The movement to criminalise sex work in the United States

An article in the Journal of Law and Society, Volume 37, Number 1, March 2010.

Weitzer explores the growth of what he describes as a moral crusade in the US aimed at expanding the criminalisation of sex work. He shows how there is a growing trend to conflate sex work with human trafficking and explores the impact of this movement on legal norms and government policies. Weitzer believes this trend has been prompted by the expansion of the sex industry and its normalisation in American society.

He makes the interesting observation that, unlike with issues like the liberalisation of drug policy or access to safe abortion, there is little advocacy or counter-lobbying to challenge the views of crusaders. Those that have spoken up have been denounced as apologists for pimps and traffickers.

Weitzer provides a detailed account of non governmental organisations, lobby groups and influential individuals and their links to Government (the Bush Administration). He also explores the evidence that underpins their advocacy, debunking many of their arguments.

Year of publication: 
Weitzer, R