Very Inconvenient Truths: Sex Buyers, Sexual Coercion, &Prostitution-harm-denial

Logos Journal

February 22, 2016

Globalisation has further tilted the imbalance of power between the male punter with his wallet and the woman who rents her vagina for a fee. In France, 85 per cent of prostitutes are immigrants, many without papers, vulnerable to exploitation. In Germany, with its legal super-brothels, it is about two thirds. If demand is not tackled, more will come. Is that something any Western nation should be proud of: an underclass of poor women from Thai villages and Ukrainian towns, imported to service First World penises? – Janice Turner, 2014. [1]


Some pimps, some sex buyers and some governments have made the decision that it is reasonable to expect certain women to tolerate sexual exploitation and sexual assault in order to survive. Those women most often are poor and most often are ethnically or racially marginalised. The men who buy them or rape them have greater social power and more resources than the women. For example, a Canadian prostitution tourist commented about women in Thai prostitution, “These girls gotta eat, don’t they? I’m putting bread on their plate. I’m making a contribution. They’d starve to death unless they whored.” [2]


This self-congratulatory Darwinism avoids the question: do women have the right to live without the sexual harassment or sexual exploitation of prostitution – or is that right reserved only for those who have sex, race or class privilege? “You get what you pay for without the ‘no,’” a sex buyer explained.[3] Non-prostituting women have the right to say “no.” We have legal protection from sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. But tolerating sexual abuse is the job description for prostitution.

One of the big lies is that most prostitution is voluntary. If there’s no evidence of force, then her experience is dismissed as “voluntary” or “consenting.” A sex buyer said, “If I don’t see a chain on her leg, I assume she’s made the choice to be there.” But most prostitution today is what German abolitionists have named poverty prostitution. That means she’s hungry, she can’t find a job, and she doesn’t have alternatives. The john’s payment does not erase what we know about sexual violence, domestic violence and rape. Whether or not it is legal, prostitution is extremely harmful for women. Women in prostitution have the highest rates of rape, physical assault, and homicide of any women ever studied. In a Dutch study, 60% of women in legal prostitution were physically assaulted, 70% were threatened with physical assault, 40% experienced sexual violence and 40% had been coerced into legal prostitution. [4]

In the past decade, after interviewing hundreds of sex buyers in 5 countries (USA, UK, India, Cambodia, and Scotland), we’re looking more closely at behaviors and attitudes that fuel the misogyny of prostitution and we have started to understand some of their motivations. Normative sex buyer behavior includes a refusal to see one’s own participation in harmful activities such as dehumanizing a woman, humiliating her, verbally and physically sexually harassing her, and paying her money to coerce her to perform sex acts that she otherwise would not.

Objectification and commodification are at the root of the violence in prostitution.

Sex buyers don’t acknowledge the humanity of the women they use for sex. Once a person is turned into an object, exploitation and abuse seem almost reasonable.

Sex buyers don’t acknowledge the humanity of the women they use for sex. Once a person is turned into an object, exploitation and abuse seem almost reasonable.

In interviews with sex buyers in different cultures, some chilling examples of commodification were provided. Prostitution was understood as “renting an organ for ten minutes.”[5] Another US sex buyer stated that, “Being with a prostitute is like having a cup of coffee, when you’re done, you throw it out.”[6] Sex buyers commodify and select women on the basis of race/ethnic stereotypes via ethno-sexualization. [7] “I had a mental check list in terms of race,” said a London sex buyer, “I have tried them all over the last five years but they turned out to be the same.”[8] In Cambodia, prostitution was understood this way: “We men are the buyer, sex workers are goods, and the brothel owner is a vendor.” [9] A woman who had prostituted in Vancouver for 19 years explained prostitution the same way that sex buyers did, “They own you for that half hour or that twenty minutes or that hour. They are buying you. They have no attachments, you’re not a person, you’re a thing to be used.” [10]Sex buyers’ lack of empathy

