Retrieved on July 29, 2007

Maggie O'Neill, Prostitute Women Now, in Scambler and Scambler [eds] Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in Britain in the 1990's (1996) Routledge Press.


In contemporary society prostitution, for some women, offers a good enough standard of income for shorter working hours and some degree of autonomy and independence to those working for themselves. Sex work has always been an alternative form of work for women (Henriques 1962; Walkowitz 1980; Bullough and Bullough 1987; Finnegan 1979; Day 1990; Meil Hobson 1990; Roberts 1992). But, sex work also brings fear, violence, criminalisation, stigmatisation, reduced civil liberties and rights of human dignity as well as the risk of disease and for some, death.

The history of prostitution is one of immense contradictions as the prostitute is a figure represented in varying guises: whore/priestess, whore/goddess (Mesopotamia, circa second millennium BC); whores achieved a certain level of autonomy leading to education and status within Ancient Greek society; whores became bad girls especially as the growth of christianity and later protestantism contrasted the ideal of the good wife and mother with bad girl and sinner. Increasingly within the Victorian period ideals of social purity and morality contrasted with dire economic poverty for working class/underclass women involved in a prolific sex for sale market, particularly in London (see Roberts N 1992; Henriques F 1962; Zola E 1972: Kishtainy K 1982: Walkowitz J 1980; Bullough and Bullough 1987; Finnegan 1979).

Currently women working as prostitutes are perceived as bad girls, contravening norms of acceptable femininity, suffering whore stigma (Pheterson 1986) and increasingly criminalised by the state, policing practices and the lack of effective action taken by the state to address male violence against women (see Hanmer and Saunders 1984; Hanmer and Maynard 1987; Hanmer, Radford and Stanko; Radford and Russell 1992; Hoigard and Finstaad 1992; O'Neill 1993b; 1994; 1995a). The social stigma and criminalization experienced by female prostitutes is further compounded by the masculinist organisation and development of the sex for sale industry and the increasing feminisation of poverty resulting in part from Conservative economic, employment and welfare policies in Britain, and the failure of social policies to fundamentally address the needs of the single female head of household. Footnote1Unequal sexual and social relations are ideologically and materially reciprocal, underpinned and enacted by lived relations, by jurisprudence, by socio-economic and cultural practices and processes.

The history of prostitution is a history framed by attempts to repress and make morally reprehensible the women involved in prostitution (Corbin A 1987; 1990), whilst aestheticising the desires and fantasies symbolically associated with the whore, the prostitute, the fallen woman. The history of prostitution is also tied to the history and social construction of sexuality, cathexis and the social organisation of desire; gender relations; masculinity; and capitalist exchange relations which increasingly commodify everything, even love (Fromm 1967 ; Luhmann 1986; Bertillson M 1986 ; Jackson S 1993 )

Some women working as prostitutes have spoken to me about the challenge prostitution poses to the nature of womens work in our society and to the representation of 'woman'. Footnote2 Womens' work is stereotypically associated with the ideology of domesticity and the private sphere, with long hours, little independence and/or autonomy. Representations and images of stereotypical femininity in contemporary culture are associated with the good wife and mother, the good girl, reliable, passive, nurturing, often fragile, gentle and emotional. Some whores claim to challenge these stereotypes for all women by resisting the pressure to conform to the stereotype of the good girl by; bringing into the public sphere to many men, the services women usually perform in private to one man; and by demanding that prostitution is work, a service that anyone of age can offer or seek. For these women dressing as 'bad girls' reduces the power of patriarchy to divide women into madonnas and whores thus de-stabilising patriarchal power over womens' bodies, sexualities, images and representations. Footnote3 Furthermore, they claim that prostitution is work and that prostitutes should have the same rights and liberties as other workers.

By making the exchange relationship of money for sex (exchange value for use value) very public, by showing the heterosexual sexual encounter without the dressing of romance and romantic attachment it could be argued that sex work and sex workers reveal inequalities within traditional heterosexual gender relations, particularly relating to 'masculinity(ies)' and the inter-related structures of work, sexuality and power (see Connell 1987) in contemporary society. "C...All men make out that women's sexuality is dirty, but deep down it's their own they can't stand. So they blame women. We take it for all women, for all the others" (Jaget, C 1980, p93).

However, prostitution is double edged and any study of prostitution in contemporary society needs to face up to the contradictions inherent in the analysis and critique of prostitution whilst also offering support to women working as prostitutes (see Barry K 1979; O'Neill 1994). For most women and young women working as prostitutes, economic need is the bottom line where entry into prostitution is concerned. Prostitution is accepted by bourgeois society (it is after all legal) but, the whore or prostitute is not accepted. The prostitute is perceived as immoral, a danger, a threat to `normal' femininity and, as a consequence suffers social exclusion, marginalisation and `whore stigma'.

Sex, sin and morality: the politics of exclusion.

Alain Corbin's analysis of commercial sex in nineteenth century France describes how the inter-related discourses of municipal authorities, hygienists, the police and judiciary combined to organise the regulation of prostitution around three major issues. First, the need to protect public morality articulated via concern to maintain the innocence of young girls "from the spectacle of vice" (209). Second, the need to protect male prosperity, for commercial sex was seen as a risk to social mobility and to patrimony. Third, the need to protect the nations health for the prostitute was seen as an active agent for the transmission of disease. These three major issues are rooted for Corbin in five key images of the prostitute. First, the prostitute as the putain "whose body smells bad"(210.) Second, the prostitute as the safety valve which "enables the social body to excrete the excess of seminal fluid that causes her stench and rots her" (211.) Third, the prostitute as putrid body and sewer is symbolically associated with the corpse, with death. Facult{Special Char 142 in Font "Times"} doctors used the corpses of prostitutes from the morgue for dissection purposes. Hygenists association of infection with rotting corpses together with the symbolism associated with death and decay further embedded the representation of the prostitute within socio-cultural discourses of disease, decay and death. Fourth, the symbolic association of the prostitute with syphilis. Fifth, the prostitue as lower class woman "bound to the instinctive physical needs of upper class males"(213), submissive female bodies alongside the nurse, the nursery maid, "the double faced servant, both Martha and Mary Magdalen, whose body serves as an object of obsession in the master's house"(p213), and the old servant maid.

Prostitutes ,then, appeared dangerous for the same reason as corpses or carrion..the ambiguous status of the woman's body, at once menace and remedy, agent of putrification and the beck and call of the bourgeois body"(212-213.)

