sex work

Melissa Ditmore's picture

Research for Sex Work 11 is online

Marthe Bouvarde "Prostitutes of Europe" Research for Sex Work 11 is online. It's the only journal like it, with contributions from sex workers, health workers and NGO staff. Articles from India, Mali, Spain, the UK and the US, illustrated with beautiful photographs by Mathilde Bouvard, discuss pleasure and sex work, the failures of raids to help trafficked persons, violence against sex workers and more.

DANAYA SO, a sex worker organisation in Mali, co-produced this issue with the Network of Sex Work Projects. Photographs were supplied by Mathilde Bouvard. This bilingual issue is in English and French. Migration scholar  Laura  Agustín was the guest editor for this issue.

Hard copies will be distributed during the IAS Conference on Pathenogenesis to be held in Capetown, South Africa, 19-22 July 2009.

If you would like to receive a paper copy free of charge, please write to
editor at r4sw dot org.

RonWeitzer's picture

Some Lurid Prostitution Myths Debunked


Reprinted from the Providence Journal (Rhode Island), June 19, 2009
by Ronald Weitzer

In the past few weeks, advocates of criminalizing prostitution in Rhode Island have made many assertions about the “horrors” of prostitution to push legislation forward. Most of these claims are myths.

Caroline's picture

Prostitution decriminalised in Taiwan

via Mistress Aliya - Taiwan OKs legalized prostitution zone.

Taiwan began a process of legalizing prostitution Wednesday making the island the latest place in the world to decriminalize the world's oldest profession.

In six months, authorities will stop punishing Taiwan sex workers after prostitutes successfully campaigned to be given the same protection as their clients, a government spokesman said. [Reuters]

This after much campaigning by The Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters. Why?

Melissa Ditmore's picture

Guest Post: What defines 'adult content' and what exactly do you mean by explicit?

Editor's note: What follows is a guest post by Melissa Ditmore, originally published on RH Reality Check in her reader's diary.


I'm working on a research project about women's use of the Internet to get information about sexuality. I posted this to the site project partners use to communicate, about the site we use.

Many servers and forums are based in the US, therefore the US research team's description of context is relevant to each of Erotics Project research countries. Sex Work Awareness is the US organization, and co-founder Audacia Ray pointed out to me that Ning, the networking site used for the Erotics Project, instituted a policy excluding 'adult' groups on the site. The research project information is not 'adult' but this is part of the context that we will include, which we discuss on Ning, bringing this exercise to a meta-level. The real question is how this plays out and affects users.

Click here to read more

Elizabeth's picture

Bridging Communities in Sex Work Research

This is the edited version of the slideshow presentation from my talk today with Michael Goodyear at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) Easter/Midcoast joint regional meeting called "The Business of Sex."

NOTE: There appear to be some problems viewing this slideshow using some versions of Internet Explorer.

Click on this link:

Elizabeth's picture

Sex Work Awareness PSA: I am a sex worker

If you bought a 2009 NYC Sex Blogger Calendar, your money went to support the amazing nonprofit education and advocacy organization Sex Work Awareness. They've already done lots of good work with the money. One important project, Speak Out!, is a series of media workshops for sex workers, training them to deal with reporters and to make their own media. The day-long workshop has just been offered for the first time and by all accounts was very successful. At the end of the day participants produced this short public service announcement. It's only a minute long. Please watch it!


If you're curious about what participants thought about the workshop, here's a link to a very moving blog post by Calico, who describes some of the challenges and some of the accomplishments of the day.

Visit Sex Work Awareness at to learn more about their media advocacy and public education work.

Elizabeth's picture

Workers Memorial Day 2009


Today is Workers Memorial Day.

As always, when it comes to work and sex and society, I am thinking about some of the most vulnerable among us: sex workers. Sex workers are a large and diverse group. I don't mean to use the term as a euphemism for prostitutes, though I do include them. I mean to include all whose labor is in the providing of sexual or erotic services. I mean to include them whether their work is legal or criminalized, whether they are migrants or not, whether they have a great deal of autonomy or are working in exploitive conditions. No matter what, all those workers deserve to be safe.

The serial killings of prostitutes in places like Ipswich (UK), Vancouver, and Washington remind us of the particular dangers faced by prostitutes (or women suspected of being prostitutes) but it is important to remember that workers in the legal realms of erotic work are also put at risk as we've been tragically reminded recently by attack on Roberta Busby, who was set on fire outside a strip club in February or the murder of Julissa Brisman in a hotel in Boston earlier this month.

Three simple thoughts, then, on Workers Memorial Day:

1. No women are safe until prostitutes are safe. As long prostitutes are targets of violence, and as long as that violence can be perpetrated with much less risk of sanction, and as long as all women are potentially identifiable as prostitutes by virtue of owning our sexuality, no women are safe until prostitutes are safe.

2. An injury to one is an injury to all. When we don’t speak up to protect the safety of other groups, we cannot expect much support when we ourselves are targeted. Solidarity is important across groups of workers. Stigma and bias only serve to divide us. Whatever work we do, whether erotic or otherwise, whether legal or not, whether chosen or not, we need to stand up for each others rights to self determination and safety.

3. Those of us with more privilege (greater safety, more autonomy, more money, more education, more access to power) need to use it to improve conditions for those with less.

Workers deserve to be safe.

All workers.

In solidarity,


Michael's picture

The Business of Sex

"The Business of Sex" is the title of this year's meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (Eastern and Midcontinent Regions) in St Petersburg, Florida June 5-7. We think it is important that there be representation from all realms of knowledge, theoretical, empirical and experiential, and that there be free dialogue between researchers and practitioners. 

Rebecca Deos's picture

Interview with Lady Jayla: On being outed as a provider


Rebecca Deos

I met Lady Jayla online, on a message board for sex workers, when I had put out a call to sex workers who were outted and wished to tell their story. Immediately, Lady Jayla responded, which began a dialogue with myself, Jayla and Elizabeth.

Very quickly I felt a connection with Jayla, and her story, and was a bit suprised at how we shared many of the same emotional responses to our situations.

Jayla has a career in the medical field, and has two grown daughters, both of which have limited their contact with her since they found out about her sex work.

Click here to read the interview.

Michael's picture

"It's Wrong to Pay for Sex"

"It's Wrong to Pay for Sex", or is it? This is the title of a debate scheduled in NYC on April 21  by Intelligence Squared. It is actually the second debate on this topic that they have held, the first one being in London, UK on November 11 2008. The motion was soundly defeated, 449: 203. While we don't know how the speakers were chosen, the gendering is of interest. In the UK, each team consisted of one male and two females. The US debate will feature three women for the motion and one woman and two men against the motion. Is this significant? Maybe. While paying for or selling sex is not the sole property of any gender, it is the frame into which the dominant discourse has been forced that is highly gendered. 

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