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Article
Publication date: 29 August 2008

Teela Sanders

This paper aims to examine, from a global macro perspective, the relationships between commercial sex, regulatory system and shadow economies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine, from a global macro perspective, the relationships between commercial sex, regulatory system and shadow economies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on eight years of research in the sex industries and literature from other sources that explore the nuances of the economic and social organisation of the sex markets in different countries.

Findings

First, a four point continuum is presented, based on the following types of economies: legal formal; legal informal; illegal informal and illegal criminal. Second, challenging principles that the sex industry is only “demand” driven, this paper looks at the nature of the sex industry, examining the dynamics of supply in the context of a prolific global shadow sex economy. Third, the concept of “supply” is broadened out to refer not only to women involved in selling direct and indirect sexual services but the legitimate and illegitimate service industries that are ancillary to the sex industry: namely: advertising, marketing, leisure industries, security, policing and welfare.

Originality/value

Contributing to the cultural analysis of the sex industry and drawing on original ethnographic observations, this paper stresses the relevance of the “supply” side of the sex industry, including ancillary industries that support the sex markets in the shadow economies.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Tony Kent and Reva Berman Brown

The purpose of this paper is to trace the changes in the retail outlets that supply erotic products and toys. It explores changes in attitude towards these products over…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace the changes in the retail outlets that supply erotic products and toys. It explores changes in attitude towards these products over the four decades under review.

Design/methodology/approach

The marketing mix (the 4Ps of marketing) is the lens through which the past and contemporary retail environment for such erotic products is examined.

Findings

What emerges from the story of the journey from backstreet to online is the change in attitude towards both shops and products, and the development of shops selling sexually‐arousing products to women, a trend unique to the last decades of the twentieth century.

Originality/value

The combination of an historical approach and the theoretical concept of the marketing mix provides a fresh view of the under‐researched area of erotic retailing.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Alan Marlow

Once established, street sex markets tend to be very resilient. This article describes the factors that generated an initiative to tackle street prostitution in an inner…

Abstract

Once established, street sex markets tend to be very resilient. This article describes the factors that generated an initiative to tackle street prostitution in an inner city area, and the tactics employed. Some of the measures were successful to a degree and improved public perceptions of the area but the overall model needs further development to be sustained.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Nick Cowen and Rachela Colosi

The purpose is to assess the impact of online platforms on the sex industry, focusing specifically on direct sex work, and evaluate what approaches to platform regulation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to assess the impact of online platforms on the sex industry, focusing specifically on direct sex work, and evaluate what approaches to platform regulation is likely to align with the interests of sex workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a review of interdisciplinary conceptual and empirical literature on sex work combined with analysis of key issues using a transaction cost framework.

Findings

Online platforms generally make sex work safer. Regulation aimed at preventing platforms from serving sex workers is likely to harm their welfare.

Research limitations/implications

Regulation of online platforms should take great care to differentiate coercive sex from consensual sex work, and allow sex workers to experiment with governance mechanisms provided by entrepreneurs.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates how a transactions costs approach to market behaviour as applied to personal services like ridesharing can also shed light on the challenges that sex workers face, partly as a result of criminalisation, and the dangers of over-regulation.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2045-2101

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Book part
Publication date: 20 October 2016

Teela Sanders

Radical feminists position any forms of sex work as gender violence against individuals and more broadly for all women in society. I argue against the ideological stance…

Abstract

Radical feminists position any forms of sex work as gender violence against individuals and more broadly for all women in society. I argue against the ideological stance that sex work is inherently violent and as a result should be outlawed, setting out how this ideology and dogma has allowed structural factors to persist. In this paper, I argue that despite the unacceptable high levels of violence against sex workers across the globe, violence in sex work is not inevitable. Through a review of the literature as well as drawing on research from the United Kingdom, I deconstruct the myth of inevitable violence. In turn I argue that violence is dependent on three dynamics. First, environment: spaces in which sex work happens has an intrinsic bearing on the safety of those who work there. Second, the relationship to the state: how prostitution is governed in any one jurisdiction and the treatment of violence against sex workers by the police and judicial system dictates the very organization of the sex industry and the regulation, health and safety of the sex work communities. Third, I argue that social status and stigma have significant effects on societal attitudes toward sex workers and how they are treated. It is because of these interlocking structural, cultural, legal, and social dynamics that violence exists and therefore it is these exact dynamics that hold the solutions to preventing violence against sex workers. Toward the end of the paper, I examine the UK’s “Merseyside model” whereby police treat violence against sex workers as a hate crime. It is in these examples of innovative practice despite a national and international criminalization agenda against sex workers, that human rights against a sexual minority group can be upheld.

Details

Special Issue: Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-040-4

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2010

Gregor Gall

The purpose of this paper is to examine contemporary sex worker labour unionism in a number of major western economies because it now faces an acute historical dilemma of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine contemporary sex worker labour unionism in a number of major western economies because it now faces an acute historical dilemma of being forced into acting as the antithesis of what it professes and aims to be, namely, elite pressure groups.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews and structured e‐mail dialogues with sex worker union activists were supplemented with an array of secondary sources and documentation, the authors of which are sex workers union activists themselves.

