Prostitution, Sex Work, and Violence: Lessons From the Cambodian Context

Martin A. Monto, University of Portland

Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 2014, Volume 15, Issue 1, 73-84.

© 2014 Taylor & Francis

Linked version is the final published version.


This article highlights notable contributions of 4 studies on sex work in Cambodia. By addressing different issues and varieties of sex work, they demonstrate how sex work is shaped by global and regional sociocultural contexts. The studies collectively provide an opportunity to draw larger lessons about prostitution and sex work, suggesting that prostitution and sex work (a) include a wide range of activities; (b) are associated with violence against women; (c) operate under a continuum of consent, ranging from more consensual to highly nonconsensual; (d) are frequently described using highly charged language that may obscure empirical realities; (e) are forms of work but not necessarily work that should be legitimized; (f) attract customers for a wide range of reasons; and (g) are a product of contemporary social contexts rather than inevitabilities. The 4 studies provide a tremendous resource for breaking down some of the oversimplifications present in popular and academic discourse on prostitution and sex work.