Using his own special logic, the sex buyer calculates that in addition to buying sexual access, money also buys him the right to avoid thinking about the impact of prostitution on the woman he uses for sex. [11] His fantasy is the hassle-free girlfriend who makes no demands on him but is willing to satisfy his sexual needs. “It’s like renting a girlfriend or wife. You get to choose like a catalogue,” explained a UK sex buyer. [12] Sex buyers seek the appearance of a relationship. A number of men explained their desire to create an illusion for other men that they had acquired an attractive woman without payment. “I want my prostitute not to behave like one, said a London sex buyer, “I want them to role play to be a pretend girlfriend. To a third person it looks like we’re in love.” [13] Some men who buy sex want to playact the kind of relationship that they are unable or unwilling to have with non-prostituting women. He may pretend emotional intimacy but the relationship with a woman in prostitution always stops short of emotional mutuality. If they construct an imaginary pleasant emotional relationship with the woman they buy for sex, then they can then retain their opinion of themselves as nice guys. However these men demand extensive and exhausting lies from prostituted women. A survivor wrote to the ‘nice’ sex buyer,

The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit…I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me. Your arms around me made me want to puke more than your penis ever did…Every moment with you was a lie, and I hated every second of it. Rachel Moran, 2014. [14]

Like other sexually aggressive men, sex buyers lack empathy for women in prostitution. In Scotland, researchers found that the more often men bought sex, the less empathy they had for prostituted women. “I don’t want to know about her,” said a john, “I don’t want her to cry or this and that because that spoils the idea for me.” [15] Men create a sexually arousing version of what a prostitute thinks and feels that has little basis in reality. [16] Against all common sense, most of the johns we interviewed believed that prostituting women were sexually satisfied by the johns’ sexual performances. Research with the women, on the other hand, shows that women are not sexually aroused by prostitution, and over time, prostitution damages the women’s sexuality. [17]

One of the few differences between domestic violence and prostitution is that in prostitution, perpetrators profit from sexual exploitation. Because of the money, prostitution is much more organized than one man’s individual battering of one woman. Beckie Masaki who was director of the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, spoke about the shock waves that went through the agency when they began to accept women who had been trafficked into prostitution. Previously, they had worked individually with battered women. Now, they were taking in a dozen women at a time. The Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean organized crime groups were not happy with the loss of income. This necessitated increased security precautions for the Shelter.

Sex buyers and sexual coercion

Men’s favorable opinion of prostitution is one of a cluster of attitudes and opinions that encourage and justify violence against women. [18] Attitudes of entitlement to sexual access and sexual aggression, and attitudes of superiority over women are connected to men’s violence against women. Research shows that sex buyers – like other sexually aggressive men – tend to prefer impersonal sex, fear rejection by women, have a hostile masculine self-identification, and are more likely than non-sex buyers to rape if they could get away with it. [19] In Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda, sex buyers were more likely than other men to rape.[20] Men who used women in prostitution were significantly more likely to have raped a woman than men who did not buy sex. [21] In Scotland we found that the more often a john used women in prostitution, the more likely he was to have committed sexually coercive acts against non-prostituting women. [22]

Denial of harms of prostitution

Strip clubs never have mirrors positioned where sex buyers can see themselves, a pimp who managed strip clubs for many years explained. [23] What do they not want to see? Do they want to look away from their predatory maneuvering with the women? Do they not want to see their own foolish suckerhood? Do they want to close their eyes to the lie that the women are attracted to sex buyers? Do they not want to know that while they see themselves as players, men who choose not to buy sex see them as losers? The truth about prostitution is inconvenient for men who buy sex.

A London sex buyer who observed Eastern European women and their “bodyguard,” was an active participant in what was very likely sex trafficking. He commented,

The relationship looked very professional, like a business. Still he instructed them to do things they weren’t entirely happy with. A stern look on his face and a slight raised voice, made me slightly uncomfortable. But after the girl had been talked to by him, she put on a professional face and got on with it. My uncomfortable feeling went away because she did it – she could have walked away from the job.  Melissa Farley, Julie Bindel, Jacqueline M. Golding, 2009. [24]

