We’d like to begin with two video excerpts where sew worker and activist Shannon Williams talks with Diana Adams about what her clients were really like. (Shannon passed away in 2015 due to complications from a brain tumor – ¡Presente!)
And now, some more resources you can find online …
A Pocket Guide to Dealing with Antis Online
A post on Jane Green’s “sexliesducttape” blog, providing a comprehensive reference list, including “opposition research” into many leading prohibitionists.
Advocacy Toolkit: The Real Impact of the Swedish Model on Sex Workers
From the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), a collection of eight working papers on how the Swedish model promotes stigmatization and harm.
Affluent, Educated Women May Choose Sexual Prostitution
A summary from the University of Arkansas of Jennifer Hafer’s 2011 research, showing that many “high-opportunity-cost” women rationally choose to enter sex work.
Analysis of the Swedish law criminalizing clients
Report by Dr. Calum Bennachie, Co-ordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, on the negative consequences of Sweden’s laws and policies regarding sex work (PDF document).
Audit faults S.F. D.A.’s prostitution program
Article in San Francisco Gate (Sept. 20, 2009) raising criticisms about the effectiveness and cost of that city’s “john school” program, which was the model for similar programs in various cities.
The case for decriminalizing prostitution
In this 2015 article for Vox magazine, German Lopez presents evidence for making commercial sex legal and accountable, while dismantling the claims of prohibitionists. One of the best analyses out there.
Challenging the Kerb Crawler Rehabilitation Programme
From Feminist Review (No. 67, Spring 2001), a critical review of the “john school” program implemented in Leeds (UK), and of the “short-circuited thinking” behind such programs generally (PDF document).
Citizens Against Police Entrapment
An organization based in Washington DC, engaged in local, national and international research, advisement and activism on behalf of consenting adults.
Decriminalising sex work in New Zealand: its history and impact
This 2015 article by Fraser Crichton of openDemocracy discusses New Zealand’s successful approach to decriminalize commercial sex and help empower sex workers.
Do John Schools Really Decrease Recidivism?
A critical evaluation of San Francisco’s First Offender Prostitution Program, by Rachel Lovell and Ann Jordan (PDF document).
A Feminist’s Argument On How Sex Work Can Benefit Women
An article by Kelly J. Bell, published 2009 in Inquiries journal, presenting a defense of sex workers’ rights from a feminist perspective.
“Not your fluffy feminism.” An Ireland-based blog that provides plenty of informative posts critical of prohibitionist claims.
The Honest Courtesan
Blog by sex worker and activist Maggie McNeill; chock full of valuable information and commentary.
How Prostitutes Settled the Wild West
YouTube video from “Adam Ruins Everything” explaining the role sex workers played in developing communities in the West, even advancing women’s suffrage. Yes, it’s based on research! Look for reference citations, and a cameo with commentary by historian Jan Mackell Collins.
The Impact of John Schools on Demand for Prostitution
Scholarly paper by Eleanor Levine; while CoSWAC does not endorse her conclusions, or her apparent conflation of commercial sex with sex trafficking, the author does raise important questions about the effectiveness and content of these programs (PDF document).
Initiatives to “end demand” for prostitution harm women and undermine service programs
A fact sheet with citations by Desiree Alliance (PDF document).
Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics
A Washington Post article by Maggie McNeill on how distorted and manufactured “evidence” is presented to mislead the media and general public about commercial sex.
Mind-Witness Testimony: The Unreliability of First-Person Accounts in Sex-Trafficking Discourse
A 2014 paper by Maggie McNeill, originally published in volume 7 of the Albany Government Law Review; included are accounts of how anti-trafficking/anti-prostitution organization encourage distorted or fabricated testimonies, under the guise of “reframing experiences” (PDF document).
The Naked Anthropologist
Dr. Laura Agustin (author of Sex at the Margins) on migration, sex work, trafficking and the rescue industry.
Prostitution: A Personal Choice
2014 editorial from Great Britain’s The Economist arguing for governments to “leave consenting adults who wish to buy and sell sex to do so safely and privately” while addressing abuses through other existing laws.
Rate That Rescue
A community resource for sex work, where everyone can review organizations. Like Yelp for sex work.
