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Regulate or Abolish Sex Work? Feminist Approaches to the Sex Industry in the European Union

Gabriela Artazo (Avd Valparaiso s/n, 5000, Argentina)
María Jesús Rodríguez-García (Carretera de Utrera KM 1, 41013, Spain)
Gabriela Bard Wigdor (Avenida Vives 2788, Argentina)

Gender Visibility and Erasure

ISBN: 978-1-80382-594-6, eISBN: 978-1-80382-593-9

ISSN: 1529-2126

Publication date: 15 August 2022


This chapter develops analytical and comparative approaches on the advance of the sexual exploitation industry in Eurozone countries, addressing specific regulations and norms on what is called sex work (when regulated by the state) or prostitution (countries with abolitionist normative frameworks). Indeed, in scenarios of economic and health recession due to Covid-19, this issue is controversial and of urgency in the public agenda due to the scarcity of statistical records that can account for the impact of the sexual exploitation market on women and feminized bodies and in relation to gender equality and equity indexes, as well as public policies. As a working assumption, it is proposed that there is a “sociological erasure” on the impact of the sexual exploitation industry on populations of high social vulnerability. Methodologically, on the one hand, a comparative analysis of indicators relevant to gender equality and human rights is developed, using second-order data to compare European countries with antagonistic legal regulations on the sex market. On the other hand, the perceptions, discourses and representations of experts in the field and key informants related to the sex market are analyzed. Finally, it is concluded that coercive prostitution affects feminized corporalities, especially migrant and poor women. Therefore, prostitution should be considered a violation of human rights and should be evidenced as an emergent of gender violence. Information and analysis regarding this industry are required to know how to intervene and contribute to reach new levels of gender equality, and to provide timely assistance to those who need it, according to the objectives for the Eurozone established in agreement with UNICEF’s global Goal 5.



Artazo, G., Rodríguez-García, M.J. and Wigdor, G.B. (2022), "Regulate or Abolish Sex Work? Feminist Approaches to the Sex Industry in the European Union", Segal, M.T. and Demos, V. (Ed.) Gender Visibility and Erasure (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 33), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 203-221.



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