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Marco Bacio

Doctoral student


Unpicking the Sex Work Conundrum


  • Marco Bacio


  • Marco Bacio
  • Fabrizio Botti
  • Marcella Corsi
  • Hannah Manzur
  • Laeticia Thissen
  • Giulia Zacchia

Summary, in English

What is sex work? I have decided to start this short contribution with a question, which I think the reader should answer before continuing. So what is sex work? Is it a legitimate form of work or is it a job whose only characteristics are exploitation, harassment, and coercion? Also, can a person (woman or man) freely decide to be a sex worker or is it impossible to engage in such profession without considering the patriarchal oppression of our society? After more than three years of fieldwork in both Italy and Sweden, researching men who sell sex to other men, I understood that there are a few subject more politicized than sex work. Assuming a neutral position seems impossible, you must stand on one side or the other. The paradox is that both sides self-defined themselves as ‘pro-sex workers’: on one hand, being ‘pro’ sex workers means fighting for their rights, helping them to gain recognition as workers, and calling for laws that protect and legitimise their activities. On the other, being ‘pro’ sex workers means helping them to give up with their activities, saving them from themselves, and maintaining the status quo where laws seek to stop the commercialisation of sex through strict forms of criminalisation. In what follows, I will do my best to present sex work in a direct and neutral way, even if my position in favour of protecting the rights of sex workers to work and to engage in the commercialisation of sex may occasionally emerge.


  • Department of Gender Studies

Publishing year







Contested Commodities. My Body My Choice?

Document type

Report chapter


FEPS - Foundation for European Progressive Studies


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Gender Studies


  • Sex work
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Feminism
  • Criminalisation




  • ISBN: 9782930769578