Sex buyers see, and yet at the same time refuse to see, the fear, disgust, and despair in the women they buy. If she didn’t run out of the room, screaming “help, police! trafficking!” then the sex buyer concludes that she chose the prostitution. Knowing that women in prostitution have been exploited, coerced, pimped, or trafficked does not deter sex buyers. Half of a group of 103 London sex buyers said that they had used a woman in prostitution who they knew was under the control of a pimp. As one man explained, “It’s like he’s her owner.” Another man said: “The girl is instructed to do what she needs to do. You can just relax, it’s her job.” [25] In Romania, researchers interviewed sex buyers, women in prostitution, pimps, and police officers, all of whom agreed that sex buyers “are not interested if the girls are actually trafficked or not but are rather more interested in satisfying their sexual needs.” [26]

Rationalizations for legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution

Laws against sex buyers and pimps are barriers to the business of sexual exploitation. Legalization and decriminalization zone prostitution into areas where it is legal to buy, sell, and be sold for sex. Under these laws, the interests of men who buy sex are represented and pimps are protected.[27]

The argument that legalizing prostitution would make it “safer” is the primary rationalization for legal or decriminalized prostitution. However, there is no evidence for this. Instead, we hear self-serving claims and strongly worded assertions without empirical data. The aftermaths of legal prostitution in the Netherlands and Germany have shown just how bad it can get. As of 2016, 80% of German and Dutch prostitution was under the control of criminal mafias.

The aftermaths of legal prostitution in the Netherlands and Germany have shown just how bad it can get. As of 2016, 80% of German and Dutch prostitution was under the control of criminal mafias.

After legalization in the Netherlands, organized crime spiraled out of control and women in prostitution were no safer than when prostitution was illegal. Mayor Job Cohen closed much of Amsterdam’s legal prostitution in response to organized crime. [28] After legalization in Victoria, Australia, pimps established 95 legal brothels but at the same time, they also established another 400 illegal brothels in Victoria. [29] Instead of decreasing violent criminal involvement, legalization of prostitution has resulted in increased trafficking according to research from 150 countries. [30]Anyone who knows about the daily life of those in prostitution understands that safety in prostitution is a pipe dream. Advocates of legal and decriminalized prostitution understand this but rarely admit it. Still, evidence exists, for example the Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce in South Africa addressed distributed a list of safety tips including the recommendation that while undressing, the prostituting individual should “accidentally” kick a shoe under the bed, and while retrieving it, should check for knives, handcuffs or rope. The SWEAT flyer noted that fluffing up the pillow on the bed would permit an additional weapons search. [31] Understanding the lethal violence directed at women in prostitution, a Dutch legal pimp told a journalist, “You don’t want a pillow in the [brothel’s] room. It’s a murder weapon.”[32] A San Francisco organization advised, “be aware of exits and avoid letting your customer block access to those exits,” and “shoes should come off easily or be appropriate for running in,” and “avoid necklaces, scarves, across-the-body shoulder bags or anything else that can be accidentally or intentionally be tightened around your throat.” [33] Specifications in the Australian Occupational and Safety Codes (OSC) for prostitution illustrate their concern about its dangers. The Australian OSC recommend hostage negotiation training for women in prostitution, utterly contradicting the notion of prostitution as just your average job. [34] The panic buttons in massage parlors, saunas, and brothels can never be answered quickly enough to prevent violence. Panic buttons in legal brothels make as little sense as panic buttons in the homes of battered women.

The public’s health is a significant component of the safety alleged to be present in decriminalized prostitution. In the 1980s, groups such as the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) capitalized on the AIDS epidemic by focusing on HIV education and harm reduction among those in prostitution. [35] This focus brought in massive funding to the prostitute unions who used it to lobby for decriminalized prostitution.[36]The harm reduction approach of these groups to HIV prevention seems to be based on the assumption that if enough male condoms are distributed then life will be better for everyone. In reality, women want harm elimination (exit from prostitution) as well as harm reduction. And a majority of johns across the globe refuse to use condoms. Epidemiologists have found that high risk for HIV is caused by rape and a large number of sex partners. Neither factor was addressed by prostitute unions.

