Legal and Cultural Influences on Violence and Coercion in Sri Lanka's Commercial Sex Industry

Dheeshana Jayasundara, University of Missouri - St. Louis
Jody Miller, University of Missouri - St. Louis

Based on a two-year ethnographic study of Sri Lanka's commercial sex industry, this paper discusses legal and cultural factors contributing to violence and coercion against women sex workers. We examine legal statutes governing prostitution and discretionary law enforcement practices, as well as cultural definitions of appropriate gendered behavior and sexual practices for women and men. We focus on how these combine to heighten the risks and dangers faced by women in the commercial sex industry, and to violate sex workers' human rights.

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Updated 05/20/2006