International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, New Book Examines Harsh Lives of Trans Sex Workers Around the World

Those observing International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17, will appreciate the groundbreaking book, Transgender Sex Work and Society published earlier this year by LGBTQ scholarly publisher Harrington Park Press.

Transgender sex workers in Bangkok. Photo by Caleb Quinley.

Edited by Larry Nuttbrock, PhD, who recruited transgender identified investigators and staff to ensure the relevance and success of the project, it is the first and only collection of studies on the lives of trans sex workers around the world.

In Transgender Sex Work and Society, various researchers examine the role of sex work in the lives of transwomen around the world and the hazards that come with this type of work, revealing a complex interplay between sex and gender, survival and validation, desire and love, social justice and health. 

While conditions vary, the overarching theme of these studies is that for trans sex workers daily life is often rife with abuse.

According to the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, trans and sex workers of color are specifically vulnerable to violence, making up a disproportionate number of the 104 sex workers killed in 2018.

Compared to cis female and male sex workers, trans sex workers are paid less for their services; face far more violence from clients, partners, family members, and law enforcement; are more likely to be HIV-positive and are less likely to be reached – and often outright shunned – by HIV prevention and other service programs.

Chapters in the book look at the lives of sex workers from those on New York City ballroom culture scene, (such as portrayed in the hit TV series “Pose”), to those in Turkey, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Andean South America, Spain, and China.

Pictured above in a photograph by Caleb Quinley are sex workers in Bangkok, where male-to-female transgender women are known as kathoey, yet legally classified as male sex workers. Though the number of reported HIV cases is higher in Thailand than in other Asian countries and government HIV prevention strategies have been scaled up as the HIV epidemic expands–including PrEP, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and earlier treatment of HIV for female sex workers–kathoey are not included or pursued for prevention and treatment.

Transgender Sex Work and Society is a crucial read for any researcher and health provider working with transwomen as well as for policymakers concerned with sex work and the health and well-being of transgender and sexual minority populations around the world.


Find Out More

More on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers its history and events here

Visit The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA.

Transgender Sex Work and Society is edited by Larry Nuttbrock, PhD. More about the book here.

The red umbrella on the book’s cover art is the worldwide symbol of the sex workers’ rights movement. More information and resources on the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) website

Original release by Andy Reynolds, Popular Publicity.

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