A response to the sex work debate

Issue: 127
Posted: 25 June 10

Gareth Dale and Xanthe Rose

With trade unions and feminists divided over the question of how to understand sex work in terms of women’s oppression and whether to relate to sex workers when they organise, it is timely that International Socialism has opened up this debate.1 Sex workers led the May Day march in London this year with Thierry Schaffauser, president of the International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW), speaking from the platform about the need for solidarity between all workers. At another event in London, the Reclaim The Night march last November, arguments between sex worker rights activists and abolitionist feminists came to a head, with the former being shunned and heckled by some of the latter. Sex worker rights activists were interrogated by police before being allowed to join the march, allegedly on the instruction of one of the stewards.2

In these pages we offer a response to Pritchard’s article, as well as some general remarks concerning the role sex work plays in women’s oppression and vice versa.

Sex work as work

There is much in Pritchard’s article with which we concur. The sex industry is structured by capitalist exploitation, poverty and women’s oppression. It is shaped by neoliberalism and globalisation, with economic restructuring in the Global South as well as in advanced capitalist economies influencing people’s work strategies and the flows of migration. In Britain neoliberal governments of both blue and pink hues have created unprecedented levels of inequality in recent decades, leaving many women with fewer opportunities for secure well-paid work and making sex work a more attractive option for some. We also agree with Pritchard’s proposals: the decriminalisation of sex work, the rescinding of immigration legislation, and the provision of well-paid jobs for all, affordable childcare and free education, such that other options are available to those who engage in sex work.

But we search in vain in Pritchard’s essay for a clear position on how socialists should orient towards sex work and sex workers, especially when they organise. Her support for their collective organisation is hesitant, and sections of her article come close to implying that sex workers cannot organise. This underlies a rather condescending stance in her conclusion, which is entirely focused on how to enable sex workers to leave the sex sector, and not at all on self-organisation. At times her argument relies upon the language of a moralistic feminist discourse that blames individual sex workers for “reinforcing” women’s oppression through their work or “normalising” and “legitimising” sex work when they attempt to improve their conditions.

Pritchard situates the debate on sex work around two arguments: whether clients should be criminalised in order to reduce the demand for sex, and whether sex work is work “like any other”. If it is, she seems to suggest, sex workers should organise in unions just like other workers. But whether sex work is work like any other is an unproductive starting point on which to base discussion of sex workers’ organisation. So too is its corollary: that the prospects of unionisation (or other forms of collective organisation) depend upon whether or not it is “fundamentally” like other work. All work is in some respects the same as other work (otherwise it wouldn’t be work) and in some respects different (with different labour processes, producing different use values). Is the sex worker being compared with the au pair, rickshaw puller, cosmetic surgeon, wet nurse, Ofsted inspector, masseur, sewage worker or hospital nurse? Is sex work like factory work? One sex worker describes her work as “repetitive manual labour”, producing “assembly-line orgasms”.3 Like jobs in the prison service or in the manufacture of uranium-tipped air to surface missiles, it shares the general characteristic of work (though unlike them it does not serve the state’s repressive apparatus). The sex industry is overtly involved in women’s oppression, as are the advertising and fashion industries. Conversely, women’s oppression is involved in sex work: for example it belongs to a general category of high-touch, personal-interaction service work, that is associated with caring and/or desire, and as such is coded as “naturally” women’s work and held in low regard.4

Not all sex work is wage labour and, like many jobs, it can occupy a variety of positions within society’s class structure. The entrepreneur who runs a private massage parlour (“I only take the sweet ones”)5 is a world away from street prostitution, let alone sex slavery. However, many are wage workers within a capitalist labour process, including workers in brothels, escort agencies, lap dancing clubs, and the pornography industry. As Marx explains in Theories of Surplus Value, the brothel owners, as capitalist employers, buy the temporary disposal of sex workers’ labour power, the sale of whose services to the public provides them with wages and profit. This produces surplus value, which they appropriate.6 As workers within a capitalist labour process, sex workers are subject to managerial power, have little control over decision making (eg regarding prices, earnings, services provided) and may be vulnerable to speed-ups and an intensification of duties.7 Many obtain earnings primarily in the form of tips rather than regular wages but, like waiters, this does not make them any less subject to managerial control and the threat of being fired.

