Prostitution, Pt. 1

Prostituted women and children present with some significant healthcare challenges for clinicians. Sexually transmitted infections and traumatic injuries are just a couple of the issues.  At only a few of the conferences I attend does this subject come up; at healthcare-specific conferences, the topic is almost nonexistent. In a cursory search of past abstracts from the American Public Health Association annual meeting for instance, I could only find 3 presentations in the last 10 years specifically focused on prostitution.

It’s on my mind because my great good friend Jen is presenting on the subject today here in Anaheim. But if you’re not going to be here to hear her speak, there are still plenty of resources out there that can give you a glimpse into the realities of prostitution.

  • The European Women’s Lobby has a streaming (free) video, Not for Sale. It’s full of 1st person narrative from women  around the world.  And it has subtitles throughout (many of the women they talk with in the video don’t speak English), so watching without sound is an option for those of you who might be somewhere where sound would pose a problem.
  • The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has a short clip on YouTube that makes a powerful point:


  • A resource mentioned in previous posts: GEMS and their excellent documentary Very Young Girls is available for purchase. This link takes you to a clip from the film (video starts automatically). Click here to purchase the DVD and facilitator’s guide.

Much of the healthcare-specific literature about prostitution relates to HIV and other STIs. However I did note that Lancet published an article in 2005 titled Sex-work Harm Reduction (ML Rekart) that seems to address a broader array of issues. I also really like the article list at the bottom of this online piece from the University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. It’s only a year old and all the articles listed link to abstracts (including the aforementioned Lancet article).

I also understand there’s an article about the glamorization of prostitution in this month’s issue of Glamour. I will try and get a link to that posted here if I can lay my hands on it.

UPDATE: The City of Chicago has done quite a bit of work on this subject. You can find a report on the systems (including healthcare) that interface with prostituted individuals in the city, as well as reccommendations and other resources, at their site.