Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies

Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies

Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies

Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies

Synopsis

Scholars from around the world have contributed to the first major reference book to be published describing female prostitution as an international phenomenon. Experts survey and analyze the historical background, current problems and policies, and future possible directions in 16 representative countries. Reference lists, as well as an index, make the volume easily accessible to researchers in a variety of disciplines.

Excerpt

This handbook fills a significant gap in understanding prostitution in multicultural terms. Because it draws on a number of scholars from different societies, while considering similar analytic questions and problems, it permits a wider discourse to emerge regarding the nature of legal and social control of this activity. Historically, prostitution signifies an underworld behavior, associated with the submerged regions of poverty, degradation, and disease, and linked in public and official views with crime and vice. Whereas poverty, lack of education, unemployment, minority group membership, and labor market exploitation are significant factors accounting for recruitment into prostitution, these factors do not explain the persistence or the new forms of the activity. As the authors show, this traditional reading needs substantial updating; large parts of the discourse no longer suffice to depict contemporary prostitution, whether in developed or developing societies.

Over the past decade or so, a number of issues have transformed the older sociological versions of prostitution that focused exclusively on poverty or deprivation, or alternatively, as "victimless crime," to a more scholarly and sophisticated rendering of prostitution as a sociopolitical reality. These issues include (1) the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as a public health epidemic, (2) child prostitution, (3) victimization of female prostitutes, (4) self- help political movements among prostitutes, (5) international tourism, and (6) social policy changes.

First, the AIDS epidemic has reanimated 19th century fears about prostitution as a primary site for sexually transmitted diseases, and it may be a compelling factor in generating moral panics against sexuality and antiprostitution campaigns. Second, the vastly growing numbers of runaway and homeless children around the world (estimated at over 100 million) serve as recruitment sources for entrance into street and brothel prostitution. Although child prostitution has . . .

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