Skip to main content
Palgrave Macmillan

Understanding Health and Care Among Sex Workers

Perspectives From Rhode Island

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Approaches health care through sex workers’ own perspectives
  • Uses mixed-methods research conceptualized and led by sex workers
  • Examines diverse cases of care including community care, primary care, and specialist care

Part of the book series: Palgrave Advances in Sex Work Studies (PASWS)

  • 584 Accesses

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this book

eBook USD 16.99 USD 34.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book USD 44.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access

Licence this eBook for your library

Institutional subscriptions

Table of contents (7 chapters)


About this book

This book examines sex worker health and the concept of care among sex workers in Rhode Island using mixed methods research conceived of and led by Ocean State Advocacy (O$A), a grassroots collective of sex workers in Rhode Island. Drawing upon survey data, in-depth interview research, as well as ethnographic and grounded theory principle, this text provides a nuanced look at why sex workers face disparate health outcomes, what defines the area of sex worker health, and practices of care that exist among sex workers in Rhode Island. Throughout this book, the authors examine how criminalization and stigma impact care and why sex workers find themselves in a distinctly challenging position when trying to stay healthy and well. Throughout this book, the authors explore both these vulnerabilities and sources of strength among the sex work community with the goal of gaining a better understanding of what sex workers in Rhode Island need for a healthier future.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students within the fields of Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Labor Studies, Public Health, Social Medicine, Medical Humanities, and Medical Education.


"In a field that is dominated by "well-meaning" professionals who are so often limited by bias and stigma, this book is a breath of fresh air. The interviews woven throughout this book allow a collection of sex workers to speak for themselves and share directly about the care they really need. "I Know That I Got People Who Care About Me and Love Me and Protect Me" should be required reading for healthcare providers, policymakers, and anyone interested in sex worker health."

Cecilia Gentili, Founder and Principal, Trans Equity Consulting

“This is a testament of real lives, real people, written as an honest documentation of the struggles that sex workers face in healthcare and even the consideration of health. The writing is transparent, tactful, and graceful – not only being accessible, but an invitational doorway to the lives of one hundred sex workers in Rhode Island, for an understanding that goes far beyond research and data collection. 

As Imade my way through the chapters, I felt each participant was in the room with me, talking, laughing, and sometimes, crying. While acknowledging that every worker has their individual story, as a fellow criminalized worker, shamed parent, black sheep sister, abused child, stigmatized patient, and queer outcast, I was often nodding at the familiarity of experience. 

What this book has accomplished through the mindfulness of the editors, is what we, sex workers, want from the platforms that hold our stories and what we want from our healthcare systems: exceptional and unconditional care, without judgment, without pity. Care, love, and protection.”

Yin Q. core member of Red Canary Song & Kink Out, author of We All Deserve to Heal #WeToo (2021) and co-director of Fly in Power: a Red Canary Song documentary

“This book is absolutely critical and urgently needed. I'm all too familiar with the fact that the U.S. medical industry's relationship to people who trade and have traded sex is at best neglectful and at worst openly hostile. My heart was in my throat reading these workers' stories - stories that resonate deeply and painfully with my own experiences. We've been humiliated and hurt by medical providers too many times. We've grieved the loss of too many of our beloved cohort when the care they needed was unattainable. This book is clearly born of that grief, but also of the love and solidarity that so many of us - sex workers, survivors, sex working survivors - have found as we've built communities of care together. "Sex workers know how to take care of each other," is an absolute truth. This book will tell you why we've always had to, and will simultaneously offer the dream-vision of a world where that can and must change.”

Lorelei Lee, Co-Founder Disabled Sex Workers Collective

“What a joy to hear the voices of so many sex workers in this book. Sex worker issues are all too rarely the subject of such solid research, expressed in a readable and compelling style you’ll find within these pages. But what struck me the most was the profound sense of pride for our community, in seeing that we have built up not only this standard of expertise, but also the resources and energy to make people hear it. This book needs to be read anywhere there are sex workers.”

Juno Mac, Co-Author of Revolting Prostitutes and activist with SWARM

Authors and Affiliations

  • Providence, USA

    Claire Macon, Eden Tai

  • Seattle, USA

    Sidney Lane

About the authors

Claire Macon is a community organizer and researcher originally from the deep south and currently living in Providence, RI. Her work in the community focuses on issues related to housing, drug users’ rights, and sex workers rights. As a member of O$A, she brings perspective of lived experience and previous research on harm reduction strategies and overdose prevention. She is interested in exploring the role of labor and survival practices amongst criminalized populations through her work.

Eden Tai is a queer mixed Taiwanese artist and researcher whose work aims to make people feel closer to home in their bodies, in relationship to others, and in the places they live. Her interest in oral histories and community archives guides her research as a member of O$A, as well as her personal arts practice.

Sidney Lane is a trans BIPOC stoner born and raised in Rhode Island. They found their way to O$A through their relationships with local sex workers, drug users, and party-people. Leading up to this project, Lane has worked in the sex industry, within the non-profit industrial complex, and as a community organizer. Their career has centralized around care and support for transsex workers of color living and working in Rhode Island; their favorite people in their favorite place.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Understanding Health and Care Among Sex Workers

  • Book Subtitle: Perspectives From Rhode Island

  • Authors: Claire Macon, Eden Tai, Sidney Lane

  • Series Title: Palgrave Advances in Sex Work Studies

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-40661-4Published: 24 September 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-40664-5Due: 15 April 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-40662-1Published: 23 September 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2731-376X

  • Series E-ISSN: 2731-3778

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIX, 134

  • Number of Illustrations: 5 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Gender Studies, Health Care Management, Medical Anthropology, Health Care Management, Medical Anthropology

Publish with us