'Maids, Migrants and Occupational Health in the London Sex Industry'

Day, Sophie E.; Cooper, K.; Green, A. and Ward, H.. 2007. 'Maids, Migrants and Occupational Health in the London Sex Industry'. Anthropology and Medicine, 14(1), pp. 41-53. ISSN 1364-8470 [Article]

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It has been argued that norms of occupational health have weakened with diversification in the sex industry. We explore this issue in walk-in flats in London, focusing on relationships between managers (maids) and sex workers. Today, most maids are local and most sex workers are ‘migrants’. We collected data on 117 maids and sex workers, and carried out intensive fieldwork with seven maids and 17 sex workers. Managers take prime responsibility for educating and inducting new workers. Authoritarian management has been considered bad for health both in these walk-in flats and in the ‘100 per cent condom use programme’ criticized by sex workers’ projects. Yet, we found that maids acted as friends and managers, which helped settle new sex workers. Over time, however, migrants were more affected by issues of isolation and exploitation than local workers. Alternative models of health promotion such as peer education must be seen in a wider legal context where the lack of rights makes it difficult to appeal against exploitation, or to become mobile.

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Date Deposited:

22 Jun 2015 09:52

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 11:12

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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