Economics and Development

Economics and Development

Although it is well accepted that sex work and poverty, stigma and inequality are linked, too often simplistic assumptions about these factors lead to ineffective, and even harmful, programmes and policies. PLRI aims to establish broader understandings of the economics of sex work and relate them to the challenges of optimising the benefits of economic programs and policies on development, human rights and public health outcomes. We are also committed to helping establish broader understandings of the economics of the sex sector, the demand for, and supply of, commercial sex; the factors that determine prices and behaviours within sex industries, the economic re-distributional effects of commercial sex and the impact of economic trends on people that buy, sell or trade sexual services. To achieve this PLRI research will analyse sex work economies as they relate to social protection, livelihoods strengthening and equitable development policy and programming.


  • Demystifying Sex Work and Sex Workers - 2011

    Wagadu, an open access online feminist journal, has released a special issue 'Demystifying sex work and sex workers.' With articles from activist scholars the special issue, focuses on the everyday lives of sex workers.

    Susan Dewey of the University of Wyoming who edited the issue explains, "While recent years have witnessed a dramatic outpouring of feminist scholarship that situates sex work within its broader socioeconomic and political contexts cross-culturally, there remains a tendency for academic scholarship to unconsciously reinforce the social stigmatization of sex workers by depicting them solely through their income-earning activities. This burgeoning research has convincingly demonstrated that sex work is embedded in a complex social matrix that often centers upon sex workers’ perceptions of their individual choices and responsibilities...Public policy on sex work is often shown to be seriously lacking when contextualized within the broader realities of many sex workers’ everyday life experiences throughout the world. As such, contributors to this special issue offer sound ethnographic evidence that clearly demonstrates the global need for policy and legal reform with respect to sex work."

  • Draft of new Global Declaration on the Rights of Sex Workers - 2011

     The following is a draft declaration on sex workers rights and introductory article. Thank you very much to those who made inputs. 

    The process  used to develop this was to copy the ICRSE declaration format and cut and paste material from all documents together into the sections then edit them down to about 20% of the length. This means that the document attached comprises sentences and bits of sentences from various documents by sex workers and allies. 

  • Enhancing Withdrawal Cognition Through Client-Centred Approach in HIV/AIDS Pandemic Risk Reduction Among Commercial Sex Workers in Oyo State, Nigeria. - 2011

    The study adopted client–centred approach to enhance withdrawal cognition in commercial sex workers in four Local Government Areas of Oyo State, Nigeria. Withdrawal Cognition Scale by Laim and Tabaka (1995) was used to elicit information from 160 sex workers in four randomly selected Local Government Areas of Oyo State, Nigeria. The purpose of the study was to control the spread of HIV/AIDS among sex workers who earn their living in the sex trade. The study also aims to give them knowledge and skills required to earn a living from less dangerous activities.

  • From rice fields to red light districts: An economic examination of factors motivating employment in Thailand's sex industry - 2011

    This research identifies factors that distinguish rural women who have migrated to Bangkok for the purpose of enhancing their economic wellbeing by engaging in the sex industry and those who have stayed in their rural communities and are not engaged in the sex industry. The research used primary data collected through interviews in the red light districts of Bangkok and Pattaya and in villages in rural provinces in Thailand. A total of 100 respondents provided information for the study: 55 percent from the red light districts and the remainder from the provinces. 

  • Harsh realities: Reasons for women's involvement in sex work in India - 2011

    This study, in the Journal of AIDS and HIV Research Vol. 3(9), pp. 172-179, documents the reasons and processes for involvement of women into sex work in India. The study is based on in-depth interviews with a cross-section of commercial sex workers in four Indian states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It shows that most women enter sex work due to a complex set of reasons as opposed to any one single over-riding reason.

  • Is sex work exploitation? A discussion at the launch of the pan-India survey - 2011

    This video, in Hindi and Marathi, was recorded at the launch of the Pan-India survey of Sex Workers.

  • Majority of female sex workers join the trade voluntarily-survey says - 2011

    A news story in the Health(Y) Destination on May 1 2011.

    A recent survey conducted at Pune reveals that 70 percent of the female sex workers join the trade voluntarily and they were not forced or sold.

    Most of the sex workers join the trade only in their later age after relieved from other labour such as domestic work and construction of building work. It is revealed that the sex work is also felt by them as that of the other labour work.

    The findings were revealed by a survey conducted by ‘First pan-India survey of sex workers’ at Pune University.

  • Motivations for entry into sex work and hiv risk among mobile female sex workers in India. - 2011

    This paper assesses the reasons for entry into sex work and its association with HIV risk behaviours among mobile female sex workers (FSWs) in India. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 22 districts across four high HIV prevalence states in India during 2007-2008. Analyses were limited to 5498 eligible mobile FSWs. The reasons given by FSWs for entering sex work and associations with socio-demographic characteristics were assessed.

  • Pan-India Survey of Sex Workers - 2011

    Brick carrying is work but it pays less than sex workThis survey of female sex workers found that poverty and limited education push women into several kinds of work including sex work. Therefore, sex work cannot be considered as singular or isolated in its links with poverty, as other occupations are pursued before sex work emerges or is considered as an option. Sex work may also be regarded as offering a significant supplementary income to other forms of labour.

  • Per diems in Africa: a counter-argument - 2011

    This article suggests tht  'An open and frank discussion about the extent and impact of per diems on the functioning of health interventions, systems and research'   While the ‘culture of per diems’ can be associated with civil servants involved in health care projects and delivery, we suggest that a more balanced argument would be presented, if per diems were discussed in relation to macroeconomic and structural influences...All actors in global health should be named and examined accordingly.

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