Call for Papers - Transactional Sex in Forced Displacement: Challenging Conventional Concepts and Understandings

Transactional Sex in Forced Displacement: Challenging Conventional Concepts and Understandings

Submitted by Shirin Heidari, Thanasis Tyrovolas, Jane Freedman, Shilan Masrour
For panel Transactional Sex in Humanitarian Contexts

Our preliminary research in Switzerland, France, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan indicates that transactional sex (TS) in forced displacement is practiced by women, men, and people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, with important sexual and reproductive, as well as mental health implications. Yet, our understanding of the gendered motivations, causes, and consequences of this practice in the context of displacement is alarmingly scarce. Moreover, there are conflations of terms and contradictions in the way TS is conceptualized in policy and practice. This ambiguity of terms, lack of evidence of the complexities and diversities of individual experiences, and limited data on the sexual and reproductive, and mental health implications results in the failure to provide an adequate basis for protecting the rights of those involved in TS and providing appropriate health services. Through our multi-disciplinary, multi-country research, we intend to apply a socioecological lens to examine how situations of gendered vulnerability are created as well as the strategies and agency of those involved in TS. We hope to provide some conceptual clarity around the phenomenon and generate much needed evidence, with the aim of identifying entry points for effective responses to minimize its negative implications.

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