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10th May, 2022

Do we understand each other yet? Transactional sex, agency and service failure in Bangladesh and Lebanon


Event Details

10th May, 2022
13:00 - 14:00

The speaker: Megan Denise Smith, humanitarian worker and gender-based violence specialist. Megan is a humanitarian worker and gender-based violence specialist with ten years of experience working with migrants and refugees in Bangladesh, Egypt, Lebanon, Rwanda, and the UK.

She is currently based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) where she has managed IOM´s GBV programming as part of the Rohingya refugee response since 2017. She can be contacted at

The paper: Transactional Sex (TS) is often used as an umbrella term to encompass a wide range of practices ranging from sex work to sexual exploitation and abuse. It is typically framed as in humanitarian settings through reductive lenses that portray the person engaged in them as without agency, forced into “negative coping strategies” by a larger crisis.

Using the humanitarian refugee response in Bangladesh and Lebanon as case studies, this presentation will establish how humanitarians construct the “transactional sex worker” through assessments and programming as a subject in need of saving and reform and then explore how humanitarians fail to be accountable to transactional sex workers as a result – especially women and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

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