Seminars & Events

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch)

Voices from the Edge: Justice, Agency and the Plight of Floating Sex Workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch) is a lunchtime workshop open to public, including IDE staffs, visiting research fellows, IDEAS students, outside researchers and graduate students. This workshop provides a platform for presentation of any work in progress where we can discuss in either English or Japanese.

Those who would attend a seminar are asked to announce yourself to receptionists on your arrival at the IDE and to obtain APL Organizers' signature on your admission card after the seminar.


December 18, 2017. (Monday) 13:00-14:30


Voices from the Edge: Justice, Agency and the Plight of Floating Sex Workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

From a socio-cultural perspective, commercial sex is considered to be immoral and degrading in Bangladesh. It is rarely viewed as a form of employment. Social and legal attitudes toward commercial sex have resulted in the marginalisation of sex workers. This thesis focuses on the life of floating sex workers (FSWs) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The lives of these women as they has been affected by gender bias is explored. This thesis explores how sex workers are socially and morally stigmatised because they are women, while pimps (who are mostly men) and clients are not equally stigmatised, and the nature of their behaviour remains unquestioned. In the process, the research engages with significant arguments that constitute the debate on whether prostitution is a form of work or by definition, exploitation. This thesis probes the various socio-economic programmes implemented by the non-government organisations (NGOs) and the Bangladeshi Government that claim to provide assistance to FSWs. The thesis critically examines the appropriateness and effectiveness of these programmes in helping to improve the situation of FSWs. In the process, this thesis revisits the constitution and contradictory laws of Bangladesh that have contributed to the difficult situation of FSWs in the period after the major transformation of the sex industry in the late 1990s instigated by the government’s attempt to close the brothels. Finally, this thesis explores the various arguments for de-criminalisation, prohibition/abolition and recognition of the sex industry. It concludes by presenting some policy implications to enhance the entitlements, capabilities and human rights of this group of women and their children.
Reazul Haque (University of Dhaka; Institute of Developing Economies)

Kenmei Tsubota




Institute of Developing Economies, APL Organizers
E-mail: APLE-mail