Corbin goes on to illustrate how these discourses led to a series of principles which structured the regulation of prostitution. The principle of tolerance. As with all bodily functions we keep hidden but which are necessary for survival, prostitution is a necessary evil. The principle of containment. Prostitutes should be isolated and contained away from pruified piublic spaces. The principle of surveillance. Contain and conceal, but keep under continual surveillance. "The first task of regulation is to bring the prostitute out of the foul darkness and remove her from the clandestine swarming of vice, in order to drive her back into an enclosed space, under the purifying light of power"(215.) With the rise of utilitarianism the image of the brothel, "a seminal drain"(215) closely supervised by the police develops out of the image of the brothel symbolic of debauchary, perversion, disease and decay.

The symbolic association of the prostitute/whore with death, decay, disease is maintained up to the present day.


I have lost friends they look at you totally bothered me..I thought fucking hell I am a prostitute..I am but I'M not..I have two different and boyfriend's friend sat watching telly and said "look at them dirty prostitutes"..and I said "just remember I am a prostitute and this is my setee paid for by prostitution and my tv and my carpet and everybody looked at me horrified.....I was so horrified in the beginning ..the first punter just wanted to look..I had these durex and I wasn't even sure how to put it on properly..I had real horrible nightmares that night..and I just counted my money that was my comfort (from a taped discussion with Jane, Sam, Moira, Susan and Mary 30th September 1992.My italics.)

Gail Phetersons (1986) pioneering work in challenging the myths and symbolic associations of the prostitute with death, disease and decay is joined by the work of the Scamblers (1990), women themselves (Delacoste and Alexander 1988), and my own participatory action research with women working as prostitutes (O'Neill , Johnson, McDonald, Wellik, Goode and McGregor 1995c; O'Neill, Goode and Hopkins 1995b).

Prostitution Now.

What about prostitution today? Prostitution is not illegal, although in contemporary society it is perceived as a crime against morality. The prostitute stands outside mainstream society is morally suspect and criminalised. Many women lead double lives to get over the problems associated with `whore stigma'. Male violence against female prostitutes is endemic (Barry K (1979, 1988; Hoigard and Finstaad 1992; O'Neill 1992; 1993b; 1994; 1995a). Women working on street are constantly arrested for soliciting and suffer the extra burden of fines for their offence, followed for many by a stay in prison for fine default. Some women lose children to the care of the state (local authority) and sometimes do not manage to have their children returned to them if they are deemed 'unfit mothers'. The tragic irony here is that some women move into prostitution from the system of local authority care due to economic need, emotional neediness and vulnerability often related to peer pressure. Or they drift into prostitution within the context of a peer group who in turn have been failed by the system of local authority residential care.

Prostitution is a market for men, women are paid for the sexual services they perform on (with/for) men. Mary McIntosh (1978) has argued that issues of sexuality and sexual need are sociological rather than biological issues and that further the "ideology of male sexual needs both supports and is supported by the structures of male dominance, male privilege and monogamy" (1978:3). Clients state that their involvement with prostitutes is sex without commitment; thrill; compensation for a sterile marriage; sexual relief. Women experience relationships with clients which are long term friendships; others abusive and violent; others just business. Women who manage to 'make out' in prostitution talk about 'doing body work' and separating emotions from the physical embodied experience. Relationships with pimps are often business relationships, but can also be about 'love' dependency' and 'protection'. Much of the literature on prostitution focuses upon the women. We need to turn our attention to the men involved in prostitution. Masculinity(ies), problems within marriage and the family, and the aestheticisation of the whore in contemporary culture (including media images and pornography) need to be explored to fully analyse and understand prostitution today (Mcleod 1982; O'Neill 1993b).

What is clear to me is that womens lived experiences need to be contextualised within the gendered social, cultural, economic, historical and political backdrops to prostitution. The inter-relationship between culturally situated lived experience and the wider social contexts need to be examined in order to develop policy oriented practice to address the many issues and problems associated with prostitution, for all women. Socio-economic structures mediate cultural practices. An exploration of the history of prostitution shows prostitution quite clearly to be a cultural practice related to patriarchy. Walby (1989) outlines how

"the concept and theory of patriarchy is essential to capture the depth, pervasiveness and interconnectedness of different aspects of women's subordination, and can be developed in such a way to take account of the different forms of gender inequality over time, class and ethnic group"(p2)

Documenting the changing shape of patriarchy through time Walby argues we are living through a period of public patriarchy "based principally in public sites such as employment and the state"(p24) and also through the patriarchal structures of household production, sexuality, violence and culture.

In everyday life our actions and choices take place within structures and practices already present and which are constantly being re-structured by our very actions - the continuous structuring of structures (see Giddens 1984 and Smith 1990). All our actions intended and unintended have the effect of structuring necessity, structuring gender, and gender relations (see Connell 1987). The law, the criminal justice system, social services, the health, welfare and benefit systems and the media are all instrumental in mediating prostitution as a cultural practice (and in turn are involved in the social reproduction and constitution of society) Knowledge about these agencies is central to understanding the circumstances, experiences and needs of prostitute women now. These major social agencies help to constrain and mediate the actions and attitudes of individuals by a mixture of service provision and the attitudes and behaviour towards prostitute women which they reinforce, legitimate or challenge.

My thesis here is that prostitution and the experiences of prostitute women now cannot be divorced from the socio-historical, cultural, economic and political contexts which mediate and give rise to prostitution in contemporary society. By exploring various empirical research and other academic text based research in Britain and other countries, this chapter seeks to develop an overview of prostitution in the 1990's. Committed to a woman centred analysis of prostitution and the development of feminist knowledge as feminist praxis (as knowledge `for' see Stanley L 1990) I will also seek to develop possibilities for relating contemporary research to practice based work ongoing within the various agencies and institutions associated with prostitution. The intention being to relate theory to practice and practice to theory in a reflexive way which looks towards resisting, challenging and changing sexual and social inequalities for all women.

What follows is organised into two major sections. First, a description of what has changed and what has stayed the same since Mcleod's ground breaking work in the late seventies and early eighties, and the development of the major themes to be examined in the next section. Second, a section which follows on from Mcleod and contextualises these themes within a woman centred overview and analysis of some of the current literature on prostitution now.

