Uncovering the Truth About Trafficking in the U.S.: Preliminary Findings from the Erotic Labor Market Research Study

Serpent Libertine & Crysta Heart | September 23 | 2:45 - 3:45 PM | Room 2584

In 2012, three sex worker activists came together to create a research project specifically designed to capture information from industry insiders, including sex workers, clients, and other individuals employed in the sex trades regarding their experiences with trafficking and coercive practices. Tired of biased, misinformed research on sex work conducted by academics and anti-trafficking organizations that seeks to further criminalize and marginalize sex work, they sought to conduct their own research, using their strength and knowledge as industry insiders to gather their own data regarding the impact of trafficking in the sex trade in the United States. Launched in 2013 in conjunction with DePaul University’s Social Science Research Center, the Erotic Labor Market Survey (ELMS), has gathered around 1000 responses regarding each respondent’s experience with trafficking or coercive practices within the context of being a worker, client, or employee/manager. This first ever research project of its kind was created by sex workers in order to provide other sex workers, activists, and academics a more accurate portrayal of trafficking in the sex trade. The presenters will share some of the preliminary findings of the research as well as the process they went through in developing this community-based participatory research project and working with an academic institution to develop a sound research process and methodology for the survey.

About the Presenter