Trauma and prostitution

This post provides access to the transcript and audio and video recordings of our ‘Trauma and prostitution’ webinar that was held on 6 June 2021.

Many women who have experienced prostitution talk about the mental, physical and psychological trauma involved. In this webinar, we explored this in more depth.

This event was in English with Spanish subtitles. Subtitulos en Español. The subtitles are not yet available on the recording. We hope to add them soon.



Duration: 1.36.41 minutes | File size: 68 MB | Play in new window (with option to download file)


Trauma and Prostitution: The transcript


Merly Åsbogård: Merly is a Swedish survivor of prostitution and a campaigner for women’s rights under the Nordic Model in Sweden.

Rebecca Mott: Rebecca used to do indoor prostitution of various types, all of which allow punters to be violent. She is now an Abolitionist, and writes to explain the conditions of prostitution and the impact of having trauma as an exited woman.

Dr Ingeborg Kraus: Dr Kraus is a clinical psychologist and expert in psychotraumatology. From 1995–2002, Dr Kraus did humanitarian work in Bosnia and Kosovo, especially working with women victims of sexual violence. She assisted in setting up one of the first shelters for women victims of domestic violence in Kosovo. Afterwards, she worked for 9 years as a psychologist and also as a therapeutic leader in psychosomatic and addiction clinics in Germany. Since 2012, she has directed a psychotherapeutic counseling office in Karlsruhe, Germany and has treated many victims of prostitution.

Dr Kraus is a speaker and activist for the abolition of prostitution in Germany, as well as an author of many articles on prostitution, especially about PTSD, traumatic bonding and trauma as a pre-condition in prostitution. In 2007, Dr Kraus co-founded a group within the Green Party against prostitution (Grüne Prostitutionskritikerinnen). In 2013, Dr Kraus initiated massive advocacy efforts to end prostitution in Germany, including a successful petition to all political parties.

In 2014, she extended her advocacy work from a government focus, to target also medical professionals. Through her advocacy, Dr Kraus has established a network of scientists and medical experts united in efforts to research, publish, and educate about the harsh realities of prostitution and the consequences to individuals’ health and to society. This network of health experts now has over 200 members – which is unique in the world.

She gives lectures and training courses on this topic worldwide and has also been a speaker in parliaments several times, such as in the Assemblée Nationale in Paris, l´ENA in Strasbourg, in the Italian Senate and Parliament in Rome, in the Palaco de Cibeles in Madrid, at the CSW in New York, as well as in the German Bundestag. She recorded her trip to New York for the CSW 2015 in a petition.

In 2019 she founded “Karlsruhe against the buying of sex” to call sexual violence by name and to get in the way of the easy game of the sex buyers.

Mostly women come to her practice. The subject of “trauma-bonding” is daily bread in treatment and affects women from all social classes and all origins. In 2009 she wrote her first article about her clinical experiences with women in prostitution and explained the connection between early trauma and entering prostitution. Because: A broken self-confidence favours this entry. Even states that regard prostitution as a job like any other have perpetrator structures within them and create collective trauma-bonding.

The recently deceased women’s rights activist Nawal al-Saadawi rightly said that the liberation of women must also take place on a psychological level. Because when women mentally free themselves from their oppressors, they no longer have any power over them.

Dr Kraus is a member of the following professional associations:

  • German-speaking Society for Psychotraumatology (DeGPT)
  • European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS)
  • German Society for Trauma and Dissociation (DGTD)
  • Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Baden-Württemberg (KVBWü)
  • State Chamber of Psychotherapists in Baden-Württemberg (LPK BW)
  • German Psychotherapists Association (DPtV)
  • German Society for Behavioural Therapy
  • Association of Lesbians and Gays in Psychology (VLSP)

Ali Morris: Ali is a feminist campaigner and activist and has been involved in the women’s sector for the last 25 years. She has been a trustee for a number of women’s organisations as well as volunteering on the ground and setting up her own local feminist network community group. She is a qualified and registered social worker and now runs her own specialist violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence consultancy and training business. Ali will chair the webinar.

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