The phrase ‘agency’ has been used in social scientists to refer to the capability of an individual to act according to their own free will and make choices. This led to social structures, whereas the social structures can be based on social class or economy. In the field of criminology, it has been assumed by certain criminologists that it is the agents (individuals) due to which crime is resulted. Whereas at the other end, some criminologists assume that is due to the social structure that shapes the behavior of individuals. For example, poverty led due to unemployment and lack of necessities of people may increase criminal activities.
One of the perfect examples of differentiation between the agency and social structure is prostitution. Prostitution can be perceived as a sexual exchange for an economic reward, be it money, etc. A lot of women can claim that they came into the sex working industry with the choice; however, some may claim that they were driven into it due to certain conditions.
One of the stories of a sex worker (Kirsty) also showed how she was separated from her parents being drug addicts and was put to placement for a foster home, where she was sexually abused by a lot of men. Another example is of a prostitute (Laura) who had been in the industry for 24 years with her own choice. She chose to work on Saturdays at a massage parlor as the rest of the days of the week she used to study.
Further, Laura – the sex worker highlighted the social structure of the bank where she was working and who had issues with Laura when they got to know that she had been working for escort services besides working for the bank. Moreover, the role of choice and discussions in the sex industry is often debated. Laura’s choice of becoming a sex worker was motivated by many different situations that were different than in the case of Kirsty. Often choices are based on individuals but not in the conditions of making their choices. Thereby, the context and the conditions in which these choices must have been made must be understood.