Insecurity and domination among sex workers in Jakarta

A’malina Az Zahra
Sari Damar Ratri (Universitas Indonesia)

Abstract

This article describes form of layered vulnerabilities that inhabits sex workers’ daily life in Jakarta Indonesia. We seek to deepen understanding of how male domination is not necessarily relevant to exemplify sexual inequality when talking about sex work activities. Sexual inequality is a form of structural violence rooted in sexual objectification by the oppressor and the concomitant sexual subjectivity of the dominated (Teunis and Herdt 2007: 3). In sex work activities, power relation is represented by transactional relationship from those who need the service and those who provide the service through money. In this sense, sex workers are the dominated sexual subjectivity in which they are vulnerable to violence due to the lack of empowerment in economic condition. We would like to elaborate form of vulnerabilities of male, female and transgender communities influenced by shame, stigma and discrimination of sex work. This study relies upon the life history of sex workers in Jakarta gained from in-depth interviews. In efforts to examine form of vulnerabilities, we focus on safety issues related to their economic condition.