Tagged: sex work research

So proud of my friends today! on best practises in social work

Questionable Practices: Arresting people “for their own good” violates social work ethics | bestpracticespolicy.org

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people in the sex trade in order to force them to accept services. Their commentary which appears in a 2013 edition of AFFILIA, a peer reviewed social work journal addressing the concerns of social workers and their clients from a feminist point of view, challenges the “assumption that arresting (or participating in the arrest of) people ‘for their own good’ constitutes good or ethical social work practice.” The authors conclude that, “targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry” and express concerns that such an approach “constitutes an act of structural violence against individuals who already frequently report negative, discriminatory, and often violent encounters with law enforcement including people with precarious migratory or citizenship status, poor, youth, transgender, and people of color.”

The example that sparked the writing of the AFFILIA editorial isProject ROSE, a program in which social workers from Arizona State University  School of Social Work and some service providers collaborate with city wide raids orchestrated by the Phoenix Police Department.Project ROSE is found to violate ethical standards described in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles. Informed consent–an essential element of social work practice and the standard in many other professions–is violated because the services provided rely on recruitment via ”massive police (in this case 125 officers) sting operations.” The authors explain that, ‘if targeted sex workers (and people profiled as sex workers) reject the ‘offer’ to enter the diversion program and/or if they fail to successfully complete a diversion program… they face criminal prosecution.”

Wahab and Panichelli provide the reader with clear guidance on how to avoid unethical practice from the perspectives of social workers. “Whether you believe that sex work = sex trafficking or whether you believe that there is no universal sex work experience and that sex workers can make their own decisions about what they need and when they need it,” they write. “Schools of Social Work and social work in general should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

The full text for the commentary is available at: Ethical and Human Rights Issues in Coercive Interventions With Sex Workers Stéphanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli, Affilia 2013 28: 344.

So proud to know Meg!!!  And Adrienne who is working with her on support for student sex workers.

The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers | Fair Observer°

The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers | Fair Observer°

Sex workers have many reasons for offering sexual services. True, some may not be happy with sex work, but they may be even less satisfied with other job opportunities that are open to them in their own countries. Similarly, human trafficking may be fueled by migration and labor regimes that make the lives of migrants vulnerable, rather than by actual violence.

Second, abolitionism does not solve the problem of violence which, more often than not, stems from the criminalization of sex workers and migrants, and the lack of rights that goes with it. In fact, research has shown that criminalization of sex workers makes them more vulnerable to instances of abuse and exploitation, including human trafficking.

Treated as criminals, victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation risk remaining undetected and even further victimized by prison sentences. This has been the case in the recent FBI sting operation in the US where minors were arrested for prostitution. In the name of abolition, feminist and abolitionist organizations have supported police raids and police action in the fight against human trafficking. This is true even for those countries where the police is infamously corrupt and prone to abuse and sexually assaulting vulnerable populations such as sex workers, without ever being punished. Such policies hurt sex workers and victims of human trafficking alike. And, most certainly, they should not be called “feminist.”

By contrast, countries that treat sex work as legal labor have lower incidences of violence against sex workers. In these countries, sex workers’ working and living conditions have generally improved. The best example is New Zealand, where even migrant sex workers areprotected by law and where a liberal approach has neither increased the number of sex workers or victims of human trafficking. With the recognition of sex work as labor come many rights, such as access to health services, the social system and, in New Zealand, access to residence permits for migrant sex workers. Most importantly, decriminalization grants access to the legal system in case of rape or abuse by clients or the police.

(however, as Wendy Lyon points out on fb re: New Zealand

Chapter 6:
“All participants, excluding the NZ Immigration Service representative, stressed that existing legislation treats migrant sex workers inequitably. Most notably, under the Prostitution Reform Act, 2003 (PRA), migrants who require visas to wor
k in New Zealand are prohibited from working in the sex industry. As such, under the PRA those on student and working visa are excluded from working as sex workers.

While the current law was lauded as having greatly improved conditions for sex workers in New Zealand the same privileges have not been awarded to migrants.

Participants challenged the law on the basis that:

§ it places migrant sex workers in an inequitable provision under the law
§ there is no evidence of migrant sex workers having been trafficked to New Zealand
§ legislation places migrant workers in an untenable position.”   )

Analysis: Sex workers bear brunt of war on trafficking

Analysis: Sex workers bear brunt of war on trafficking