Although it was promoted as a law protecting sex workers, the NZ government’s own evaluation of its law concluded that after prostitution was decriminalized, violence and sexual abuse continued as before. [37] “The majority of sex workers felt that the law could do little about violence that occurred” and that it was an inevitable aspect of the sex industry. [38] During one year, 35% of women in NZ decriminalized prostitution had been coerced. [39] The highest rate of sexual coercion by sex buyers was reported by women in massage parlor prostitution who were pimp-controlled (described as “managed” by the government). The social stigma of prostitution and mistrust of police persisted after decriminalization. Most women in prostitution did not report violence or crimes against them to the police after decriminalization. [40] Gangs of pimps have waged turf wars over control of prostitution in Auckland, [41] and NZ street prostitution spiraled out of control with some reports of a 200% increase post-decriminalization. [42]

Public misconceptions, rationalization, and denial about prostitution

Public misconceptions about prostitution stem from sex buyers’ and pimps’ cover narratives for the violence perpetrated against women in prostitution. Men’s justifications for other forms of violence against women are remarkably similar to their justifications for prostitution. They blame the victim, viewing women in prostitution as intrinsically different from other women and as morally deficient. Batterers justify beating women by declaring that she asked for it or provoked it. Sex buyers justify prostitution by telling us that she’s getting rich or that she’s simply doing an unpleasant but necessary job like factory work. Sex buyers and sex trade advocates may acknowledge a fraction of the abuse and exploitation in prostitution, but they justify the abuse because the women are alleged to make a lot of money. Once paid for, exploitation, abuse, and rape are disappeared. “All of them are exploited. However, they also have good incomes,” said an Italian sex buyer. [43] A sex buyer described the rapes of a woman by her pimp. But, he said, it was only “Every once and a while, not every week.” [44] If men’s sexual expectations are unmet, rape and prostitution are assumed to be inevitable. Women who fail to provide the sex acts demanded by their partners are then blamed for their partners’ use of women in prostitution. “If my fiancee won’t give me anal, I know someone who will.” [45]

Words that conceal its harm lead to confusion about prostitution: voluntary prostitution which implies that she consented when she had no survival alternatives; forced trafficking which implies that somewhere there are women who volunteer to be trafficked into prostitution; sex work, which defines prostitution as a job rather than an act of violence. The term migrant sex worker implies that both prostitution and trafficking are acceptable. Strip club prostitution has been reframed as sexual expression or freedom to express one’s sensuality. Brothels are referred to as massage parlors, saunas, and health clubs. Older men who buy teenagers for sex in Seoul call it compensated dating. In Tokyo prostitution is described as assisted intercourse. Men who buy women in prostitution are called interested parties, pimps are described as managers.

Pimps and traffickers facilitate denial by misrepresenting it as an easy, fun, lucrative job for the women in it. Women as well as men are pimps. A number of prominent advocates identify themselves publicly only as “sex workers,” although they are managers of women in the sex trade, some are pimps, and some have been arrested for pandering, brothel managing, or trafficking. There is a blatant conflict of interest when individuals who are management/owners/pimps are in the same organization as those who are under their control. The misrepresentation is even more unethical when the brothel owners, managers, and strip club board members hide their affiliations, claiming to represent the interests of sex workers. Hiding beneath the banner of labor unions, pimps appeal to the Left’s sympathies. Yet groups such as the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, the International Union of Sex Workers (UK), Red Thread (the Netherlands), Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (India), Stella (Canada), and Sex Worker Organizing Project (USA) – while aggressively promoting prostitution as work – do not resemble what most of us think of as labor unions. They do not offer pensions, safety, shorter hours, unemployment benefits, or exit services (which is what 90% of women in prostitution say that they want). Instead, these groups promote a free market in human beings who are used for sex. [46] We have located 12 people from 8 countries who publicly identify as sex workers or sex worker advocates but who have also sold others for sex or who have been implicated in the management of sex trade businesses in various specific ways. All of them promote decriminalized pimping. Many have been arrested for running brothels and escort agencies, trafficking, pandering, interstate prostitution, or living off earnings of prostitution. [47]

How can we respond ethically and appropriately to the existence of prostitution?

The existence of prostitution anywhere is society’s betrayal of women, especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable because of their sex, their ethnicity, their poverty, and their history of abuse and neglect. Prostitution is sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, often torture. Women in prostitution face a statistical probability of weekly rape, like domestic violence taken to the extreme.

