Chair: Erin Sanders-McDonagh
Feminist Issues for Critical Criminology
Author: Sanders-McDonagh Erin, University of Kent
Title: Pushing Sex Work to the Margins: the Sanitization of Red Light Districts in Amsterdam and London
This paper brings together ethnographic data collected in Amsterdam and London to argue that sex work in the traditional Red Light Districts of Soho (in London) and de Wallen (in Amsterdam) is currently being threatened as a result of neoliberal capitalism and hegemonic forms of gentrification. Both Soho and de Wallen occupy central locations in well-known global cities, and have a long history of prostitution and sex work associated with these specific areas. While the local and national governments of both places regulate the sale of sex in very different ways, I argue that in Soho, private developers have been able to close a number of brothels and flats, while in Amsterdam the local city government are closing large numbers of red light windows – in both cases pushing sex work out of established areas and threatening the safety of sex workers as result. I suggest that trafficking and radical feminist discourses that position all sex workers as victims have been an important element in the closures of these venues, and argue that these discourses have been co-opted by developers and the local governments in order to facilitate the gentrification of highly desirable and profitable property currently occupied by sex workers in these cities.
Keywords: sex work, gentrification, trafficking, prostitution, red light districts
Author: Seoighe Rachel, Middlesex University
Title: Decarceral Feminism and Prison Research: (Re)Tracing the Lives of Women in Hmp Holloway
This paper explores the closure of Holloway prison and its impact on the women incarcerated there, introducing elements of a project that I am working on with Dr Carly Guest and Alexandra Phillips. It engages with the prison’s closure from a decarceral feminist perspective, reflecting on what the closure means in the context of the UK government’s policy of moving prisons to remote locations. Thinking through the ‘emotional geographies’ (Davidson and Milligan, 2004) of the prison space and how the prison often works to devastate the lives of women (Moore and Scraton, 2014; McCorkel, 2013; etc.), this paper explores how the transfer from one prison to another causes further disruption to women’s lives and a breakdown in crucial support networks both within and outside the prison. This policy of peripheral punishment raises issues around visibility and invisibility and concerns about the lived effect and affect of pushing incarcerated women out of urban spaces.
Keywords: prisons, decarceral feminism, London, women's prisons
Author: Serisier Tanya, University of London (Birkbeck)
Title: Work, Violence and Media Feminism: From Decriminalising Sex Work to #Metoo
In 2015, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) launched a campaign against Amnesty International’s move to support the decriminalisation of sex work. The centrepiece of this campaign was an ‘open letter’ to Amnesty whose many celebrity signatories, including Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham, ensured significant media attention to CATW’s letter and its claim that the sex industry was inherently violent and that Amnesty was turning its back on exploited women and children. Specifically, the letter argued that Amnesty was supporting a system of ‘gender apartheid’ where ‘one category of women may gain protection from sexual violence and sexual harassment… while another category of women…are set apart for consumption by men’.
In 2017, as allegations against Harvey Weinstein launched the #metoo campaign, the absolute distinction between white, privileged Hollywood stars, and workers in the sex industry, frequently poor and from the Global South, looked more complicated. The 2018 ‘Time’s Up’ campaign explicitly linked workplace sexual harassment between different groups of women, with Hollywood stars seeking to forge alliances with migrant and low-paid workers organisations in the US and elsewhere. In this paper, I seek to read these two online campaigns together in order to draw out changing discourses in media feminism around gendered violence and work.
Keywords: sex work, feminism, sexual violence, #metoo
Author: Graham Naomi, Royal Holloway
Title: ‘I’M Safe but I Still Worry… I Don’T Tell Anyone’: Physical and Emotional Safe Spaces for Women in Safe Shelters in Cambodia.