End Demand Fact Sheet
coalition of advocates and sex worker rights organizations have produced
materials critiquing "end demand" style programming. Proponents of "end demand"-style programming such as
"John's Schools" or increased arrest of clients of
prostitution, claim that the measures only punish the men who
purchase sex and protect women who sell sex. However, programs working
with sex workers across the United States have found that intensive
"end demand" programs increase law enforcement activities
against all people in public space. Furthermore,
these programs allow conservatives to channel hard won social service
funding into policing efforts. This downloadable fact sheet cites research that illustrates the real results
of "end demand" programming. We were able to do this analysis
and produce these fact sheets via a grant from the Urgent Action Fund in
early 2006. Groups involved in developing analysis of changes in the
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act include: the Desiree
Workers Outreach Project-USA (SWOP-USA),
Best Practices Policy Project and local service providers in the
District of Columbia. Below is the fact sheet. You can download
the fact sheet here as a Word document. You can view the text
of the End Demand legislation here.
You can download the End Demand legislation here
as a Word document.
to “end demand” for prostitution harm women
and undermine service programs
Bush Administration is aggressively pushing the idea of ending demand
for prostitution, claiming that programs oriented toward an “end to
demand” are evidence- and rights-based, protecting “vulnerable”
women and girls exploited by men. For example in December 2005 new
provisions about “ending demand for commercial sexual services” were
incorporated into the Re-authorization Act of
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
In reality these programs do not stop men from seeking sexual services,
but rather, they harm women and channel social service funding into
policing efforts. This frequently harms sex workers by pushing them, and
their clients, to adopt strategies that heighten their risk for
violence, HIV, and more.
are “end demand” programs?
when people speak about “ending demand” they are referring to a
range of efforts such as diversion programs in the court system and
increased policing of men often accompanied by the imposition of new
laws. Diversion programs such as “Johns’ Schools” and public
shaming campaigns (i.e. naming people caught for solicitation on bill
boards or on websites) are thought to deter men who might consider
purchasing sexual services, thus “ending demand.” These programs are
often developed in tandem with heightened policing of poor neighborhoods
where sex workers reside and work, in order to enforce anti-prostitution
laws. These policies are construed as “progressive” because rather
than targeting and policing sex workers, they instead target anyone,
including clients and organizations working with sex workers. The new
legislation thus “punishes” men while “helping women,” an
approach developed by Swedish conservative legislators and feminists in
the 1980s. Claims have been made that sex workers are provided health
care and training in other forms of work with the funds obtained from
arresting men (i.e. fines). Police also claim that they arrest fewer
women because they are focusing on male clients of sex workers.
these programs work?
of end demand style programming claim that they reduce prostitution
without harm to sex workers, deterring men from purchasing sexual
services and helping women.
Swedish proponents claim that criminalization “will affect relations
between women and men in the direction of greater gender equality.”
They also that claim statistics on reduction of arrests of both
sex workers and their clients prove these programs are working and
improving the lives of women and girls. Evaluations of end demand style
programs reveal a very different picture:
in general is not reduced by “Swedish style legislation” and sex
workers are made more vulnerable to violence.
An evaluation of Sweden’s legal experiment concluded that it did not
greatly reduce the number of women engaging in street sex work: figures
from Stockholm show that the total number of women on the street
remained stable from 1999-2003.
However, the report found that during this period street sex workers
were increasingly exploited, pressured to reducing prices and to provide
touted end demand style programs, such as “Johns’ Schools,” have
little or no deterrent effect above and beyond the effect of arrest and
One study found that before and after participating in the program, 1 in
10 men said that they would likely seek commercial sex services again.
This rate is 4 times higher than the officially reported recidivism rate
these programs end up targeting and arresting clients who are poor,
people of color and immigrants.
These men plead guilty even though many of them may not have been doing
anything illegal at the time of arrest and would have been found not
guilty had they gone to trial.
demand programs rely on fear tactics that endanger women’s safety.
Researchers observing Johns Schools in action found that presenters
cautioned participants that “drug addicted prostitutes… have stabbed
their clients with AIDS infected needles”
as a way of “scaring men straight.” Consequently sex workers are
portrayed as violent, dangerous and diseased, thus increasing
stigmatization and making prostitutes more vulnerable to violence.
demand programs that are financed by “user fees” paid by
participants lead to corruption and conflicts of interest
between the police and NGO service providers. Often funds obtained by
arresting people are insufficient or are used by the city for other
purposes. Research shows that close relationships between policing and
funding undermine service providers’ accountability to communities
served. In one case, numerous police joined the board of directors of an
NGO overseeing a Johns School program. Eventually a police
representative became Chair of the board. The researchers noted that
the social service organization’s financial welfare depends… on the
number and volume of prostitution offenders diverted to the ‘John
School’ programme [sic], and given that this volume largely depends on
the level of prostitution enforcement, it becomes apparent how…
considerable conflicts of interest can arise.”
can you do to help sex workers in your area?
are a coalition of sex workers, service providers, advocacy groups and
concerned community members who are concerned that “end demand”
style programming is undermining service provisions for women in need.
We are also concerned that all people engaging in commercial sex (men,
women and trans-people) be provided with real social support.
If you are concerned about these issues we ask that you join us
by contacting representatives of the following organizations in our
Workers Outreach Project
Practices Policy Project, www.bestpracticespolicy.org
Alliance is a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social scientists,
professional sex educators and their supporting networks. We seek to
encourage a better understanding of human sexuality by promoting ethical
and unbiased research into sexual subcultures; to promote saner and more
sensible approaches to policies relating to adult sexual health and
behavior. We use this information to educate and empower the public to
have healthy and rational attitudes about sexuality.
Alliance is a Project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a