Women Working

In 1982 Eileen Mcleod published Women Working:Prostitution Now. Mcleod, a feminist working with the Birmingham PROS (programme for reform of the law on soliciting) street campaign in the late 70's and early 80's was working with and for prostitute women. Mcleod is concerned to show prostitutes as "ordinary women". Furthermore, that analysing prostitution may "contribute to understanding more general social relations". prostitutes, women are grappling with their disadvantaged social position in the context of a capitalist society. Recruitment to the ranks of prostitute is only appropriately characterised as only concerning a small group of highly deviant women. It is secured by women's relative poverty still being such that for large numbers sex is their most saleable commodity. (p1)

For Mcleod "workers control" is offset by male violence, male domination, and superior purchasing power. The book relates the experiences of prostitute women, clients, the law/legal control and prostitutes campaigns (community organization) concentrating largely on the street scene and, together with Judith Walkowitz's Prostitution in Victorian Society was a great influence on my own work. Core themes in Mcleods book are working conditions -violence, male control, workers control, and disease; the Law; Prostitutes Campaigns; and what clients want. Mcleod examines street prostitution from a feminist perspective and incorporates the voices of female prostitutes and their clients.

Creating the intellectual and practical space for the voices of prostitute women is important in order to understand the lived experience of women working as prostitutes but, also to examine the resonances between their experiences and women's experiences more generally. Moreover, working with women in order to develop social knowledge as social critique is an important step on the road to a broader feminist emancipatory politics. But, what exactly do we mean by prostitution and who are prostitute women?

Prostitution: what is it?

Prostitution is taken to mean the exchange of money for sex - use value for exchange value (as in all forms of work). Sex work is marked by the sale of sexual practices (intercourse, masturbation, s and m, perhaps just a look at ones breasts) for money. For some sex work and sex worker are preferred terms because they acknowledge the exchange of money for sex and are less stigmatising terms than 'prostitute' or 'whore'. Henriques (1962) notes that the French definition of prostitution (which echoes the British legal definition) defines prostitution as "the partial or complete specialization of certain women in the satisfaction of the masculine instinct"(p15). In the public imagination prostitution is a crime against morality, it is the women involved who are 'bad' girls, transgressing norms of femininity, culpable, even perhaps seen as dirty and disease ridden. Yet, prostitution is a service for men. The demand for prostitution needs to be explored in relation to the commodity character of the sex industry and what Mary McIntosh (1978) has called the ideology of male sexual needs. More research needs to take place on masculinity, sexuality and the organisation of desire in our society linked to the regulation and surveillance associated with women in general and 'deviant'women in particular (see Smart C 1992).

As far as prostitute women are concerned we need to move away from this idea that prostitute women are deviants or 'other'. Prostitute women, of course, are not all alike. As women we are multiple subjects situated by age, social class, race, sexual orientation and work. Our life experiences marked by our social situatedness have a great bearing upon the ways in which we see and give meaning to our lives and the wider social world. As women we are multiple subjects and following Haraway (1988) we will inevitably develop different perspectives or ways of seeing at different points or stages in our lives. Speaking against the production of universal, totalizing theory which "misses most of reality" Haraway emphasises complexity, the creation and recreation of identities and categories indicative of the movement from industrial society to a "polymorphis, information system". My experience has shown me that prostitute women are ordinary women.


There is all different reasons why you go into prostitution..I went into it through choice and if I decide to stop it might happen this year or next year ..but I can't see it because I am not ready to I have good clients and I am not prepared to give up them dollars for love or money..I have always known I have high self esteem because I have other skills and I think don't think every prostitute has low self esteem because every prostitute hasn't..once you start stigmatising prostitution girls start having low self esteem once a woman starts believing in herself she can decide for herself..go back to college or work in the many women prostitute themselves in relationships they don't want to be in but stay in a marriage for financial gain..if it wasn't for financial gain how many women would walk out of that relationship?(From a taped discussion with Sam, Jane, Moira, Susan and Mary 30th September 1992.)

Materially, prostitution is often a response to poverty, financial hardship and need. We need to be aware of changes in the benefit system, changes in the Care system, changes around the employment of young people including YTS, the council tax, student grants, recession and high interest rates, which increase the risk of more people and more young people becoming involved in prostitution (see O'Neill 1991; Stein 1990; 1991; Lupton 1985; Biehal,N et al 1992; Dibblin 1991; O'Mahoney 1988; Walklate 1991; Newman 1989).

As a response to poverty selling sex is often a last resort, the body ones last commodity. We cannot look at prostitution without looking at the social and economic contexts which give rise to prostitution. The majority of womens work is part time, low status and low paid. There is an absence of good quality childcare facilities. There is an increasing number of young people, disenfranchised, disaffected and homeless.

....women bear the burden of managing poverty on a day-to-day basis. Whether they live alone or with a partner, on benefits or low earnings, it is usually women who are responsible for making ends meet and for managing the debts which arise when they don't. Indeed, the lower the household income, the more likely it is that this responsibility will rest with women. As more women and men lose their jobs, and as benefits are cut or decline in value, women are increasingly caught in a daily struggle to feed and clothe their families - usually only at considerable personal sacrifice (Glendinning C 1987:p60)

Morally and ideologically the implications and responses to sex work are historically rooted in a double standard of morality reflected in the laws around soliciting and kerbcrawling as well as embedded in the whole process of socialisation (see Lees 1993). Pheterson (1986) writes with feeling about what she calls the social consequences of unchastity and the shaming of young girls ie., "unchastity" as an excuse for "male sexual violation." Footnote4 But, more than this, in equating whore status to unchastity, unchastity can be used to "justify oppression and abuse" (p225-227). Furthermore "any woman is vulnerable to the whore stigma as a result of life experience, sexist abuse, or ill fortune"(p227).

Prostitutes: who are they?

