2785 Broadway, #4L                     2269 Chestnut Street, #452
New York, NY  10025-2834 USA         San Francisco, CA  94123 USA
Phone/FAX:  +1-212-866-8854                Phone: +1-415-292-2450
e-mail:  pja14@columbia.edu              e-mail:  margosj@aol.com

                          ABOUT THE NTFP

The National Task Force on Prostitution (NTFP) was founded in
1979, to act as an umbrella organization for prostitutes and
prostitutes' rights organizations in different parts of the
United States.  In 1994, its scope was expanded to include other
organizations and individuals who support the rights of
prostitutes and other sex workers.  The NTFP is thus a network of
sex workers, sex workers' rights organizations, and individuals
and organizations that support the rights of sex workers to
organize on their own behalf, work safely and without legal
repression, travel without legal restrictions, have families and
raise children, and enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, and
priviledges as other people.  At the current time, affiliated
organizations include:  COYOTE-San Francisco, COYOTE-Los Angeles,
COYOTE-Seattle, HIRE-Atlanta, PONY-New York, BA-SWAN-San
Francisco, and Willing Women Workers-Minneapolis/St. Paul, in the
U.S., SWAT-Toronto, SWAV-Vancouver, and SWAH-Halifax, in Canada,
and MUSA in Mexico City, Mexico.

The goals of the NTFP are to:

1) Decriminalize prostitution:  repeal the existing prostitution
laws; use workplace regulation, such as OSHA, to cover working
conditions; enforce laws against rape and other sexual assault,
physical assault, kidnapping, extortion, and fraud against those
who abuse sex workers.

2) Ensure the right of prostitutes and other sex workers to form
unions and professional associations, in order to engage in
collective bargaining with their employers, when they work for
third parties, to improve their working conditions, develop codes
of ethics related to their work, and provide training to ensure
sex work safety.

3) Promote the development of occupational safety and health and
social support services for sex workers, including projects
focused in HIV/AIDS/STD and violence prevention, general physical
and mental health, crisis intervention (e.g., for rape and
domestic violence), chemical dependence, legal assistance, and
job retraining and support.

4) Inform the public about a wide range of issues related to
prostitution and other forms of sex work.

5) End the public stigma associated with sex work.

To this end, the NTFP:

- engages in public education, producing and distributing
  position papers, bibliographies, program development manuals,
  and other publications, including through the medium of e-mail
  and the Internet.

- encourages research that is designed to improve sex workers'
  lives, and especially encourages sex workers to work for
  advanced academic degrees in order to engage in research that
  is based in their own experiences.

- provides technical assistance for the development and
  evaluation of health, social service, and other support
  service programs for prostitutes and other sex workers.

- provides speakers to lecture in college and university
  classes, participate in and/or organize conference workshops
  and panel discussions, as well as to discuss sex work issues
  with the print and electronic media.

The NTFP is affiliated with the International Committee for
Prostitutes Rights (ICPR), based in the Netherlands, a growing
number of affiliated organizations in Europe, North and South
America, Australasia, and Africa, and the Network of Sex Work
Projects, based in the United Kingdom.

Forming an Affiliate of the NTFP

To become an affiliate of the North American Task Force on
Prostitution, a local organization must adhere to policies
developed by the coalition of sex workers' rights organizations
that constitute the NTFP.  Any public statements made on behalf
of the NTFP or its affiliates (e.g., to the press, to government
agencies, college classes, organizations, conferences, etc.)
must be consistent with those policies.

To form an affiliate, look for other interested individuals and
begin meeting.  Ideally, a majority of the active members of the
affiliate will be current and veteran sex workers, who can speak
and make decisions based on their own experiences.  After you
have been meeting for several months, and have developed some
idea of what you would like to do, submit a formal proposal to
the NTFP, preferably via e-mail or on in ascii on a computer
diskette, to be circulated to the membership for their
consideration.  Some suggestions of what a local affiliate can do
are listed below.

1. Find out how your community responds to prostitutes.

   The Laws.

