starman

An examination of exploitation in sex work.

48 posts in this topic

a study based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 483 sexworkers

by Dr. Suzanne Jenkins, Keele University, Staffs

Concluding comments

In brief, my research data leads me to conclude that there are a number of consequences of the current legal approach which have a negative effect; in some instances, exploitation of sex-workers was the direct result of particular legislation and in others, increased vulnerability to exploitation resulted indirectly, as the result of the relationships between law and social-stigma. For example, I argue that the current legal approach towards prostitution increases sex-worker‟s vulnerability to exploitation in four ways: first, by isolating sex-workers from working with other people, their safety is compromised; second; by penalising third-parties, sex-workers are prevented from accessing services that would help them to facilitate and organise their work more safely, and responsible organisers are discouraged from operating; third, the ambiguous legal status of prostitution and the negative effect this ambiguity has on social-stigma renders sex-workers at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with other people in the course of their work; fourth, sex-workers are often perceived (both by themselves and by potential exploiters) to be unprotected legally and are characterised therefore as „easy targets‟ for exploitation.

The effects of negative social stigma were also evident for most participants, regardless of gender. Although both men and women were adversely affected by social-stigma, for women, this appeared to have a greater impact and was mostly associated with the notion that women only resorted to sex-work because they had little choice. This places sex-workers, especially female sex-workers, in a weaker position in terms of negotiating with people around them. Furthermore, the stigma and confusion about the legalities of sex-work are exacerbated by media stereotypes and have been rekindled by recent discussions about the criminalisation of purchasing sex. Further criminalisation, either of clients or of sex industry organisers, would not only make sex-workers more directly vulnerable to exploitation, but would also add to the ambiguity as to what exactly constitutes legal behaviour within sex-work. In other words, even if further punitive measures were not directed at sex-workers themselves, the effect would be to add to an already complex set of laws that surround their work. If sex-workers are to be protected then the law should be clarified and simplified, and any legislation that is retained or introduced should focus only on identifiable exploitative behaviours rather than assumptions about the relationships between sex-workers and other people.

SUMMARY REPORT

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a study based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 483 sexworkers

by Dr. Suzanne Jenkins, Keele University, Staffs

Concluding comments

In brief, my research data leads me to conclude that there are a number of consequences of the current legal approach which have a negative effect; in some instances, exploitation of sex-workers was the direct result of particular legislation and in others, increased vulnerability to exploitation resulted indirectly, as the result of the relationships between law and social-stigma. For example, I argue that the current legal approach towards prostitution increases sex-worker‟s vulnerability to exploitation in four ways: first, by isolating sex-workers from working with other people, their safety is compromised; second; by penalising third-parties, sex-workers are prevented from accessing services that would help them to facilitate and organise their work more safely, and responsible organisers are discouraged from operating; third, the ambiguous legal status of prostitution and the negative effect this ambiguity has on social-stigma renders sex-workers at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with other people in the course of their work; fourth, sex-workers are often perceived (both by themselves and by potential exploiters) to be unprotected legally and are characterised therefore as

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the ambiguous legal status of prostitution and the negative effect this ambiguity has on social-stigma renders sex-workers at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with other people in the course of their work;

I wonder what the ambiguity is?

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I wonder what the ambiguity is?

The meaning of 'ambiguity' becomes clearer when read in the context of the preceding section (Law and Vulnerability to Exploitation) to that cited above. :eek:

B

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The meaning of 'ambiguity' becomes clearer when read in the context of the preceding section (Law and Vulnerability to Exploitation) to that cited above. :eek:

B

Ah, I see, as I read the (Law and Vulnerability to Exploitation) section, what is being said is that because "frustration about the lack of clarity regarding the legality of sex work was mentioned by 21% of those with whom this was discussed (n=23) participants, with 12 making reference to how it was a "grey area". Women who were new to the industry sometimes found it difficult to know how best to work without committing an offence." that is taken to mean that the "legal status of prostitution" is ambiguous? If that is so then what I find hard to understand is how one can consider that the total absence of legislation concerning the legal status of prostitution (which is where we are at the moment and have been for many years, and by definition makes prostitution, and thus the prostitute, not illegal) is ambiguous. You couldn't get more unambiguous if you tried.

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I wonder what the ambiguity is?

If you write a book you need an agent to sell it, if you are a musician you need a manager, if you are a WG a pimp could help you make more money.

So if prostitution is not illegal why is it illegal for prostitutes to work together or hire someone who can help finding them customers and make more money.

However, it is a bit confusing, she makes it sounds like she's talking about laws in the UK, but only

54.3% (n=239) of the survey respondents were resident in the UK.

Respondents in the US, Canada, Australia, Western Europe and New Zealand made up a further 42.5% (n=187). Only around 3.2% (n=14) came from outside of this group of countries.

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So if prostitution is not illegal why is it illegal for prostitutes to work together or hire someone who can help finding them customers and make more money.

