Law and Policy

No Amnesty for Women

In August 2015, Amnesty International voted to support pimps and sex buyers rather than people in prostitution – 90% of whom are not “voluntary sex workers” but people who ended up in prostitution as a last-ditch survival alternative and who urgently want to escape it. Please support groups that provide for and advocate for what […]

Download document (2 pages)

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Liability Shield

Online trolls have launched another barrage of attacks in the strange, petty little war over “ethics in journalism” we call GamerGate. Perennial troll targets Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn caused the latest escalation by testifying to the UN about the toxic effects of online harassment and the need for something to be done about it. As a result, […]

Download document (8 pages)

Former President Jimmy Carter Speaks Out On Abolishing Prostitution

In a May 2015 address to an Atlanta Summit on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Former President Jimmy Carter said, “I would like to see each city and state in the United States adopt the Nordic model law.” – Former President Jimmy Carter May 2015 Former President Jimmy Carter and Breaking Free’s Vednita Carter are connected by […]

Opinion: Why Spitzer Should Be Prosecuted

The state of New York has comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, prosecuting buyers of prostituted women. Melissa Farley and Norma Ramos outline why New York Governor Eliot Spitzer should be held legally responsible for buying sex.

Download document (5 pages)

Shifting the Burden: Inquiry to Assess the Operation of the Current Legal Settlement on Prostitution in England and Wales

The report on the UK’s burden of guilt for prostitution has the purpose of raising awareness around the impact of the sale of sexual services on those involved and to develop proposals for government action with a focus on tackling demand for the sex trade.

Download document (64 pages)

Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution and its Impact on Gender Equality

The objective of this briefing paper is to provide background information drawn from the international literature on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality in relation to the report of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. The study concentrates on the debate on whether prostitution could be voluntary or has rather to be regarded in any case as a violation of women’s human rights. It also presents an overview of the policies on prostitution in the Member States as well as four case studies: Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

Download document (89 pages)

Does Legal Prostitution Increase Trafficking?

This paper by three economists investigates the impact of legalized prostitution on human trafficking. The empirical analysis of a cross-section of up to 150 countries shows that on average, countries where prostitution is legal experience increased human trafficking inflows.

Download document (16 pages)

Prostitution, Liberalism, and Slavery

This article critiques the liberal “prostitution-can-be-fixed-or-improved” perspective of liberals and defends an abolitionist approach that views prostitution as slavery or slavery-like practices.

Download document (11 pages)

Arguments for and against Prostitution Including Arguments for and against the Swedish Prostitution Law

This 58 page booklet, translated from Swedish to English by Kvinnofronten/The Women’s Front, Sweden, 2013, can be downloaded here. Topics include what is prostitution: “buying sex from someone who does not want to have sex,” the necessity of viewing prostitution in context, men’s needs, stigmatization of the victim, prostitution and choice, “sex work,” colonialism, children and […]

Download document (64 pages)

Kudos to Corpus Christi Texas and to Captain Floyd Simpson

Women in Corpus Christi prostitution are offered services, not arrested. The police understand that any woman who is pimp-controlled is a trafficking victim. Congratulations from PRE for this humanitarian and cost-effective approach. One question remains: is Corpus Christi also increasing arrests of sex buyers?

Download document (2 pages)

Legalized Prostitution in Amsterdam “has never worked” says a Survivor

Despite claims that legalization helps women in prostitution, in Amsterdam it has led to increases in organized crime and trafficking and has created an environment in which pimps operate with impunity under the title of “manager” or “facilitator.” Far from empowering or protecting the prostituted women, where prostitution is legalized, the women are forced to […]

Download document (6 pages)

“End Demand” Works, Evidence Shows

Almost everyone in the field is discussing legal approaches toward the related scourges of human trafficking and prostitution. Recognizing that prostitution is a form of sex inequality related to gender-based violence, the Swedish approach criminalizes the purchaser, while decriminalizing the prostituted person, and has dramatically reduced prostitution and human trafficking since 1999. The law has also been adopted in […]