Who are prostitutes? Women, men and young people who come from all social classes. Although, the majority of women working as prostitutes tend not to come from the middle classes. Mcleod documents becoming a prostitute as a way out of relative poverty through the accounts of Rosa, Carol, Julie and Kathy (p26-27). Further, that personal biography "in connection with local conditions, such as the existence of a number of women working as prostitutes and more structural forces such as employment opportunities"(p33-34). Mcleod also suggests that an independent caste of mind, a degree of isolation or distance from ones family including emotional distancing is instrumental for some women. This picture is reflected in the literature. Teachers and nurses workers have been documented as moving in to prostitution (escort and working from home) tired of earning so little for the social services they perform (New Statesman and Society 9/2/90); executives supplementing salaries and increased mortgage payments through escort work (Company, November 1990:42-43); students (Delacoste and Alexander 1988; Video Diaries, BBC2 September 1993; Sunday Correspondent 25/11/90); women supplementing social security payments, or low incomes (Jaget 1980; Edwards 1988a, 1988b; O'Neill 1994, 1995); women with no formal skills or training, or no confidence, self worth or self esteem (O'Neill 1995). Often the latter group have a history of homelessness, poverty and loneliness. Some women feel they may as well be paid for doing what they are expected to do for free. Footnote5

Women and young people are sometimes coerced into prostitution through relationships with men and sometimes women. I met Sarah in September of 1992. She was fourteen years old and had become involved in prostitution through her friendship with other girls. In and out of care from the age of eight Sarah worked for money for 'draw' and cigarettes, she used to work for money for 'crack.' She didn't go to school because she "didn't fit in". With professional help she came off crack but was still working particularly when she was bored. Sarah had been slashed, beaten and raped in the course of her work as a prostitute (O'Neill 1995).

Young people can become involved in prostitution through emotional neediness and vulnerability as well as homelessness and poverty. In my work with and for women and young women I have met young people ill equipped for independent living who have had little continuity of care being moved from foster care to residential care or between residential homes numerous times. Losing out on education in part due to the culture of care, low self confidence and self esteem they cling to a peer group offering a sense of belonging and mutual support.

Beth " At the beginning I remember being in Care and I can remember a girl who used to work, I used to go out with her and wait for her and I can remember it was a tiny little community and prostitution wasn't as big as it is now. I wanted to belong it had got nothing to do with money. I went in as a mixed up little kid.

Maggie "So you went in from care?"

Beth "Yes, well I used to sneak out the windows at night..but it was just I followed the flow..I didn't make any decisions"(From a life hsitory interview with Beth Sept 1992)

Some of these are individuals with a history of abuse. One young woman began to work as a prostitute from a community home when she became involved in prostitution through her friendship with another girl who worked. She "just went along" with her friend and had been working eighteen months when I met her. Her entry at 14 into local authority care followed sexual abuse from her step father. She began to work as a prostitute at 16. A young man who had suffered a sexual assault told me how he compulsively returned to the scene of the assault and began working as a prostitute until he was able to unburden himself onto a social worker who was then able to help him begin to recover his self esteem, confidence and ability to distinguish his own sexual needs from self harm by organising counselling and giving him care and support. Some young people I have talked to began working as prostitutes on leaving local authority care due to problems related to economic need and lack of employment.

Routes in to prostitution

Routes in to prostitution are varied. Some women make independent lifestyle choices due to the realities of economic need in an economic climate of recession, inadequate benefits, unemployment and increasing debt. Women sometimes drift in through association with friends already working. An option not thought of before presents itself and a decision to try prostitution is made. Young women drift in to prostitution through peer association and peer pressure. Coercion from pimps is not uncommon. Prostitution in order to make the money to support ones own or anothers drug habit is not uncommon. The links between drifting into prostitution from the context of local authority care need to be thoroughly researched in order to develop interventionary strategies around prevention and harm minimisation. Although, the relationship between prostitution and residential care has to be explored within: the context of the experiences and problems which bring young people into the care of the local authority; the residential care experience itself and the social stigma, marginalisation 'otherness' relating to being in care; financial resources allocated, training and education of social workers and carers, the overall management of care; the benefit system for young people; education, employment and training opportunities. There is little point in blaming social services or the system of residential local authority care for young peoples involvement or drift in to prostitution. What we ought to be doing in policy terms is ensuring the system of residential care is adequately funded, staffed and resourced to meet the needs of needy children and young people who are sometimes very damaged by their life experiences (O'Neill, Goode and Hopkins 1995b).

Socio-economic, cultural and political contexts to prostitution now.

What we must be clear about is the socio-economic context to prostitution which includes: the activities of the State; the activities of those institutions and agencies (statutory and voluntary) working with and for prostitute women; inequalities of income, education, welfare and health, employment and training opportunities; the realities of sexual and social oppression; the increasing feminisation of poverty; male violence, gender relations - masculinity and the social organisation of desire. Above all we need to avoid maintaining and reproducing the ideology of prostitution. By the ideological I mean that which serves to conceal unequal and oppressive sexual and social relations and practices. Sectional interests presented as universal interests, the denial of contradictions and the naturalisation of that which has been socially constructed are all examples of ideological effects (Giddens 1984).

There have been many social changes since Mcleod's book was written. A further eleven years of Conservative government in Britain and of global economic recession have brought a great increase in the feminisation of poverty; an increase in young women and men working as prostitutes often in exchange for a bed or food; an increase in those working in the sex industry as prostitutes, strippers, erotic dancers, hostesses due to the realities of economic need. We have witnessed an increase in forced and voluntary prostitution in third world countries, sexual tourism and trafficking. There has been a growth of prostitutes rights campaigns and grass roots organisations working with prostitutes. More recently there has been an increase in academic research and information on prostitution much of this funded by public health monies.

In Britain some local authorities are in the process of or have considered the creation of zones of tolerance where prostitution can take place (Ryle C 1992). Currently an all party parliamentary group on prostitution is meeting to explore the way forward with particular reference to law reform. Women working as prostitutes, health and welfare agencies and the police have been invited to give evidence. Prostitution is no longer an imprisonable offence although women do get sentenced to prison for fine default. The clients of prostitutes are now criminalised through the 1985 Street Offences act for the offence of kerbcrawling. There has also been an increase in male prostitution and transsexual prostitution.

The global AIDS pandemic has changed the face of sexual encounters and sexual practices and initially in the western world prostitutes were blamed for the transmission of the virus into the heterosexual population. Empirical evidence gathered from a number of national studies (Praed St Project in London 1989, 1990; Kinnell, H for The Safe Project in Birmingham 1989, 1991; McKegany N and Barnard M in Glasgow 1992a, 1992b) and international studies (Leukefeld C.G, Battjes R.J. and Amsel Z 1990) have shown categorically that women working as prostitutes are fastidious in their use of condoms. Peer education programmes (such as Scot-Pep; and POW!) have shown that prostitutes are excellent peer educators on safe sex practice. However, their clients are not so conscious of the risks. Many men ask and pay more for sex without the use of condoms. Given the profile of the average punter this evidence is very worrying and has huge implications for the transmission of HIV to their regular partners as well as alerting health educators to the need for better campaigns aimed at the heterosexual population.

