Different Forms of Regulation and the Formalization of the Prostitution Sector

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Birgit APITZSCH, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
The study of prostitution provides an illuminating case for analyzing the regulation of a sector characterized by a high degree of cross-border and within-country mobility. One of the central regulatory measures was the German prostitution law in 2002, which included the abolition of the categorization of prostitution as immoral, so as to normalize business and work relations and to strengthen the legal position of prostitutes. While this reform can be seen as an attempt to formalize this sector, it left several aspects of working in prostitution unregulated, only some of which are addressed by recent reform plans. In addition to national legislation on prostitution, regulatory attempts include a variety of actors and measures at the supra-national, the local and the sectoral level with different aims (such as curbing trafficking and other crimes, curbing tax evasion, or normalizing business and work relations) and ideas about what should be regulated, and how. These regulatory attempts are shaped by controversial discourses on prostitution. They also face the challenges of coping with the spatial mobility of actors in the field, and with grey zones that were established within the field to cope with the risks which were so far not addressed by law. This paper attempts to contribute to understanding the interplay of different levels, targets and forms of regulation and the actors as well as the ideas behind these regulations.