Trafficking: Theory vs Reality (2009) Women’s Studies International Forum

This article presents evidence for the links between prostitution and trafficking, using examples of New Zealand, USA, and India. Men’s demand for trafficked women cannot be distinguished from the demand for prostitution. The same qualities in women that are sought by men who buy sex are also risk factors for trafficking, for example, young age, […]

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Prostitution Policy Recommendations to the City of San Francisco

Strongly criminalizing johns is the most effective legal approach to date to the harms of violence and exploitation that prostitution inflicts on those used in it. Many countries, some states, and international law support this approach, which San Francisco could readily adopt, along with other legal and social initiatives building on existing law, policy, and […]

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Is Paying for Sex Really Worth It? No, Prostitution Exploits Many Women’s Deep Pain

Myers-Powell writes about her personal experience with prostitution relating it to the exploitation and deep pain that prostitution causes. Myers-Powell is a survivor of prostitution who is the co-founder of Dream Catcher, a program designed to divert at-risk teens before they become prostitutes. She is a motivational speaker and a founding board member of the […]

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Prostitution’s Hierarchy of Control and Coercion

Graphic showing the class and race hierarchy in prostitution. There is a pyramid-like hierarchy in prostitution. At the top are a very few women – only about 2% of all those in prostitution. The farther you descend in the hierarchy, the greater the numbers of women in prostitution, and the less meaningful any discussion of […]

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Aboriginal Women’s Statement on Legal Prostitution, Canada

As Aboriginal women on occupied Coast Salish Territory, we, the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN) implore you to pay attention to the voices of Aboriginal women and women’s groups who are speaking out in the interest of our sisters, our daughters, our friends and all women whose voices have not been heard in the recent […]

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Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude

Contact: A statement by members of Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude. Includes a version of the statement in French. “We are women who have been harmed by prostitution. We believe that no amount of changing the conditions or the locations in which we were prostituted could ever have significantly reduced that harm. We experience the […]

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Prostitution, Trafficking, and Cultural Amnesia: What We Must Not Know in Order To Keep the Business of Sexual Exploitation Running Smoothly

This article discusses and analyzes empirical data on the harms of prostitution, pornography and trafficking. This information has to be culturally, psychologically, and legally denied or ignored because to know and acknowledge it would interfere with the business of sexual exploitation.

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Not For Sale – Video on Prostitution & Trafficking

Not For Sale was produced by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) in 2006. This documentary by filmmaker Marie Vermeiren gives voice to five survivors of prostitution, and also the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking, Ministers of the European Parliament and representatives from CATW and EWL. Understanding that […]


This article responds to Debbie Nathan’s “Oversexed” (Nation, August 29, 2005). Nathan sympathizes with those on the Left who consider prostitution a form of labor rather than violence against women. Nathan criticizes abolitionist feminists who think that women in prostitution deserve more in life than a condom and a cup of coffee. We feminists think […]

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X underrated

Prostitution, pornography, and sex trafficking aren’t separable in the real world. In this piece for the Times Educational Supplement in 2005, Catharine MacKinnon focuses on the experience of the woman who’s being prostituted and photographed.

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Prostitution Harms Women Even if Indoors

This article describes the social invisibility of indoor prostitution, points out the lack of evidence suggesting that indoor prostitution is “safe,” and summarizes the testimony of women who reported violence in strip club prostitution and warnings about violence from groups promoting indoor prostitution.

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‘Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart’: Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized

With examples from a 2003 New Zealand prostitution law, this article discusses the logical inconsistencies in laws sponsoring prostitution and includes evidence for the physical, emotional, and social harms of prostitution. These harms are not decreased by legalization or decriminalization. The article addresses the confusion caused by organizations that oppose trafficking but at the same […]

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Streets Apart

In the debate about prostitution, there are those, like the Dutch, who advocate legalising it, and those, like the Swedes, who want to get women off the streets by cracking down on customers and pimps. Julie Bindel investigates the current debate in the U.K.

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Prostitution & Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Researchers interviewed 854 people currently or recently in prostitution in nine countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, turkey, United States, and Zambia), inquiring about current and lifetime history of sexual and physical violence. Findings contradict common myths about prostitution: the assumption that street prostitution of men and boys is different from prostitution of […]

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Prostitution and the Invisibility of Harm

The harm of prostitution is socially invisible, and it is also invisible in the law, in public health, and in psychology. This article addresses origins of this invisibility, how words in current usage promote the invisibility of prostitution�s harm, and how public health perspectives and psychological theory tend to ignore the harm done by men […]

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The 1999 Swedish Law on Prostitution

This law is a brilliant example of how a truly progressive society addresses prostitution: the law decriminalizes the prostitute but criminalizes customers, pimps, and traffickers. The Swedish government’s logic is articulated in this brief article.

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Prostitution: A Critical Review of the Medical and Social Sciences Literature

A review of articles that focus on HIV but simultaneously ignore the massive violence that affects the lives of those in prostitution. The normalization of prostitution in the medical and social sciences literature, the tendency to blame the victim of commercial sexual exploitation, and the ways in which racism and poverty are an inextricable part […]

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A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime

Overview of trafficking of women and children into the United States prior to the passage of the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act of 2000. This report gives a summary of countries where the victims come from and descriptions of the organized crime syndicates involved in trafficking.

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How Prostitution Works

A description of customers, pimps, and the ways that young people get into prostitution. Prostitution, pornography, and other forms of commercial sex are a multi-billion dollar industry. They enrich a small minority of predators, while the larger community is left to pay for the damage.

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Prostitution in 5 Countries: Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Research summary and discussion of the life conditions of 475 people in prostitution in South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA & Zambia. These people live in social and legal contexts defining them variously as hated and filthy women, criminals and ‘sex workers’. We inquired about respondents’ histories of violence in childhood, and in adult prostitution.

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Prostitution, Violence, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most discussions of the public health risks of prostitution have focused on sexually-transmitted disease. A recent editorial in a major medical journal acknowledged the danger of violence to those prostituted, yet concluded that the overall health risks of street prostitution were minimal. In this paper, we discuss a study of the childhood violence, and violence […]

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Prostitution As Violence Against Women

This article discusses how prostitution is exempted from other kinds of violence and human rights violations, how prostitution is legitimized by distinctions between “forced” and “consenting” prostitution.

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Prostitution: A Violation of Women’s Human Rights

Despite the erroneously held belief that legalizing prostitution would empower women, the reality is that legalizing prostitution would only bring more harm to the women being forced to prostitute. As Leidholdt explains, prostitution is not a choice, but a “system of male power over and against women,” in which women’s human rights are constantly violated, […]

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Prostitution and Civil Rights

Michigan Journal of Law and Gender “The gap between the promise of civil rights and the real lives of prostitutes is an abyss which swallows up prostituted women.” This article discusses the lack of civil rights among those prostituted, and discusses some legal remedies.

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Prostitution and Male Supremacy

“Prostitution is in and of itself an abuse of a woman’s body.” “In prostitution, no woman stays whole.” Discussion of the incest that precedes prostitution, her homelessness, her namelessness, and the dominance and cruelty of men toward women in prostitution. Andrea Dworkin, Prostitution and Male Supremacy, 1 Mich. J. Gender & L. 1 (1993). Available […]

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