Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Marcia Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tricia Bent-Goodley, Ph.D.


This dissertation explores the reasons for the inclusion of a course focused on sex work, particularly prostitution, in the social work curriculum of graduate schools of social work. An anonymous survey was distributed to field placement directors at CSWE accredited graduate social work programs. The survey asked questions about the placement of students at organizations that provide services to sex workers and the existence of courses in the curriculum that focus on sex work and sex workers. The survey confirmed the hypothesis of this exploratory dissertation that while social work interns are being placed in organizations where they are encountering sex workers, there are very few courses that provide information about how to address the specific needs of this population. In response to these survey results, a curriculum was created that includes a comprehensive compilation of sources and addresses the evolution of prostitution, the relevance of feminist, economic, and intersectionality theoretical frameworks, the use of specific teaching pedagogies, and the implications of sexual trauma and a multitude of critical psychosocial challenges. In addition, this curriculum can be adapted for use by other professionals, such as those in the fields of medicine, criminal justice, public health, and policy development as a way of educating them about the complexities involved in understanding and responding to the lives of female street-walking prostitutes.

Included in

Social Work Commons