1st Edition

Third Sector Organizations in Sex Work and Prostitution Contested Engagements in Africa, the Americas and Europe

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    Third Sector Organizations in Sex Work and Prostitution is about sex work and prostitution third sector organizations (TSOs): non-governmental and non-profit organizations that provide support services to, and advocate for the well-being of people operating in the sex industries.

    With a focus on three vast and extremely diverse regions, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, this book provides a unique vantage point that shows how interlinked these organizations’ histories and configurations are. TSOs are fascinating research sites because they operate as zones of contestation which translate their understandings of sex work and prostitution into different support practices and advocacy initiatives. This book reveals that these organizations are not external to normative power but participate in it and are subject to it, conditioning how they can exist, who they can reach out to, where, and what they can achieve.

    Third Sector Organizations in Sex Work and Prostitution is a resource for scholars, policymakers, and activists involved in research on, and work with third sector organizations in the fields of sex work and prostitution, gender and sexuality, and human rights among others.

    1. Introduction

    2. Sex for Sale and Service Provision in Africa, the Americas, and Europe: Contexts, Historical Developments and Contemporary Landscapes

    3. Sex Work and Prostitution Third Sector Organizations in Africa

    4. Sex Work and Prostitution Third Sector Organizations in the Americas

    5. Sex Work and Prostitution Third Sector Organizations in Europe

    6. Conclusion


    Isabel Crowhurst is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex, UK.

    Susan Dewey is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama, US.

    Chimaraoke Izugbara directs the Global Health, Youth and Development program at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) headquartered in Washington, DC, US.

    "Focusing on the interventions of sex work and prostitution third sector organizations in Africa, the Americas and Europe, this worthwhile scholarly contribution challenges and transforms third sector and civil society scholarship, development studies and the more critical work on humanitarianism.  Going far beyond considering how the “rescue industry” affects sex workers, this volume offers an innovative perspective analyzing the factors that shape the interventions of organizations assembled around different understandings of sex for sale.  It is an invaluable resource in order to critically reflect about these organizations’ contribution to global circulation of discourses surrounding sex work and prostitution." 

    Adriana Piscitelli, State University of Campinas

    "An eye-opening account and refreshing acknowledgment of the complexities of sex work – even for institutions on the frontlines. This book surfaces the politics of survival in the industry and its impact on both sex workers and the institutions that care for them. In an industry that is often construed as being about survival for sex workers, survival is shown to be equally primal for TSOs. The book outlines the blindsiding challenges of self-reflection and personal truth-telling on the part of TSOs – challenges which must be embraced to effectively mediate the ideological ‘messiness’ of the field. In the current era of radical global change, this book is bound to propel the sex industry toward facing these challenges head-on, and becoming even more attentive to the voices of sex workers."

    Chi-Chi Undie, Population Council 

    "Most research on the sex industry focuses on workers and their customers or on state policies and law enforcement practices. Much less is known about non-governmental organizations and service providers that have routine contact with sex workers. This remarkable book provides a unique comparative analysis of the diverse ways in which these organizations engage with individuals who work in the sex industry. Drawing from cases in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, the authors identify a host of contrasting approaches: in the groups’ overall stance toward sex work, the resources available to them, relations with state agents, and engagement with sex workers on the ground. A terrific contribution to our understanding of third-party interventions in prostitution."

    Ronald Weitzer, George Washington University