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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines key dimensions of contemporary sex work as they relate to gender and the legal system. Theoretical perspectives and empirical research on street and indoor prostitution, stripping, and pornography are reviewed. In most places, the law and criminal justice system focus on women working in these sectors, with much less official attention to male and transgender sex workers. Scholarly research on male sex work has expanded in the past two decades but remains but a fraction of the academic literature. The essay concludes with a discussion of two recent, divergent trends in state policies: increased criminalization and legalization.

Keywords: prostitution, pornography, stripping, criminalization, legalization

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