Some things have changed very little since Mcleod's book was written. Male violence against women remains endemic. Street prostitution in Britain is still largely controlled by men by pimps/ponces. The financial organisation and control of the wider sex industry (including pornography) remains in the hands of men. Women are still criminalised and stigmatised for their activities. It is still very difficult to work as a prostitute and remain within the law. 'Common prostitute' is still the label given to women following two cautions. Women are still carrying huge fines, being sent to prison for fine default, losing children to local authority care, and for some partners to prison for the offence of living off immoral earnings. The high profile policing of prostitutes continues to increase the risks to women particularly relating to their personal safety.

The following section takes a closer look at the wider international context to prostitution and some of the literature and empirical research from a woman centred perspective.

A woman centred analysis of the wider socio-political context: continuity and change

The feminization of poverty, global recession, problems in marriage and the family within the context of changing demographic structures and the freeing up (de-traditionalization) of large aspects of social life (see Haraway 1988; Haug 1992; Beck 1992; Giddens 1992), unequal sexual relations, lack of action by the state to fundamentally deal with increasing poverty for women and children and the endemic nature of male violence against women (Radford and Russell 1992; Hanmer and Maynard 1987; Hanmer, Radford and Stanko 1989; Kelly 1988), the ideology of 'whore stigma' and a criminal justice system which prosecutes prostitutes on the basis of outmoded legislation all combine to shape the causes of and context to female prostitution now.

Internationally there have been some changes in the social organisation of prostitution. Evidence from France (Welzer - Lang 1993) suggests that prostitution is undergoing changes in its organisation and structures. Welzer Langs research in progress has documented, in France, a reduction in the numbers of visible female prostitutes on street, an increase in male prostitution (1 in 3 are men), an increase in transsexuals working as prostitutes, increasing self organisation and regulation of prostitution by women themselves, and new forms of sexual services ie., machine sexuality (telephone sex) coinciding with the AIDS era.

The social organisation of prostitution has undoubtedly been affected by the growing voice and influence of the prostitutes right movement, the links with feminism and the rise of grass roots organisations supported by 'experts' 'professionals'. Furthermore, the increase in sexual tourism, the feminisation of poverty, the development and management of the sex trade in third world countries, AIDS, and the problems associated with political and economic change in eastern europe all influence the social organisation of prostitution on a global as well as a national level. These changes or shifts need to be explored within the context of social processes, social order and social change more generally. They also need to be accounted for and explored through empirical research taking an ethnographic approach and contextualised within comparative historical research. Europeanisation, transnational research links, and the sharing of information, knowledge, methods and methodologies have a bearing and influence upon the agencies working with and for prostitute women, attitudes to prostitute women, and the ways in which the prostitute enters the public imagination. Such links also have a part to play in developing policy oriented practice around the issues and problems associated with prostitution. Education and training programmes supported by prostitutes, for prostitutes, ex prostitutes and daughters of prostitutes are one such example. APRAMP operate from Madrid. A team of social workers, educationalists, counsellors and prostitute outreach workers deliver and organise services for prostitutes of all ages and their daughters. Footnote6 APRAMP offer apartments for women, temporarily or on a longer term basis; outreach services; a programme which includes counselling and therapeutic services, education and training; help with legal, welfare and social needs.

An overview of some of the contemporary literature

Critical analysis of the available literature problematises some of the issues raised here. Questions to do with the routes women take in to prostitution, of what happens to women in terms of material, practical, and emotional support and resources whilst engaged in sex work, in 'making out'; and also how women might leave sex work if they want to cannot be answered unless the literature is analysed from a woman centred perspective. A woman centred perspective must engage with the socio-economic, political contexts to womens involvement in sex work, and the moral, ideological approaches to sex work and sex workers which form the backdrop and indeed underpins the experience of being a prostitute in contemporary society.

Historical analysis (Walkowitz 1980; Roberts 1992; Kishtainy 1982; Henriques 1962; Corbin 1990) points to the relationship between whores, the state, working class communities and the regulation of the body; knowledge of the role and position of women in society, and the fact that prostitution has always been work that women can engage in order to make a living. Historical analysis can also, as Corbin shows us, reveal the trends and shifts in moral, ideological and symbolic images and associations relating to prostitution and the prostitute.

Sociological and criminological work in the area has been relatively sparse. Eileen Mcleod (1982) Susan Edwards (1988a, 1988b); and Mary McIntosh (1978) writing from feminist perspectives highlight the problematic relationships with clients (male needs), the law and policing practices. They also stress the economic reality for many women which underpins their entrance into prostitution. Issue of sexual politics are entwined with economic and political issues -housing, benefits, health, welfare and the feminisation of poverty combine to create a catch 22 situation for women who may not have freely chosen to work as prostitutes but nevertheless pragmatically have decided that this is the best option available to them.

Suzy Kruhse-Mountburton (1992) evaluates the Australian legislation on prostitution and concludes that decriminalisation is the only rational strategy "in a community which affirms a policy of advancing the status of women, while the legal system condemns some of their number for a sexual behaviour fashioned to please men"(p225). Moreover, quoting Barton, Taylor-Robinson and Harris (1987)

Public health measures should be directed at the clients of prostitutes to increase their appreciation of the protection afforded by condom use and the need for regular medical examinations to detect asymptomatic infections (p226).

Kruhse-Mountburton documenting recent studies in Australia stresses that the rate of infection of HIV tends to be low or absent in non drug using prostitutes but, the clients are the "largest component of the prostitution industry...their attitudes and behaviour ..largely determines the impact of prostitution on the community in terms of S.T.D's"(p224). Furthermore, 80% of the male population might be expected to interact with a prostitute at least once. Kinsey (1948) documents 69% of the adult male population and for Benjamin and Masters (1965) 80% is a more realistic figure. Kruhse-Mountburton is against regulationism, for her decriminalisation with safe guards would "eliminate the need for prostitutes to walk the precarious legal tightrope presented to them by the current legislation"(p221).

