In light of religious terrorist attacks in Paris, please see Category:blasphemy!

Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry presentation of first findings

From Freedom Porn
Jump to: navigation, search

On 2009 July 10 there was a presentation/seminar about the first findings of “Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry” research, that is carried out by the Institute for the Study of European Transformation at London Metropolitan Univeristy. This is the feedback on the closing seminar itself and on the way research was presented.

Outline of what happened

For those people who were not there it is important to understand what has transpired at the event, therefore here is a brief outline.

The time line was:

  1. Arrival
  2. Opening plenary
  3. Presentation of research findings (with Q&A)
  4. Networking buffet lunch
  5. Participatory discussion groups
  6. Closing plenary

The research was presented by Dr. Nick Mai who is the Senior Research Officer in Migration and Immigration at the ISET. No other speakers were invited at the presentation time as that would make it more into a conference than a presentation of the specific studies, however, many knowledgable people have attended and spoke from the audience. In fact at the group discussion session one of the attendees has described the shock of hearing the concrete questions at Q&A as “Oh my god, these are all experts here!”

Dr. Nick Mai was definitely prepared to do this presentation, and had enormous amount of data condensed and presented in the precise and interesting (to those who are interested in the subject) manner. When he was questioned on the numbers or on the methodology, he could easily pull up the numbers and explain their significance in the research; and he was very coherent in what he was saying, being quite quite strong-handed in the statements when there were facts to back it up, and yet admitting when something was outside of his field of knowledge and not playing an omniscient speaker.

After the break, during which those who have stayed signed up to one of the discussion groups that were to focus on the aspect of the research that still needs to take place. The groups were: policy, research, and ethics, discussing the future policy implications, research questions that need to be answered, and how to ensure that more people participate. About ½ of the attendees have left without going to either group, and policy was the most attended. Each group had their discussion separate from others.

Before the closing plenary groupsʼ facilitators gave brief outline of what was discussed and of important issues raised (however, somehow there were significantly more than 3 summaries given). The basic summary of summaries is that people were looking for the way to engage more sex workers and organisations, which would enable to discuss sex work in contexts other than what it is discussed today (such as labour exploitation, worker safety, violence against women, etc.)

Thoughts and critique

These are very subjective thoughts on the event, should be taken as a constructive criticism to make similar events better, not to suggest that the event should not have taken place or to dismiss the findings.

The attendance of the event required prior registration, it is assumed that the reason for that is the need for the security of those who have attended as well as minimisation of the chance of disruptions from anti-sex community. However, the reasons were not disclosed in the announcement, and the potential reasons are inferred from the present awareness of the need for anonymity of some individuals (an example of that was the fact that all the statements made during Q&A session were “non-attributable” with the exception to those made by Dr. Nick Mai). It would be extremely helpful to know exactly why one has to register before actually registering.

Transgender people were always talked about as abstract entity which included everybody who was not male‑born men or female‑born women. Because of that, it was very difficult to follow what was talked about during the part of presentation dealing with “transgender”.

What food is vegan at the buffet lunch? Whom does one even ask that question? Having asked these two rhetorical questions, it should be noted that there was fruit available, which is nice ☺.

Break-down of the groups was rather arbitrary and then it seems that some groups were allowed to brain storm, while others were held to the rigid “goal oriented” structure. It was good that the groups were described near the sign-up sheets for them, but many people have arrived at the group only to start raising points much more suited to another one, so perhaps they did not notice the description or did not read it before turning up; in turn facilitator of at least one group has over‑reacted to “out of bounds” conversation and stopped any conversation which did not suit own perception of which area of the discussion will have productive outcome. Usually groups are the best parts of any event, as they allow people to engage in whatever event it is they have attended, this is an important aspect to events like this, after all if people will lose interest then regardless of whether the research is ethical or where it goes in the future it will amount to “academic masturbation”.