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Violence and Sex Work in Britain [Paperback]

Hilary Kinnell
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2008

This book is concerned with violence in the sex industry. It aims to provide an understanding of the nature of violence against sex workers and the relationship between violence, government legislation and policy, and law enforcement practices - an essential task in view particularly of the 2006 Ipswich murders and the public and media response to this which illustrated how poorly the context of violence in the sex industry is understood.

The book describes the incidence of violence against sex workers, culminating in some cases in murder. It shows how the risk of violence is strongly dependent on the physical and legal context in which sex workers operate; how repressive policing tactics exacerbate vulnerability and how discourses of abhorrence towards sex work promote perceptions of sex workers as worthless human beings. It also examines how inadequacies in the criminal justice system lead to failures in investigations and prosecutions, and failures to prevent violence from known offenders; and how the stereotyping of sex workers, their clients and perpetrators of violence, in the media and in other spheres of academic debate, distorts reality leading to inappropriate or harmful public responses.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Willan (1 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843923505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843923503
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.9 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Hilary Kinnell worked with sex workers for 20 years, running an outreach project in Birmingham from 1987 to 1996, and from 1998 to 2004. She was also the co-ordinator of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More please 23 Sep 2010
Had Hilary Kinnell, a former national co-ordinator of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects, gone 'OMG, sex work is Wrong', she'd be getting rather more five star reviews. But in the other review currently on Amazon, we can see one of the problems faced by those researchers and academics who - gasp - believe that the voices of sex workers who say they are not abused or otherwise exploited should be listened to.

There is a group (and 'radical feminists' is their own self-labelling, to the horror of many feminists who do not share their prejudices) who have decided that, because they would not personally be sexual for money, no-one else should be allowed to. The rest flows from there: anything is justifiable in trying to stop people choosing to do so. And yes, denying sex workers agency, saying that no-one would ever choose to do the work and claiming that anyone who says otherwise is mad, bad or dangerous to know, absolutely contributes to the atmosphere that makes some think that it's ok to physically assault sex workers.

The book is a wonderful response. Read it.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously biased and problematic 16 Jun 2010
By V Main
This is a very disappointing book that goes out of its way to argue in favour of legalising prostitution. To do that, the author ignores evidence and wilfully misinterprets suggestions by serious researchers in the field, such as Sheila Jeffries. For example, I cannot see why it matters whether Peter Sutcliffe saw himself as a punter or not. The point is that he attacked and killed women, sex workers among them. Nor can I see how radical feminism - a term Kinnell uses very loosely to refer to any feminists who disagree with her - can be made responsible for violence against women and sex workers in particular. Her assertions do not make any sense. The author does not seem to be aware of the work of Roger Matthews or of Victor Malarek - both of whom have made seminal contributions in the field. Above all, she refuses to acknowledge the obvious link between the idea that women can be bought like commodities and that they can be assaulted. Both attitudes come from the same, misogynist view of women and feed each other. While not every punter is violent in a direct, explicit sense, by treating a woman as goods, he is assaulting her morally, as a human being, and there is only a small step to the point where he can justify his physical abuse of her. Kinnell's refusal to acknowledge that makes the whole book not just seriously flawed but worryingly dangerous.
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