Policing initiatives coming from anti-vice squad and sometimes drug squads point to the problems for residents living in areas where women work on street and the need for policing to respond to residents needs. As street crimes soliciting and kerbcrawling create nuisance for residents. Golding (1992) has written about the lack of national standards in the policing of prostitution. Fines vary depending upon magistrates interpretation of the fine system. In my own area the anti-vice squad deliver a three pronged approach to prostitution. Women are arrested for soliciting, charged and usually fined. Punters (clients) are fined for the offence of kerbcrawling at a rate of {Special Char 163 in Font "Times"}100 plus court costs. Those men who are persistent drivers in the area are bound over to keep the peace for one year. Pimps (coercive men not usually partners or grown up children) once arrested and charged have to prove they are not living off immoral earnings. Police prove association by gathering evidence from surveillance activities.

Roger Matthews(1986;1992) writing in England from a socialist left realist position has explored the legacy of Wolfendon and the problems inherent in legalising prostitution in contemporary Britain. For Matthews multi-agency approaches to street prostitution including road closures and traffic calming measures benefit residents and also help to deter or deflect some women from street prostitution. Matthews also examines the legalisation/de-criminalisation debate and the socio-legal context to prostitution and the law and suggests an approach he calls radical regulationism to deal with the issues and problems prostitution raises. Radical regulationism speaks of 'protective intervention' and is based upon a model which stands firmly on the side of residents in 'red light areas' in partnership with the police and the city or borough council.

Mathew's Multi-Agency approach does not allow for women working as prostitutes to become involved in discussions or decision making. Multi-Agency approaches to prostitution which are 'women centred' can allow for a more co-ordinated network of services to prostitutes serving educative and empowering roles, as well as fostering greater inter-agency co-operation and communication so long as prostitute women are key players (O'Neill 1991;1993a). Multi-agency initiatives informed by wider social, legal and economic processes as well as a better understanding of the lived experience and needs of women working as prostitutes can move forward in more informed ways. The multi-agency approaches operating in the East Midlands and West Midlands are vastly different from those operating in Luton, Southampton and Streatham - the latter are about law enforcement agencies and county council getting together to develop a system of higher fines and high profile policing, road closures and traffic management schemes which serves only to displace the `problem' and do not consider the women involved, their needs, rights or status as `normal women'. Multi-agency approaches working together with prostitutes rights groups could develop recommendations aimed at policy change which reflect the lived experience of prostitute women, their material/economic as well as health, welfare and emotional needs. Feminists involved in such multi-agency groups need to face up to the contradictions inherent in working with and for prostitute women whilst finding the institution(alisation) of prostitution difficult to work with (see also Barry 1979; 1988.)

John Lowman (1992a;1992b) critical of Matthews has explored the situation in Canada over a number of years and develops the legalisation/de-criminalisation debate by addressing the changing geography of street prostitution related to law enforcement and suggests a legal system which identifies where prostitutes can work and which protects women from violence. Critical of both the government and "the contradictory and self defeating nature of the various Criminal Code sections" Lowman also focuses upon the need to address the purchasers of womens services, patriarchal social relations, age and gender employment structures, and the feminization of poverty.

Johannes Boutellier (1991) develops the legalisation/de-criminalisation debate from the perspective of prostitution, criminal law and morality in the Netherlands and interestingly hangs this upon the involvement of leading feminists. A coalition between feminists and bureaucratic powers has changed the public debate on prostitution. In 1985 the government changed the article on brothel keeping (250bis) which had been instantiated in the 1911 public morality act. "Brothelkeeping was no longer to be prohibited, except for cases of violence, force or overpowering"(p201). The revision of law facilitates prostitution to be perceived as work, but there is concern about the relationship between prostitution as work and prostitution as traffic in women. Currently feminists in the Netherlands are clear about their stance. Prostitute women should not be blamed, instead the men who organize them and visit them should hold responsibility. Judicial policy should look towards brothelkeepers not the women who work there. Improving the socio-legal standing of women is central to the feminist cause. Boutellier documents the shifts in feminist approaches to prostitution, from the coalition with the social purists in the early part of this century to the emphasis upon prostitution as a psycho-social problem and the need for rehabilitation to reinforce family ties and male moral standards in the post war years to the current situation which Boutellier calls "moral indifference". The late 60's and 70's are seen as times of the liberation of sexuality. The Melai committee in 1977 warned the government against intruding into the private sphere and pleaded for selective action against exploitation of individuals and nuisance to residents/neighbours. The debate was one which focused upon the management and control of prostitution. Prostitution is a "technical-juridical problem of public order"(p206). This debate sixteen years later is now being waged in Britain over the legalisation (regulation) or decriminalization of prostitution.

For Boutellier there are two major feminist approaches. The first which views prostitutes as victims of male sexuality "and thus male sexuality should be the main subject of concern"(p207). The second 'subjectivist' position which places the experiences and needs of the women concerned in centre stage and views prostitution "as a legitimate form of labour freely chosen by thousands of women"(p207). Government policy is unnecessary once proper conditions for this work are established. From this approach, for Boutellier, the feminist approach is compatible with the "morally indifferent technocratic approach absorbed with management and control". Boutellier explains this shift in part to social changes in what is termed 'moral judgement.'

Until the 1960's moral judgements were part of the encompassing political ideologies of a religious, socialist or liberal kind. Lately, these ideologies - at least in the Netherlands-seem to have lost their importance in defining social problems. This change is often referred to as the "individualisation" of society....Morality today might more usefully be seen as the mediation between individual experience and state bureaucracy....The prostitution issue is not nearly what it once so much was - an issue of ideologically defined morality - but an issue about the subjective experiences of the persons involved and the bureaucratic necessity of regulations(p209).

It is too simple to reduce the feminist approaches to prostitution to these two diametrically opposed perspectives, the situation is much more complex and contradicitory. The European and International prostitutes rights organisations are calling for prostitution to be seen and taken as work, that women should have the same rights and liberties as other workers. Many whores who are also feminists or feminist informed are arguing that the realities of womens lives do not necessarily give them the opportunity to engage in debate about male oppression, and the problems related to supporting patriarchy (McLintock 1992). However, many women involved in these organisations and women working as prostitutes are aware and antagonistic to the involvement of men as pimps, ponces and abusers of women working as prostitutes. Strategies of resistance are developed and shared between women around self help, support, and peer group empowerment/education.

