Wednesday, December 3: Theresa Anasti, PhD Student, School of Social Service Administration Presents: “Sex Worker or Victim of Prostitution?: Advocacy Collaborations Among Nonprofits that Represent Individuals in the Sex Industry”
Collaboration has been proposed as a possible solution to the resource shortages and inefficiencies plaguing service provision by human service nonprofits (HSNP). Yet research on HSNP collaboration often neglects to discuss the important role of collaboration in expanding advocacy efforts, in addition to improving service provision. In order to be involved in policy advocacy, many HSNPs may collaborate with advocacy organizations, organizations whose primary activity is promoting (or prohibiting) legislative or social change. Collaborations between HSNPs and advocacy organizations have the potential to improve political representation for the marginalized populations yet little is known about the structure and processes behind these relationships. This study seeks to contribute to the burgeoning literature on nonprofit collaboration in an advocacy context, looking at HSNPs in the city of Chicago that may collaborate with one of two advocacy organizations that claim to represent individuals involved in the sex industry. These collaborations are complicated by the fact that the advocacy organizations in question frame the problem in oppositional ways: one advocacy organization proposes to abolish the sex industry while the other advocates decriminalization as a policy alternative. This qualitative study will look at the reasons that lead both sides to collaborate, and detail what these collaborations look like at the ground level. This study will contribute to organizational theory and practice by looking at reasons behind advocacy collaboration and the potential implications for the vulnerable populations represented.