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Law in Action: Local-level prostitution policies and practices and their effects on sex workers

Di Ronco, Anna (2020) 'Law in Action: Local-level prostitution policies and practices and their effects on sex workers.' European Journal of Criminology. ISSN 1477-3708

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Abstract

This article comparatively analyses city-based prostitution policies and practices and their effects on sex workers in countries that have adopted a partial criminalisation model of intervention towards prostitution—Belgium and Italy. The two case studies selected for this research, i.e. the cities of Antwerp (Belgium) and Catania (Italy), have been chosen for their adopted local approach towards prostitution in designated RLDs: while prostitution has been collaboratively governed in Antwerp, it has simply been tolerated in Catania. By considering the factors that have led to the development of prostitution policies and practices in these two cities, and their characteristics both within and outside the two cities’ RLDs, this article compared and analysed the effects produced on sex workers across city areas. The study revealed a number of similarities between the two considered local cases: local practices towards sex work in both cities have been shaped by urban regeneration in RLDs, and by concerns about nuisance and crime across city areas (irregular immigration and trafficking, in particular); in all instances, they have had similar exclusionary effects on sex workers—and especially on migrant women among them. The study also identified two key differences in the practices towards prostitution adopted in these two cities: they differed in the level of access to support services offered to sex workers, and in the pervasiveness of proactive police controls. The article concludes by arguing that all these local practices—including the ones seemingly different—ultimately converge in their ethos: they reinforce the socially constructed status of migrant sex workers as either law-breakers or trafficked victims to be subject of control and, in the latter case, also protection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sex work, prostitution governance, managed areas, Red-Light District, migration control, human trafficking
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2020 09:31
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27836

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