Sex Work
160 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jul 2014
Release Date:18 Sep 2013
Release Date:18 Sep 2013

Sex Work

Rethinking the Job, Respecting the Workers

UBC Press

In the early twentieth century, abolitionists sought to stamp out sex work by penalizing all involved. In the generation that followed, neo-abolitionists looked at the sex industry from a feminist perspective, claiming that workers were victims caught in a patriarchal matrix. Yet both groups agreed that the industry was a destructive and corrupting force that should be eliminated. In this radical volume, five academics and activists convey their vision of prostitution as work through chapters that explore the nature of the sex industry, the legal framework that seeks to control it, historical debates over its existence, the spectre of human trafficking, and community-based activism. The authors not only reclaim the place of sex workers in discussions of their lives and work but also oppose discourses that position sex workers as merely victims without agency.

This succinct volume will find a readership among students and scholars of criminology, sociology, social work, and women’s studies, as well as activists, non-profit workers, and general readers with an interest in contemporary debates around this subject.

Thorough and well documented, this book offers a succinct examination of the colliding discourses on sex work. Michael Goodyear, assistant professor, Faculty of Medicine and Women’s Centre, Dalhousie University

Colette Parent is a professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Chris Bruckert and Patrice Corriveau are associate professors in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Maria Nengeh Mensah is a professor at the École de travail social and the Institut de recherches et d’études féministes at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Louise Toupin is an independent researcher and lecturer on feminist studies in the Department of Political Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Käthe Roth has been a literary translator, working mainly in historical non-fiction, for more than twenty years.

Introduction / Colette Parent, Chris Bruckert, Patrice Corriveau, Maria Nengeh Mensah, and Louise Toupin

1 The Current Debate on Sex Work / Colette Parent and Chris Bruckert

2 Regulating Sex Work: Between Victimization and Freedom to Choose / Patrice Corriveau

3 The Work of Sex Work / Chris Bruckert and Colette Parent

4 The Idea of Community and Collective Action: Reflections on Forum XXX / Maria Nengeh Mensah

5 Clandestine Migrations by Women and the Risk of Trafficking / Louise Toupin


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