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Research Paper on Feminist Response to Sex Work

Feminist Response to Sex Work


Sex work is a common practice among some women. It has existed for a long time despite the efforts made towards reducing the vice. Some women engage in the act because they want while others are forced into it because of circumstances. Nevertheless, the vice is practiced across most cultures. Governments and other relevant authorities have in the past come together in order to put a collective effort at putting measures to end sex work. However, the attention of the society has only focused on one side of the coin, women. For sex work to be successful, men must also be involved. Authorities consider both men and women when putting measures that would end sex work. However, it should be noted that men have the highest number of people practicing sex work. If it were not for the turnout of men in large numbers to support the trade, it would have ended long time ago. Thus, the same men are unable to put measures that would tie them down. They will instead just show their participation in the process knowing very well the outcomes (Wendee, Charles & Rachel, 2008).

Some women find sexual life a pleasure and wish to turn it into an activity that generates money. To women, sex is an emotional affair. They put in their emotions and affection towards the partner. However, this is not so with sex workers. They forget about their emotions and affections immediately they begin practicing sex work. However, it has impacted the destruction of women’s affections since they would even leave their young children at home in order to go look for money. Even as this goes on, the intention of the woman is to put food on the table for her child. Lack of employment has been the main contributing factor to the increase in sex work in society. This is coupled with the rising standards of living that make it harder for many to afford putting food on the table. Inflation has scorched the society such that only the rich and wealthy area able to afford comfortable lives. This implies that the best way for fighting the vice from the face of the society is through provision of alternative measures for generating money for these women in the streets. This would give them an option so that they could stop taking part in the vice (Laura, 2014).

Drug and substance abuse is another key element that contributes to sex work. Some women have got themselves into using expensive drugs like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana among others. These drugs are very addictive and usually require one to constantly use them. This requires constant flow of money in order to get the drugs. However, some of the women who practice sex work lack jobs to deliver this kind of money; therefore, they turn to other morally unacceptable acts in society. This can enable them to get money for the substances. Since they require to use the drugs on daily basis, they will engage in the vice every day in order to sustain their addictions. Fighting drug addiction and any kind of substance use can be crucial in ensuring that this inappropriate act is brought to an end (UNODC, 2004).

Some governments also get tax from sex work, which are used in their financial budgets. This is one of the reasons why some have legalized the act and are unable to show any determination in putting an end to the vice. Just like any other business, the government taxes sex workers, which add up to their revenues. This is an implication that fighting the activity would be like fighting the means of revenues for these governments, thereby cutting down the sources of revenues and impacting general revenues negatively. This tells why the society sees inconsistent governments trying to respond to their demands of phasing out all kinds of morally unacceptable practices. Besides, governments have so far legalized sex work because of the benefits earned from the business. Furthermore, economical benefits and not ethical and social benefits form the basis of the legalization of sex work (Aziza, 2011).

The boy child finds some favors in the eyes of some parents and families with regards to education. This implies that the girl child might not have education in some cultures like in the Sub Saharan Africa, thereby rendering her life useless. In the modern world, it is hard to remain significant without education. Researchers have established that an illiterate woman is at a higher risk of engaging in sex, especially unprotected sex, unlike a literate woman (UNODC, 2004). Besides, illiterate women often fall into the traps of malicious men compared to literate ones. They have a higher vulnerability to trafficking from place to place with the promise of making life better. However, this does not take place and they end up engaging in the sex business where the greatest gainers are the traffickers and not the women. It is illegal for other men and women to take advantage of the situations like the challenges faced by such women in enriching oneself. The trafficking of women and using them as sex tools with the aim of enriching an individual is against the law of equality. Every person is equal to the other regardless of their level of education and wealth (Ann & Anna, 2001).

Discriminating sex workers is baseless and illegal considering that some of the stakeholders do not take part in the practice out of their own wills. It could be a person close to you or even a member of your family that is engaging in the trade. Thus, none should discriminate sex workers. They are also humans and the vice is a legal business in most countries. Sex workers should be put through effective counseling on how to ensure safe sex in their trade. This will help in reducing the risks of unsafe sex and contracting sexually transmitted infections (Robert, 2004).


If there were global initiatives, policies, regulations, reforms and programs aimed at reducing drug and substance abuse, cases of sex trade that result from drug and substance abuse would be reduced. These programs and policies should be aimed at reaching every member of the society especially the women in streets, educating them on the risks of the act and urging them to live better lives. Besides, men and women are all equal before God. There should be no favoritism with regards to the services. Job seeking and employment should be taken as an equal opportunity for both sexes without looking down on one gender. Whether it is a boy or girl, both should be given an equal opportunity in education (Melissa, 2013).


Works Cited

Ann, W., & Anna, P. (2001). A Feminist Discourse Analysis of Sex Work, Feminism and Psychology Journal, 11(3): 323-340.

Aziza, A. (2011). Feminism, Power, and Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Consequences for Women’s Health, Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, 34(1): 226-258.

Laura, A. (2014). Migration, Sex work, Trafficking and the Rescue Industry, The Chicago Tribute Review.

Melissa, H. D. (2013). When Sex Work and Drug Use Overlap: Considerations for Advocacy and Practice, Harm Reduction International Report.

Robert, M. (2004). Sex Trafficking: Identifying Cases and Victims, National Institute of Justice

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (2004). Substance abuse treatment and care for women: Case studies and lessons learned, United Nations Study Report.

Wendee, W. Charles, P., & Rachel, J. (2008). Drugs, Sex, and Gender-Based Violence: The Intersection of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic with Vulnerable Women in South Africa – Forging a Multilevel Collaborative Response, Research & Policy Brief Journal.