This project will explore what assistance is offered and needed today, and how to best understand and contextualise developments in social work.
Over the past decade, prostitution has taken on a new political relevance in debate and policy development in Norway. Prostitution is assigned a substantial symbolic significance, seen as reflective of power and gender relations in general. At the same time, prostitution takes place in a concrete and non-symbolic realm, and consequences of policies and legislation have very real and embodied health consequences for the persons involved in prostitution. Persons in prostitution are generally at a high risk for adverse health outcomes, while at the same time, there is evidence of social, institutional and individual barriers to accessing health care.
The project is designed to explore how municipal, governmental and civil society institutions can best meet the health and social needs of persons involved in prostitution, by answering the questions of how services for this group are organised today; how the very diverse needs in this user group can best be met and how a user perspective can best be included, as well as how services relate to ideology, and shape the use (and users) of measures. The research team will approach these questions through an overarching framework and theoretical discussion about prostitution, health/social policy and ideology. Under this framework we will undertake empirically founded analyses of current practices, barriers and challenges of and to health services and social work, organised as two sub-projects; one on the relationship between assistance offered and assistance needed for women involved in prostitution, and one on women trafficked into prostitution.
The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and will be performed in collaboration with partners at Helse Sør-Øst Health Services Research Centre (HØKH), The Faculty of Health and Society at Malmö University and NEXUS Institute.