who champion the perspective that prostitution is principally an institution of hierarchal gender relations make numerous claims, three of which we underscored in our review: (1) prostitution is a patriarchal gender relation; (2) prostitution entails the selling of women’s sexual self, not their human labor; and (3) prostitution and trafficking are so closely linked that they are inseparable. Those who contend prostitution is fundamentally a problem of intersecting social inequalities claim that: (1) prostitution is one of the occupational choices available for precarious workers in neoliberal capitalist societies; (2) men and trans sex workers face many of the same benefits and challenges as women in sex work; and (3) prostitution and sex trafficking are substantively different phenomena. The idea that prostitution is principally an institution of hierarchical gender relations is popular, but we argued that the most robust empirical evidence supports the idea that prostitution is principally sex work. We called for more rigorous studies within the sex sector and comparative studies of sex work to other personal service occupations. We also called for more research on human trafficking (not just sex trafficking), framed within the broader perspective of global social inequality. We were pleased to read the eight Commentaries on our Target Article. We gratefully acknowledge the time and effort the authors made in assessing our contribution and appreciate the wide assortment of comments by researchers from different disciplines and based on research in several countries. Six of the eight commentaries (Abel, 2018; Foley, 2018; McMillan & Worth, 2019; Shaver, 2018; Vanwesenbeeck, 2018; Vijayakumar, Panchanadeswaran, & Chacko, 2018) broadly agreed with our conclusions, while offering additional empirical evidence, theoretical nuance, or other insights. Two commentaries (Coy, Smiley & Tyler, 2018; Moran & Farley, 2019) challenged our conclusions on a number of counts, most seriously that prostitution is not work and that prostitution and sexual exploitation/sex trafficking overlap in fundamental ways. Some commentators also question the utility of further research on this controversial topic. In the spirit of ongoing discussion, we focus on the main points of agreement and contention among the commentaries. We begin with three commentaries that offer additional empirical evidence for the second perspective we outlined in our Target Article.
Citations
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Posted Content
Hila Shamir1
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that current efforts help an alarmingly small number of individuals out of the multitudes currently understood as falling under the category of trafficked persons, and even in these few cases, the assistance provided is of questionable value.
Abstract: Although human trafficking has gained unprecedented national and international attention and condemnation over the past decade, the legal instruments developed to combat this phenomenon have thus far proved insufficient. In particular, current efforts help an alarmingly small number of individuals out of the multitudes currently understood as falling under the category of trafficked persons, and even in these few cases, the assistance provided is of questionable value. This Article thus calls for a paradigm shift in anti-trafficking policy: a move away from the currently predominant human rights approach to trafficking and the adoption of a labor approach that targets the structure of labor markets prone to severely exploitative labor practices. This labor paradigm, the Article contends, offers more effective strategies for combating trafficking. After establishing the case for the labor paradigm, the Article suggests how it can be incorporated into existing anti-trafficking regimes. The Article proposes five measures for implementing anti-trafficking policies grounded on the labor approach: prevent the criminalization and deportation of workers who report exploitation; eliminate binding arrangements; reduce recruitment fees and the power of middlemen; guarantee the right to unionize; and extend and enforce the application of labor and employment laws to vulnerable workers. Finally, the Article analyzes why this paradigm has yet to be adopted and responds to some of the main objections to a paradigm shift.

73 citations

Posted Content
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are often trafficked and that the lack of prosecution of traffickers is not caused by legal obscurities, but by societal issues.
Abstract: This article responds to Jureidini’s article ‘Trafficking and Contract Migrant Workers in the Middle East’ published in International Migration. Jureidini discusses the difficulty of establishing whether migrant domestic workers are victims of trafficking. He discusses the questions (i) if trafficking can be determined ex post or must it also be ex ante and (ii) if there must be a proven intent to trafficking. On the basis of data concerning domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, I argue that they often are victims of trafficking. In these two countries, forced confinement and exploitation do not concern individual cases but standard labour conditions. Agents in the countries of origin regularly misinform or even deceive domestic workers, while agents in the countries of destination actively stimulate confinement and exploitation. The lack of prosecution of traffickers furthermore is not caused by legal obscurities, but by societal issues. The article concludes with some policy suggestions to better address the issue of trafficking.

24 citations

Posted Content
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine how gay and lesbian employees make sense of their homosexuality in the highly normative context of audit firms and reveal the subtle pressures exerted on those who possess concealable stigmatized identities.
Abstract: How do individuals choose to conceal a stigmatized attribute and what are the consequences of such choice? We answer this question by looking at how gay and lesbian employees make sense of their homosexuality in the highly normative context of audit firms. As a first step, we unveil the subtle pressures exerted on those who possess concealable stigmatized identities. Homosexual auditors engage in partial or full concealment of their sexuality. They live in the fear of being misjudged and casted out of a context in which male values are tantamount. However, the efforts required to conceal create a situation of unrest, which eventually interferes with their social integration at work. We draw on rich ethnographic material in French audit firms, benefitting from the exogenous shock of a gay marriage bill. The study’s findings shed new light on audit as a gendered profession and the cost of concealing stigmatized invisible identities.

19 citations

DOI
Lizzie Seal1
01 Jan 2022
TL;DR: In this article, the significance of gendered space and moral geographies to sex work and the night-time economy is examined via the themes of stigma, regulation, and activism.
Abstract: This chapter examines the significance of gendered space and moral geographies to sex work and the night-time economy. Sex work is analysed via the themes of stigma, regulation and activism. The chapter delineates creation and performance of masculinities and femininities during nights out, as well as gendered professional identities in the night-time economy.