But surely, one might think, sex work is not merely different in the way that all forms of work are different, but it is different in a different way. And that must have something to do with the commodification of sex. In Pritchard’s words, “The selling of sexuality to clients transforms the body into an object, a thing for someone else to use.” Sex, she adds, “is part of our human nature [and] a central part of an individual’s identity”. For many socialists and feminists this is precisely what marks prostitution as being “fundamentally different” from other forms of labour. Carole Pateman’s formulation is probably the best known. Although no form of labour power can be entirely separated from the body, she maintains, “only through the prostitution contract does the buyer obtain unilateral right of direct sexual use of a woman’s body”.8

This is not wholly wrong, but it is far from being the whole story. An individual’s core identity—whatever it is—may well include their sexuality but surely cannot be capacious enough to include all sexual acts in which they engage. If that is so, selling a sexual service need not be perceived as selling part of one’s self. There is evidence to suggest that some prostitutes do feel as though they are selling their selves in a very real sense, with deeply dispiriting consequences for their sense of identity and self-respect.9 Others, however, see their trade as selling sex or sexual acts for a limited period of time. “We don’t sell our bodies any more than nurses sell theirs”, writes one sex worker. “Like all workers, we sell our labour power or services. It is these services, not our bodies, that are commodified”.10 Thierry Schaffauser maintains that sex workers engage in the “sale of sexual services” between two adult subjects, rather than the sale of their bodies. The latter formulation “reinforces the idea of sex workers being owned and women as objects”. Being paid for sex, he goes on

doesn’t make me more of an object than when I was working for the minimum wage. What makes me an object is political discourses that silence me, criminalise my sexual partners against my will, refuse me equal rights as a worker and citizen, and refuse to acknowledge my self-determination and the words I use to describe myself.11

In their book on prostitution, Teela Sanders, Maggie O’Neill and Jane Pitcher argue that sex workers are normally able to put certain body parts and acts “off limits”, such that clients do not have complete control.12 They deploy techniques of splitting the self—the “real” self from the “working” self—with the adoption of different names and appearances; and they ensure emotional distance from their work by controlling the time available for the encounter and limiting the range of physical contacts.13 Like other forms of “emotional labour” (such as social work), in which workers are required to perform expressions or emotions designed to produce an emotional state in another person, prostitution involves the faking of emotions: what is sold is not the “real self” but an enaction.14 In Sophie Day’s assiduously researched book on the subject, she describes how her interviewees engaged in “sex at a distance”; they “claimed that they were not selling their insides, their souls, selves or femininity”. Rather they deployed techniques that enabled them to live in “two bodies”, to separate out the exterior, public, working body from the inner, private self. From this perspective, Day concludes, “sex workers are not selling their inner selves; to the contrary, genital sex is largely de-eroticised and dissociated from non-commercial life and from the self”.15

Some debate exists as to whether emotional distancing and disengagement intensify the psychological toll of sex work or whether they represent a sign of professionalism, typical of the sale of emotional labour. It is perfectly possible for both to be true, but it would be invidious to see distancing/disengagement as a positive strategy for some forms of work and pathological when practised by sex workers. More importantly, distancing/disengagement problematises Pritchard’s (and Pateman’s) arguments, which rely upon an idealised view of sexual activity as inextricable from our essential, inner selves.16

Stigma and criminalisation

In disputing the claim that sex work is “fundamentally different” we are not pretending that it is easy. Conditions can be tough, sometimes brutally so. Street sex workers in particular suffer from high rates of murder, rape, assault, abuse and robbery, and in the rare instances when they report these crimes, police are often unhelpful.17 Many have lost custody of their children, and still more experience a “general wear and tear of the spirit”: low self-esteem and depression.18

