The Politics of Race, Sexual Labor, and Identification
This chapter examines the racial and class dynamics of Aprosba (Association of Prostitutes of Bahia), the only organization in Bahia run by and for sex workers, as well as its impact on the lives of some of its members. It first provides a background on Aprosba's history and activities and goes on to describe its place in state, regional, and transnational networks of sex workers' associations. It then considers the ethnography of Aprosba members in relation to the theoretical and political distinctions related to terms such as prostitute and sex worker as well as into the debate regarding whether sex work can be understood as a practice or an identity. It also explores the activism and organizing efforts of grassroots Brazilian sex workers on the local, national, and transnational scenes, focusing on Aprosba's training initiative called Projeto sem Vergonha (Without Shame Project). The chapter highlights the racial politics of sex work in Salvador, and especially the politics of naming in Aprosba's preference for the term prostituta (prostitute) over profissional do sexo or trabalhadora do sexo (sex worker).
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