   -  State/provincial and local laws.  Find out what laws are
      in effect in your community and, if possible, obtain the
      actual text of the laws.  Sometimes bookstores in law
      schools carry small books for police officers that
      summarize the laws.  In the United States, laws
      prohibiting soliciting, engaging, and sometimes agreeing
      to engage in an act of prostitution (i.e., an act
      involving the exchange of money and sexual services), as
      well as various vagrancy and loitering laws are the
      primary laws enforced against prostitutes (and sometimes
      clients), and laws regarding the status of being a
      runaway, or violating curfews, are often used to arrest
      adolescent workers.  Some states have enacted laws against
      loitering for the purposes of, or with the intent to
      commit prostitution.  In Canada, engaging in prostitution
      is not a crime, and the main laws enforced against sex
      workers concern communicating for the purposes of.  These
      violations are usually classed as a misdemeanor or

      In both the United States and Canada, additional laws
      forbid any kind of managerial activity, including running
      a disorderly house, receiving money from a prostitute,
      promoting prostitution, procuring, pandering, renting a
      premises for the purposes of prostitution.  These laws are
      generally felonies.  In some cases, these laws are used
      against prostitutes who work together, often as a form of
      pressure to get them to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
      In Canada, it is legal carry out the contract in the
      client's home or hotel, but not in the sex worker's
      premises, even if he or she is living alone.  In the
      United States, the state of Nevada permits a regulated,
      "closed brothel" system in counties with less than 500,000
      population, with forced registration and testing of the
      workers, but without any kind of workplace benefits (e.g.,
      paid vacation and sick leave, workers' compensation,
      disability, health insurance, retirement pension).  All
      prostitution that is solicited or transacted outside of
      those brothels is illegal.  About 300 women work legally
      in the Nevada brothels, while an estimated 3,000 women and
      men work illegally outside of the regulated brothels.  In
      no case are the regulations for the welfare of the
      workers, in contrast with regulations governing other

      Twenty-one states in the United States have passed laws
      requiring that anyone convicted, or in some cases merely
      arrested, on prostitution charges be tested for evidence
      of HIV infection.  In eleven states, anyone arrested
      subsequent to testing positive can be charged with a
      felony, even if the only evidence is that they were
      standing on a street corner.

   -  Local ordinances.  Many cities and towns have additional
      laws on the books that they use to arrest and jail sex
      workers.  In some cases, they duplicate state laws, and
      are therefore redundant.  Examples of other kinds of
      ordinances include:  obstructing the sidewalk, and various
      noise and/or litter abatement laws.  Some cities have
      enacted ordinances to bar people (generally women)
      arrested on prostitution-related charges from being in the
      area in which they were arrested, even if they are not
      working.  In some cases, they have even been barred from
      taking a bus through the neighborhood.

   -  Some cities (e.g., San Francisco) have a kind of de facto
      legalized prostitution.  That is, license massage parlors
      and escort services, and their employees.  However, they
      pretend it is not for the purpose of prostitution and a
      history of a prostitution-related arrest (but not theft or
      violence) is grounds for refusing to issue the permit.  In
      addition, police occasionally raid such establishments and
      take the licenses away from the workers (and less often
      the managers).

   Law Enforcement.

   -  Arrest Statistics.  Contact the local police department to
      obtain a copy of the most recent year's arrest statistics.
      Most police departments have a statistics department which
      prepares annual reports that go to the state justice
      agency, from which you can also obtain annual reports,
      which in turn submits the information to the federal
      government, which produces the FBI Uniform Crime Reports
      and the National Institute of Justice Sourcebook of
      Criminal Justice Statistics, both of which can be found in
      most central libraries.  The statistics should be
      available with breakdowns by race and gender, adult and
      juvenile.  If possible, find out the number of prostitutes
      and clients arrested as separate categories.  In some
      states, different laws are used to arrest clients (e.g.,
      New York State has a law against "patronizing" a

   -  See if you can review arrest reports for the previous
      year.  Look at the patterns of arrest (e.g., neighbor-
      hoods, which days/nights of the week, differences in the
      way police organize the arrests of prostitutes compared
      with the way they arrest clients).

   -  Adjudication of Prostitution Arrests.  Find out how
      prostitutes are processed in the city/county jail and/or
      the arraignment courts.  Are they released on their own
      recognizance?  Do they have to post bond to be released,
      and if so, how much?  Are prostitutes ever given a
      citation instead of being arrested?  Are they eligible for
      pre-trial diversion or other alternatives to incarceration
      (e.g., community service, participation in educational
      programs)?  Are they eligible for work furlough?  Are the
      policies different for clients who are arrested?  How are
      pimping arrests handled?

      Do the government attorneys that represent prostitutes
      when they are arrested encourage them to plead not guilty?
      Do they pressure the judges to grant diversion instead of
      jail time?

