Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Can Sex Workers Regulate Police? Learning from an HIV Prevention Project for Sex Workers in Southern India

Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 68, No. 8, pp. 1541-1547, 2009

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-04

33 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2010 Last revised: 9 Mar 2010

Monica Rao Biradavolu

American University

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Annie George

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Asima Jena

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kim Blankenship

Yale University - School of Medicine

Date Written: February 15, 2010

Abstract

There is evidence that policing practices exacerbate HIV risk, particularly for female sex workers. Interventions in India that mobilize sex workers to seek changes in laws and law enforcement practices have received considerable scholarly attention. Yet, there are few studies on the strategies sex worker advocates use to modify police behavior or the struggles they face in challenging state institutions. This paper draws upon contemporary theories of governance and non-state regulation to analyze the evolving strategies of an HIV prevention non-governmental organization (NGO) and female sex worker community-based organizations (CBOs) to reform police practices in a southern Indian city. Using detailed ethnographic observations of NGO and CBO activities over a two year period, and key informant interviews with various actors in the sex trade, this paper shows how a powerless group of marginalized and stigmatized women were able to leverage the combined forces of community empowerment, collective action and network-based governance to regulate a powerful state actor, and considers the impact of the advocacy strategies on sex worker well-being.

Keywords: Public Health, Governance, Regulation, Police

Suggested Citation

Biradavolu, Monica Rao and Burris, Scott and George, Annie and Jena, Asima and Blankenship, Kim, Can Sex Workers Regulate Police? Learning from an HIV Prevention Project for Sex Workers in Southern India (February 15, 2010). Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 68, No. 8, pp. 1541-1547, 2009; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1553225

Monica Rao Biradavolu

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Department of Sociology
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Scott C. Burris (Contact Author)

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

Annie George

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Asima Jena

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kim Blankenship

Yale University - School of Medicine ( email )

Department of Psychiatry
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
211
Rank
122,104
Abstract Views
1,290