Advertisement

Unlinking Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: Response to Commentaries

  • Cecilia BenoitEmail author
  • Michaela Smith
  • Mikael Jansson
  • Priscilla Healey
  • Doug Magnuson
Commentary

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...

Notes

References

  1. Abel, G. (2018). The problem with sex work policies [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1366-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agustín, L. M. (2005). At home in the street: Questioning the desire to help and save. In E. Bernstein & L. Schaffner (Eds.), Regulating sex: The politics of intimacy and identity (pp. 67–82). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Agustín, L. M. (2008). Sex and the limits of enlightenment: The irrationality of legal regimes to control prostitution. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 5, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benoit, C., Belle-Isle, L., Smith, M., Phillips, R., Shumka, S., Atchison, C., et al. (2017a). Community empowerment and transformative learning among sex workers: From health educators to health advocates. International Journal for Equity in Health, 16, 160.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-017-0655-2.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benoit, C., Jansson, M., Jansenberger, M., & Phillips, R. (2013a). Disability stigmatization as a barrier to employment equity for legally blind Canadians. Disability and Society, 28, 970–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benoit, C., Jansson, M., Millar, A., & Phillips, R. (2005). Community-academic research on hard-to-reach populations: Benefits and challenges. Qualitative Health Research, 15, 263–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benoit, C., Jansson, M., Smith, M., & Flagg, J. (2018a). Prostitution stigma and its effect on the working conditions, personal lives and health of sex workers. Journal of Sex Research, 55(4–5), 457–471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benoit, C., Maurice, R., Abel, G., Smith, M., Jansson, M., Healey, P., Magnuson, D. (2019a). “I dodged the stigma bullet”: Canadian sex workers’ situated responses to occupational stigma. Culture, Health & Sexuality. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2019.1576226
  9. Benoit, C., Ouellet, N., Jansson, M., Magnus, S., & Smith, M. (2017b). Would you think about doing sex for money? Structure and agency in deciding to sell sex in Canada. Work, Employment & Society, 31, 731–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Benoit, C., Roth, E., Hallgrimsdottir, H., Jansson, M., Ngugi, E., & Sharpe, K. (2013b). Benefits and constraints of intimate partnerships for HIV positive sex workers in Kibera, Kenya. International Journal for Equity in Health, 12, 76.  https://doi.org/10.1186/10.1186/1475-9276-12-76.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benoit, C., Smith, M., Jansson, M., Healey, P., & Magnuson, D. (2018b). “The prostitution problem”: Claims, evidence, and policy outcomes. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1276-6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Benoit, C., Smith, M., Jansson, M., & Healey, P., & Magnuson, D. (2019b). People in sex work compare it to other precarious jobs. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  13. Brents, B. G., Jackson, C. A., & Hausbeck, K. (2010). The state of sex: Tourism, sex, and sin in the new American heartland. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Cardinal, N. (2006). The exclusive city: Identifying, measuring, and drawing attention to Aboriginal and Indigenous experiences in an urban context. Cities, 23(3), 217–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cho, S., Dreher, A., & Neumayer, E. (2013). Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking? World Development, 41, 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Corrigan, P., Kosyluk, K., & Rusch, N. (2013). Reducing self-stigma by coming out proud. American Journal of Public Health, 103(5), 794–800.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corrigan, P., Kuwabara, S., & O’Shaughnessy, J. (2009). The public stigma of mental illness and drug addiction: Findings from a stratified random sample. Journal of Social Work, 9, 139–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Corrigan, P., & Matthews, A. (2003). Stigma and disclosure: Implications for coming out of the closet. Journal of Mental Health, 12, 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Corrigan, P., & Watson, A. (2002). The paradox of self-stigma and mental illness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9(1), 35–53.Google Scholar
  20. Coy, M., Smiley, C., & Tyler, M. (2018). Challenging the “prostitution prob lem”: Dissenting voices, sex buyers and the myth of neutrality in prostitution research [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1381-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Evans, S. L., & Bowlby, S. (2000). Crossing boundaries: Racialised gendering and the labour market experiences of Pakistani migrant women in Britain. Women’s Studies International Forum, 23(4), 461–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Evans, E., McCarthy, B., Benoit, C., & Jansson, M. (2018). Early trauma, long-term consequences: Does family instability keep people from doctors? Social Science Quarterly, 99, 599–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fang, X., Li, X., Yang, H., Hong, Y., Zhao, R., et al. (2007). Profile of female sex workers in a Chineses country: Does it differ by where they came from and where they work? World Health Population, 9(1), 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Farley, M., Franzblau, K., & Kennedy, M. A. (2014). Online prostitution and trafficking. Albany Law Review, 77(3), 1039–1094.Google Scholar
