Social Workers and Prostitution: Findings from Israeli Studies on Attitudes and Interventions

Einat Peled | September 23 | 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM | Room 3010A

Prostitution is often experienced and regarded as a form of oppression and abuse. In the last decade, it defined by a growing number of professionals, academics and politicians in Israel as a social problem requiring societal response. While many people in prostitution are seen as victims who deserve adequate social and therapeutic services, prostitution-centered intervention is rarely provided by social workers in public services in Israel.

The objective of this presentation is to share the findings of several studies conducted in Israel, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, aiming to learn about the response to and perceptions of prostitution by several groups of social workers.
Dr. Peled will first present the findings of a study of 215 social workers in the Administration of Social Services in the city of Tel Aviv.


The main research questions were:
(1) Do social workers in municipal public services serve people in prostitution?
(2) How do social workers explain occasions when clients’ involvement in prostitution is known, but there is no discussion of our intervention in that matter?
(3) What factors are related to social workers’ willingness to intervene with people in prostitution?

Secondly, Dr. Peled will present the main findings from a series of 4 qualitative studies aimed at understanding the perceptions of social workers regarding prostitution and people in prostitution. She argues that social workers' willingness, choice and ability to intervene with people in prostitution is influenced by their perceptions of people in prostitution as normative/deviant, as victims/ agents, and as subjects/objects.

About the Presenter