Professor Michael Silk has been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to work with partners in the UK, Canada and Brazil to explore the implications of mega sporting events on informal sex economies and sex workers.
“Research into Olympic cities and those hosting other mega sporting events tends to focus on national-identity making, media representation and urban regeneration. There has been much less interest in the relationship between sporting events and the informal economies that spring up around them,” explains Professor Silk.
“Media speculation tends to suggest that there will be a heightened demand for sexual services during sporting events, but in reality policing and other social control measures are often used to disrupt the sex trade and make it less visible to international audiences.”
“Displacing sex workers and moving them even further towards the margins can have all sorts of consequences for safety, criminal control and violence. In Brazil, the situation is particularly complex as sex work is a recognised legal profession, so marginalisation can leave people in extremely vulnerable situations. Our study will be the first to explore the real impact of large scale sporting events on sex workers and informal economies.”
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