Feminist Response To Sex Work Essay Sample

Feminist Response to Sex Work


There are programs that are run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) whose aim is to care for women globally. These programs have established tools that support and encourage women to improve the quality of their lives. Essentially, the programs provide platforms that help women who are in sex work because of various dangers that they face regularly during their work. According to UNODC, there are higher chances of sex workers to face sexual abuse especially rape and to involve themselves in substance abuse.

Additionally, they are at a risk of acquiring different sexually transmitted diseases that include HIV/AIDS. After legalization of sex in some developed countries, the menace is now spreading in both developing and underdeveloped nations at a very fast rate. However, the process of legalizing sex work is economically based rather than ethically and socially based. These countries made sex work legal because it generates high revenues. The revenues are collected through taxation after which they are incorporated in the government spending. As such, the annual budgets of such countries are to some extent dependent on the taxes that are collected from sex trade. This makes it difficult for such countries to ban or prohibit sex work (UNODC, 2004).

The focus of this study is to evaluate sex work so that it can highlight the views of feminists regarding this trade. The study defines sex work as well as the laws that govern it. The adverse effects of sex work on women all over the world will also be focused on. Sex workers participate in different types of endemics as well as dangerous activities that include human trafficking, sexual harassment and drug abuse and trade.

Therefore, various laws that relate to women, sex workers, substance abuse and human trafficking will be discussed. This study will have a wide concept’s approach since it is based on a global platform. The aim of this research is to help women who are in sex work. The objective is to eliminate sex work among the global communities because it is associated with several dangers. Women, their family members and children are hurt by sex work.

Therefore, this study will discuss and highlight the plight of sex workers worldwide. It will attempt to come up with practical permanent and/or temporary solutions that can solve sex workers’ problems. As such, this study is important at the public and personal level. Some of my family members and female friends have suffered after involving themselves in sex work. Although some of them have quit this trade successfully, others are still engaging in it. They do this regardless of the dangers that they face while engaging in this practice. According to most of them, they do not have another way of earning a living.

My belief is that they can earn income through other better and safe ways which will enable them to lead a comfortable life. Nevertheless, before identifying other income sources, this study will highlight the rights that they have while they continue to involve themselves in sex trade. Therefore, this study will use a hypothetical circumstance to formulate the solutions that are applicable to the actual solutions that sex workers face globally.

Literature Review

To study and comprehend sex work, defining this work as any other trade is very important. However, the basis of this definition will be feminist views and it will apply the concepts of different journal articles. Wendee Weschsberg, Charles Parry and Rachel Jewkes authored a policy and research brief article journal in 2008. The affirmation of this article was that women bear most disadvantages and burdens when they involve themselves in sex work. This is because they are underserved and more vulnerable. This prompts them to engage in sex to get the money that they need to survive.

Nevertheless, women feel ashamed and guilty after involving themselves in sex work. As such, they turn to substance and drug abuse as well as alcohol abuse as a way of ameliorating this feeling and gathering courage. Women also smoke while using other illicit substances that include heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Their belief is that the rate of acquiring HIV/AIDS and other STDs is lowered by the use of these substances (Wendee, Charles & Rachel, 2008).

Nevertheless, intoxication in women increases the possibilities of involving in risky sexual habits. When intoxicated, sex workers usually do not remember that they should use protection. Nevertheless, some women remember that they should use protection even when intoxicated. However, because of the high level of toxins in the blood systems, these women do not use protection especially condoms appropriately. This exposes them to diseases. Intoxicated women are also exposed to sexual and physical violence and abuse from their clients some of whom do not want to use any protection. This situation is worsened by the fact that some sex workers do not have the basic skills that they need to handle or prevent violence or to reduce victimization (Wendee, Charles & Rachel, 2008).

There was a journal articles authored by Melissa Hope Ditmore in November 2013 that relates to the overlap that exists between drug abuse and sex work. According to this article, war against sex trade is a battle that should be fought constantly and a challenge that can be won by global societies through persistence, responsible living and solidarity. Women are discriminated against and stigmatized for involving themselves in sex work globally.

Consequently, they abuse harmful substances, alcohol and drugs (Melissa, 2013). On the basis of these articles, it is apparent that sex work is an economic activity that women engage in voluntarily in order to earn income. Women choose to receive goods and services or money in order to offer sexual services to willing transgender, female and male clients. Ann Weather and Anna Priestly further affirm this definition. Both wrote an analysis of feminist discourse in regard to sex work within New Zealand (Ann & Anna, 2001).

The assertion of these articles is that sex work can be defined as an activity that women undertake for monetary and financial gains. In some countries, sex work has been legalized. However, sex workers are still discriminated against by the citizens. Women who involve in sex work are disregarded. They also do not consider the fact that there are women who involve themselves in sex work because they do not have an option. Some women are trafficked and housed in brothels where they are forced to engage in sex work with strangers unwillingly (Laura, 2014). There are several life-threatening dangers that are faced by women who sell sex in brothels (Ann & Anna, 2001).

Firstly, the activities of most brothels are undertaken against the established law. Secondly, most brothels are overcrowded and this exposes any sex worker to several diseases and infections including skin conditions. Thirdly, sex workers are mistreated in the illegal brothels. They are not allowed their freedom of movement and association with the people outside them. The managers who operate these brothels traffic women and young girls. They promise them jobs or inject harmful and illegal substances and drugs in them after which they transport them outside their countries. According to Mark Kroeker, slavery is an act that involves force and exploitation of a person. As such, a brothel is a den that enslaves women by forcing them to involve in sex work (Melissa, 2013).

