Sex worker

Sex worker

A sex worker is a person who works in the sex industry.

Sex workers may be employed as prostitutes, strippers, go-go dancers, burlesque performers, escorts, dominatrices, peepshow workers, phone sex operators, hustlers, foot fetish models, brothel workers, or porn stars among other things. Some sex workers are paid to engage in sex acts which involve varying degrees of physical contact with clients. Other sex workers are paid to engage in live sexual performance, such as web cam sex and phone sex. [Weitzer, Ronald. 2000. "Sex For Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry" (New York: Routledge Press)] Still others are paid merely to be companions.

Evolution of the term

"Sex worker" is credited as being first introduced in the late 1970s by the American sex workers rights activist Carol Leigh.Quan, Tracy. 2006. The Name of the Pose: A Sex Worker by Any Other Name. In: Spector J (ed). "Prostitution and Pornography: Philosophical Debate About the Sex Industry". (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.) p 342. ISBN 0-8047-4938-8.] According to Leigh:

:"I never imagined it would be the "only" term we could use to refer to prostitutes. As a matter of fact, "sex worker" describes the entire range. It helps unify peep show dancers, strippers, and prostitutes. Prior to this, other workers in the sex industry would not identify with prostitutes. This is a term invented so we could have some solidarity."

One important theoretical consequence of the political term sex worker is that it re-frames the debate around the sex industry and those who are employed by it, whether legally or illegally, as primarily one of labor and human rights rather than one of criminality, deviance or morality. The term also serves to create a political and cultural community across a vast array of work and life experiences.

Despite increasing acceptance, the term remains controversial among organizations or individuals who oppose all forms of sex work on religious or cultural grounds or simply view all sex work as inherently abusive. In these cases the phrase is often rejected on the grounds that its use might be seen to imply an equality with other types of work or that it masks the inherent abusiveness of the work.Fact|date=December 2007


Depending on regional law, sex workers' activities may be regulated, controlled, tolerated, or prohibited.

ocial views of sex workers

In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers are stigmatized and marginalized, which can prevent them from seeking legal redress for discrimination (e.g., racial discrimination by a strip club owner), non-payment by a client, assault or rape.


Sex worker's rights advocates argue that sex workers should have the same basic human and labour rights as other working people [ [Weitzer, Ronald. 1991. "Prostitutes' Rights in the United States," "Sociological Quarterly", v. 32, no.1, pages 23-41] ] . For example, the Canadian Guild for Erotic Labour calls for the legalization of sex work, the elimination of state regulations that are more repressive than those imposed on other workers and businesses, the right to recognition and protection under labour and employment laws, the right to form and join professional associations or unions, and the right to legally cross borders to work.

Also, the legalization of sex work would allow it to be carried out in better organized circumstances "(e.g., legal brothels)", where regulations "(e.g., requiring condom use and regular health checkups for sex workers)" could reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

ex tourism

Many sex workers across the world reap both the benefits and consequences of a booming sex tourism trade.

Performance evaluations

Performance evaluations of the different local sex workers can be found at various escort review boards worldwide, online forums which are used to trade information between potential clients and sex workers and to advertise the various services available.


Sex workers have always plied their trades to the military in virtually all cultures. For example, the British naval port of Portsmouth had a flourishing local sex industry in the 19th century, and until the early 1990s there were large red light districts near American military bases in the Philippines. The notorious Patpong entertainment district in Bangkok, Thailand, started as an R&R location for US troops serving in the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.

ee also

*$pread Magazine
*Sex-positive feminism
*International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Further reading

* Weitzer, Ronald. 1991. "Prostitutes' Rights in the United States," "Sociological Quarterly", v. 32, no.1, pages 23-41.
* Weitzer, Ronald. 2000. "Sex For Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry" (New York: Routledge Press).
* "Decriminalize sex trade: Vancouver report", [] , June 13th, 2006
* Agustín, Laura Maria. "Sex at the Margins". London: Zed Books (2007).
* [ International Human Rights Protection in the Citizenship G


External links

*dmoz|Society/Sexuality/Politics_of_Sexuality/Sex_Work/|Sex Work



* [ Network of Sex Work Projects (International)]
* [ International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education]
* [ International Union of Sex Workers]


* [ Sex Worker Education And Advocacy Taskforce] (South Africa)


* [ Scarlet Alliance - Australian Sex Workers Association]
* [ Sex Workers Outreach Project - NSW Australia]
* [ Scarlet Men - initiative of the Scarlet Alliance]
* [ Magenta - Sex worker support projects - Western Australia]
* [ South Australian Sex Industry Network]
* [ Resourcing Health & Education - Victoria]


* [ International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe]
* [ UK laws regarding prostitution updated for 2006]

North America

* [ History of Sex Work in Vancouver] (downloadable PDF book written by sex workers)
* [ Commercial Sex Information Service (CSIS)] (Canada)
* [ Sex Workers Project] legal services based in New York City
* [ Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA (USA)]
* [ COYOTE - Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (USA/North America)]
* [ St. James Infirmary - San Francisco: The first occupational safety and health clinic for sex workers run by and for sex workers]
* [ SWANK] (Sex Workers Action New York), New York, NY, USA

Anti-prostitution writings

* [] , "(also see Dworkin,Andrea)"
* [ Prostitution Research and Education] , "(also see Farley, Melissa)"
* [ Men Against Pornography]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sex worker — noun A prostitute • • • Main Entry: ↑sex * * * ˈsex worker 7 [sex worker] noun a polite way of referring to a ↑prostitute …   Useful english dictionary

  • sex worker — n. any person paid to sexually gratify or arouse a customer, as a model or performer in pornographic magazines, films, or nightclub acts or, esp., a prostitute * * * …   Universalium

  • sex worker — sex .worker n formal a ↑prostitute used to be polite or when you do not want to say this directly …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sex worker — n. any person paid to sexually gratify or arouse a customer, as a model or performer in pornographic magazines, films, or nightclub acts or, esp., a prostitute …   English World dictionary

  • sex worker — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms sex worker : singular sex worker plural sex workers a prostitute. This word is used by people who think the word prostitute is slightly impolite or offensive …   English dictionary

  • sex worker — noun Date: 1984 a person whose work involves sexually explicit behavior; especially prostitute 1 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sex worker — noun A person who supplies sexual services for money …   Wiktionary

  • sex worker — noun euphemistic a prostitute …   English new terms dictionary

  • ˈsex ˌworker — noun [C] a PROSTITUTE …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • sex worker — /ˈsɛks wɜkə/ (say seks werkuh) noun someone who earns a livelihood from giving sexual gratification to clients; prostitute …   Australian English dictionary