Episode 92 - Dr. Shelly Wiechelt and Dr. Corey Shdaimah: Women's Experiences in Street-Level Prostitution: Implications for Court-Based and Social Service Programs (part 1 of 2)

Monday, March 19, 2012, 9:57:35 AM

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In part one of a two-part podcast, Drs. Wiechelt and Shdaimah discuss their research of women in prostitution in Baltimore, Maryland. They describe how they were drawn to study the women, explain the importance of debunking popular myths related to this population, and emphasize why trauma-informed services rather than punitive and shaming responses are warranted.

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Average Rating: 5stars  thought provoking, Wednesday, January 30, 2019

By Liz Walsh :

I thought this podcast did a wonderful job of debunking some myths of prostitution that the general public may have, such as terminology distinctions between ‘prostitution’ and ‘sex work’ as well as ‘partaking in prostitution’ versus ‘being a prostitute.’ I thought it laid the groundwork for thoughtful conversation and discourse on the subject. I appreciated the researcher’s thoughtful distinction between the fact that there COULD be women partaking in prostitution of their own volition, but that that is simply not the population this research is studying. However, I did find it interesting that the researchers stated “the feminist model of sex work does not speak to... [this] study,” yet the methods of conducting this research and engaging with these women was so trauma-informed, client-centered, and empowering, I felt they were, in a sense, creating their own feminist model of engaging with sex workers.

I understand there are a myriad of types of sex work or prostitution, and street work is only one. I wish there was more research and discussion on the different types we perhaps hear less about. I’m under the impression from this podcast that Drs. Wiechelt and Shdaimah were only able to perform this research on this population because citizens of Baltimore were in a sense “complaining” about the street prostitution going on. I don’t suppose there are many concerned citizens voicing concerns about the health or social implications of the more discrete high end escorts, Craigslist workers, or college girls attempting to make ends meet. It’s a shame that even in the field of social work, research primarily sticks to what is “in demand” rather than just what we lack knowledge on.

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Average Rating: 5stars  understanding of women engaged in prostitution, Sunday, April 22, 2012

By Rachel Ritzenthaler :

I recently saw for the first time a woman engage in prostitution. I was in downtown Niagara Falls and the person I was with thought it was very odd that I have not seen someone do this before, which in turn I found to be peculiar. It made me think of the woman, how she came to engage in this, how she felt, what can be done to help, and how others view these women. This podcast was interesting and answered some of my questions. The women have a preserved lack of choice and feel it is a mechanism that they use for survival (i.e. housing, food). I agree with their point that they should not be treated as criminals but to engage them in rehabilitation. It was interesting that research still seems to be unclear on when substance abuse occurs. Is it before they engage in prostitution to feed their addiction, is it after for a means to cope or numb or simultaneously? This would be an important question to have answered as well as how trauma or childhood trauma is linked to engaging in prostitution. This would inform you of what would be needed in a rehabilitation program for these women.

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