The complicity of governments sustains prostitution. When the sex trade expands, women are less likely to compete with men for jobs. When prostitution is incorporated into states’ economies, governments are relieved of the necessity of finding employment for women. Blood taxes are collected by the state-as-pimp in legal and decriminalized prostitution. Banks, airlines, Internet providers, hotels, travel agencies, and all media are integral to the exploitation and abuse of women in prostitution tourism, make huge profits, and are solidified as part of the economy.

If we listen to the voices and analyses of exited survivors – those who are no longer under pimp or sex trade control – they direct us to the obvious legal solutions. Men who buy sex must be held accountable for their predatory aggression. Those in prostitution must be offered real alternatives for survival, and never arrested. Those who profit from prostitution – pimps and traffickers – must also be held accountable. A human-rights based approach to prostitution, recognizing it as sexual exploitation, like that of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Ireland, would provide safety and hope. In this abolitionist approach to prostitution, sex buyers are criminalized (as are pimps and traffickers) and people in prostitution are decriminalized and are also provided with exit services and job training. But first we have to move past the pimps’ and profiteers’ lies about prostitution. I know we can do that.

To summarize:

  1. The truth about prostitution is often concealed behind the lies, manipulations and distortions of sex trade pimps, managers and others who profit from the business. The deeper truths about prostitution are revealed in survivors’ testimonies, as well as in research on the psychosocial and psychobiological realities of prostitution.
  2. At the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.
  3. Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.
  4. Prostitution is more like being chronically sexually harassed, endangered, and raped, than working in a fast food restaurant. Most women in prostitution suffer from severe PTSD and want to get out.
  5. Sex buyers are predators; they often engage in coercive behavior, lack empathy and have sexist attitudes that justify abuse of women.
  6. A solution exists. It is called the Swedish model and it has been adopted by a number of countries including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Ireland.The essence of the solution is: criminalization for johns and pimps; decriminalization for women, and the provision of resources, alternatives, safe houses, rehabilitation.
  7. Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.



[1] Janice Turner (2014) “The mood’s changed. Buying sex is just wrong. The Times, London, February 8, 2014.

[2] Moore, C.G. (1991) A Killing Smile. Bangkok: White Lotus Press. Cited in Ryan Bishop & Lillian Robinson (1997) Night Market: Sexual Cultures and the Thai Economic Miracle. New York: Routledge, p 168-9.

[3] Farley, M., Macleod, J., Anderson, L., and Golding, J. (2011) Attitudes and Social Characteristics of Men Who Buy Sex in Scotland. Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 3/4: 369-383.

[4] Vanwesenbeeck I. (1994) Prostitutes’ Well-Being and Risk. Amsterdam: VU University Press.

[5] Farley, M. (2007) ‘Renting an Organ for Ten Minutes:’ What Tricks Tell us about Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking. In D.E. Guinn and J. DiCaro (eds) Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking. Pp 144-152. Los Angeles: Captive Daughters Media.

[6] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M. (2011) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex: “You can have a good time with the servitude” vs. “You’re supporting a system of degradation” Paper presented at Psychologists for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting July 15, 2011, Boston.

[7] Marttila, A-M. (2000) Desiring the ‘Other:’ Prostitution Clients on a Transnational Red-Light District in the Border Area of Finland, Estonia and Russia. Gender, Technology, and Development 12(1): 31-51.

[8] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. (2009) Men who buy sex: who they buy and what they know. Eaves: London and Prostitution Research & Education: San Francisco.

[9] Farley, M., Freed, W., Kien, S. P., Golding, J.M. (2012) A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men who Buy Sex. Presented July 17, 2012 at conference co-hosted by Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center and Prostitution Research & Education: Focus on Men who Buy Sex:  Discourage Men’s Demand for Prostitution, Stop Sex Trafficking. Himawari Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

[10] Pornography and Prostitution in Canada: Report of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution (1985) 2. Minister of Supply and Services, Canada. p. 376–77.

[11] Spurrell, C. (2006) Who Pays for Sex? You’d Be Surprised. Times Online November 7, 2006.

[12] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[13] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[14] Moran, R. (2014) “An Open Letter to the ‘Good’ Punter” May 19, 2014. Survivor’s View Blog. Prostitution Research & Education.

