1st Edition

Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Working in the Brussels Red-Light District

ISBN 9780367745530
Published March 24, 2021 by Routledge
112 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $59.95

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Book Description

This book unravels the lives, needs and experiences of Nigerian and Ghanaian women working in prostitution in Brussels.

This volume casts a light on the working conditions and the experiences of 38 women of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin, whose daily struggles and challenges are recalled from interviews in the field. Working within the red-light district of Brussels, an area with high crime rates and lacking in basic healthcare provision, the women are faced with a number of issues on a daily basis, ranging from security and health-related concerns, to work-related stress, discrimination and perceived stigma. Full voice is given to their stories, as well as contributions from state actors and local inhabitants, with the chief aim of building safe and healthy places for both residents and workers alike. The authors conclude in presenting clear recommendations and tools for practitioners and policy makers, designed to improve the outcomes of migrant women working not just within the red-light district of Brussels, but also within wider European and global contexts.

This book will be of particular interest for researchers and students of Migration Politics, Development Studies, Social Work and Sociology, as well as a useful guide for policy makers and practitioners in the field.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to the Ethnographic Research Project on Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Working in Brussels' Red-Light District

2. Research Design of the Study on Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Working in Brussels' Red-Light District

3. Historical Contextualisation of Brussels’ Red-Light District Where Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Work in Prostitution

4. Findings of the Ethnographic Research Project on Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Working in Brussels' Red-Light District

5. Conclusions and Recommendations of the Ethnographic Research Project on Nigerian and Ghanaian Women Working in Brussels' Red-Light District

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Sarah Adeyinka* is an Educational Sciences PhD candidate at Ghent University, Belgium. She has worked in the field of humanitarian aid for over a decade with a focus on vulnerable members of society such as refugees and survivors of human trafficking.

Sophie Samyn* is a PhD candidate in Social Work at Ghent University, Belgium. She worked for several years in migration centres in Italy and Belgium with migrants and unaccompanied minors who arrived (in Europe) through Libya and Greece.

Sami Zemni is a professor in political and social sciences at the Centre for Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University, Belgium, where he coordinates and leads the Middle East and North Africa Research Group (MENARG).

Ilse Derluyn is a professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium where she coordinates the Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refguees (CESSMIR)

* These authors contributed equally to the work.


"A groundbreaking book on the lives of immigrant sex workers in Europe. Focused on West African women who work in window-prostitution rooms in Brussels and based on carefully conducted field observations and interviews, the book offers unique findings, insights, and policy recommendations regarding the women’s lives, work, and struggles in a disadvantaged, crime-ridden part of the city that does not received the police protection it deserves. A major contribution to our understanding of the lives of marginalized sex workers in Europe." -- Ronald Weitzer, George Washington University, USA

"A significant and important contribution to literature on trafficking of West African women to Europe. It provides a unique and insightful angle to the hidden perspective of trafficked women in prostitution, with narratives from the key informants, as these Nigerian and Ghanaian women share their experiences and challenges in red-light districts in Brussels." - Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, Professor of Anthropology, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.