3 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors show that Romania is a major source country of labor migration to other EU countries, being commonly perceived as a source country for sex workers operating in more prosperous economies.
Abstract: Romania is a major source country of labor migration to other EU countries, being commonly perceived as a source country for sex workers operating in more prosperous economies. However, very little...

1 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work provides illustrative evidence on the health consequences of stigma and presents a conceptual framework describing the psychological and structural pathways through which stigma influences health.
Abstract: Bodies of research pertaining to specific stigmatized statuses have typically developed in separate domains and have focused on single outcomes at 1 level of analysis, thereby obscuring the full significance of stigma as a fundamental driver of population health. Here we provide illustrative evidence on the health consequences of stigma and present a conceptual framework describing the psychological and structural pathways through which stigma influences health. Because of its pervasiveness, its disruption of multiple life domains (e.g., resources, social relationships, and coping behaviors), and its corrosive impact on the health of populations, stigma should be considered alongside the other major organizing concepts for research on social determinants of population health.

1,768 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a more careful review of the research literature suggests a paradox; namely, personal reactions to the stigma of mental illness may result in significant loss in self-esteem for some, while others are energized by prejudice and express righteous anger.
Abstract: Published narratives by persons with serious mental illness eloquently describe the harmful effects of stigma on self-esteem and self-efficacy. However, a more careful review of the research literature suggests a paradox; namely, personal reactions to the stigma of mental illness may result in significant loss in self-esteem for some, while others are energized by prejudice and express righteous anger. Added to this complexity is a third group: persons who neither lose self-esteem nor become righteously angry at stigma, instead seemingly ignoring the effects of public prejudice altogether. This article draws on research from social psychologists on self-stigma in other minority groups to explain this apparent paradox. We describe a situational model of the personal response to mental illness stigma based on the collective representations that are primed in that situation, the person's perception of the legitimacy of stigma in the situation, and the person's identification with the larger group of individuals with mental illness. Implications for a research program on the personal response to mental illness stigma are discussed.

1,516 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this conceptualisation stigma is the result of a process in which a series of five interrelated components combine to generate stigma.

1,314 citations


"Unlinking Prostitution and Sex Traf..." refers background in this paper

  • ...However, researchers have shown that stigma is a fundamental determinant of behavior, well-being, and health (Hatzenbuehler, Phelan, & Link, 2013; Link & Phelan, 2006)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The review uncovered a striking and robust negative relationship between internalized stigma and a range of psychosocial variables (e.g., hope, self-esteem, and empowerment) and a lack of longitudinal research in this area of study has inhibited the clinical relevance of findings related tointernalized stigma.

1,263 citations


"Unlinking Prostitution and Sex Traf..." refers background in this paper

  • ...…Jansson, Ngugi, & Sharpe, 2013b; Jackson et al., 2012), resulting in degrees of social exclusion that range from obstacles to routine social interactions to complete discrediting or exclusion by others (Corrigan, Kuwabara, & O’Shaughnessy, 2009; Corrigan & Matthews, 2003; Livingston & Boyd, 2010)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A review of levels of disclosure for people who opt to come out including social avoidance and disapproval as key costs and improved psychological well-being and interpersonal relations as benefits is reviewed.
Abstract: Background: There are costs and benefits for people with psychiatric disorders to decide to disclose publicly these disorders. Aims: The gay and lesbian community has struggled with the same tension and their discoveries about coming out may prove useful for the disclosure concerns of persons with mental illness. Methods: Lessons learned about coming out by the gay and lesbian community include a variety of models that map the stages for successfully coming out; e.g., identity confusion, comparison, identify acceptance, immersion, and identity synthesis. Navigating these stages requires consideration of the costs and benefits of disclosure; we review some of these including social avoidance and disapproval as key costs and improved psychological well-being and interpersonal relations as benefits. Conclusions: The paper ends with a review of levels of disclosure for people who opt to come out. Declaration of interest: This paper was made possible in part by MH62198-01 from the National Institute of Mental ...

469 citations


"Unlinking Prostitution and Sex Traf..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Moran and Farley (2019) and Coy et al. (2018) accused us of failing to reference persuasive evidence for the intersection of prostitution and trafficking, referring to the works of Jakobsson and Kotsdam (2013) and Cho, Dreher, and Neumayer (2013). However, these authors state categorically that that their studies do not provide compelling robust links between prostitution and trafficking....

    [...]

  • ...…Jansson, Ngugi, & Sharpe, 2013b; Jackson et al., 2012), resulting in degrees of social exclusion that range from obstacles to routine social interactions to complete discrediting or exclusion by others (Corrigan, Kuwabara, & O’Shaughnessy, 2009; Corrigan & Matthews, 2003; Livingston & Boyd, 2010)....

    [...]

  • ...Moran and Farley (2019) and Coy et al. (2018) accused us of failing to reference persuasive evidence for the intersection of prostitution and trafficking, referring to the works of Jakobsson and Kotsdam (2013) and Cho, Dreher, and Neumayer (2013)....

    [...]

Trending Questions (1)
Is there a relationship between prostitution and human trafficking?

The paper states that there are two perspectives on the relationship between prostitution and human trafficking. One perspective argues that prostitution and trafficking are inseparable, while the other perspective claims that prostitution and sex trafficking are substantively different phenomena.