In sex work research, discussing the reason why most women involve themselves in sex work voluntarily is very important. According to Aziza Ahmed, over 50% of HIV/AIDS infections across the world are related to women who involve themselves in sex work. Aziza re-affirms the statistics on HIV/AIDS prevalence and women who involve in sex work in Sub-Sahara by Wendee, Charles and Rachel.

According to these statistics, more than 60% of Sub-Saharan Africa women have HIV/AIDS. Even with several feminist programs and legal reforms whose aim is to rehabilitate sex workers in order to reduce the prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS, these statistics are still high. The vulnerability of women who live in these places to involve in sex work is still high. Regulations, policies, legal addresses and proposals that relate to sex trade can reduce the prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS globally. Nevertheless, addressing the reasons why women involve themselves in sex trade is very important (Aziza, 2011).

Violence, gender inequalities, male dominance and sexual abuse are some of the reasons why women involve themselves in sex work. A woman in an abusive relationship lacks confidence and self-esteem. Her life is dictated by a dominating male counterpart who does not provide for the family and children. The affected women in such a situation usually run away and involve in sex trade to earn income or they go to live with parents. As such, lack of adequate resources fuels sex work. Disadvantaged females with poor backgrounds are likely to involve themselves in sex trade than the others from good backgrounds (Melissa, 2013).

A study was conducted in the United States, China, Australia, Canada and other countries by the United Nations. According to this study, alcoholism, drugs intoxication and substance abuse are the major contributors to sex trade. The listed substances affect the user psychologically either on short or long term basis. The users become addicted to illegal substances. Since the addicts cannot depend on their families to give them money to fund this addition, they turn to sex trade.

Among the listed substances that prompt women to involve themselves in sex trade include opium, cannabis, diazepines, illicit painkillers and medications, alcohol, heroin, opioids and cocaine. As such, women involve themselves in sex trade for different reasons. Nevertheless, it is possible to categorize these reasons into one group; vulnerable and desperate situation. This situation prompts women to involve themselves in sex trade in order to earn income (UNODC, 2004).


According to this literature review, drug abuse is a major contributor to sex trade. Sex work influences females who involve themselves in sex trade indirectly and directly. Global reforms, global initiatives, regulations, programs and policies that relate to drug abuse reduction in different countries are vital. Their aim should be to reach out to the homeless individuals especially women in township and street areas. Females involve themselves in dangerous sexual habits in order to earn income. Offering them basic needs will reduce vulnerable and desperate women who involve in sex trade. Programs that promote gender equality through women empowerment offer protection to these women by preventing them from involving in sex work. These programs boost confidence, attitudes and self-esteem among women.

Additionally, the programs enlighten women on their rights especially when they engage in sex trade. For instance, sex workers should be satisfied by human rights’ protection from victimization and abuse. These programs also offer women resources that they need to meet their basic needs on daily basis without involving themselves in sex trade (UNODC, 2004).

Discrimination can be reduced by policies and programs that promote former sex workers’ acceptance in the society. As such, women who abuse drugs, illicit substances and alcohol can gain acceptability and courage. This way, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS can be reduced in the global communities. Countries across the world should amend the laws that govern human trafficking and implement them. Trafficking human beings is abusive, enslaving, harmful and illegal (Robert, 2004).

Young girls should be protected by the law especially girls with disadvantaged backgrounds since these are the most underserved, vulnerable and exposed to victimization. As such, the aim of global, regional and national laws should be to eliminate human trafficking. Initiatives and measures of preventing HIV/AIDS among different communities will play an important role in the reduction of substance and drug abuse. Consequently, females who depend on sex trade to fund addictive behaviors will reduce. This is very important in the reduction of the rates of HIV/AIDS infection and spread globally and among communities (UNODC, 2004).

Research that addresses the issues that affect women in the global communities will help in protecting women from harmful, underserved and vulnerable situations. The study can enhance the establishment and implementation of programs that aim at developing, supporting and protecting women. Additionally, the programs can provide psychological assistance through counseling that encourages women to avoid sex work. This will enable them to avoid sex trade, continue their education and get employment (UNODC, 2004). It is apparent that the programs can play a vital role in protecting family members and friends who might engage in sex trade.


Men and women have differences. Men tend to be favored by social-cultural factors than women. As such, more men involve themselves in trafficking female human beings. There are more educated men in Sub-Saharan Africa than women. As such, more men have access to informal and formal employment. Consequently, women are vulnerable and undeserved which leads to their involvement in sex trade. Therefore, women are affected by drugs, alcohol and substances directly which is not the case for men. Men are able to consume more alcohol and retain control over their lives. This is not the case for women.

Additionally, men are macho against perils and stronger to attack and fight. As such, when intoxicated, women who engage in sex work are likely to be attacked and face more dangers than males. Nevertheless, fulfilling sexual needs of males contributes to sex work. Liberal and radical feminists ought to wage war against sex work. They ought to encourage males to remain supportive and faithful to their families which include children, sisters, mothers and wives. This will reduce the overall number of women who are vulnerable to involve themselves in sex trade in order to generate income.