If either or both of the above were true then you would expect, in the former case, that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for working in a brothel; and in the latter case that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for being pimped/controlled. To the best of my knowledge there is no legislation making it possible to prosecute prostitutes for working together and no legislation making it possible to prosecute a prostitute for being pimped/controlled.

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Thanks, Starman! Lovely piece of work by Dr Jenkins! :eek:

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You may all like to know that Dr Jenkins is a leading feminist lawyer; one of those 'feminasties'. :eek:

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You may all like to know that Dr Jenkins is a leading feminist lawyer; one of those 'feminasties'. :eek:

I don't regard all feminists as 'feminasties', although I do have some fundamental issues with 'feminism', as it is currently practised, or defined, or whatever the appropriate term is.

There are people who term themselves 'feminists' who talk a good deal of sense; Dr Jenkins seems to be one. (Germaine Greer and Camille Paglia also spring to mind.) There is another caucus of 'feminists' who appear to be rabidly dogmatic misandrists: it is with those, and with the extreme views that they seem to hold, that I take issue.

I sometimes use an analogy with Christianity. There are many good, sensible, sensitive, caring, intelligent, well-adjusted Christians who do a lot of good. There are also extremists who call themselves Christians - anti-abortionists who shoot doctors, for example, or those who believe in 'intelligent design' - who are somewhere off the scale of anything I can accept as normal.

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I don't regard all feminists as 'feminasties', although I do have some fundamental issues with 'feminism', as it is currently practised, or defined, or whatever the appropriate term is.

There are people who term themselves 'feminists' who talk a good deal of sense; Dr Jenkins seems to be one. (Germaine Greer and Camille Paglia also spring to mind.) There is another caucus of 'feminists' who appear to be rabidly dogmatic misandrists: it is with those, and with the extreme views that they seem to hold, that I take issue.

I sometimes use an analogy with Christianity. There are many good, sensible, sensitive, caring, intelligent, well-adjusted Christians who do a lot of good. There are also extremists who call themselves Christians - anti-abortionists who shoot doctors, for example, or those who believe in 'intelligent design' - who are somewhere off the scale of anything I can accept as normal.

I think I can agree with most of that. There are some misandrist feminists, but I still would not call them 'feminazis'.

Paglia is an interesting case of another kind who has upset many by going in for a certain amount of labelling of those feminists she disagrees with.

My fundamental point is the same - 'feminazi' is a term which abuses all feminists and is designed to do so. Those who are not social conservatives and do not want to be seen as such are well advised not to use the term.

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If either or both of the above were true then you would expect, in the former case, that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for working in a brothel; and in the latter case that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for being pimped/controlled. To the best of my knowledge there is no legislation making it possible to prosecute prostitutes for working together and no legislation making it possible to prosecute a prostitute for being pimped/controlled.

why do I get the impression that your specialty is sophistry rather than law :eek:

I'm sure you know what I meant by "illegal for prostitutes to work together"

if not, to use your own words:

Premises are classed as a brothel if more than one prostitute works in parallel (more then one prostitute working in the premises at the same time), or in series (more then one prostitute works on the premises at different times).

If the law wasn't vague and ambiguous you would only have 1500 post

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I'm sure you know what I meant by "illegal for prostitutes to work together"

if not, to use your own words:

Premises are classed as a brothel if more than one prostitute works in parallel (more then one prostitute working in the premises at the same time), or in series (more then one prostitute works on the premises at different times).

That is why I posted "you would expect, in the former case, that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for working in a brothel" and "To the best of my knowledge there is no legislation making it possible to prosecute prostitutes for working together", where is the ambiguity in that?

What legislation makes it illegal for prostitutes to work in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution? How many cases do you know of where prostitutes have been prosecuted for working in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution?

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If the law wasn't vague and ambiguous you would only have 1500 post

A lot of my posts are concerned with perceived vagueness and ambiguity (for example "Although as escorts most participants work within the law, frustration about the lack of clarity regarding the legality of sex work was mentioned by 21% of those with whom this was discussed (n=23) participants, with 12 making reference to how it was a "grey area"" seems to be taken as some sort of proof that the law is ambiguous), where I point out that legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute, is in no way shape or form vague or ambiguous, it cannot be vague or ambiguous because it does not exist, any vagueness or ambiguity surrounding the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute, is in the minds of those who perceive it, and that is not something that you can realistically ask for the law to be held responsible.

Now if you are of the opinion that the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute is vague and ambiguous because of the lack of some sort of legal statement that prostitution and by definition the prostitute is not illegal, then that is a different story, but a very impractical story because where do you stop?

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That is why I posted "you would expect, in the former case, that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for working in a brothel" and "To the best of my knowledge there is no legislation making it possible to prosecute prostitutes for working together", where is the ambiguity in that?

What legislation makes it illegal for prostitutes to work in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution? How many cases do you know of where prostitutes have been prosecuted for working in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution?

