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Commercial sexual exploitation


Commercial Sexual Exploitation is a multi-billion dollar business that breaches a person’s right to:

  • dignity,
  • equality,
  • respect and
  • physical & mental wellbeing.

It is harmful for the individual women involved.   This has a negative impact on the position of all women through:

  • through the objectification of women’s bodies.

Overwhelming evidence shows that it's women who are paid, and men who pay.

Normalisation of the sex industry leads to pressure on men. Especially young men, to be consumers within the sex industry.

This includes:


Initiates and reinforces negative attitudes about both women’s sexuality and men’s masculinity. It is linked to being a ‘real man’ and a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. It pressurises men into having a limited view of masculinity.

Survivors of the industry highlight that it is not just a form of entertainment involving harmless images of people having sex. Their experiences tell of force, coercion, lack of choices and abuse at the hands of men who are involved in the production of increasingly hard-core, violent and degrading materials for purchase or download.


Exploits women who are vulnerable in some way such as homelessness, child sexual abuse, mental ill health, trauma, previous sexual violence, drug and alcohol misuse, money pressures and poverty. These factors should not be mistaken for the cause of prostitution which is the demand from men to buy sex.

No one really wants to have sex with five, ten or twenty strangers a day, every day. Besides the sheer numbers involved, some of those strangers are going to use a person in ways that are bizarre, painful or disgusting, and occasionally fatal” Joe Parker, How Prostitution Works

Lap dancing

Promoted as glamorous adult entertainment - exciting and lucrative ‘work’ for women. Unlike other dance performances where the audience pay for a ticket - in adult entertainment, women pay the club to perform, and then men pay the women directly. This puts pressure on women dancers, and increasingly men expect explicit sexualised behaviour and full nudity.

Webcams/sex chat lines

Involves sharing sexually explicit material through websites, webcams, e-mail, instant messaging or camera phones.

Saunas / massage parlours

Often a front for establishments where sex can be purchased.

Human Trafficking

A worldwide phenomenon, and there is evidence of it in Scotland in both cities and rural communities. Men, women and children are trafficked for a range of exploitative purposes; however, trafficking for sexual purposes primarily impacts on women and girls. Trafficked children are particularly vulnerable and require additional safeguards.

Fife Violence Against Women Partnership
Tel: 01592 583690

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