Follow us @PLRI

Court-based research: collaborating with the justice system to enhance STI services for vulnerable women in the US http://t.co/3vEaFQVO
The fractal queerness of non-heteronormative migrant #sexworkers in the UK by Nick Mae http://t.co/X7oGFeDI
‘only 31% of the sample of indirect sex workers reported having been engaged in commercial sex in the last 12 months’
Old but good. Violence and Exposure to HIV among #sexworkers in Phnom Penh http://t.co/rkrRGiBa
Someone is Wrong on the Internet: #sex workers’ access to accurate information http://t.co/aMSXhygd

Paulo Longo Research Initiative

PLRI aims to consolidate ethical, interdisciplinary scholarship on sex work to inform activism and advocacy that will improve the human rights, health and well being of sex workers.

More about PLRI

Review of the Evidence Base for an “Evidence-Based” Policy on HIV Programming with Sex Workers

A literature review produced by Matt Greenall. Programming with sex workers has long been recognised as an important aspect of tackling sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS. Reducing numbers of people in sex work is at the heart of the development by UNAIDS of a Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work. A review of literature published in databases listing key peer-reviewed journals was conducted in order to establish the evidence base for the “Three Pillars” approach set out in the UNAIDS Guidance Note, paying particular attention to evidence for and consequences of efforts to reduce sex work. The study revealed very weak support for efforts to combat entry to sex work, reduce demand for sex work, and promote exit from sex work, with only a handful of research papers being discovered in each case, displaying inconsistent results. (adapted from author) Theme:  Economics and Development review-of-the-evidence-base-for-the-three-pillars-22.pdf

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Banking Services for Sex Workers

There are a number of people who earn their living directly or indirectly through commercial sex work. Exploitation, vulnerability, forced labour; servitude, stigmatization characterizes Commercial Sex Workers (CSW). A sense of immorality, criminality, and informality associated with their work keeps them excluded from mainstream society. This clandestine work does not allow them to enjoy any social power. They are compelled to keep themselves away from participating in any social, political or economic activities with mainstream society. Moreover, the lack of education, economic opportunities and health opportunities further marginalizes them. Their involvement in protest movements can only be traced in the past decade. A major portion of the money earned by them is given to the brothel owners, pimps and police. In several instances, under the pretext of safety, brothel owners keep the money earned by the CSW leaving them indebted. Lack of financial literacy restricts opportunities for the CSW to move out of her profession. The first section of the paper encompasses commercial sex work and the dynamics associated with the same. The second section of the paper covers sex work situation in Mumbai and the government, private and civil society contribution for assisting commercial sex workers. The third section

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70 per cent women enter flesh trade voluntarily: study

An article in the Indian Express by Shruti Nambiar on the 3 May 2011. Pune: Seventy per cent of women sex workers are not pushed or forced into flesh trade but are drawn to it by the lure of higher income, according to the preliminary result of a survey released by women’s group Akshara. The preliminary results of the first leg of a pan-India study being conducted by two University of Pune researchers was released on April 30. The study by Department of Economics researchers Rohini Sahni and V Kalyan Shankar aims at establishing the premise that prostitution is part of an overall informal labour market in the country. The preliminary results of the survey of 3,000 women and 2,000 men and transgenders engaged in sex work reveal that 70.4 per cent of the women opt for sex work voluntarily and are not coerced into it, and higher income was possibility the primary reason. “We have been collecting data from 14 states and one Union Territory for the two years now. There have been other such researches relating to the topic, but they are more about ascertaining the number of women engaged in prostitution or in intervention in connection to

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Wards of the state: Young sex workers' special vulnerability to HIV and AIDS under the law

Young people of all ages have seen increased attention in HIV and AIDS discussions, yet there exists little to no policy guidance on providing rights-based universal access to HIV prevention, care, treatment and support for young people under the age of majority involved in the sex trade, especially those involved in what is legally defined as prostitution. The “Wards of the State” project begins an evaluation of current laws, policies and practices affecting young people in the sex trade’s access to rights-based services on a country to country basis. This poster presents the results of a preliminary survey of Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) member organizations. A qualitative policy scoping survey in English and French was distributed to NSWP member organizations around the world. The survey’s aim was gather information on policies affecting youth involvement in the sex trade in order to a) better understand the issues and b) to help guide the development of subsequent research on policy and its impacts on young people in the sex trade. The survey was structured to identify differences in written law and practices enforced. Responses were collated in order to identify the various pressures exerted by state power on young

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Hit & Run The impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on Sex Worker’s Human Rights in Thailand

