Policy Priority
Justice and Accountability
The demand for commercial sex drives the sex trade while prostituted people are victims of sexual and gender-based violence. People who perpetuate the sex trade should be held accountable and survivors should have access to a diverse set of justice pathways.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation is driven by

Demand From Sex Buyers

Alisa Bernard, Thistle Farms Director of Public Policy & Advocacy

Prostitution is Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

A report examining the violence experienced by prostituted women during their time in prostitution revealed the following statistics: 

Unraveling the Complex System of Prostitution

Complacent Population


- Feel it's not their problem.
- Have little education around it and generally no opinion until it impacts them directly.

Demand for Commercial Sex


- Full agency and privilege to choose to purchase sex.
- Economically fuel the marketplace.

Compelling Force


- See economic incentive to engage in low-risk marketplace.
- Capitalize on others' vulnerability for personal gain.

Vulnerable Population


- Least agency within the eco-system.
- Are capitalized on by sex buyers and traffickers.

Listening To Survivors

I was in the life for 18 years. I’d never heard of the term ‘trafficking.’ That whole time, I just thought I was a prostitute because it was my family who was trafficking me. I was just told, ‘This is what we do.’ I still have a hard time thinking of my auntie as a ‘trafficker,’ but now I know that’s what she was. I’m still figuring out how to cope with that.

Roxanne White, thelifestory.org

I did not even know about 911. Some kids walked by, and I asked them what the emergency number was. I called the police, and when they arrived they asked me, ‘was I threatened with a gun to my head?’ I said no. They said, ‘well see, there is no reason to do anything.

Sandra, thelifestory.org

I don’t even know how to answer the question “Were you ever raped as a prostitute?” It was just a part of the deal. Johns and pimps, they know you’re not gonna go to the police. They’ll hurt you real bad.

Brenda Meyers-Powel, worldwithoutexploitation.org

Being homeless and trying to figure out where to stay was a constant experience. I’d have a guy offer me a week’s stability in a room, but then he’d lock me in there and keep me for sexual services. He’d bring me food—that’s more money I’d owe him. You just become more and more indebted.

Roxanne White, thelifestory.org

overcoming the systems

We do not believe anyone has a right to purchase or sell another person for sex.
We work to diminish the sex trade by addressing these root causes by supporting initiatives that:
Work to disrupt the sex trade marketplace.
Educate sex buyers on the harms of prostitution.
Create more equitable and deterring penalties for sex buyers.
Hold Accountable those who profit off of the sex trade.
Create pathways for justice.
Protect and support prostituted people, especially when they seek justice.

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Speak your truth

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Educational Resources

View all
Why It's So Hard to Stop Illegal Massage Businesses
Sex trafficking within massage parlors has raised eyebrows for decades. An 11Alive Reveal Investigation talks with one woman who escaped.
There Are Widespread Reports of Sex Trafficking, So Why No Convictions?
Few state resources have been dedicated to combatting traffickers.
Documentary Made in Metro Detroit Focuses on Demand of Human Trafficking
A new movie about human trafficking made right here in metro Detroit has now been released to the public.