  25. Foley, E. E. (2018). “The prostitution problem”: Insights from Senegal [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1368-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Green, S., Davis, C., Karshmer, E., Marsh, P., & Straight, B. (2005). Living stigma: The impact of labeling, stereo-typing, separation, status loss, and discrimination in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Sociological Inquiry, 75, 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gupta, J., Reed, E., Kershaw, T., & Blankenship, K. M. (2011). History of sex trafficking, recent experiences of violence, and HIV vulnerability among female sex workers in coastal Andhra Pradesh, India. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 114, 101–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hatzenbuehler, M., Phelan, J., & Link, B. (2013). Stigma as a fundamental cause of population health inequalities. American Journal of Public Health, 103, 813–821.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heiges, M. (2009). From the inside out: Reforming state and local prostitution enforcement to combat sex trafficking in the United States and abroad. Minnesota Law Review, 94, 428–466.Google Scholar
  30. Howarth, C. (2006). Race as stigma: Positioning the stigmatized as agents, not objects. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 16, 442–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jackson, C. B., Botelho, E. M., Welch, L. C., Joseph, J., & Tennstedt, S. L. (2012). Talking with others about stigmatized health conditions: Implications for managing symptoms. Qualitative Health Research, 22(11), 1468–1475.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jakobsson, N., & Kotsdam, A. (2013). The law and economics of international sex slavery: Prostitution laws and trafficking for sexual exploitation. European Journal of Law and Economics, 35, 87–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jansson, M., Benoit, C., Casey, L., Phillips, R., & Burns, D. (2010). In for the long haul: Knowledge translation between academic and non-profit organizations. Qualitative Health Research, 20(1), 131–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kotiswaran, P. (2011). Dangerous sex, invisible labor: Sex work and the law in India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leem, S., & Persson, P. (2013). Human trafficking and regulating prostitution. Stockholm, Sweden: Research Institute of Industrial Economics. Retrieved from: http://www.ifn.se/wfles/wp/wp996.pdf
  36. Link, B., & Hatzenbuehler, M. (2016). Stigma as an unrecognized determinant of population health: Research and policy implications. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 41, 653–673.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Link, B., & Phelan, J. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Link, B., & Phelan, J. (2006). Stigma and its public health implications. Lancet, 367, 528–529.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Livingston, J., & Boyd, J. (2010). Correlates and consequences of internalized stigma for people living with mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 71, 2150–2161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mahdavi, P. (2013). Gender, labour and the law: The nexus of domestic work, human trafficking, and the informal economy in the United Arab Emirates. Global Network, 13(4), 425–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCarthy, L. (2014). Human trafficking and the new slavery. Annual Review of Law Social Sciences, 10, 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McCarthy, B., Benoit, C., Jansson, M., & Kolar, K. (2012). Regulating sex work: Heterogeneity in legal strategies. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 8, 255–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McMillan, K., & Worth, H. (2019). Sex work and the problem of inequality: A Pacific perspective [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1394-9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moran, R., & Farley, M. (2019). Consent, coercion, and culpability: Is prostitution stigmatized work or an exploitive and violent practice rooted in sex, race, and class inequality? [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1371-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mundlak, G., & Shamir, H. (2014). The global governance of domestic work. In B. Anderson & I. Shutes (Eds.), Migration and care labour. Migration, diasporas and citizenship series (pp. 192–212). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. O’Connell Davidson, J. (2014). Let’s go outside: Bodies, prostitutes, slaves and worker citizens. Citizenship Studies, 18(5), 516–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Osmanaj, E. (2014). The impact of legalized prostitution on human trafficking. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3(2), 103–110.Google Scholar