On the other hand, argued most notably by Kathleen Barry, we cannot turn a blind eye to the horror of international trafficking in women and children when exploring possibilities both practical and ideological for sanctioning the use value for exchange value of womens bodies, or prostitution as work (see also Sexual Exploitation, Pornography and Prostitution of, and Trafficking in, Children and Young Adults Strasbourg 1991). Furthermore as Carole Pateman argued back in 1983

Neither contempt for women nor their ancient profession underlies feminist arguments; rather, they are sad and angry about what the demand for prostitution reveals of the general character of (private and public) relations between the sexes. The claim that what is really wrong with prostitution is hypocrisy and outdated attitudes to sex is the tribute that liberal permissiveness pays to political mystification(p565)

For Pateman prostitution needs to be "placed in the social context of the structure of sexual relations between men and women" (p563). My own work has looked at prostitution from a feminist 'woman centred' position and acknowledges the lived experiences of women working as prostitutes within the context of sexual and social inequalities and aims to give sex workers a voice by working with them through participatory action research. A key aspect is the reflexive inter-relationship between feminist theory, womens lived experience and policy oriented practice articulated through feminist participatory action research. Prostitution and violence, prostitution and the state, feminism, prostitution and the political economy and social organisation of prostitution (at a national as well as a European level), the management of female sexuality, sexual trafficking and tourism are central themes and concerns.

Feminist analyses of prostitution inevitably challenge the ways in which sexual and social inequalities serve to reproduce ideology, patriarchy and the structuration of gender relations. The central ideological problem for feminism is that the exchange of money for sex is taken to be the exchange of equivalents. This is a socially created illusion and is central to the commodification of womens bodies as use objects and our subsequent oppression in society. Both 1st and second wave feminists have fought battles based on the very use value of women and womens bodies. However, feminism must acknowledge that for some women prostitution gives a good enough standard of income, relative autonomy and can be fitted in around child care. Focusing upon the moral rights and wrongs of prostitution and the enforcement of a justice model based upon Victorian ideology and Wolfendon (which criminalises and stigmatises the whore but not her client) hides the gender issues implicated in the question - why men use prostitutes? It is this issue which needs to be given more attention whilst at the same time working with prostitute rights organisations to address sexual and social inequalities.

Feminism and feminists must face up to the contradictions inherent in working with and for prostitute women and call for the return of civil liberties and rights of human dignity to prostitutes; call for direct action from all those agencies working with prostitutes particularly at the level of the criminal justice system to explore their policies, codes of practice and funding mechanisms in order to enable working women to be given a better deal. Feminists necessarily challenge the discrimination and oppression of women, whores are women first and supporting womens rights should not be divided. Creating a space for women involved in prostitution to be heard and in turn for feminist research to inform theory and practice around women's involvement in the sex industry is at the very heart of my own approach.

We need to explore the social organisation of prostitution in all its complexity. This includes a look at the agencies working with and for prostitute women who necessarily affect and are affected by the experiences of women working as prostitutes. Contextualised within a broad understanding of prostitution, social order and social change in contemporary times we may be able to move towards recommending changes in social policy and developing concerted action to help effect change.

Women centred research informing both theory and practice

Research on health issues for prostitute women point to the problematic nature of the interest in prostitute womens health (see Scambler and Scambler 1992). Scapegoated for transmission of AIDS to the general population through unprotected contacts with clients, perceived as health educators of their client group, eventually prostitutes were perceived as recipients of health care and protection in their own right. Health based research and practice has been instrumental in supporting and developing some pioneering work in Britain. The Safe project in Birmingham; the Praed street project based at St Marys hospital in Paddington; Scot Pep and the Centenary project in Edinburgh; the Health Shop and POW! (prostitute outreach workers) based in Nottingham; WHIP (womens health in prostitution project) in Leicester; the Wandsworth female sex workers project; the Cardiff outreach project and the Sheffield AIDS education project are but a few examples. POW! in Nottingham, WHIP in Leicester and Soliciting for Change in Caldmore, Birmingham are the three I am most familiar with. Footnote7

Information, education and support around womens self empowerment are aspects of the work undertaken at the projects named above. Data collected particularly from the Safe project (1989; 1991) and the Praed St project (1989; 1990) as well as from Mckeganey and Barnard in Glasgow (1990; 1992a; 1992b; 1992c; 1992d), Morgan-Thomas, Plant, Plant and Sales in Edinburgh (1989;1990;) Plant (1990) and Green (1992) have developed greater awareness and understanding of working women's health and welfare needs and circumstances. Such data was instrumental in de-bunking the idea in the public imagination of the dirty, disease ridden prostitute. It became clear that women working as prostitutes were very self conscious of their health needs and are taking precautions against the risk of contracting std's including AIDS. Health agencies particularly have been instrumental in developing research which generates better information about the extent of prostitution and the male client group but which also develops services to support and empower prostitute women.

Prostitutes rights and grass roots organisations are an important development in recent years. Probably the most important development. Scot Pep and the Centenary project can also be counted in the realms of prostitutes rights organisations. In the last two to three years there has been a noticeable development of grass roots organisations.

Valerie Jennes (1990; 1993) shifts the debate about prostitution away from discourse about sin, sex and crime placing it within a discourse about work, choice and civil rights by focusing upon the work of COYOTE (Call off your old tired ethics) a prostitutes rights organisation in North America. As a new social movement it will be interesting to follow the development of prostitutes rights organisations in the coming years particularly as they develop their work especially advocacy work linked to women's experiences of health and welfare agencies, criminal justice agencies and the need for policy change. The European and International prostitutes rights movement has to date had most impact in Germany, the Netherlands, and North America generating inter-agency support, backing and campaigning and lobbying for social change.

Working in multi-agency ways with women working as prostitutes is important not only in terms of having their concerns, needs and voices heard by agencies working with and for them. But also, in terms of working together in democratic ways to develop women centred change (O'Neill 1994, 1995a). Moreover, it is important to work with and for young people involved in prostitution in order to develop and implement interventionary strategies which help prevent the involvement of young, vulnerable and emotionally needy young people in prostitution, as well as developing strategies of harm minimisation for those who will not or cannot stop working as prostitutes (O'Neill, Goode and Hopkins 1995b).

At the 1991 European Whores Congress, held in Frankfurt am Main, October 1991, delegates were made aware of the legal and social situations for prostitutes in the sixteen countries attending the congress. Many whores were vociferously against young people entering prostitution who were vulnerable, emotionally needy, and not really aware of their own needs around their sexuality (Drobler,C 1991). The women at the congress were strong, articulate women demanding the de-criminalisation of prostitution, the same rights, civil liberties and rights of human dignity as other workers. Indeed the Women's Committee of the European Parliament calls on Member States to decriminalise Prostitution, and protect the health and safety of sex workers, pointing out that the "semi-illegal, shady background against which prostitutes operate actually encourages such abuses as prostitution under duress, degrading working and living conditions, maltreatment and murder". The women and men attending the 1st European Whores Congress in Frankfurt voted upon a resolution to be included in the European social charter calling for the de-criminalisation of prostitution and for prostitution to be accepted as a profession. Certainly, going back to the need for law reform in this country, I would not like to see us legalise prostitution and then go down the same road as many European countries as far as the human rights and civil liberties of prostitute women are concerned (see Drobler C 1991).