For abolitionist feminists, such as Sheila Jeffreys, the harms experienced by prostitutes are due to clients (“prostitutors”) rather than the cultural stigma that arises from the moralism surrounding sex and its sale, the legal framework which criminalises many aspects of that work, or the material conditions imposed upon sex workers.19 She is able to make this assessment because, for her, prostitution is a “harmful cultural practice”, “the very model of women’s subordination”, the instruments of which are individual men. She ignores evidence that suggests that the vast majority of clients do not rape, rob or mistreat the people from whom they buy sex. “The punters may be sad and inadequate,” one sex worker reports, “but for the most part they are grateful and respectful”.20 Some men who buy sex are very far from domineering,21 and a recent British study found that most are not derogatory about sex workers.22 It is the conditions of sex work that contribute more to its harms than the work itself: street workers are highly vulnerable; “high class” escorts are not. Where sex workers have control over their working conditions, job autonomy and access to resources, they are able to combat many of the abuses mentioned.23

The more powerful factors that undermine the conditions of sex work are, at the general level, social inequality and women’s oppression and, specifically, state repression and stigma. Studies have shown that the stigma associated with sex work creates greater psychological difficulties for sex workers than the work itself, and that sex work is not inherently traumatising.24 The stigma attached to sex work derives essentially from the institution of marriage and the family. Historically, these institutions have fulfilled a variety of social functions, including the guaranteeing of property inheritance through a line of lawful heirs, and organising the reproduction of the working class. Within capitalist society they are accompanied by a particular moral economy that posits the proper place of sexual intimacy as within the family. Sex work is its negation, and as such it disrupts conventional readings of public and private. The selling of sex, argues Sophie Day, “confounds the separation between a public economy and a private realm of socially significant relationships. In this view, the realm of the market is contaminated by women who live their lives in public, and the realm of the home is likewise threatened by the introduction of money and economic thinking”.25

In the public economy, the world of work, we submit to impersonal organisation in exchange for money payment; at home we express ourselves through intimate relations sustained by unpaid services. In capitalist society, the anthropologists Chris Hann and Keith Hart point out, money

stands for alienation, detachment, impersonal society, the outside; its origins lie beyond our control (the market). Relations marked by the absence of money are the model of personal integration and free association, of what we take to be familiar, the inside (home)... If modern capitalist societies encourage individuals to cultivate an integrated self, this daily oscillation between ideal-typical extremes poses severe existential problems. No wonder that “working girls” who shamelessly trade sexual intimacy for money outside the home are often the objects of moral panics. This blatant confusion of cultural categories undermines the huge institutional effort to keep women, sex and money in their proper place.26

There is a pervasive stigma attached to prostitution, but feeding off and greatly compounding it are the responses of states. The discourses and policies that prevail today are rooted in puritanical campaigns against sex work that date back to Victorian times. Most laws relating to prostitution in the UK come from a tradition that seeks not to protect women but to eradicate an immoral trade. Governments have criminalised the selling of sex, aspired to regulate the morality and hygiene of prostitutes, and branded sex workers as outcasts. In Britain some forms of sex work today are legal, but others are hemmed in by criminal law, creating a punitive framework that ensures they remain illicit and underground.

Pritchard outlines the two basic state responses to sex work: either to eradicate it on moral grounds or to see sex as a commodity and regulate the industry. Neither, she rightly points out, reduces levels of exploitation.27 Laws that criminalise prostitution drive it underground where women are less protected, and leave sex workers vulnerable to coercion and force, not just by men who seek to abuse the vulnerable but at the hands of their bosses, police and immigration officers. In a recent case at Luton Crown court a sex worker was charged with the offence of “keeping a brothel”. She argued in her defence that she wanted to work from the safety of her own home and with other women, but current law states that the sale of sex between two consenting adults is only legal if the prostitute works alone. Women can work alone without the support, safety and camaraderie of other workers, or they can work with others and risk imprisonment and seizure of wages and assets. It is the same laws, moreover, that dissuade women from reporting crimes against them, from seeking legal redress, accessing services or speaking out about their experiences. They leave women with criminal convictions that make it harder for them to get other work, should they wish to quit the industry.

