chapter  21
“Something about us for us”
Exploring ways of making research with sex workers in South Africa
WithGreta Schuler, Elsa Oliveira
Pages 8

Selling sex is an important livelihood strategy for many people across the world. This is no different in South Africa, a country associated with high levels of unemployment and increasingly restrictive immigration policies (Scheibe, Richter, and Vearey, 2016). While insights into the challenges facing migrants and sex workers in South Africa continue to emerge, much of the knowledge that is circulated about migrant sex workers is the result of research undertaken on rather than with them and is considered by some sex workers and their scholar and activist allies to be the “(re) production of often superficial, sometimes inaccurate, and potentially unethical portrayals of the lives of migrants who sell sex” (Oliveira and Vearey, 2017: 266).