      Some jurisdictions have initiated what they call a "John
      School," and require would-be clients who solicit an
      undercover officer to attend a series of classes.  They
      have tended to be very moralistic, telling clients how
      much prostitutes dislike them, cheat them, etc., in a
      supposed effort to get men to stop patronizing
      prostitutes.  There is some concern that the extreme
      negativity may call forth a hostile response in
      susceptible men, who may then act out their hostility on

   -  Violence against Sex Workers.  Ask the police department
      for statistics on the number of prostitutes and other sex
      workers who reported being raped, and ask them how they
      handle rape cases when the victim is a prostitute.  Also
      ask for information about murders of prostitutes,
      including whether or not any serial killers have been
      operating in the area.  Explore the possibility of
      providing sensitivity training for police, prosecuting
      attorneys, and judges on issues related to the handling of
      or response to violence against sex workers.

   -  Interference with HIV/AIDS Prevention.  Find out if the
      police confiscate condoms from individuals they arrest on
      prostitution charges (or even in the absence of an
      arrest).  If they do, try to work with your department of
      health and local HIV/AIDS prevention projects to get the
      policy changed.  Condoms are essential to prevent
      HIV/AIDS; confiscating them during an arrest subjects the
      sex workers to increased risk when they return to work.
      For sex workers who inject drugs, or whose lovers inject
      drugs, the ability to possess enough clean needles to
      avoid the need to share is of paramount importance, and
      increasingly drug injectors are relying on formal or
      informal needle exchanges to maintain a sterile supply.
      Therefore, try to find out if the police confiscate
      needles, and especially if they confiscate and/or destroy
      needle exchange participant cards.  If so, work with the
      department of health and the police department to get the
      practice stopped.

   What kinds of services are available to sex workers in your

   -  Health Care Services.  How are sex workers treated in
      public health and/or STD clinics in your community?  Do
      sex workers generally trust such providers enough to
      inform them of their occupation?  Do health care providers
      that provide care to sex workers evaluate other conditions
      besides sexually transmitted diseases?  Do any facilities
      consider sex workers' ailments or complaints as
      occupational injuries or diseases?  Do they provide
      counseling and support services to sex workers who have
      been raped or beaten?  Are sex workers who have been raped
      able to receive workers' compensation while they recover?
      What if they get an STD or HIV through their work?

  -  Health Insurance.  Are there any restrictions on sex
      workers' ability to obtain health insurance, either
      government-based insurance or private insurance?  Can sex
      workers obtain disability or workers' compensation
      coverage?  If they pay into social security/govern-
     ment-pension plans, are they able to collect when they
     reach retirement?

   -  Drug Related Services.  Are drug treatment programs sex
      worker-friendly?  Do sex workers who participate in detox
      and long-term treatment or rehab programs feel free to
      discuss their work, or are then pressured to feel shame?
      Are there harm reduction programs in your community, such
      as needle exchanges, methadone programs that accept the
      fact that many clients also continue with other drugs
      while taking methadone, albeit at a lower level?  Do any
      methadone programs operate a needle exchange?  Do any
      programs work on some kind of harm reduction for people
      whosmoke crack?

   -  Crisis Intervention Services.  Are rape crisis and
      domestic violence programs responsive to sex workers who
      are raped and beaten?  Do battered women's shelters in
      your community accept sex workers as resident clients?  Do
      they require them to stop working as prostitutes in order
      to obtain services?  Do the programs pressure the police
      and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute when sex
      workers are raped or beaten?

   -  Sex Work Specific Services.  Is there a sex workers'
      project in your community?  Examples include drop-in
      centers in stroll districts, some of which offer basic
      health care as well as counseling, food, showers, and
      washing machines, street-outreach HIV/AIDS prevention
      projects, mobile units that bring medical care, case
      management, and other basic services to sex workers in
      stroll districts.  Do such projects provide a range of
      services or is their work restricted to HIV/AIDS and STD
      prevention?  Examples of useful services include legal
      services (e.g., re housing, child custody, protection
      orders, immigration problems), child care, and self-defense

   -  Sex Worker Involvement.  Do  such programs hire
      experienced sex workers as outreach workers, counselors
      and/or health educators, professional or administrative
      staff?  If not, would they be willing to?  Are sex workers
      represented on the programs' boards of directors or
      advisory boards?  If sex workers are involved, is the
      involvement real and engaged, or is it token and
      marginalized?  Is funding available should a group of sex
      workers want to start a project?

   Act on the information.

