Annotated bibliography|societal needs for recovering prostitutes

Dalla, R. (2004, March). “I fell off [the mothering] track”: Barriers to “effective mothering” among prostituted women. Family Relations, 53(2), 190-200.

Whether effective motherhood can be provided by “street- level prostituted women concerns what Dalla (2004) sought to find out. Based on a model developed from “NCRF effective mothering family policy recommendations” in 2002 the study sampled 43 women who were current or former streetwalking prostitutes and with an age of at least 18 years. To check for variations all through most of the participants (n=26) were drawn from an intervention program that held weekly based group meetings, others (n=14) were drawn from prison incarcerated setting and a last group (n=3) being word of mouth recruited participants with no prior counseling therapy or any other intervention. An in-depth interview with each participant, particularly those who were already mothers (n=38), through semi-structured predetermined questions was used to assess the objectives of the study. By performing a thematic analysis of all text-based data patterns that surfaced were noted and related to patterns that had been hypothesized in advance. The impacts of prostitution to children of the participants were well noted: not only did it not allow them adequate time for parental care and protection thus leading to their children’s molestation (sexually and physically) but it also embarrassed the children to the extent of them disowning their mothers. Further the study delineates the contextual influences leading to prostitution such as chaotic family systems, adverse social and economic systems while buttressing the importance of formal support services in recovery process. The study thus provides an overview of what could influence both entry into and relapse of prostitution and how such might affect subsequent incorporation of those involved in the sex trade into social institutions such as family thus helps one build a wide range of concepts that would constitute the women recovering from prostitution.

Farley, M. (2003). Prostitution and the invisibility of harm. Women & Therapy 26(3/4), 247-280. Farley advances that the harm caused by prostitution is invisible in social, legal, public health and psychological aspects and sets out to address the source of such invisibility; the effect of currently-used words in promoting this invisibility; and the ignorance of psychological theory and public health approaches to men inflicted harm to women in prostitution. Through an in-depth review of literature the study identifies the study evaluates how racism, colonialism and sexual assault on children are related to prostitution. Words such as voluntary prostitution, forced trafficking, sex work, migrant sex worker, beautiful merchandise and socially disadvantaged women as used in different contexts are argued to conceal the real harm that prostitution presents to women – an act of violence. How prostitution is advanced by the color difference (appearance), ethnic stereotyping and effect of colonialism not only as an exploitive agent of natural resources but also the inhabitants of these regions have been delineated. Further the study identifies child abuse and prostitution linking these to incest as evidenced from the age when subjects in different studies reviewed got into the vice and how such might have influenced the child’s perception of oneself thus resulting into prolonged life in prostitution. That prostitution is however related to adverse outcomes resulting from violence has been well discussed in the study. The study thus informs on reasons why prostitution might be hard to combat by hence helping in developing well founded hypotheses for a study into emotional and physical needs of women recovering from prostitution.

Kramer, L. A. & Berg, C. E. (2003). A survival analysis of timing entry into prostitution: The differential impact of race, educational level and childhood/ adolescent risk factors Sociology Inquiry, 73(4), 511-528.

Factors that determine an individual’s entry into prostitution could be varied. Kramer and Berg purpose to evaluate the effect that belonging to the minority group, the level of education and childhood or adolescence experiences would have on the age of being lured into prostitution. The study obtained data from two sample settings: the first being a group (n=298) that had been incarcerated for minor prostitution and drug-related offences who were subsequently involved in jail-based voluntary program for prostitutes; the second group (n=96) comprised women attending or receiving community based services from non-residential rehabilitation program. The data collection involved completing surveys for both groups with the sample being adjusted for the missing data to a final analysis sample (n=309). By including relevant questions to aid in categorization of the results into various variables such race, education level, and prostitution entry age while avoiding confidentiality data such as name or other individual identifying information; the responses were analyzed using a Cox regression model that identified the variable-generated effects. The study findings revealed prostitution to be positively related to educational background with some of the respondents having not completed high school. Further irrespective of the race (white and minority) those who engaged in prostitution had experienced a higher frequency of sexual and physical abuse in childhood and with other environmental aspects such as parental substance abuse also being noted to be part of the influencers to early engagement in prostitution. Such findings then indicate that the needs for former sexual workers recovering could be influenced by whether or not the factors that had lead to their engagement in the vice were substantially alleviated. The study is thus important in informing of some of the emotional and physical needs that might characterize the current study.

Potterat, J. J., Woodhouse, D. E., Muth, J. B., & Muth, S. Q. (1990). Estimating the prevalence and career longevity of prostitute women. The Journal of Sex Research, 27(2), 233-243.

Potterat et al. provide a career perspective of prostitution by assessing its prevalence and the longevity in those who practiced it. Basing their study in Colorado Springs SMA, the study uses data available since 1970 mainly from attendance of STD clinics for examination of venereal diseases to build a perspective on the prevalence and duration of prostitution in the entire nation. The study predicts an annual mean prostitution engagement of 84,000 women in the 1980s but with such “career” being noted to be short lived. In addition to establishing the need to analyze the longevity of prostitution in the modern day and the effect that advances in healthcare approaches could have on such longevity, Potterat et al. also raises the inquiry into how perception of prostitution as a career would affect the needs of women who have subsequently quit such a “profession.”

Valandra. (2007). Reclaiming their lives and breaking free: An afrocentric approach to recovery from prostitution. Journal of Women and Social Work, 22(2), 195-208.

Assessment of the healing and recovery process from sexual violence based on an afrocentric approach was the main concern of the study that Valandra (2007) conducted. Via the use of in-depth interviews based on predetermined structured questions the study sought to amplify individual African American women’s experiences and views. By selecting a venue that the interviewees were familiar with the study aimed to be less intrusive bearing in mind the sensitivity attached to such studies. A purposive sampling technique was employed that subsequently resulted into 16 participants who met all the conditions for inclusion (at least 18 years of age, self-recognized African American and either having actively been involved in 12 weeks service or a Breaking Free graduate within the previous year) and having voluntarily agreed being interviewed but only 8 of the interviews ran to completion. The interview, guided by 17 open-ended questions, was designed to cover such aspects as precursors to prostitution, services received and experiences and perceptions of the interviewees. The study had various findings relating to entry into prostitution and quitting the vice. Prevalence of violence and deterrents to reporting and family and self-preservation were noted as major antecedents of prostitution. Kin support and spirituality; and hitting rock bottom were on the other hand identified as reasons that enabled several participants to quit the vice. Further the study identified inadequacy of economic resources, substance use, violence and personal and community alienation as major barriers to the recovery process. How recovery programs were structured was also noted to influence their helpfulness with those that were structured to meet cultural specific aspects being highly rated. This study helps in understanding the complexity of issues surrounding entry and quitting prostitution thus provides the requisite background to a study on the physical and emotional needs of women recovering from a life in the sex trade.

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