No one would be charged with working in the brothel but someone might be charged for manging it. In principle, all the women might be charged if they were deemed to be equal partners in a co-operative. Alternatively and, more likely, whichever one owned or rented the property would be construed as the madam(e) and charged on that basis as the softest target for filling Plod's quota.

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No one would be charged with working in the brothel but someone might be charged for manging it. In principle, all the women might be charged if they were deemed to be equal partners in a co-operative. Alternatively and, more likely, whichever one owned or rented the property would be construed as the madam(e) and charged on that basis as the softest target for filling Plod's quota.

Agreed, but as far as I can see that neither changes the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute, nor does it make the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute, ambiguous, surely that just emphasises the crime of owning/managing etc. a brothel?

As far as I can see, and maybe this is a bit of a generalisation, the Elephant in the corner of the room is the legislation concerning brothels, it is rarely mentioned that what most people want is the repeal or re-draft of the legislation of the legislation concerning brothels, if this is the case then why not say so rather than trying to claim that the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute is ambiguous. IMHO the best thing is to leave the the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute alone, it is perfect as it stands, it doesn't exist and therefore it is "not illegal" and if legislation doesn't exist then you can't be charged with it.

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I wonder what the ambiguity is?

One clear example is that although brothels are illegal, whether the law is enforced or not seems to depend on the policy of the particular police force/local council.

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One clear example is that although brothels are illegal, whether the law is enforced or not seems to depend on the policy of the particular police force/local council.

But that is to do with the law(s) concerning the running/managing etc. of a brothel, and nothing to do with "legal status of prostitution" and by definition the prostitute.

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I think I can agree with most of that. There are some misandrist feminists, but I still would not call them 'feminazis'.

Paglia is an interesting case of another kind who has upset many by going in for a certain amount of labelling of those feminists she disagrees with.

My fundamental point is the same - 'feminazi' is a term which abuses all feminists and is designed to do so. Those who are not social conservatives and do not want to be seen as such are well advised not to use the term.

Misandrists are a subset of feminists are a subset of women

Femin*z*, whether the term is acceptable or not, was designed and is used as term of abuse for misandrists not the larger subset of feminists

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But that is to do with the law(s) concerning the running/managing etc. of a brothel, and nothing to do with "legal status of prostitution" and by definition the prostitute.

Points One and Two that the author makes would be addressed by allowing WGs to work in Brothels in all areas of the country, without the worry of them being closed down on the whim of the local authorities, so I think it has everything to do with it.

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Misandrists are a subset of feminists are a subset of women

Femin*z*, whether the term is acceptable or not, was designed and is used as term of abuse for misandrists not the larger subset of feminists

Not true. First use was against women who were pro-abortion - woman's rght to choose.

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Points One and Two that the author makes would be addressed by allowing WGs to work in Brothels in all areas of the country, without the worry of them being closed down on the whim of the local authorities, so I think it has everything to do with it.

The use of the term "legal status of prostitution" encompasses all prostitutes, not just those that work in brothels, so making the point that the legislation concerning brothels be either repealed or redrafted is in no way going to change the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute (which IMHO happens to be perfect and should be left alone), that is only going to change the legal status of the brothel owner/manager etc.

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The use of the term "legal status of prostitution" encompasses all prostitutes, not just those that work in brothels, so making the point that the legislation concerning brothels be either repealed or redrafted is in no way going to change the legal status of prostitution and by definition the prostitute (which IMHO happens to be perfect and should be left alone), that is only going to change the legal status of the brothel owner/manager etc.

But by legalising brothels you would possibly enable women to work in them that currently have to work on the street, if they live in an area where brothels are not tolerated - surely this was the point the author was making?

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But by legalising brothels you would possibly enable women to work in them that currently have to work on the street, if they live in an area where brothels are not tolerated - surely this was the point the author was making?

If that is what the author was saying then I agree entirely, however I am always extremely suspicious, and I think with some justification, when I see terms like "legal status of prostitution" etc. I always get the niggly little feeling that either the wrong words have been used in the wrong context, or should not have been used at all, or worse still that the meaning of the words are not fully appreciated, or even worse that it is another way of joining the "legalise prostitution" brigade. I am of the opinion that if somebody wants to say "repeal the brothel laws" then they should say so in plain English, and leave the perfect legal status of prostitution, and by definition the prostitute, well alone.

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That is why I posted "you would expect, in the former case, that prostitutes could and would be prosecuted for working in a brothel" and "To the best of my knowledge there is no legislation making it possible to prosecute prostitutes for working together", where is the ambiguity in that?

What legislation makes it illegal for prostitutes to work in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution? How many cases do you know of where prostitutes have been prosecuted for working in a brothel (singly or together) for the purposes of prostitution?

I didn't mean that the WGs themselves were breaking any laws, neither does the author:

by penalising third-parties, sex-workers are prevented from accessing services that would help them to facilitate and organise their work more safely, and responsible organisers are discouraged from operating;

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