Sex Work in the Times of Anti-Trafficking: From a Global Perspective

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Sex Work in the Times of Anti-Trafficking: From a Global Perspective

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Peace and Conflict Studies, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    • To broaden students’ knowledge concerning the complexities regarding prostitution.
    • To acquaint students with the different theoretical/political perspectives that exist regarding sex work.
    • To be able to identify these perspectives in written text and the consequences they have for research, policy and in the sex workers’ lives.
    • To be able to use theoretical and empirical data to articulate positions on the different issues regarding sex work.

    Contemporarily, sex work is a subject that frequently captures media attention. More often than not sex work – a term which defines prostitution from a human rights perspective – is conflated with sex trafficking, an illegal activity in which individuals are moved across or within borders to perform sexual activities against their will. However, sex work is far more complex than it is often portrayed. This course is aimed to provide students with both theoretical and empirical knowledge which will illustrate the complexities as well as give insight into relevant issues, including but not limited to identity politics, HIV/AIDS, policy and legislation. Theoretically, it will acquaint students with the different approaches that exist and the implications they have for policy, legislation and in the daily lives of sex workers. The course will train students to discern the different discourses and perspectives used to research and explain sex work. Empirically, it will explore different types of sex work from a global perspective and give insight into the daily conflicts and achievements of sex workers. Guest lectures will be given by individuals working or representing organizations. In its entirety, the course offers an extensive amount of knowledge which on the one hand, will teach students to theoretically think out of the box and on the other hand will broaden their understanding regarding the social, cultural and economic dynamics which contribute to sex workers’ stigmatization, vulnerability and marginalization globally.

    A weekly lecture is followed by a tutorial in which two different groups of students present weekly a current events poster and a presentation of the weekly Literature. From the first week onwards students are not only registered in a tuturial group, but within the tutorial group fixed sub-groups are formed to prepare the two assignments Each sub-group will prepare one current events poster and one literature presentation. It is therefore extremely important when students come to the first class they are certain that the tutorial time assigned to them does not conflict with any other course, and if it does, that the problem is solved before the first tutorial. The last tutorial session is the final presentation of the current events posters in which an exhibition-like event is organized open to friends and colleagues. .

    Current Events Poster: 15%
    Literature Presentation: 25%
    Final Essay/Take home Exam: 60%
    Final Poster Presentation: Pass/Fail
    Students must have passed each component to receive the final grade.

    We expect students to have previous experience reading and analyzing theoretical texts.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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