[15] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[16] Jeffreys, S. (1997). The idea of prostitution. North Melbourne: Spinifex Press.; Plumridge, E.W., Chetwynd, S.J., Reed, A. (1997) Control and condoms in commercial sex: client perspectives. Sociology of Health & Illness 19 (2): 228-243.

[17] Barry, K. (1995). The Prostitution of Sexuality. New York: New York University Press; Funari, V. (1997) Naked, naughty, nasty: peepshow reflections in Nagle, J. (ed.) Whores and Other Feminists. New York: Routledge; Giobbe, E. (1991). Prostitution, Buying the Right to Rape, in Burgess, A.W. (ed.) Rape and Sexual Assault III: a Research Handbook. New York: Garland Press; Hoigard, C. & Finstad, L. (1986). Backstreets: Prostitution, Money and Love. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press; Raymond, J., D’Cunha, J., Dzuhayatin, S.R., Hynes, H.P., Ramirez Rodriguez, Z., and Santos, A. (2002). A Comparative Study of Women Trafficked in the Migration Process: Patterns, Profiles and Health Consequences of Sexual Exploitation in Five Countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States). N. Amherst, MA: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Available at

[18] Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 10, 125-142; Koss, M. P., & Cleveland, H. H. (1997). Stepping on toes: Social roots of date rape lead to intractability and politicization. In M. D. Schwartz (Ed.), Researching sexual violence against women: Methodological and personal perspectives (pp. 4-21). London: Sage.
Available at

[19] Farley, M., Golding, J., Matthews, E.S., Malamuth, N., Jarrett, L. (2015) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Do Not Buy Sex: New Data on Prostitution and Trafficking. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (August, 2015) 1-25.

[20] Heilman, B., Herbert, L., & Paul-Gera, N. (2014). The making of sexual violence: How does a boy grow up to commit rape? Evidence from five IMAGES countries. Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Washington, DC: Promundo. Retrieved from:

[21] Monto, M. A., & McRee, N. (2005). A comparison of the male customers of female street prostitutes with national samples of men. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 49, 505-529.

[22] Farley, M., Macleod, J., Anderson, L., and Golding, J. (2011) Attitudes and Social Characteristics of Men Who Buy Sex in Scotland. Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 3/4: 369-383.

[23] Prostitution occurs in 99% of strip clubs. Holsopple, K. (1998) Stripclubs According to Strippers: Exposing Workplace Violence. Unpublished Paper; Farley, M. (2004) “Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart:” Prostitution Harms Women Even If Legalized or Decriminalized. Violence Against Women 10: 1087-1125.

[24] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[25] Farley, M., Bindel, J., and Golding, J.M.2009.

[26] Dragomirescu, D.A., Necula, C., & Simion, R. 2009 “Romania: Emerging Market for Trafficking? Clients and Trafficked Women in Romania.” in A. Di Nicola (ed.) Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients. New York: Springer. p. 160

[27] “The sex work approach to prostitution favors across-the-board decriminalization with various forms of legalization, usually with some state regulation, sometimes beginning with unionization. Its goal is to remove criminal sanctions from all actors in the sex industry so that prostitution becomes as legitimate as any other mode of livelihood.” Catharine A. MacKinnon (2011) Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 46: 701-739.

[28] Charter, D. (2008) Half of Amsterdam’s red-light windows close. The Times UK. December 27, 2008

[29] Jeffreys, S. (2003) The legalisation of prostitution: A failed social experiment. Women’s Health Watch Newsletter, 64: 8-11. www.women’

[30] Cho, S-Y., Dreher, A., Neymayer, E. (2013) Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking? World Development 41:67-82.

[31] Farley, M., 2004,  Prostitution Harms Women Even If Legalized or Decriminalized.

[32] Daley, S. (2001) New Rights for Dutch Prostitutes, but No Gain. New York Times. August 12, 2001.

[33] St James Infirmary, 2004, p 172). St James Infirmary (2004 2nd edition) Occupational Health and Safety Handbook. San Francisco: Exotic Dancers Alliance and STD Prevention and Control Services of the City and County of San Francisco.

[34] Sullivan, M. (2007) Making Sex Work: a failed experiment with legal prostitution. Melbourne: Spinifex.