Working with women is important - their voices should be heard and listened to. Standing back from the personal experiential and looking at the contexts and structures in which and through which people live necessitates an examination of: the employment, education and training structures and possibilities for women; the system of local authority residential care and the whole concept of 'Care'; the freeing up of traditional structures and institutions which allows for greater diversity, choice, and plurality in contemporary society; the oppression and domination of women by men illustrated so tragically by the endemic nature of violence against all women but more specifically against prostitute women. In working with the complexity of women's lives feminist research is of central importance to help create the intellectual and practical spaces for women's voices to be heard and listended to. We need to engage with the depth and complexity of womens lives in order to better understand women's lives and to address policy change.

Key considerations for future work with prostitute women now are as follows. We need further research directed at:

developing policy changes around women's employment and the feminisation of poverty;

violence and abuse of women and children given the fact that violence against prostitute women is endemic, they are perceived as a throwaway population;

the relationship between routes in to prostitution, homelessness, poverty and leaving local authority residential care;

the current and future work of the prostitutes rights movement at national, European and international levels particularly regarding international trafficking in women and children;

the benefits of multi-agency working groups which are woman centred and have prostitutes represented as key players in order to develop better organised networks of support to working women around health, welfare, legal, vocational/employment needs as well as safety needs such as safe houses, information, knowledge and counselling;

preventative work with young people at risk;

and last but by no means least - law reform.

Engaging with the realities of womens lives within the context of social order, insecurity and social change at an everyday as well as a more global level, may enable us to understand the lived relations of women working as prostitutes now and envision and work towards better futures for all women. Women working as prostitutes are ordinary women. The reflexive inter-relationship between feminist thought/research, womens lived relations and policy oriented practice is a good enough place to start.


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Glendenning states that Conservative economic and employment policies have hit women in paid work in three ways: women are increasingly vulnerable to redundancy and unemployment: restructuring the labour market adversley affects the types of jobs and pay women receive; and womens statutory rights are eroded when in work. between 1979 and 1986 male unemployment rose by 143%, female unemployment rose by 189% (1987:50-51.)


From conversations with women working as prostitutes and women no longer working as prostitutes in Britain and Europe.


These points evolved out of discussions bewteen members of the 'prostitution and feminism' workshop at the 1st European Whores Congress in Frankfurt am Main October 1991. The workshop was led by Andre Gunter and Christiane Tillner.


In the Guardian, Wednesday 11th August 1993, Edward Pilkington covered the 'date rape' of a woman and documented the apalling attitude of Judge Michael Anderson who in sentencing the perpetrator to three and a half years in prison added, "this is not in my view the more serious type of rape - that is the rape of a total stranger." Further examples of a lack of understanding of women's/girls experiences and indeed mysoginy include Judge Ian Starforth Hills comment regarding an eight year old victim of sexual abuse as being "not entirely an angel herself" and Judge David Wild who told a rape jury "If sh doesn't want it she only has to keep her legs shut".


From conversations with women working as prostitutes in the East Midlands and the Netherlands.


A colleague, Rosemary Barbaret of the University of Seville, and I are working on a collaborative study comparing the social organisation of prostitution in Spain and England (city and rural dimensions.) The intention is to explore and develop policy oriented recommendations. APRAMP are key players in the study of prostitution within the city of Madrid. We hope that the organisation POW! in Nottingham and APRAMP can exchange skills and ideas for future practice.


POW! evolved out of a one year research project conducted at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Nottingham University. Women involved in researching (via snowballing techniques) the relationship between prostitution, drugs and HIV developed their own voluntary agency based upon principles of peer education with the support of staff at Nottingham University, Nottingham Trent University, the Probation Service, individuals working as researchers, a solicitor, health professionals, and members of the Church and the East Midlands Forum on Prostitution. Currently seeking charitable status POW! workers have developed the organisation to address issues relating to: health, welfare and legal needs, drug related needs, vocational guidance, education, training and counselling; the need for places of safety and work with young people often under age and from local authority care. The philosophy of the organisation is based upon principles of peer led education and empowerment.

WHIP was started by volunteers from the following agencies, Leicestershire AIDS support services (LASS) and Drug Advice and Lesbian and Gay Line and was launched in 1990. Founded upon the need to respond to problems experienced by working women around HIV prevention, education support, violence and welfare needs in collaboration with women working as prostitutes. There is one co-ordinator and ten volunteers. Women are contacted on an outreach basis on street, in saunas, massage parlours and via contact magazines. The project hopes to establish a drop in centre where women can come for clinical, welfare and other advice. Further, the group are developing safe house facilities for women experiencing violence, escaping violent pimps who may want to exit prostitution and need a short term refuge.

Soliciting for Change is co-ordinated by a youth worker who developed outreach work with female prostitutes on street in the Caldmore area of Birmingham. With the backing of the local church and professionals associated through the steering committee 'Soliciting for Change' organised a local conference followed by a national conference to look at reforming the laws around prostitution. The national conference was held at Nottingham on the 25th and 26th of September 1993 and was a keypoint in the development of a national platform for the human rights and civil liberties of women working as prostitutes.

ScotPep are a peer led education project founded in Edinburgh in the Spring of 1989. They are committed to "harm reduction in relation to the sex industry and drug use. The project operates on a self help model using the knowledge and expertise of prostitutes, drug users and others, with the intention of raising awarenessof those still working and those entering the sex industry" (1993:3) The aims are as follows:

"to enable prostitutes to minimise their risk of sexually tansmitted diseases including HIV/Aids

to provide information and support around harm reduction in relation to HIV/Aids in the sex industry to male and female prostitutes, their partners and others involved

to empower prostitutes, thereby enabling them to take full responsibility for their sexual health and maximise their quality of life within the sex industry

to give prostitutes a voice in the HIV and AIds forum

to work towards the harmonisation of legislation, law enforcement and public health interests"(3).