While legislative changes will not address the sexism or the material conditions that give rise to the industry, removal of laws that criminalise sex workers (decriminalisation) should be a central demand for anyone who advocates sex worker rights. We agree with Pritchard that this is the right road to go down. But the collective organisation of sex workers is vital too, and it is on this issue that she is least convincing.

Sex workers’ collective organisation

“If the women who work in lap dancing clubs are able to organise to improve their wages and conditions,” writes Pritchard, “then socialists must support them.” But that is the only unambiguous such message of support in her article, and even it is on the luke side of warm. She does cite instances of sex workers’ organisation in Argentina, Uruguay, Guatamala, Kenya and India. But in the West, she implies, sex worker organisation faces all but insurmountable obstacles. Her discussion of this issue focuses almost entirely on the prospects of street workers to organise—a group of sex workers who are only a small percentage of those working in the industry and who are admittedly the least likely to organise.28 Street sex workers, Pritchard says, “are marginalised, isolated and desperate, where there is little possibility of fighting for collective rates for the job, of negotiating collectively with clients or contributing to pension schemes”. The possibility of collective organisation at work, she adds, depends upon a definite set of criteria: “the sharing of conditions, a common employer, and shared grievances which can be opposed”.29

It is self-evidently the case that sex workers’ collective organisation, in the West as elsewhere, faces structural and social barriers. Much sex work is individualised or takes place in small workplaces, and this is encouraged by laws which, by discriminating against normal labour frameworks, encourage informal, freelance practices. Although many sex workers are in formally employed wage labour (some chatline workers, some brothel prostitutes, some erotic dancers), many are independent contractors and/or have small business aspirations and, as such, are pitted in direct economic rivalry. But these obstacles apply to many other disparate and diffuse sections of the workforce, such as plumbers or freelance journalists or domestic workers.

In this regard, domestic workers are a particularly apt comparator. Like sex workers, they perform demanding, sometimes demeaning, personal service work, often in isolation. Like sex work, domestic work has been shaped by neoliberal globalisation. Many domestic workers are migrants looking for work in response to labour market restructuring, and are affected by neoliberal policy shifts that encourage sub-contractual and casual work arrangements over direct employment. The high proportion of immigrants means that concerns over language barriers and migration status loom large. Yet no one argues against the right of domestic workers to organise—and socialists rightly support the “Day without Immigrants” initiative in France.30 The difficulties and barriers to organising are no reason to reject the possibility of a section of workers organising or to offer merely tepid support when they do.

Sex workers can be reluctant to organise because participation in collective struggle can bring a loss of anonymity. Given the extra-legal nature of their work, exposure can endanger them in a range of situations: keeping their children, harassment by authorities and the public, loss of housing opportunities, arrest and incarceration, threats to family life and family members, and loss of “day jobs” in other industries. Sex workers are caught in a dichotomy, as Teela Sanders and her colleagues point out: “If they organise, they will be silenced by loss of freedoms; if they are silent, those freedoms will never be realised”.31

Despite these barriers, however, sex workers in Western countries—including Germany and the Netherlands, Canada and the US, Australia and New Zealand—have unionised. They have raised a range of grievances, including working conditions, charges, health testing, pay rates and, for chatline workers, questions of the management monitoring of performance. In France sex workers’ campaigns against police inaction on solving murders against abuses at hands of the police led to the formation of the French Collective of Prostitutes, which spurred the growth of similar organisations throughout Europe and beyond. In Britain the GMB union has a sex workers’ branch, the IUSW, which has helped bring about codes of conduct in table dancing clubs, greater contractual rights and free English language lessons for sex workers. It has also fought and won an unfair dismissal case.32 In North America sex workers’ organisations have campaigned against the arrest and quarantining of prostitutes, have worked with gay men to curb the scapegoating of both groups for HIV transmission, and have demanded the right to representation at municipal council meetings and government commissions of inquiry. They have sponsored conferences, and have launched legal challenges on prostitution-related laws.33

Bolshevism and sex work

The section of Pritchard’s article in which she discusses sex worker collective action begins with a passage on Lenin and Alexandra Kollontai in post-revolutionary Russia. She introduces Kollontai’s views on prostitution and mentions Lenin’s view that the efforts of one Communist woman in Hamburg to organise sex workers represented a “morbid deviation”, given the more important tasks that activists confronted in other industries. But Pritchard fails to put Lenin and Kollontai’s arguments in context.