   -  Pressure your city legislative body (e.g., city council or
      board of supervisors) to form a task force to study the
      status of sex workers in your community and to make
      recommendations for changes.  Insist that a substantial
      proportion of the members of the task force be sex workers
      (current and/or veteran/retired).

   -  Pressure the department of health to improve the provision
      of health care services to sex workers, including the
      possibility of an occupational safety and health clinic,
      drop-in centers, and outreach and/or community-organizing

   -  Approach a local union about the possibility of
      representing workers in the strip clubs and other legal
      sex industry businesses, with a long range goal of
      developing collective bargaining for all sex workers who
      work for agencies or houses.  In one state in Australia,
      negotiations with a union are underway.

   -  Identify and work with sympathetic legislators on
      proposals for law reform.  Two states in Australia have
      recently decriminalized prostitution and two others are
      using (or planning to use) land use permits to regulate
      brothels.  Sex workers' projects have been directly
      involved in the development of the legislation.

   -  Pressure the occupational safety and health administration
      in your community to develop guidelines for sex work
      businesses, especially those businesses that are legal
      (e.g., strip clubs).

Some Readings from a Sex Workers' Rights Perspective:

Alexander, Priscilla (1995).  "Sex Workers Fight Against AIDS:
An International Perspective," in Beth E. Schneider and Nancy
Stoller (eds.), Women Resisting AIDS:  Strategies of Empowerment.
Philadelphia:  Temple University Press.

_____, Making Sex Work Safer:  A Guide to HIV/AIDS Prevention
(draft).  Geneva:  World Health Organization, Global Programme on
AIDS.  Available from the NTFP's New York office.

Almodovar, Norma Jean (1993).  Cop to Call Girl:  Why I Left the
LAPD to Make an Honest Living as a Beverly Hills Prostitute.  New
York:  Simon & Schuster.  (Paperback:  Avon)  Memoir by the
founder and President of COYOTE-Los Angeles.

Bell, Shannon (1994).  Reading, Writing, and Rewriting the
Prostitute Body.  Bloomington:  Indiana University Press.

Cohen Judith B. & Priscilla Alexander (1995), "Female Sex
Workers:  Scapegoats in the AIDS Epidemic," in A O'Leary & LS
Jemmott (eds.), Women at Risk:  Issues in the Primary Prevention
of AIDS.  New York:  Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Delacoste, Frederique, and Priscilla Alexander (1987).  Sex Work:
Writings by Women in the Sex Industry.  San Francisco:  Cleis
Press.  The first half of the book includes first-person
narratives by women who have worked in various forms of the sex
industry; the second half consists of position papers and
analytical articles written by representatives of prostitutes'
rights organizations in the United States and Europe.

French, Dolores and Linda Lee (1988).  Working: My Life as a
Prostitute.  New York: E.P. Dutton.  A memoir by the founder and
President of HIRE (Hooking Is Real Employment), the NTFP
affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jenness, Valerie (1993).  Making It Work:  The Prostitutes'
Rights Movement in Perspective.  New York:  Aldine de Gruyter.
Based on Jenness' doctoral dissertation which analyzed the
development of COYOTE's approach to prostitution between 1973 and
1989, and its effect on discussion of the issue in the larger

McElroy, Wendy, XXX:  A Woman's Right to Pornography.  See,
Chapter 7, "Interviews with Women in Porn," pp. 146-191, and
Chapter 9, "A Coyote Meeting," pp.  202-230.  New York:  St.
Martin's Press, 1995.

 Pheterson, Gail (ed.) (1989).  A Vindication of the Rights of
Whores.  Seattle:  Seal Press.  Includes the proceedings of the
Second World Whores Congress held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1986,
plus a number of articles commissioned for the book covering
prostitution in developing countries, and AIDS.

____, (1996).  The Prostitution Prism.  Amsterdam:  Amsterdam
University Press.

Roberts, Nickie (1992).  Whores in History:  Prostitution in
Western Society.  London:  HarperCollins Publishers.  This book,
the first of its kind, is written by a former sex worker; as
such, it offers a unique perspective on the historical record,
quite different in tone from other books on the subject.


Alexander, Priscilla, "Making a Living:  Women who go out," AIDS
and Women's Experiences, New York:  Columbia University Press.

Colter EG , Whoffman, E Pendleton, A Redick, D Serlin (eds.),
Policing Public Sex.  Boston:  South End Press.

Nagle, Jill, Whores and Other Feminists.  New York:  Routledge.

A more comprehensive bibliography is available from the NTFP's
New York office.