Press Releases
December 1, 2003
Arte Sana staff contribute to book on prostitution, trafficking and traumatic stress

AUSTIN, Texas -- The recently released, Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress, offers the reader an analysis of prostitution and trafficking as organized interpersonal violence. Even in academia, law, and public health, prostitution is often misunderstood as “sex work.” The book’s 32 contributors offer clinical examples, analysis, and original research that counteract common myths about the harmlessness of prostitution. Arte Sana's Executive Director, Laura Zarate contributed to the section addressing issues related to the prostitution and trafficking of women and children from Mexico to the U.S.

The book also extensively documents the violence that runs like a constant thread throughout all types of prostitution, including escort, brothel, trafficking, strip club, and street prostitution. Prostitutes are always subjected to verbal sexual harassment and often have a lengthy history of trauma, including childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect, economic discrimination, rape, and racism.

International in scope, the book contains cutting-edge contributions from clinical experts in traumatic stress, from attorneys and advocates who work with trafficked women and children and prostituted women. A number of chapters address the complexity of treating the psychological symptoms resulting from prostitution. Others address the survivor’s need for social supports, substance abuse treatment, peer support and culturally relevant services.

About Arte Sana

Arte Sana (art heals) is a nationwide organization dedicated to helping underserved survivors of racial and gender-based violence. As a 501(c)3 non-profit group based in Austin, TX, Arte Sana promotes healing and empowerment through the arts and community education. Founded in 2001, Arte Sana believes that violence risk reduction programs and services must be culturally competent and linguistically appropriate and are committed to the value of indigenous leadership and collaboration sin fronteras (without borders).


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" Melissa Farley's edited volume, Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress, is a ground-breaking, eye-opening, landmark book that will forever change the way we view prostitution, in all of its forms: Pornography, strip clubs, escort, brothel and street prostitution, and trafficking. Shattering the myth that prostitution is harmless, this book not only addresses the physical violence and verbal abuse that prostitutes suffer, but even more importantly exposes the overwhelming psychological violence that occurs when a prostitute becomes, in seriatim, her johns' masturbatory fantasies and the dehumanization that accompanies the preparation for a life of prostitution by the pimp or trafficker. Farley has assembled a dream team of contributors, including psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers and advocates. This book is a must read for anyone interested in human rights, women's issues, and the psychology of exploitation.

Ronald F. Levant, Ed.D., ABPP
Co-Editor, A New Psychology of Men
Dean and Professor, Nova Southeastern University

Indespensible reading for health professionals, social scientists, and policymakers called on to deal with the human consequences of the sex trade. Melissa Farley and her multidisciplinary team of colleagues from many countries have produced a carefully researched and chilling look at what happens to women with few options in a world of borderless markets, where what you are is what you have to sell.”

Ted Schrecker, PhD, Research Associate, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit; Co-author of Fatal Indifference: The G8 and Global Health

Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress

Edited by Melissa Farley, PhD
Clinical and Research Psychologist

Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress examines:

  • The connections between prostitution, incest, sexual harassment, rape, and battering
  • Clinical symptoms common among those in prostitution, including dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse
  • Peer support programs for women escaping prostitution
  • Culturally relevant services for women escaping prostitution
  • The connection between prostitution and trafficking, including trafficking from Mexico to the United States, and prostitution of adolescents in Cambodian brothels
  • Online prostitution
  • How gay male pornography harms gay men
  • Accessing public assistance funds for survivors of prostitution

From the editor's Preface:
Prostitution is to the community what incest is to the family.  Slavery, at its height, was normalized in the United States as unpleasant but inevitable, yet it is now considered to be an institution that violated human rights. Perhaps we will at some point in the future look back on prostitution/trafficking with a similar historical perspective. It is my hope that this book will assist the reader in understanding prostitution and trafficking and in how to help women and children escape it.

  • Preface: Prostitution, Trafficking & Traumatic Stress
    (Melissa Farley)
  • Introduction: Hidden in Plain Sight: Clinical Observations on Prostitution
    (Judith Lewis Herman)


  • Sister Oppressions: A Comparison of Wife Battering and Prostitution
    (Christine Stark and Carol Hodgson)
  • Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
    (Melissa Farley, Ann Cotton, Jacqueline Lynne, Sybille Zumbeck, Frida Spiwak, Maria E. Reyes, Dinorah Alvarez, and Ufuk Sezgin)
  • Prostitution and Trauma in U.S. Rape Law
    (Michelle J. Anderson)
  • Gay Male Pornography’s “Actors”: When “Fantasy” Isn’t
    (Christopher N. Kendall and Rus Ervin Funk)
  • Prostitution Online
    (Donna M. Hughes)
  • From Duty to Despair: Brothel Prostitution in Cambodia
    (Wendy Freed)
  • Prostitution and Trafficking of Women and Children from Mexico to the United States
    (Marisa Bava, Laura Zarate, and Melissa Farley)
  • Prostitution and Trafficking in Women
    (Dorchen A. Leidholdt)

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