The article by Kollontai from which Pritchard quotes argues that the Bolshevik government should campaign against prostitution. Kollontai gives three reasons in support of this position. First, it is because sex work is a form of “work avoidance”. As such, it “harms the national economy and hinders the further development of the productive forces”. Economic stability and industrial progress can only be achieved “if we harness the efforts and energies of the workers and if we organise the available labour power of both men and women in the most rational way.” If one chooses to apply this argument to present circumstances, one should bear in mind the slogan that Kollontai derives from her argument: “Down with the unproductive labour of housework and child-minding!” For, she goes on to explain, the Bolsheviks do not campaign against prostitution as a special category “but as an aspect of labour desertion”, alongside speculators and market traders—and housewives!

It is not important whether a woman sells herself to one man or to many, whether she is classed as a professional prostitute selling her favours to a succession of clients or as a wife selling herself to her husband. All women who avoid work and do not take part in production or in caring for children are liable, on the same basis as prostitutes, to be forced to work.34

As a second reason for campaigning against prostitution, Kollontai cites the fact that it “spreads venereal disease”. Her third is that it

destroys the equality, solidarity and comradeship of the two halves of the working class. A man who buys the favours of a woman does not see her as a comrade or as a person with equal rights. He sees the woman as dependent upon himself and as an unequal creature of a lower order who is of less worth to the workers’ state. The contempt he has for the prostitute, whose favours he has bought, affects his attitude to all women.

But this, she makes abundantly clear, applies to marriage too:

A relationship is harmful and alien to the collective only if material bargaining between the sexes is involved, only when worldly calculations are a substitute for mutual attraction. Whether the bargaining takes the form of prostitution or of a legal marriage relationship is not important. Such unhealthy relationships cannot be permitted, since they threaten equality and solidarity.35

In a communist society, by contrast,

Sexual relationships will be based on a healthy instinct for reproduction prompted by the abandon of young love, or by fervent passion, or by a blaze of physical attraction or by a soft light of intellectual and emotional harmony.

We find much of value in Lenin and Kollontai’s approach: they eschew a moralistic attitude, insisting that important factors responsible for prostitution are low wages, social inequalities and the economic dependence of women upon men. They are committed to women’s political emancipation, economic equality and non-nuclear, non-patriarchal forms of family, and (for Kollontai, if not for Lenin) to a tolerance of a wide variety of sexual relationships, whether temporary or lasting, and whether based “in love, passion or passing physical attraction”.36 But Pritchard neither contextualises nor accurately represents their views. They were writing in a particular age, at a specific historical conjuncture. Kollontai was addressing a socialist movement in power, beset by enemies in a civil war. “All hands on deck” was the message of her first point; it applied to prostitutes and child minders and housewives, and applies to none of those groups today. Her second, on STDs, may have a degree of empirical purchase but this in no way justifies a campaign against prostitution. Her third reason for campaigning against prostitution is the only one that has any validity today, but it is complicated by the fact that she sees the identical problem manifested in marriage. The clear implication is that the problem (ie dividing the working class) is caused not so much by prostitution as such as by deeper structures of women’s oppression, the nuclear family and commodification that nourish it.

