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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Solidarity with whom? Processes of defining solidarity with sex workers


Location: Poznań, Poland
Date: 31 Aug 12:15 - 14:00


Room 2.100

“How can one be in solidarity with sex workers?” – is a question repeatedly asked in discussions of sex work, as common public portrayals of sex workers as either helpless victims of unspeakable crimes or independent workers put in danger by discriminatory legislation plus social stigmatization make it difficult to find common grounds for solidarity with sex workers. Further, these lived realities are more multifaceted than the publicly available melodramatic (Vance, 2012) images of sex work. To answer this question, we want to take a step back and use this panel to discuss how, when, and where the need for solidarity with or care for sex workers is evoked and why. We invite ethnographically informed contributions that show how the (supposed) needs of sex workers are negotiated in everyday interactions between sex workers, activists, institutions, support services, and other actors, and how these interactions might be translated into political action. We will focus on interactions that inform a broader discussion on the legal and policy context of sex work, rather than sex work and service provision. We also want to discuss who gets included in or excluded from these conversations and how legal and practical frameworks on different scales shape the opportunities of sex workers to voice their own needs and to be heard. Acknowledging the role of academia in these discussions we also invite papers that critically reflect on the role and impact of sex work research and the potentials of creating solidarities between researchers and sex workers.


  • P 104.1
    • Ms. Probst, Ursula (Freie Universität Berlin)
    • Dr. Lewicki, Pawel (Europa-Universität Viadrina)
    • Mrs. Schmidt-Sane, Megan (Case Western Reserve University)

Timetable | Contribution List

Displaying 6 contributions out of 6
Considering the often scandalizing and one-sided representation of sex work(ers) in public discourses as well as the marginalization of sex workers, this field of research almost seems to call for engaged or activist research interventions. However, sex workers and non-academic sex work activists have often been very critical of the role of research(ers) in sex work activism as they call into ques ... More
Presented by Ursula PROBST on 31/8/2019 at 11:15
For the last two decades, the struggle in Israel against sex work has been the possession of state actors, NGOs, and journalists, who have spoken “on behalf of” women in the sex industry in their attempts to put an end to commercial sex. A relatively new player in this field is the online arena, especially social media networks such as Facebook. Since 2016, the flourishing Israeli cyberspace h ... More
Presented by Dr. Yeela LAHAV-RAZ on 31/8/2019 at 12:15
Evidence-building and research has long been a challenge in documenting the everyday struggles of sex workers in Uganda (Schwitters et al., 2015; Tamale 2009). Human rights violations are common, from poor access to health care, stigma, discrimination, and violence, among others. Researchers are working together with sex work activists to document the human rights violations that are taking place ... More
Presented by Megan SCHMIDT-SANE on 31/8/2019 at 10:35
Having learned about the increasingly global dimensions of the mobilization in the male-to-male sex worker scene I ›discovered‹ the phenomenon of the highly mobile same-sex oriented male escort in 2012. Influenced by abolitionist public discourse, by readings in the field of queer mobility studies as well as by the ideas of ›multilocality‹ and ›minor cosmopolitanism‹ I started field re ... More
Presented by Dr. Peter HÖRZ on 31/8/2019 at 10:55
In the heart of the Canadian Prairies, certain Manitoban policy makers, Indigenous community activists, law enforcement agents and conservative politicians pride themselves on their 'comprehensive' strategy against sexual exploitation. In the last few years, different people and groups, including members of sex worker-led Sex Workers of Winnipeg Action Coalition (SWWAC), have been pushing for thei ... More
Presented by Claudyne CHEVRIER
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