Mainstream feminist discourse has failed to fully engage with commercial sex work. In a series of groundbreaking, previously unpublished essays, The Business of Sex corrects this lacuna. Moving beyond the traditional feminist focus on slavery and trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues, the contributors to this volume engage fully with the political and theoretical implications of sex work. Dismissing old antagonisms, they argue that feminism - thanks to its role in revolutionizing perspectives on sexuality and labor - is a natural ally for the sex workers' rights movement. In the process, these innovative scholars provocatively critique the dominant moral paradigm of heterosexual monogamy, which has created a pervasive "victim" discourse and limited our understanding of sex work's complex realities. Drawing on firsthand stories of sex workers and prostitutes, this volume gives voice to newly articulated movements such as "whore feminism" and "queer feminism" - feminisms that have the potential to move discussions about sex work onto new and fruitful terrain.
Laxmi Murthy is a consulting editor at Himal Southasian and heads the Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange. Meena Saraswathi Seshu is the general secretary of SANGRAM, an organization in Sangli, Maharashtra, that works to protect the rights of sex workers, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.