As regards Lenin, we don’t think his writings on sex or prostitution have survived the passing years quite so well as his other contributions. His was an era before the widespread availability of contraception, in which “1+1=3” commonly applied. (As Lenin put it, “It takes two people to make love, and a third person is likely to come into being.”) As such, he declaimed that sex should be seen as “a duty to the community”, while promiscuity and “sexual laxity”—and alcohol too—were to be shunned as symptoms of bourgeois degeneration. Indeed, the “section of our youth” that compared sexual desire to the thirst for a glass of water “has gone mad, absolutely mad”.37 That he candidly profiles himself as “a morose ascetic” in the same text in which he castigates sex worker organisation as a “morbid deviation” might have given Pritchard pause for thought before she quoted that eccentric phrase.

Where do we follow Lenin and Kollontai and where do we depart from their approach? We agree that the issue should not be approached as a question of individual moral behaviour, and that changing the material circumstances of women in society is indispensable. We should be fighting for a world where women do not have to sell sex in order to gain a modicum of economic independence or feed their families or fund an addiction.38 Concretely, sex work arises among early school leavers who find themselves in dead-end, low-paid jobs, among students when the government cuts study grants, or when migrant workers arrive to find they face a choice between skinning chickens for £3 per hour or giving
a blow job for £30.39

We don’t know whether the Communist woman in Hamburg should have invested her energies elsewhere but she was right to see prostitutes as human beings with agency, as workers capable of collective organisation. We don’t know whether Kollontai was right to campaign against prostitution in Soviet Russia in 1921, but in the here and now this is emphatically not something we would advocate. Satisfying and comfortably paid work should be available for all, and the gender pay gap should be closed, but the disappearance of sex work is not a realistic short-term prospect.

That sex can be sold is a result of the fact that labour under capitalism has been commodified—exploitation didn’t arise because sex is exchanged for money; rather sex became a commodity because of alienation. As Marx argued, a society based on wage labour leads to the most profound alienation of human beings from their natural capacities. The essence of human beings, their labour, is bought and sold according to market forces in the face of which they seem powerless. The universal extension of “saleability” entails the reification of human capabilities—their conversion into “things” that can then appear as commodities on the market, and the atomisation of the social body into isolated individuals who pursue their own limited, particularistic aims “in servitude to egotistic need”.40

This process, Marx argued, influenced the totality of human life, including relationships of love and sex. The commodification of sex fragments human sexuality into a series of de-socialised, discrete acts. In porn, for example, sex does not centre upon human beings responding to one another but is depicted as outside social relations; it portrays the physical act, in repetitive and objectified form, for an anonymous viewer.41

That alienation imbues all social and sexual relationships is not to say that we cannot find enjoyment or fulfilment through sex, but that our sexuality and expressions of it are knee-deep in what Marx called the “muck of ages”—the distortions to our understanding of ourselves and others due to the accumulation of centuries of oppressive social relations. They are stifled by the way sexism and racism enter into personal relationships, by the perception of women as sex objects, by the exclusivity required by the institution of the family and its inherent bias towards heterosexual relationships, and by the corrosive dust of religious morality.

The counter-trend is working class solidarity and emancipatory struggles. A long-term aim is to eliminate the conditions that breed sex work, as it is to eliminate all forms of exploitative work. In the short term the priority is to keep women (and men and transgendered people) in the sex industry safe. The emphasis has to be on building confidence and organisation within the working class in all sectors, including sex workers.


Notes

1: Pritchard, 2010.

2: Letter written by feminist fightback to the RTN march organisers:
www.feministfightback.org.uk/?p=207

3: Quoted in Gall, 2006, p21.

4: McDowell, 2009, pp214-5.

5: Pheterson, 1996, p58.

6: Marx, 1863, chapter four.

7: Van der Veen, 2001, pp30-51.

8: Pateman, 1988, p204. Taking the argument one step further, some feminists insist that prostitution is essentially a form by which “women are exchanged between men for cash”. See Jeffreys, 2009, p61.

9: Brewis and Linstead, 2000, p227.

10: Letter to Socialist Worker, 18 February 2006. This is not a new argument. Already in 1911 Havelock Ellis remarked that “though it is usual to speak of the prostitute as the woman who ‘sells herself’, this is rather a crude and inexact way of expressing, in its typical form, the relationship of a prostitute to her client. A prostitute is not a commodity with a market price, like a loaf or a leg of mutton. She is much more on a level with people belonging to the professional classes, who accept fees in return for services rendered”-Ellis, 1911, p305.