Findings

This loss of initial momentum for sex worker unionization projects concerned paucity of human resources, the limited spread of a “sex work” consciousness among sex workers, and ambivalence from potential allies. Consequently, sex worker unions concentrated on engaging in political lobbying on public policy, projects of legal reform of sex work, and helping provide individualized assistance to sex workers inside and outside their worksites on health issues, criminal offences and business matters. Thus, nascent or weakened labour unions in the sex industry acted as pressure groups concerned with work issues in a way in which other pressure groups operate on non‐work issues, thereby forsaking a key characteristic of labour unionism, namely, the focus of collective self‐activity in and on the workplace and from a basis on having a tangible presence in the workplace through membership among workers.

Practical implications

This research is of value to researchers, practitioners and policy makers, for it shows how workers seek collective interest representation through collective means in an environment of “atypical” work and employment.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a growing body of work studying sex work and sex workers from what can be termed conventional, sociological and organizational behavioural approaches. The result of this is to be able to understand the processes and outcomes of their activities and exchanges as economic and social transactions rather than deviancy.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Book part
Publication date: 20 October 2016

Katie Hail-Jares

Routine activity theory suggests the crime will happen when a willing offender encounters a vulnerable victim in the absence of a guardian (Cohen & Felson, 1979). Such…

Abstract

Routine activity theory suggests the crime will happen when a willing offender encounters a vulnerable victim in the absence of a guardian (Cohen & Felson, 1979). Such guardians can be actual individuals, but are more often the internal or external static factors associated with the environment. Sex work research has focused considerably on the role of such ecological factors in mitigating client-initiated violence among types of indoor sex work. Yet distinctions between outdoor sex markets, or “strolls,” have been underdeveloped. This paper is divided into two parts. In Part I, I identify three types of street-based prostitution strolls: identity-associated, drug-associated, and high track, using a combination of previous literature and observational data. In Part II, I examine how these stroll-level factors impact the demographics and acts committed by violent clients against Washington, DC street-based sex workers. Stroll-level factors do not impact client demographics, but are correlated with differences in types of violence and client action.

Details

Special Issue: Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-040-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2007

Margaret Melrose

This article considers the recommendations to the government's public consultation exercise for drug‐using sex workers (Home Office, 2004). It argues that the ‘problem’ of…

Abstract

This article considers the recommendations to the government's public consultation exercise for drug‐using sex workers (Home Office, 2004). It argues that the ‘problem’ of drug use by sex workers cannot be separated from wider social problems experienced by this group, especially the problem of poverty. It suggests that the new prostitution strategy conflates drug use and sex work, reducing involvement in the latter to a problem of the former. Thus, other social problems experienced by these women, particularly the problems of poverty and social exclusion, are side‐stepped. By so doing, the government absolves itself of responsibility to tackle the underlying conditions that drive women and young people into prostitution and problematic drug use, leading me to argue that the new strategy offers a ‘cheap fix’ for drug‐using sex workers.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Book part
Publication date: 18 February 2008

Jane Pitcher, Rosie Campbell, Phil Hubbard, Maggie O’Neill and Jane Scoular

Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour and nuisance to residents, particularly in urban areas, have been a major focus of UK Government policies over recent years. The…

Abstract

Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour and nuisance to residents, particularly in urban areas, have been a major focus of UK Government policies over recent years. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and subsequent legislation such as the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced stricter powers, particularly through the use of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), as a means of addressing problems in residential neighbourhoods. While there is clearly a need to tackle problem behaviour that impacts seriously on the quality of life of community members, evidence also suggests that behaviour previously tolerated by many is now targeted through enforcement measures, leading to increased polarisation and stigmatisation of some groups (Rowlands, 2005). At the same time, national agendas around Neighbourhood and Civic Renewal1 aim to minimise conflicts in neighbourhood renewal areas through fostering understanding and building bridges between different groups within diverse communities. There is thus some tension between the different agendas which impacts on how such issues are addressed within localities.

Details

Qualitative Urban Analysis: An International Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1368-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2002

Yardfon Booranapim and YLynn Mainwaring

This study examines the relationship between commercial sex workers and their employers using the results of interviews with 83 commercial sex workers from 35…

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between commercial sex workers and their employers using the results of interviews with 83 commercial sex workers from 35 establishments in the Bangkok area. The intentions were to gain insight into the motivations and working conditions of the workers and to see whether the nature of the employment relation gives support to the mainstream economic theory of “implicit contracts” concerning labour exchanges that occur in a risky world. Despite the existence of obvious risks (e.g. contracting HIV/AIDS) there is little evidence of risk‐sharing implicit contracts. This could in part be explained by the ignorance of risks shown by commercial sex workers. But even where, in the case of the poorest prostitutes, there is apparent evidence of risk‐sharing, it is argued that this is better explained in terms of a theory of debt‐bondage.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 29 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

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