Posts tagged ‘mobility’

Now that sounds familiar…40,000 sex workers on the move…again

Our media monitoring over the last week or so has picked up a steadily increasing number of news stories in which it is claimed that 40,000 sex workers will descend on South Africa in response to the increased demand for sexual services from football fans enjoying the World Cup. But where does this figure come from and what does it mean for sex work policy? 

Matt Greenall has picked up this issue on his blog  and, with his permission, I have posted it below. 

40,000 new sex workers for the South Africa world cup? Really? Anatomy of a number

David Bayever of South Africa’s Central Drug Authority’s announcement that the World Cup in South Africa would lead to 40,000 foreign sex workers being brought to South Africa (“many… from Eastern Europe”) has received blanket coverage in the press (http://tinyurl.com/ygpz8wp; http://tinyurl.com/ya35p3k; http://tinyurl.com/yfwfluh).  The only hint of a source for this very high figure is the “event organisers” (in the Telegraph article). 

But it looks like this particular figure wasn’t made up on the hoof by anyone in South Africa.  Try googling “40,000, world cup, prostitute, germany” and you’ll see that exactly the same figure was being given in the run up to the Germany World Cup in 2006 (http://bit.ly/clc6dN; http://bit.ly/c44hgv;  http://bit.ly/aLuhoM), amid accusations that the German government, having legalised prostitution in 2002, was facilitating trafficking and coercion.  (more…)

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11/03/2010 at 16:00 Leave a comment

Latin American Dialogue on Sexuality and Geopolitics

Between August 24th and 26th, 2009, the Latin American Dialogue on Sexuality and Geopolitics took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Organized by Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) in partnership with the Latin-American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM), the meeting gathered close to 50 participants from nine countries — academics, researchers and activists — who debated the conditions of sexual politics in the region.

The session Sexuality and Economics: visibilities and invisibilities featured:

  • Lucila Esquivel, coordinator of the Paraguayan Association of Sex Workers 
  • Ofélia Becerril, professor at the Colégio de Michoacán, in México;
  • Adriana Piscitelli, professor and researcher at the Núcleo de Estudos de gênero PAGU in UNICAMP (Brazil);
  • Maria Elvira Benítez, Anthropology PHD student at the Museu Nacional and program assistant at  the Centro Latino Americano em Sexualidade e Direitos Humanos (CLAM), in Rio de Janeiro; and
  • Bruno Zilli, anthropologist and also researcher at CLAM. 

 Many of the papers presented in this session focussed on sex work and the online overview of this session is an interesting read. The overview paper for the session, Prostitution as economic activity in urban Brazil, was written by Ana Paula Silva, professor at the Centro Universitário Augusto Motta (UNISUAM), in Rio de Janeiro, and Thaddeus Blanchette, professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) e also at UNISUAM. You can read a summary of their presentation and the comments that followed from it on the Sexuality Policy Watch website.

14/12/2009 at 19:01 Leave a comment

Lies, damn lies and statistics

One of the main tasks of PLRI is to improve the evidence base on sex work. We spend a lot of time grappling with existing research to try and understand its validity and the ethics of its manufacture. Understanding research and communicating it honestly and appropriately is not always easy. Sometimes research findings can be misunderstood and sometimes they are wilfully misrepresented to support a normative position.

A lively exchange yesterday on the message boards of the Guardian, a UK newspaper, has brought some of these tensions out into the open. The article that attracted all the interest, The truth of trafficking, was featured in the print edition of the newspaper. Articles on this topic appear in the Guardian on an almost weekly basis stimulated, in part, by proposed law reform that would criminalise the clients of sex workers who are ‘controlled for another person’s gain’.

It is not unusual for online media coverage of sex work related issues to set the message boards alight. Often they attract a strange breed of commentator. It is not unusual to find legitimate comment crowded out by remarks that are irrelevant, ill informed and at worst abusive.

What is striking about the interventions made by readers in response to this article – beyond how relevant and well argued their points are – is how they centre on the use/misuse of evidence. Specifically the assertion made by the author that, ‘In Britain, it is estimated that 80% of the 80,000 women in prostitution are foreign nationals, most of whom have been trafficked.’ (more…)

03/04/2009 at 16:54 1 comment


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