by Furry Girl


"On the subject of ethics in sex work research, we usually think of the insensitivity and careerism of researchers whose interest is in obtaining information they will take credit for.  I want to point to another problematic angle: the issue of whether those being researched are honest with researchers.  Why, after all, should people who are being treated as objects of curiosity tell the truth?


To put it another way, keeping secrets may help sex workers gain independence or control over projects to help them.  Talking about sexual risks with people who think it's wrong to ever take any risks may cause them to treat you as irresponsible.  Admitting the desire to stay in sex work after getting out of the clutches of abusers can render you ineligible for victim-protection programmes.  The best policy may be to omit certain information from responses or to put on the expected front.

-- Dr Laura Agustín, in Alternate Ethics, or: Telling Lies to Researchers on


  1. I went to a sex work conference last weekend & I heard SWAAY brought up in discussions several times, and I thought to myself "hey I knew about that site before it even came out!" :)

    Comment by Luna — December 10, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  2. btw I think you would've enjoyed it- there was a lot of focus on decriminalization and skepticism of anti-trafficking rhetoric/overinflated statistics/the rescue-industry, plus Jill Brenneman gave a very powerful speech early on.

    Comment by Luna — December 10, 2011 @ 7:19 am

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