“There’s the old verbiage battle between “prostitute,” which sounds ugly, and “sex worker,” which sounds as though sex with strangers is like being regional sales co-ordinator for your own genitals.”  

We reject the terms “sex work” and “sex worker” because they imply that prostitution is innocuous and wholesome; that it is work like any other type of work, when nothing could be further from the truth.

There is a large international movement led by survivors of prostitution that asks that we do not use these terms for this reason. They prefer the term “prostituted woman” in recognition of the forces that drive women into prostitution, whether those forces are people (pimps, traffickers and punters), our hypersexualised euphemism-laden culture, economic and social exclusion, or a combination of these factors and more. On this website we therefore generally use the term “prostituted woman”. However, we sometimes use the terms  “those in prostitution” or “women involved in prostitution” to refer to people who are prostituted.

We also believe that the term “sex buyer” sanitises the inequality and abuse inherent to prostitution. On this website we therefore generally use the term “punter” or the American term “john” to refer to those who buy human beings in prostitution.

We recognise that boys, men and transgender people are prostituted as well as the women and girls who make up the vast majority (estimated at 87% in Europe*) of those in prostitution. We also recognise that a tiny minority (probably less than 0.01%) of punters are women. On this website we refer mostly to the punters as men and those prostituted as women or girls to emphasise the gendered nature of the system of prostitution and for linguistic simplicity. This does not mean to suggest that prostitution is any less devastating for the boys, men and transgender people involved.

The Nordic Model applies to all regardless of sex or gender.

* A mapping of the prostitution scene in 25 European countries