Re: Information on health effects

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Lacey Sloan (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 13:05:15 -0500

Hi all,

Although I am not familiar with all of the cites recommended by Donna
Hughes (see below), I know that Melissa Farley's work is anti-prostitution,
and am concerned about information that I have been told by members of an
organization that gave her access to sex workers in Africa that she misled
them. None of us deny violence against women or violence against sex
workers who are women. With rates of abuse of women being so high to begin
with (38-54% sexually abused as children; 1 in 2 or 3 victims of domestic
abuse) it does not surprise me that illegal and stigmatized women are
victimized at similar or even higher rates...What Farley and no other
organization have done is been able to seperate out the impact of the
violence from the impact of the sex work...although my guess is from
knowing legal or less stigmatized sex workers whose rate of vicimization is
much lower, that the impact is different based on status.

When will we get over the problem so many seem to have with selling sex and
get down to the problem of violence against stigmatized and oppressed

We continue to have a problem in researching sex workers, as in all
research, that comes from the bias of the researcher. Anti-prostitution
researchers usually use clinical samples and street workers, and want to
generalize their findings to all sex workers. In addition, definitions are
greatly impacted by theoretical orientation. Of course, it is a challenge
to get random samples of sex workers, as this can only be done in random
sampling of the larger population with occupation being identified, so
generalizability will continue to be a problem.

Donna wrote:
>Health Effects of Prostitution

>Prostitution, Violence Against Women, and Posttrauamatic Stress Disorder,
>Melissa Farley, PhD and Howard Barkan, Dr PH, Women & Health, 1998

>There are many other related articles on the Coalition Against Trafficking
>in Women's web site at:

Lacey Sloan, Ph.D.

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