  48. Östergren, P. (2017). From zero-tolerance to full integration: Rethinking prostitution policies. Retrieved from: http://www.demandat.eu/publications/zero-tolerance-full-integration-rethinking-prostitution-policies.
  49. Outshoorn, J. (2005). The political debates on prostitution and trafficking of women. International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 12(1), 141–155.Google Scholar
  50. Pescosolido, B. A., Martin, J. K., Lang, A., & Olafsdottir, S. (2008). Rethinking theoretical approaches to stigma: A framework integrating normative influences on stigma (FINIS). Social Science and Medicine, 67, 431–440.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Peters, E. J. (2006). “[W]e do not lose our treaty rights outside the…reserve”: Challenging the scales of social service provision for First Nations women in Canadian cities. GeoJournal, 65(4), 315–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rosen, E., & Venkatesh, S. (2008). A ‘perversion’ of choice: Sex work offers just enough in Chicago’s urban ghetto. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 37(4), 417–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sarkar, K., Bal, B., Mukherjee, R., Chakraborty, S., Saha, S., Ghosh, A., & Parsons, S. (2008). Sex-trafficking, violence, negotiating skill, and HIV infection in brothel-based sex workers of eastern India, adjoining Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 26(2), 223–231.Google Scholar
  54. Shamir, H. (2012). A labor paradigm for human trafficking. UCLA Law Review, 60(1), 76–136.Google Scholar
  55. Shaver, F. M. (2018). “The prostitution problem”: Why isn’t evidence used to inform policy initiatives? [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1374-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Silverman, J. G., Raj, A., Cheng, D. M., Decker, M. R., Coleman, S., Bridden, C., & Samet, J. H. (2011). Sex trafficking and initiation-related violence, alcohol use, and HIV risk among HIV-infected female sex workers in Mumbai, India. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 204(5), S1229–S1234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stenger, S., & Roulet, T. (2018). Pride against prejudice? The stakes of concealment and disclosure of a stigmatized identity for gay and lesbian auditors. Work, Employment & Society, 32(2), 257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stuber, J., Meyer, I., & Link, B. (2008). Stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and health. Social Science and Medicine, 67, 351–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. United Nations. (2000). United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations convention against transnational organized crime. http://www.uncjin.org/Documents/Conventions/dcatoc/final_documents_2/convention_%20traff_eng.pdf.
  60. Van der Meulen, E. (2012). When sex is work: Organizing for labour rights and protections. Labour, 69, 147–167.Google Scholar
  61. Vanwesenbeeck, I. (2018). The making of “the trafficking problem” [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1367-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vijayakumar, G., Panchanadeswaran, S., & Chacko, S. (2018). Sex work, marginalization, and activism in India [Commentary]. Archives of Sexual Behavior.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1384-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vlieger, A. (2012). Domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates: Trafficking victims? International Migration, 50(6), 180–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wagenaar, H. (2017). Why prostitution policy (usually) fails and what to do about it? Social Sciences, 6(43), 1–15.Google Scholar
  65. Wagenaar, H., Amesberger, H., & Altink, S. (2017). Designing prostitution policy: Intention and reality in regulating the sex trade. Bristol, UK: Polity Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ward, E., & Wylie, G. (2014). Reflexivities of discomfort: Researching the sex trade and sex trafficking in Ireland. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 21, 251–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Watson, N. (2002). Well, I know this is going to sound very strange to you, but I don’t see myself as a disabled person: Identity and disability. Disability & Society, 17(5), 509–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weitzer, R. (2015). Researching prostitution and sex trafficking comparatively. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 12, 81–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Young, I. (1992). Social groups in associative democracy. Politics and Society, 20(2), 529–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zhang, S. (2009). Beyond the ‘Natasha’ story: A review and critique of current research on sex trafficking. Global Crime, 10(3), 178–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canadian Institute for Substance Use ResearchUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.School of Child and Youth CareUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations