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Title: The Exploration of Journeys of Women In Sex Work
Authors: Rawal, Kanupriya
Keywords: Centre for Human Ecology
Aparna Joshi
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: TISS
Abstract: The present study was undertaken to explore the journeys of female sex workers in Mumbai. It was to capture and document their journeys as well as their identity constructions and highlight negotiations in the context of this profession and the commercial space that it is practiced in. It was undertaken in the light of paucity of research providing voice to individuals from within the community of sex work . Using feminist perspective, this study uses qualitative paradigm to attain a holistic picture of expe riences of sex workers within the location based context of Ghatkopar and Grant Road (Mumbai) , and the larger context of sex work and the global discourse around the same. This study used the narrative approach to analyse data collected through 17 in depth interviews that were collected in the said locations (sites of data collection: Ghatkopar and Grant Road) in Mumbai. Data was also supported by extensive field notes and journal entries that were maintained over the period of data collection. The major fi ndings of this research showed that most participants were trafficked in their teenage or young adulthood. Their circumstances were driven by poverty and desertion within their personal relationships when they entered/ were brought to sex work. M ajority of participan ts experienced trauma and abuse during their initial days and were slowly and sometimes forcefully socialised into the culture of sex work. Co workers, in most cases played a big role in facilitating their process of adjusting to the profession in this initial phase. Many attempted to escape the profession while some continued to stay in the profession. Those who continued to stay there; and those who left and returned to the profession, discussed that financial reasons as a major driving force for them being in the profession. Participants reported struggles in defining and negotiating identities in personal, professional and social spheres. Strategies such as segregation of space, distancing, maintaining multiple professional identities (choosi ng those according to the context and interactions in the context), emphasizing on safety measures before, during and after contac x using alternative labels for themselves, their workplace and their profession - amongst many others, were used to deal with the struggles reported earlier. Finally, these researches have implications for sex workers in India, the context they practice in, the organizations that work with issues of sex work, women’s movement in India and the State (Government of India).
Appears in Collections:M.A.

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