Practising social inclusion: the case of street-based sex workers

Rachel Lennon, Pranee Liamputtong, Elizabeth Hoban

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It has been widely documented that street-based sex workers experience stigma and discrimination on a daily basis (Jiménez et al. 2011; Sallman 2011). Women who are street-based sex workers are labelled immoral women, drug users, and transmitters of disease, and are generally considered as unworthy members of society (Wolffers and van Beelan 2003; O’Neill et al. 2008). As a result, streetbased sex workers often experience stigma and discrimination, affecting their social, physical and psychological wellbeing as well as intensifying feelings of social isolation (Vanwesenbeeck 2001; Pinkham and Malinowska-Sempruch 2008). Fear of experiencing stigma and discrimination also impedes women’s access to community-based services and personal support networks, subsequently leading to feelings of immense social isolation and exclusion (Krieger 1999; Kurtz et al. 2005; Pinkham and Malinowska-Sempruch 2008; Strega et al. 2009). The practice of social inclusion is essential for marginalised groups as it facilitates feelings of safety, wellbeing, reduces mental health issues and provides a sense of belonging (Australian Social Inclusion Board 2010; Smyth et al. 2011). In this chapter, we briefly review the impacts of stigma and discrimination on female street-based sex workers and how this results in social exclusion. The chapter discusses ways to increase social inclusion through exploring the business of St Kilda Gatehouse, a not-for-profit organisation located in Melbourne, Australia, designed to provide services and support for male, female and transgender streetbased sex workers and homeless people; male and transgender street-based sex workers are not the focus of this chapter. We will illustrate how a communitybased organisation such as the St Kilda Gatehouse can facilitate social inclusiveness for female street-based sex workers and address issues of social inclusion in their service delivery. We will then discuss the impact that the organisation has on female street-based female sex workers in St Kilda who access the Gatehouse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPractising Social Inclusion
EditorsAnn Taket, Beth R. Crisp, Melissa Graham, Lisa Hanna, Sophie Goldingay, Linda Wilson
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780203766798
ISBN (Print)9780415531061, 9780415531078
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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