Theorizing Prostitution

  • Roos de Wildt
Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 17)


This chapter sets the stage of the research by providing an overview of the contemporary theoretical debate on prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes. On the one hand, abolitionists view prostitution as gender-based violence since, in this view, women never engage in prostitution out of free choice. On the other hand, pro-sex-work scholars emphasize women’s right to self-determination and to earn money in the sex industry. The two dominant perspectives on prostitution are discussed not as two opposing views on reality, but rather as two instrumental discourses aimed at achieving different goals. This analysis seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the hegemonic discourse on prostitution.


Prostitution Human trafficking Sex trafficking Abolitionism Self-determination Sex work Ideology Instrumental discourses/goals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roos de Wildt
    • 1
  1. 1.Verwey-Jonker InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands

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