Especially, because sex workers are frequently showcased as ‘exploited’ within policy debates in Spain, this research paper intends to understand how Spanish policy-makers define ‘ex-ploitation’ as opposed to how sex worker organizations utilize the term. The aim of these investigations is to understand how the different ontologies of ‘exploitation’ affect the fram-ings of sex work(ers). Hence, this research paper starts by deconstructing common public discourses on sex work with regard to their core assumptions. Specifically, to break the vi-cious cycle, wherein politicians, sex workers, academia, feminists and other spectators get lost in dichotomous debates about sex work, this research paper will offer a novel approach to inspire target-group oriented policy-changes. More precisely, this research paper addresses the following questions: 1) How have policy-makers defined ‘exploitation’ during the Spanish general elections in 2019 and how does their framing differ from that of sex worker organi-zations in the months prior to the general elections? and, 2) What are the implications for the protection of sex worker’s rights under new policy frameworks? Drawing on the toolbox of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this research paper will offer a range of linguistic anal-yses, which demonstrate that policy-makers’ framings coincide with a sexual and identity politics, whereas sex worker organizations’ framings indicate a need for epistemic justice, the combatting of stigmata and the regulation of sex work as a labour.

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Siegmann, Karin Astrid
Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Krosch, Tamara Stefanie. (2020, December 18). Sex work and ‘exploitation’: understanding how the policy-makers and sex worker organizations define ‘exploitation’ in public discourses about sex work in Spain. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from