Download document (3 pages)

Sex industry pimps and allies use “sex rights for the disabled” as Trojan Horse

Prejudice against disabled people exists in many cultures. That includes prejudice against their existence as fully human including their sexuality. Because of this prejudice, it can be difficult for some disabled people – men and women alike – to find sex partners. However, the solution to this problem is not to abuse another group of […]

Download document (3 pages)

City Targets Sex Buyers with Letter Writing Campaign

Part of a comprehensive approach to end human trafficking and prostitution is through the provision of services to women and children being exploited by the industry and to crack down on sex buyers–the johns who create the demand for commercial sex. Without the demand, there is no need for the supply. The Oakland local community […]

Download document (2 pages)

A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men Who Buy Sex

Paper presented at “Focus on Men Who Buy Sex: Discourage Men’s Demand for Prostitution, Stop Sex Trafficking” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 17, 2012. Co-hosted by Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center and Prostitution Research & Education. Executive Summary We interviewed 133 Cambodian men who had bought sex from adult women in prostitution, with 37% also acknowledging […]

Download document (48 pages)

Ontario Disempowers Prostituted Persons: Assessing Evidence, Arguments, & Substantive Equality in Bedford v. Canada

Max Waltman’s paper analyzes the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s ruling on March 26, 2012, concluding that it erroneously rewrote the law against “living on the avails of prostitution” on the basis of misrepresented and faulty evidence, and as a result made prostituted persons more vulnerable to exploitation. Accordingly, the paper shows how that the […]

Download document (31 pages)

Prosecutors Focus on Pimps and Clients, Instead of Women

It was not exactly a run-of-the-mill prostitution case: the men accused as ringleaders were a father and his son, a pimp team coercing women to push their trade like traveling sex saleswomen, handing out business cards at hotels and strip clubs.

Download document (3 pages)

New law criminalizing sex buyers is an important step to abolishing sexual exploitation in Israel

On Sunday, February 12, 2012 the Ministerial Committee for Legislation gave its initial approval to a new bill that targets sex buyers in Israel. The new legislation, proposed by MK Orit Zuaretz, makes paying for sexual services a criminal offense–imposing a sentence of up to six months imprisonment or community service. It follows the model […]

Under New Law, France Would No Longer Be Sexual Playground of Men Like Dominique Strauss-Kahn

In the aftermath of the scandal surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn last year, the French National Assembly signed a Resolution that “reaffirms the abolitionist position of France, the objective of which is ultimately a society without prostitution” on December 6, 2011. This resolution represents France’s recognition that prostitution is not sex work that should be legalized or […]

Download document (3 pages)

Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality

Catharine A. MacKinnon describes evidence supporting the Nordic model legislation on prostitution and discusses links between prostitution, pornography, and trafficking.

Download document (40 pages)

Senator Harry Reid’s Call to Outlaw Legal Prostitution in his Address to the Nevada Legislature

“I recently met with a group of businessmen who run data centers for technology companies. They visited Storey County to see about opening a facility there, a move that would have created desperately needed jobs. Storey County does a lot of things right. It’s the home of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, which is the largest […]

Download document (4 pages)

Prohibiting Sex Purchasing and Ending Trafficking: The Swedish Prostitution Law (2011)

This article by Max Waltman analyzes the Swedish prostitution law from 1999, which criminalized the sex buyer and decriminalized prostituted persons. He analyzes this law as both appropriate and in line with the United Nation’s Trafficking Protocol from 2000, which states that a person is regarded as a trafficking victim when, e.g., someone abuses her […]

Download document (25 pages)

Washington Post Rejects Massage Prostitution Advertising

As of September 29, 2010 the Washington Post newspaper, following a national trend to stop advertising prostitution – is now rejecting advertising that previously ran in the Post as “massage.” In a blog last year, the Polaris Project, which combats international trafficking in women, wrote: “Ever wonder where traffickers advertise their victims? Turns out it’s […]

Download document (2 pages)