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Feminism, Power, and Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Consequences for Women's Health


Aziza Ahmed


Northeastern University - School of Law

February 23, 2011

Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 225-258, Winter 2011
Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 54-2011

Abstract:     
This paper examines the involvement of feminists in approaches to sex work in the context of HIV/AIDS. The paper focuses on two moments where feminist disagreement produced results in favor of an "anti-trafficking" approach to addressing the vulnerability of sex workers in the context of HIV. The first is the UNAIDS Guidance Note on Sex Work and the second is the "anti-prostitution pledge" found in the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This article also examines the anti-sex work position articulated by abolitionist feminists and demonstrates the unintended consequences of the abolitionist position on women's health. By examining the actual impact of abolitionist positions, in favor of the anti-prostitution pledge and the criminalization of clients, we see that there are negative consequences for women despite the desire by abolitionists to improve women's health.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: feminism, sex work, health, trafficking, PEPFAR, human rights

JEL Classification: I00

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: February 25, 2011 ; Last revised: December 14, 2011

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Aziza, Feminism, Power, and Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Consequences for Women's Health (February 23, 2011). Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 225-258, Winter 2011; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 54-2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1768386

Contact Information

Aziza Ahmed (Contact Author)
Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States
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