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Sex Work, Prostitution, and Preventing HIV Kirsten Stoebenau, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Sex Work, Prostitution, and Preventing HIV Kirsten Stoebenau, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sex Work, Prostitution, and Preventing HIV Kirsten Stoebenau, Ph.D.

2 What is the difference between sex work and prostitution?

3 Feminist and Political Debates on Prostitution and Sex Work Abolitionist Discourse

4 Feminist and Political Debates on Prostitution and Sex Work Abolitionist Paradigm Radical Feminism Christian Fundamentalism Prostitution = Slavery Policy Response: Rescue and “rehabilitate” victims; e.g. The Anti-Prostitution Pledge

5 Examples of the Radical Feminist - Abolitionist “All male customers and managers are motivated by animus: “When men use women in prostitution, they are expressing a pure hatred for the female body” (Dworkin 1997, p. 145). “All male customers and managers are motivated by animus: “When men use women in prostitution, they are expressing a pure hatred for the female body” (Dworkin 1997, p. 145). “…if rape is defined as any unwanted sex act, then prostitution has an extremely high rate of rape because many survivors view prostitution as almost entirely consisting of unwanted sex acts or even, in one person’s words, paid rape.” (Farley, VAW 2004) “…if rape is defined as any unwanted sex act, then prostitution has an extremely high rate of rape because many survivors view prostitution as almost entirely consisting of unwanted sex acts or even, in one person’s words, paid rape.” (Farley, VAW 2004)

6 Feminist and Political Debates on Prostitution and Sex Work Abolitionist Discourse Sex Work Rights Discourse

7 Feminist and Political Debates on Prostitution and Sex Work Sex Work Rights Paradigm Sex workers and their advocates Sex Work = Legitimate form of income generation Policy Response: Demand human and workers’ rights; e.g. International Mandate for Prostitutes’ Rights (check wording)

8 The pro-rights sex work paradigm “We demand our voices are heard, listened to and respected. Our experiences are diverse, but all are valid, and we condemn those who steal our voice and say that we do not have the capacity to make decisions or articulate our needs.” “We demand our voices are heard, listened to and respected. Our experiences are diverse, but all are valid, and we condemn those who steal our voice and say that we do not have the capacity to make decisions or articulate our needs.” Sex workers should be able to determine, without interference or pressure from others, the nature and conditions of the sexual services provided by them.” Sex workers should be able to determine, without interference or pressure from others, the nature and conditions of the sexual services provided by them.” from:http://www.sexworkeurope.org/icrse/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=186&la ng=en-GB, accessed February 19, 2010

9 The pro-rights sex work paradigm The lack of acknowledgement of sex work as labour or a profession has adverse consequences on the working conditions of sex workers and denies them access to protection provided by national and European labour legislation. The lack of acknowledgement of sex work as labour or a profession has adverse consequences on the working conditions of sex workers and denies them access to protection provided by national and European labour legislation.

10 Abolitionism vs. Pro-Rights Who’s Winning? (And why does it matter?)

11 The Global AIDS Act The Global AIDS Act (HR-1298), passed into law in 2003 allocated 15 billion dollars over 5 years to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) The Global AIDS Act (HR-1298), passed into law in 2003 allocated 15 billion dollars over 5 years to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) –Re-authorized in 2008 for another 5 years Lobbying success of Christian Right and the Pharmaceutical Industry (50% of funds in the bill allocated for treatment) Lobbying success of Christian Right and the Pharmaceutical Industry (50% of funds in the bill allocated for treatment)

12 The Anti-Prostitution Pledge (e) LIMITATION- No funds made available to carry out this Act… may be used to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking. (e) LIMITATION- No funds made available to carry out this Act… may be used to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking. (f) LIMITATION- No funds made available to carry out this Act… may be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. (f) LIMITATION- No funds made available to carry out this Act… may be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.

13 …The Anti-Prostitution Pledge Pledge is applied to USAID-funded foreign NGOs through the Global AIDS Act in 2003 Pledge is applied to USAID-funded foreign NGOs through the Global AIDS Act in 2003 USAID-directive extends Pledge to US-based organizations in 2005 USAID-directive extends Pledge to US-based organizations in 2005

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15 Local constructions of women’s “sex work” in Antananarivo Mivarotena = to sell one’s own body Mivarotena = to sell one’s own body Three forms of mivarotena uncovered by the research: Three forms of mivarotena uncovered by the research: –Ambany (low) –Antonony (in between) –Ambony (high)

16 ...Local Constructions of women’s “sex work” in Antananarivo Women identified in the ambany (low) or antonony (in between) form are “Looking for money” Women identified in the ambany (low) or antonony (in between) form are “Looking for money” Women identified in the ambony (high) form are “Looking for foreign husbands” Women identified in the ambony (high) form are “Looking for foreign husbands”

17 The ambany form of “sex work”

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20 The antonony form of “sex work”

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23 The ambony form of “sex work”

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26 Ambany (low): practice informal exchanges of sex for basic needs Ambany (low): practice informal exchanges of sex for basic needs Antonony (in between): practice formal exchanges to support their families Antonony (in between): practice formal exchanges to support their families Ambony (high): practice informal exchanges to marry a foreign man Ambony (high): practice informal exchanges to marry a foreign man

27 Approaches by paradigm Abolitionists’ Prostitutes: Helpless, victims- Rescue, rehabilitate, save from their circumstances. Abolitionists’ Prostitutes: Helpless, victims- Rescue, rehabilitate, save from their circumstances. Pro-Rights Sex Workers’: Openly demand their rights to practice their profession free from criminalization and harm Pro-Rights Sex Workers’: Openly demand their rights to practice their profession free from criminalization and harm

28 ...Programmatic Effects of “The Pledge” SANGRAM (Sangli, Maharastra India) a UNAIDS “best-practices” sex worker peer- educator organization SANGRAM (Sangli, Maharastra India) a UNAIDS “best-practices” sex worker peer- educator organization –2005: SANGRAM refused to sign The Pledge and therefore denied funding from USAID –2005: Rescue International, US State Dept. funded organization, “rescues” minors from SANGRAM-affiliated brothels –US Congressman argues SANGRAM “re- trafficked” “rescued minors,” accuses USAID of negligence for funding SANGRAM

29 Sonagachi Project: Pro-rights Sex worker paradigm Occupational therapy approach Occupational therapy approach –How to improve sex workers working conditions and their health? Peer-education between sex workers Peer-education between sex workers


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