This powerful research is proof that with the right support sex workers can conduct their own research and policy advocacy on topics that reflect their priorities. Se also Empowers video, Last Rescue in Siam. —————————————————————————– ‘Soon after we decided to do our research on anti trafficking in Thailand Empower was introduced to a human rights impact assessment tool that was developed in 2010 by the Netherlands human rights institution, Aim for Human Rights and the European anti-trafficking network La Strada International. The tool – The RighT Guide – provided us with an internationally recognized instrument to help us measure the human rights impact of anti-trafficking policy and practice.   Initially we imagined a small team of three or four women would make up the research team, undertaking interviews etc. working under the project name RATS-W. We thought the team would be comprised of two sex worker leaders, a legal advisor and someone with experience in research and documentation. However when we introduced the research idea at a project design and planning meeting of 90 sex workers held in Empower Nontaburi, it quickly became apparent that many more sex workers wanted to be directly involved. By the end of the research

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The Economics of the Commercial Sex Industry

A report by Ahlburg, D and Jensen, E. Commercial sex is a service and the non-price determinants of the demand for commercial sex are the same as for other commodities or services: the number of potential consumers, their preferences and incomes, the prices of other commodities and services, and perhaps their expectations of future prices and income. Since males, particularly single or divorced males, are the main demanders of commercial sex, an increase in their numbers can increase the demand for commercial sex. An increase in the numbers of postpubertal males can occur or a number of reasons, including high median age at marriage, prolonged postpartum abstinence, and migration and other factors that cause unbalanced sex ratios The authors examine the economics of demand and suggest that it is not clear whether demand rises or falls, respectively, when men’s income rises. It has been noted that the price of a condom may be high relative to the price of commercial sex. In the case of low-priced sex work,which is the bulk of the market. For the customer, a condom can increase the cost of sex by 10 per cent to 20 per cent or more, if available and be equal

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This condom delivers an anti-HIV drug, prevents pregnancy, then disappears

This is a very promising development (ed)   Researchers at the University of Washington have just published a paper in PLoS One describing how they’ll use “electrospinning” to create next-generation female condoms made from specially customized nano-fibers. According to a release about the study from University of Washington: Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets, or pills. Basically, the researchers’ proposal is to spin ultra-thin female condoms woven out of cloth-like fibers and medicine. Above, you can see a magnified image of the resulting condom, complete with sperm who have tried to smash their way through it and failed miserably. The condoms can be woven out of medicines that prevent HIV infections, providing protection against disease while also stopping sperm in their tracks. The electrospun condoms can be designed to dissolve within minutes, or over a period of several days. Women can discreetly put them on before a sexual encounter — either directly, or on a diaphragm or

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Listen to sex workers: support decriminalisation and anti-discrimination protections

Article in Interface: a journal for and about social movements, Volume 3(2): 271 – 287 (November 2011). Despite the massive achievements of the Prostitutes Collective of Victoria and the historic significance of this important organisation, sex workers as a community and the funds we had attracted drew an unhealthy level of interest from the health and community sector, stemming from a perception that sex workers were politically unable to run their own collective, and that the funds we had lobbied for could be better spent by people who were not sex workers. This perception was not helped by the very public failures sex workers were facing within the formal union structures in Victoria at this time, and the new complexities that the licensing system had introduced into sex workers lives generally. The collective was taken over and is now managed by a community health service. This was a political compromise that meant health services to sex workers continue to be delivered, but without the organising focus that the Prostitutes Collective of Victoria had embodied. The new project, called Resourcing for Health and Education (RhED), has elements of peer education but falls short of implementing affirmative action cross the other staff

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Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China .

The karaoke bar has become a ubiquitous symbol of urban China that is often taken to represent evidence of globalization, corruption, and sexuality. Tiantian Zheng’s book Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China finally helps the karaoke bar and its occupants come alive. Zheng returned to her hometown of Dalian, a port city in northeastern China formerly governed under Japanese colonial rule, to conduct this institutional ethnography of the karaoke bar. Indeed, she lived with hostesses inside a karaoke bar, which resulted in a rich ethnographic experience that allows her to illustrate the true role of karaoke bars in post-Mao Chinese society as well as the roles and identities of the hostesses and clients who sustain its social position. The end product is a description of how the karaoke bar contributes to construction of a new form of entrepreneurial masculinity. In doing so Zheng demonstrates how the karaoke bar, which is antithetical to state ideals, sits at the nexus of masculinity, power, and sex work in a way that serves the goals of the state, wealthy entrepreneurs, and poor, rural migrant women. Much of the story revolves around male and female resistance to dominant powers. In the

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