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Agency and exploitation: Two sides of one coin? Women’s experiences of selling sex and engaging with NGOs in Dhaka

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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Social Work
Early online date6 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Oct 2020


Social work has long been concerned about women’s involvement in the sex industry. This article asks what can be learned from sex workers themselves about how social work might better support those who work in the sex industry. Based on a study in Bangladesh, it is argued that although the NGOs who worked with these women helped to increase their feelings of agency, violence and abuse continued to feature in their daily lives. It is concluded that in order to more holistically meet sex workers’ needs, social workers should understand better the ways in which agency and exploitation co-exist.

    Research areas

  • sex work, agency, NGOs, exploitation, violence, Bangladesh

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