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Saúde e Sociedade

Print version ISSN 0104-1290On-line version ISSN 1984-0470


GRACA, Marta  and  GONCALVES, Manuela. Educational practices of services for sex workers in Portugal. Saude soc. [online]. 2017, vol.26, n.2, pp.571-583. ISSN 1984-0470.

Health and social education projects for sex workers are run mainly by nongovernmental organizations. These organizations have different perspectives regarding prostitution, seeing it as either oppression or as work. However, little is known about how their ideological stance shapes their educational practices. In this qualitative study, we aim to identify educational initiatives undertaken by the 23 agencies that provide services for sex workers in Portugal, considering their respective stances on the subject. We link their perspectives on sex work with the three theoretical paradigms in sex work literature: oppression, empowerment and polymorphous (neutral). We concluded that educational initiatives are influenced by views on prostitution. These are focused mainly on health education; and, in at lesser degree, on developing social skills and on empowerment. Despite the importance and relevance of these organizations’ work, the findings highlight the need for more structured and participatory initiatives, which should seek to encourage sex workers’ participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects that concern them.

Keywords : Non-formal Education; Sex Work; Organizations.

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