Technological Trade and Negotiating Danger: An Analysis of Internet Postings by British Escorts

Kim Davies, Augusta State University
Lorraine Evans, University of Georgia

The victimization of prostitutes is well documented and the illegal or deviant nature of selling sex is noted to contribute to this victimization. Some have argued that the criminalization of prostitution has served to interfere with the formation of communities among prostitutes making the sharing of information about their work difficult and thus the reliance on pimps and brothels important. The internet, however, provides a forum for some sex workers to form online communities where they can network and share information about those who irritate, harass, and violate them because they are sex workers. In this paper, we examine the postings of one such internet site organized 'E for the benefit of those involved in the provision and use of escorting services in the U.K. ...% We analyze over one hundred postings as a way to uncover what sex workers report as problematic and dangerous behavior themselves without the guiding questions of social scientists. Our findings reveal that escorts report physical violations as expected but many reports indicate emotional and psychological threats facilitated by modern technology. Thus, we consider how cyber-communities and other technologies may be affecting the management of threats to sex workers as well as the way they are threatened.

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Updated 05/20/2006