11: Schaffauser, 2010.

12: Sanders, O’Neill and Pitcher, 2009, p19.

13: McDowell, 2009, p108.

14: Hochschild, 1983. See also Kontula, 2008.

15: Day, 2007, pp36-37, 43, 53, 102.

16: Politically, the view that posits the self as a unified essence that constitutes the totality of the individual, with sexuality defined as a feature of the self, and its sale, accordingly, as an act that dehumanises the seller, can be recruited to two quite different purposes. One, common to several variants of liberalism and conservatism, maintains that the sale of labour power is fine, but not that of sexual services. The other, Marxism, sees it as one example of the sale of labour power, which should be abolished in all its manifestations. This is the nub of Marx’s oft-quoted assertion that prostitution is “only a particular expression of the universal prostitution of the worker”-Marx, 1975.

17: The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) argues that “since Proceeds of Crime legislation (reinforced by the Policing and Crime Act 2009), raids and prosecutions against women working from premises have escalated. Police and prosecutors have a vested interest: the police keep 25 percent of any assets confiscated both at the time and from subsequent prosecutions… Even if no one is charged, the money is rarely returned. Women who have worked for years to put money aside lose not only their livelihood but their home, car, life savings, jewellery, etc. This theft by law enforcement is the worst form of pimping.”

18: Gorkoff and Runner, 2004; International Prostitutes Collective,1999.

19: Jeffreys, 2009, p168.

20: Letter to Socialist Worker, 18 February 2006.

21: Representing an extreme end of this spectrum, one bondage/domination sex worker recounts: “One guy tried to jump out of a top storey window, but his dick was tied to the ceiling. Had his dick not been tethered he would have killed himself. We had to jump on him and hold him down, and he cried for about 15 minutes”-Brewis and Linstead, 2000, p279.

22: Sanders, O’Neill and Pitcher, 2009, p86.

23: Brents and Hausbeck, 2010.

24: Vanwesenbeeck,1994.

25: Day, 2007, p41.

26: Hart and Hann, forthcoming, 2010. In the same passage Hart “recalls a conversation with a Ghanaian student about money and sex in cross-cultural perspective. The student met a young American woman at a party in his country and they spent the night together afterwards at her place. When he was leaving in the morning, he put some money on the table as a token of his affection, quite unprepared for the explosion this gesture provoked. ‘Do you think I am a prostitute?!!’ As far as he was concerned, cash was no different from a gift in kind and much more useful. He did not know that the payment of money is supposed to transform a relationship into something impersonal.”

27: In discussion of the sex industry “exploitation” is an ambiguous term, referring variously to the forcing or coercion of women, or to the conditions of work and the level of autonomy of the worker, or to the feminist notion that all sex work is violence against women.

28: Pritchard, 2010, p172.

29: Pritchard, 2010, p172.

30: La journée sans immigrés is an immigrants’ rights campaign which called on all French citizens of immigrant origin not to work or spend money for 24 hours on 1 March 2010, in order to demonstrate the importance of their contribution to France’s economy.

31: Sanders, O’Neill and Pitcher, 2009, p99.

32: Sanders, O’Neill and Pitcher, 2009, pp94-95, 106-108.

33: Brock, 2009 , pp148-9; Sanders, O’Neill and Pitcher, 2009, pp94-5.

34: Kollontai, 1921. Emphasis added.

35: Kollontai, 1921. Emphasis in original.

36: Kollontai, 1921.

37: Zetkin, 1925.

38: Drug use among sex workers in general tends to be wildly overstated. However, among street sex workers it does deviate significantly from the norm-Vanwesenbeck, 2005.

39: Since the abolition of the student grant the number of university students who know someone who has worked in the sex industry to fund their studies has soared from 3 percent to 25 percent-http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8568723.stm

40: Marx, quoted by Mészáros, 1975, p35.

41: McGregor, 1989.


References

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