Prostitution: Coercion or Choice?

I have been trying to read up on conditions and opinions surrounding sex work and the feminist movement. Talk about a divergence of opinions regarding prostitution!

Some people consider prostitution yet another form of male dominance of women and a consequence of poverty, which women unwillingly subject themselves to. They argue that there is nothing positive about prostitution and preach reform of prostitutes by opening up opportunities that provide alternative means to make money thus, they hope, taking women out of this situation-prostitution.

Others feel that prostitution is a business and deserves to be subject to workers’ rights just like any other job. And others still, argue that it is a liberating and empowering experience and that prostitutes are in no way victims of the system.

Have a look at Sarah Bromberg’s paper, Feminist Issues In Prostitution which talks about different types of feminism and their positions on prostitution. These are also laid out in a chart here. Do you have any other literature that sets out these definitions clearly? Do share.

Regardless of their stance on prostitution, I’m sure that all schools stand united in the fact that physical abuse and rape is illegal even when the victim is a prostitute.

Prostitutes have long been considered “fair game” for sexual harassment, rape, gang-rape, “kinky” sex, robbery, and beatings. This violence is a manifestation of the stigma and discrimination against sex workers. Sex workers are considered immoral and deserving of such inhumane treatment. With this kind of attitude it is difficult for sex workers to be protected from abuse and many are reluctant to report such cases for fear of further victimisation.

On Friday, December 17, from 9:00am-5:00pm, in Kenya, the Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Program (BHESP), in collaboration with the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA) and other local women’s rights and human rights organizations, will commemorate International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers.

I am currently reading ‘When I Dare To Be Powerful’ and I will be on Koinange Street and at Sarakasi Dome to watch, listen and learn.


  1. says

    This site has links to many sex worker organizations around the world.

    I like your post and you seem sincere, so you are welcome to contact me if you have any questions. I’m an escort in the United States.

    Thank you for keeping an open mind.

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