OCT. 19 – #DecrimSexWork: Enhancing Justice for Sex Workers in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

October 19, 2022 @ 12:00–1:00 pm



About the Talk

It is a year out from the 20th anniversary of the decriminalization of sex work in Aotearoa-New Zealand and so much has changed during this time for sex workers in this country. The sex industry has changed from one where it was illegal to solicit, own or manage a brothel, live off earnings of a< sex worker, and procure sex for a third party to one where sex workers are able to (and do) report crimes and where there’s an improved relationship with police. Sex workers are now able to challenge unfair and coercive work conditions and work practices in brothels have improved. Dr. Abel traces this historic transition from 1997, when she first started to research sex work until today, highlighting some of her research done along the way. This research confirms that decriminalization is the only legislative approach that can provide sex workers with occupational rights and access to justice.

About the Speaker

Dr. Gillian Abel is department head of Population Health at the University of Otago and an expert in mixed methods research using community-based participatory approaches. Her research focuses on vulnerable populations such as sex workers, vulnerable youth and Pacific people. Sex work research is a field in which she has extensive expertise. Her research in this field is firmly located in public health but she applies a sociological lens by analysing data in the context of structural opportunities and constraints faced by sex workers, drawing on concepts of stigma, theories of social exclusion, theories of risk and feminist theories.