Regulating Prostitution: Controlling Women's Lives'

Phoenix, J (2006) Regulating Prostitution: Controlling Women's Lives'. In Heidensohn, F. (Ed.) Gender and Justice: New Concepts and Approaches. Willan, Devon, pp. 76-95.

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The chapter argues that the women who compose the majority of street prostitutes in Great Britain are currently subject to an interlocking system of regulation that variously defines them as criminal offenders, threats to public health, victims of child abuse, and vulnerable women who must be compelled under the threat of punishment to seek welfare help. Each label or approach to the street prostitute involves a set of interventions aimed at changing or working with different aspects of the women's lives. This produces an interlocking system of regulation, because the interventions are not mutually exclusive. A street prostitute can be defined as both a victim and an offender and as both a patient in need of medical help and a threat to public health. This comprehensive system of regulation means that a street prostitute faces not only a wide range of criminal justice dispositions, but also mandatory participation in programs in which her relationships and the choices she makes in her life outside of prostitution are subject to scrutiny and intervention. Given that street prostitutes are mostly poor women seeking economic survival in a profession that makes them vulnerable to victimization, the current regulatory system is an attempt to control a small group of poor women regarding their choices and relationships as they struggle to survive poverty. Whereas in the 1980s in Great Britain, a woman involved in street prostitution may have faced only a fine, now she is subject to a more extensive range of criminal justice actions accompanied by various government interventions designed to remake her life.

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ID Code: 51913
Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 1-843921-99-5
Deposited On: 17 Jul 2012 03:39
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2012 03:25

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