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Book Review

British Journal of Criminology

Triple Book Review on the following publications:

Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region: Ambiguous Sympathies. By May-Len Skilbrei and Charlotta Holmstrom

Leaving Prostitution: Getting Out and Staying Out of Sex Work. By Sharon S. Oselin

Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada. By Emily van der Meulen, Elya M. Durisn and Victoria Love.

I was invited by Professor Jo Phoenix to complete a triple book review on three books which concentrate on street based sex work in three different localities.

Whilst each being different, when these three texts are read together, they offer the reader a wide range of often related ideas regarding the nuanced nature of sex work in different geographical locations. At first glance, one would be forgiven for imagining that the books would be very different, but there are many commonalities. Skilbrei and Holmstrom’s book offers an in-depth look at the development of Nordic policies pertaining to prostitution, whereas one may be forgiven for assuming Oselin’s text is very much written with a radical feminist agenda given the title ‘Leaving Prostitution: Getting Out and Staying Out of Sex Work’. Once one delves into its pages, however, the reality is a text which is not stringently aligned with a radical agenda, although there are problems with the language used, which I note further into this review. Selling Sex offers a rainbow of different perspectives of sex work and, like Prostitution Policy, provides information about experiences across Canada. Prostitution Policy is not so concerned with individual experiences but looks as a number of Nordic countries rather than focusing on one area as Leaving Prostitution does. All three texts offer an analysis of geographically specific experiences of sex work though, which of course can alter depending on where an individual is working—the experience of operating in the sex industry varies not only between country, but also by profession. Selling Sex is particularly useful as this text looks at a variety of ways of selling sex from transgender sex work to stripping and the wide variety of experiences contained within each.

You can read the published review at the following link: BJC Book Review.