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The challenges of Belgian prostitution markets as legal informal economies: an empirical look behind the scenes at the oldest profession in the world

Dominique Boels (UGent)
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Abstract
An extensive body of literature exists on sex work and prostitution, covering a variety of topics. The relation between prostitution and the informal economy, however, has not been widely studied. This article aims to contribute to this under-researched domain. Furthermore, it empirically contributes to the current topical policy debate on prostitution by offering insights into the perceptions of prostitutes and other stakeholders in the prostitution business and policy towards it in Ghent, Belgium. The empirical results draw on a qualitative research design, using a combination of semi-structured interviews with prostitutes, policymakers and social workers, document analyses and dossier analyses. These methods indicate that although sexual exploitation exists, prostitution can certainly not, by definition, be equated with exploitation, coercion or male domination. Furthermore, in contradiction to the current mainstream European point of view, no support was offered by the respondents for the criminalisation of clients. However, no full consensus was found regarding legalisation and regularisation of prostitution and its related activities. As different stakeholders have varying interests and preferences, more broad empirical research is needed to identify all their needs.
Keywords
RISKS, INDUSTRY, Empirical, Informal economy, Policy, Prostitution, Qualitative, Sex work, SEX WORK

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MLA
Boels, Dominique. “The Challenges of Belgian Prostitution Markets as Legal Informal Economies: An Empirical Look behind the Scenes at the Oldest Profession in the World.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH, vol. 21, no. 4, 2015, pp. 485–507, doi:10.1007/s10610-014-9260-8.
APA
Boels, D. (2015). The challenges of Belgian prostitution markets as legal informal economies: an empirical look behind the scenes at the oldest profession in the world. EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH, 21(4), 485–507. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-014-9260-8
Chicago author-date
Boels, Dominique. 2015. “The Challenges of Belgian Prostitution Markets as Legal Informal Economies: An Empirical Look behind the Scenes at the Oldest Profession in the World.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH 21 (4): 485–507. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-014-9260-8.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Boels, Dominique. 2015. “The Challenges of Belgian Prostitution Markets as Legal Informal Economies: An Empirical Look behind the Scenes at the Oldest Profession in the World.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH 21 (4): 485–507. doi:10.1007/s10610-014-9260-8.
Vancouver
1.
Boels D. The challenges of Belgian prostitution markets as legal informal economies: an empirical look behind the scenes at the oldest profession in the world. EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH. 2015;21(4):485–507.
IEEE
[1]
D. Boels, “The challenges of Belgian prostitution markets as legal informal economies: an empirical look behind the scenes at the oldest profession in the world,” EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 485–507, 2015.
@article{5719060,
  abstract     = {{An extensive body of literature exists on sex work and prostitution, covering a variety of topics. The relation between prostitution and the informal economy, however, has not been widely studied. This article aims to contribute to this under-researched domain. Furthermore, it empirically contributes to the current topical policy debate on prostitution by offering insights into the perceptions of prostitutes and other stakeholders in the prostitution business and policy towards it in Ghent, Belgium. The empirical results draw on a qualitative research design, using a combination of semi-structured interviews with prostitutes, policymakers and social workers, document analyses and dossier analyses. These methods indicate that although sexual exploitation exists, prostitution can certainly not, by definition, be equated with exploitation, coercion or male domination. Furthermore, in contradiction to the current mainstream European point of view, no support was offered by the respondents for the criminalisation of clients. However, no full consensus was found regarding legalisation and regularisation of prostitution and its related activities. As different stakeholders have varying interests and preferences, more broad empirical research is needed to identify all their needs.}},
  author       = {{Boels, Dominique}},
  issn         = {{0928-1371}},
  journal      = {{EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH}},
  keywords     = {{RISKS,INDUSTRY,Empirical,Informal economy,Policy,Prostitution,Qualitative,Sex work,SEX WORK}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{4}},
  pages        = {{485--507}},
  title        = {{The challenges of Belgian prostitution markets as legal informal economies: an empirical look behind the scenes at the oldest profession in the world}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10610-014-9260-8}},
  volume       = {{21}},
  year         = {{2015}},
}

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