[35] Priscilla Alexander noted that the AIDS epidemic brought with it certain fiscal advantages to those promoting prostitution. Alexander, P. (1996) Foreword. Priscilla Alexander in N. McKeganey and M. Barnard (Eds.) Sex Work on the Streets: Prostitutes and Their Clients Philadelphia: Open University Press.

[36] Jenness, V. (1993) Making It Work: the Prostitutes’ Rights Movement in Perspective. New York: De Gruyter

[37] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008) Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. Wellington, New Zealand.

[38] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), pp.14 and 57

[39] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), page 46.

[40] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), 122.

[41] Tapaleao, Vaimoana (2009, May 4). City takes prostitute dilemma to the top. New Zealand Herald.

[42] The New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee, 2008, p 118 noted that street prostitution in Auckland more than doubled in just one year, 2006–2007. Other reports in the press place the numbers much higher. “Estimates indicate that the number of street workers in Manukau City may have quadrupled since June 2003….” Manukau City Council, Report of Manukau City Council on Street Prostitution Control http:// Plans_&_Poli cies/mcc-report-on-streetprostitution-aug-2005.pdf.

[43] Di Nicola, A., Cuaduro, A., Lombardi, M., Ruspini, P. (editors) (2009) Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients. New York: Springer.

[44] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M. (2011) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex: “You can have a good time with the servitude” vs. “You’re supporting a system of degradation” Paper presented at Psychologists for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting July 15, 2011, Boston.

[45] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M., 2011.

[46] Cecilie Hoigard (2015) The Presence of Pain in the Debate on Prostitution,Women’s Front of Norway. Available at

[47] Norma Jean Almodovar, USA, International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture, and Education, Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE), convicted of pandering. The executive director of COYOTE/Los Angeles, Norma Jean Almodovar, was convicted of pandering. See AP report in Spokane Chronicle September 27, 1984,,2487624&hl=en; See also AP report in the Register-Guard Eugene Oregon,,6534751&hl=en;

Terri Jean Bedford, Canada, sex worker advocate, convicted of running a brothel. Bedford was one of three applicants, describing themselves as sex workers, who challenged the Canadian laws on prostitution with the goal of decriminalizing prostitution in Canada. See for a description of her 1994 arrest; Also see Toronto Star Archives, Paul Moloney (1994) Sexual bondage parlor raided in Thornhill. Toronto Star Sept 17, 1994 for a description of her arrest for running a bawdy house. “York Region police have seized an astonishing array of sexual bondage paraphernalia in a raid on a modest Thornhill bungalow advertised as Madame de Sade’s House of Erotica. Along with assorted whips, chains, spanking paddles, handcuffs, masks, wigs and boots, police seized a tall throne, stocks, spanking benches, and a black wooden cross with tie-downs for head, arms and feet. Two “dominant” and one “submissive” attendant – ‘Mistress Marie,’ ‘Mistress Morgan’ and ‘Princess’ – provided sessions which allowed for sexual gratification, mostly masturbation, investigators said;”

Claudia Brizuela, Argentina, Association of Women Prostitutes of Argentina, Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, charged with sex trafficking. Claudia Brizuela, a former leader of Asociacion de Mujeres Meretrices de Argentina (AMMAR) and a founder of the Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, was arrested and charged for sex trafficking in 2014. Both sexworker groups were funded by UNAIDS and referenced by Amnesty International in support of its decriminalization advocacy. See Ex dirigente de Ammar procesada por liderar red de trata.(source Anna Djinn);

Maxine Doogan, USA, Erotic Service Providers Union, charged with running an escort agency. Mary Ellen (Maxine) Doogan pimped women out of an escort prostitution agency in Seattle, WA, Personal Touch Escort Service, where she was charged with felony promotion of prostitution and money laundering. She pled guilty to a lesser charge of pimping and was convicted in 1994 of second degree promotion of prostitution. Nature of Action: Prosecution for second degree promotion of prostitution by the statutory alternative means of profiting from prostitution.  Superior Court: The Superior Court for King County, No. 93-1-04076-4, Anthony P. Wartnik, J., on August 8, 1994, entered a judgment on a verdict of guilty;

