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mw. dr. M.P.C. (Marie-Louise) Janssen

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference
  • Bezoekadres
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Kamernummer: B6.15
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15508
    1001 NA  Amsterdam


Marie-Louise Janssen (The Netherlands, 1966) got her master degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam in 1991.

After finishing her study she started working in Nicaragua as a coordinator of women projects. There she became interested in male street sexworkers and started working with them om health issues and empowerment activities. In 1992 she returned to the Netherlands where she continued working with Latin American sex workers. In 1993 she founded together with a Colombian colleague Foundation Esperanza, a Colombian-Dutch NGO dedicated to the prevention and combating of human trafficking in Latin American women, as well as organizing shelter and legal support to victims of human trafficking for the European sex industry.

In 2007 she  received her PhD with the title: Sex Workers on the Move. Latin American Women in the European Sex Industry ,  for her studies on the construction of female identity and the personal interpretations they give to their identities as women, immigrants and sex workers. The research is based on ethnographic research and 30 life stories of Latin American sex workers. By applying the methodology of oral history, she seeks to provide insight into the way these immigrants are working and surviving in the margins of Dutch society and the actions they undertake within the specific context of the Dutch sex industry, as well as in their home countries. As these women are coming from Latin America, their notions are subject to change during their stay in Europe, as well as afterwards when they return to Latin America. For this reason she collected one third of the lifes stories in the Domician Republic.

Marie-Louise Janssen lectures in the areas of gender and sexuality studies, social sciences and research methods and techniques at the department of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of the University of Amsterdam. Her academic interests revolve around the intersection of migration, prostitution and human trafficking. Her current research project is oriented on Chinese masseuses in the Netherlands.

Janssen participates in COST network: 'Comparing European Prostitution Policies: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance', and in Swexpertise, platform for the improvement of the position of sex workers in the Netherlands.

Academic Publications

  • (2018) 'Universities as Spaces of sexual Diversity: Students Engaged in Sex Work in Amsterdam', Realising Justice for Sex Workers. An Agenda for Change, S.A.FitzGerald and K. McGarry (eds.), London: Rowman & Littlefield International.

  • (2017) 'De ongemakkelijke relatie tussen migratie en sekswerk', Tijdschrift voor Criminologie 2017 (59) 1-2, pp: 206-209.

  • (2016) Niels Spierings & Marie-Louise Janssen, ‘Gender in het huidige sociologie onderwijs: thema en/of perspectief’, Tijdschrift voor Gender Studies, Vol. 19, no. 2, 2016.

  • (2016) Students and Sex Work, Sociologie Magazine, 24, nr.1, Maart 2016: 18-20.
  • (2012) The Position of Chinese masseuses in the Chinese beauty sector in the Netehrlands, Bottenberg, M. en M. Janssen, Driebergen.
  • (2011) "Latin American Prostitutes in the Netherlands", in: The Encyclopedia of Migration and Minorities in Europe. From the 17th Centuryto the Present. K.J. Bade, P.C. Emmer, L. Lucassen, J. Oltmer (eds.), New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • (2011) "Human Trafficking and the Sex Industry", The Encyclopedia of Global Studies, Mark Juergensmeyer and Helmut Anheier (eds), University of California and University of Heidelberg .
  • (2011), "Emerging Voices in the Prostitution Debate. Sex Work in the 20th Century", in Sexuality in the Modern Age, Julie Peakman (ed.) Oxford: Berg Publishers.
  • (2010) "State Regulation of Prostitution in the Netherlands Antilles", Column in Anthropology News, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. M. Janssen (2007) "Lateinamerikanische Prostituierte in den Niederlanden seit den 1970er Jahren" (Latin American prostitutes in the Netherlands since the 1970s),in: Enzyklopädie Migration in Europa. Vom 17.Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, K. J. Bade, P.C. Emmer, L. Lucassen, J. Oltmer (eds.), München: Wilhelm Fink, pp.764-767.
  • (2006), "Una realidad vivida, unarealidad callada. Construcción de identidad entre trabajadoras sexuales latinoamericanas", in: Imaginarios, identidades e historias. Miradas desde la antropologíadel género. South California: El Centro de Estudios Culturales ( cec )-Museo de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California .
  • (2003), "Border Constructions of Gender Identity: A Colombian transvestite in Dutch Prostitution", in: Development, Migration: Citizenship, identity and rights , Volume 46, No 3, September 2003.
  • (2002), "Paid Sex in Europe . Fantasy and performance of femininity", in: Nieuwste Tijd , Quarterly Magazine for Contemporary History , April 2002, vol.1, nr. 4, Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, Amsterdam.


  • Marie-Louise Janssen (2007) Reizende Sekswerkers. Levensverhalen van Latijns-Amerikaanse vrouwen in de Europese prostitutie. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.
  • M. Janssen and F. Polanía Molina (1998), I never thought this would happen tome. Prostitution and Traffic in Latin American women in the Netherlands. Fundación ESPERANZA: Amsterdam.


This academic year Marie-Louise Janssen is teaching the courses:

  • Theorizing Sexualities (BA) (Feb-March 2018)
  • Intersections of Culture, Sexuality & Gender (MA) (Sept - Dec 2017)
  • Sex Work in its Local and Global Complexity (BA) (Nov - Dec. 2017)

This course examines the historical evolution, different policy approaches, and political, cultural and feminist discourses concerning prostitution used to approach the subject, and intends to engage the students in efforts to articulate their own position concerning the issue of sexwork. It gives insights into the complexity of the subject and contests the myths and prejudices concerning prostitution by replacing them with a culturally specific analysis that can account for change overtime as well developmental and regional differences. A range of subjects will be treated in the course,including the different histories of prostitution in different regions of the world, female, male, transgender and child prostitution, human trafficking, clientsand sextourism. Guest speakers representing key Dutch organizations will provide informative sessions on several of the issues.

  • Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Politics (BA) (Feb - June 2017)

This course introduces the key themes and theories in the field of gender and sexuality studies. Its first part is devoted to the historical development of the social meaning of gender and sexuality and how it differs from natural - or essentialist - explanations. We will examine the political critique of inequalities as articulated by social movements, like feminists and gays, and assess how it has contributed to the emergence of gender and sexuality studies. On the basis of classic and contemporary texts it introduces students to the main concepts, theories and debates in an interdisciplinary perspective.

  • Intersectionalities of Gender. Why Gender is not the final answer (BA) (Feb-March 2017)

The aim of the course is to study gender in interplay with other social categorizations and power differentials such as ethnicity, class, nationality, sexuality, age and (dis)ability. To examine how the interconnections, tensions, and harmonies between gender and other ‘social categorizations’ function as systems of privilege and/or oppression, it will be explored how people can be advantaged and disadvantaged simultaneously. To gain an understanding of the development of the concept of intersectionality  recent developments in intersectionality theory will be discussed. It will also be analyzed how the paradigm of ‘Intersectionality’ is deployed as a conceptual tool and as a methodology for describing structures of privilege and or oppression.

  • Summer Course (BA) Introduction into Sexuality Studies, 2017, UvA, Amsterdam.
  • Summer Course (MA) Sexuality, Culture and Society, 2017, UvA.


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