Managing Conflict: An Examination of Three-Way Alliances in Canadian Escort and Massage Businesses
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Weitzer (2009) notes that the sex work employment triangle involves three groups: workers, clients, and various third parties; the latter includes pimps, facilitators, brokers, managers, and others who help organize or facilitate sex work. Our research focuses on the third group, and in particular on managers who work in legal or licensed sex industry businesses. We gathered data in 2013 from 43 managers of escort agency and massage parlor businesses in five Canadian census metropolitan areas. Following Weitzer’s (2009) recommendation, managers were interviewed as part of larger study that included people who sell and who purchase sexual services. We argue that one central responsibility of managers is to prevent and intercede in conflicts between workers and clients, as well as between workers, and that managers play an important role in the occupational health and safety of sex industry populations. These findings make a novel contribution to the sociology of service work literature; they are also important in the context of recent legal changes in Canada which made commercial-sex businesses and third-party material benefits from them, illegal.