Red Light Legal
Red Light Legal provides direct legal services, legal representation, community education, and effective policy advocacy to sex workers in all corners of the industry. We advocate to reduce the stigma, discrimination, and violence associated with the sex industry, particularly for those who face intersectional oppressions due to racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and classism.
Resistance to Sex Work Stigma
By Ronald Weitzer, originally published in Sexualities, January 2017. This commentary reviews the issues related to sex work stigma, and proposes a set of preconditions for its reduction and eventual elimination (PDF document).
Running from the Rescuers: New U.S. Crusades Against Sex Trafficking and the Rhetoric of Abolition
By Gretchen Soderlund, originally published in National Women’s Studies Association Journal, Fall 2005. This paper provides a feminist critique of the premises and language used by “abolitionists” in opposing sex trafficking and conflating it with consensual sex work (PDF document).
Sex, Safety and Security: A Study of the Experiences of People who Pay for Sex in Canada
Website for sociological study of sex work clients in Canada, headed by Chris Atchison, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria.
Sex Slaves and the Surveillance State
Article by Thaddeus Russell of Occidental College on how efforts to combat “white slavery” in the late 19th and early 20th century led to repression of women’s rights — and how those mistakes are being repeated in contemporary efforts to “fight sex trafficking”.
Sex work an occupational choice for some in industry: study
From Canada’s CTV news, a summary of Professor Cecelia Benoit’s research of the diversity of reasons why people enter sex work, including greater economic opportunity.
Sex Work Research
An ongoing a repository of writing on sex work, including academic research, organizational reports, media reports, and independent research.
Sex Workers Speak: Who Listens?
A publication of openDemocracy’s Beyond Trafficking and Slavery project; articles by sex workers from around the globe (PDF document).
The outcomes of the criminalization of the purchase of sex in Sweden
YouTube video of Ruth Jacobs’ 2014 interview with Dr. Jay Levy on the negative outcomes of Sweden’s “sex-purchase” law.
Sex work today: myths, morals and health
Lecture at University College London by Prof. Graham Scambler, 29 November 2012
Someone you love is a sex worker
A moving TEDx Toronto talk by Canadian sex worker and advocate Valerie Scott.
Swedish Abolitionism as Violence Against Women
2013 paper by Jay Levy, Ph.D., outlining how Sweden’s “end demand” policies have failed to meet their objectives, and have only made conditions worse for sex workers there (PDF document).
The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects
2011 paper by Susanne Dodillet and Petra Östergren on the discrepancy between claims by proponents of the Swedish model and its actual effects (PDF document).
Things Not To Say To a Sex Worker
A great YouTube video from BBC Three, with real-life sex workers debunking myths and misconceptions.
What’s Wrong with John “School”?
Essay by J. Marlowe of the Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver, outlining the shortcoming of so-called “john schools”; while specifically addressing Canadian law at the time (1996), the criticisms mentioned apply to American and other contexts.
Where’s the Evidence? A Special Edition of Anti-Trafficking Review
An excellent resource regarding research methodology and its relationship to the politics of surrounding anti-trafficking and “end demand” prohibition efforts. Anti-Trafficking Review is a publication of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.
Whores of Yore
Whores of Yore is an online project that works to make research on sexuality and the history of sex accessible to the general public.
Why Decriminalize Sex Work?
In this informative video from the New York Anti-Trafficking Network, experts summarize how decriminalization provides a better means to fight human trafficking.
Why do men go to escorts?
An article by Ryan Thomas on Modern Sex Talks listing the diverse motivations of sex work clients; while it focuses on heterosexual male clients, the needs discussed are applicable across gender and sexual identity.
Why Prostitution Policy (Usually) Fails and What to Do About It?
2017 paper by Hendrik Wagenaar, published in Social Sciences journal; the author compares a variety of different programs, and concludes that state agents need to collaborate with sex worker advocacy organizations to create more workable and humane policies.
Why You Should Be Skeptical Of Study Saying Men Who Buy Sex Are Prone To Violence
Article by Huffington Post contributor Hilary Hanson, critiquing a study of sex work clients funded by Demand Abolition and conducted by Melissa Farley.