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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The legal regulation of sex and sexuality is today marked by a profound contradiction. A marked liberalization in some areas of law (e.g., the repeal of antigay criminal laws in many countries) coexists with changes in the opposite direction, especially in situations involving children and young people and/or involving women, often non-Western women, perceived to be especially vulnerable to exploitation. The agency and autonomy that some formerly deviant groups have recently gained is thus not necessarily indicative of a global trend toward legal freedom and privacy rights. However, in contrast to the past, coercive measures—affecting young people and Third World women, primarily—are now generally justified under the banner of protecting the vulnerable, rather than by recourse to the older ideas of offense to public morals.

Keywords: youth sexuality, sex work, prostitution, homosexuality, sex trafficking

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