Robyn Few, USA, Sex Workers Outreach Project, convicted of conspiracy to promote interstate prostitution. Robyn Few was convicted of violating a federal law, conspiracy to promote prostitution. She founded Sex Workers Outreach Project.; Jesse Jardim (2004) Ex-Prostitute Hits the Streets to Decriminalize Prostitution. Daily Californian Jan 29 2004.;

Douglas Fox, UK, International Union of Sex Workers, arrested for living off the earnings of prostitution, advisor to Amnesty International, co-manages escort agency. Douglas Fox was a founder of the International Union of Sex Workers. He has been arrested for living off the earnings of prostitution in a police sting at the escort agency Christony Companions. Julie Bindel (2015) “What you call pimps, we call managers” Byline July 21 2015. Investigative journalist Julie Bindel concludes that the purpose of the International Union of Sex Workers appears to be “to normalise pimping, lobby for an end to laws that criminalise the exploiters in the sex industry, and ultimately to sugar-coat prostitution and present it as a job like any other.” See Bindel, J. (2013) An Unlikely Union: Julie Bindel investigates a world of workers, pimps, and punters. The Gaze. April 2013. (also available from the author);

Eliana Gil, Mexico, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, convicted of sex trafficking. Eliana Gil was arrested in 2014 and convicted in 2015 of sex trafficking. According to victim testimony, with her son she pimped about 200 women in Mexico City. The Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network was affiliated with and funded by United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, affiliated with World Health Organization, and cited by Amnesty International

Pye Jakobsson, Sweden, Rose Alliance, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, decade-long board member of a Stockholm strip club where she was also paid to organize the club’s schedule and place new women into the club’s schedule. She engaged in similar scheduling of women and quasi-management activities at a second club (Erostop). Pye Jakobsson acknowledges being on the board of the strip club Flirt Fashion from 2001-2012. “Founder also on board of strip club” January 14, 2013 Kajsa Skarsgård  Commentary; Gerda Christensen (Translation to English: Annina Claesson) “Swedish Rose Alliance – a fraudulent organization,” 2013 Newsletter of Kvinnofronten, the Women’s front in Sweden A survivor who approached Jakobsson at Rose Alliance stated that Jakobsson recruited women to work at the strip club.
Jakobsson was interviewed by a reporter while she was at Erostop, where again her work was described by a reporter as “handling schedules:” “Pye Jakobsson, 32, handles schedules and other things around the strippers at Erostop.” A sex buyer’s review of Erostop from 2007 described acts of prostitution at the club where Jakobsson handled schedules and other things: “Private Show where the girls show pussy and you get jerk off your cost $ 500.”;

Jackie McMillan, Australia, Sex Workers Outreach Project, pornography producer, dungeon club manager and promoter. Jackie McMillan stated that she produced pornography for 10 years McMillan also manages a fetish club in Sydney with her husband Craig Donarski where the Hellfire Club’s employees provide a dungeon/kink experience with bondage, domination, sadism, submission.; https://; Donarski and McMillan received a business award for the Hellfire Club in 2014.;

Maggie McNeil, USA, Sex Workers Outreach Project, owner of New Orleans escort prostitution agency. Maggie McNeil stated, “I owned an escort service. I was a madam.” and “I was the best agency owner in New Orleans”;

Tanja Sommer, Germany, sex worker advocate with Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen (BesD), Business Association of Erotic and Sexual services. Manages a dominatrix sex studio and rents out rooms to others in prostitution. Tanja Sommer, in a leading position at the BesD also runs her own dominatrix studio in which other women prostitute. Der Spiegel, “Uncovered” March 28, 2015:
Her colleague Holger Rettig is leader of the UEGD (Unternehmerverband Erotikgewerbe Deutschland- Business Association of Erotic Business in Germany). This organization, consisting only of brothel-owning pimps, helped to found and works closely with the BesD.;

Margo St James, USA, COYOTE, arrest for running a brothel. For a biography of Margo St. James life and arrest, see Alison Bass (2015) Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law, documenting St James’ arrest via interview with her, describing police officer’s statement that she solicited him, her conviction for running a “disorderly house” i.e. brothel, her statement that her roommates were prostituting but St James herself was not prostituting at the time of the arrest.