Melissa Farley…her expertise is often contested

Farley’s research has been contested in many contexts. She filed an amicus brief in support of the Gag Order, purporting to be a feminist, but caring little about the ramifications of the Gag Order on sex workers’ health. For example, at a recent conference in reproductive rights, doctors internationally say that sex workers receive the brunt of adverse effects from Bush’s Gag Orders. The chill has resulted in sex workers being discouraged from obtaining health services including HIV related sevices.

The Soros website has a letter of protest which discusses her brand of research (also mentioning her specifically, and the range of critiques in this letter obviously applies to her work.

The following letter (titled ‘Letter to Ambassador Miller’) signed by a number of human rights activists from http://www.genderhealth.org can be found linked at the Soros site.

This letter addresses the flawed research that has informed US anti-trafficking and prostitution policies.

“We also note that her (Farley’s) methodology does not guard against research bias, which would arise because most of the subjects selected for questioning about harm in prostitution were already part of a sub-set of persons who were seeking assistance because of histories of harm and were recruited from drug, vocational rehabilitation, and social service centers. The implications of this design flaw are such that, while the specific findings may be accurate for that sub-population, the findings cannot be generalized across the population of persons in prostitution as whole, or of persons trafficked into prostitution. Bias could have been reduced or eliminated if the author had conducted separate studies, for example, of (a) women trafficked into or held in forced prostitution, (b) women working in prostitution in countries where prostitutions is criminalized, (c) women working in countries where prostitution is not criminalized but third parties are criminalized and (d) women working in countries or areas where prostitution is legal or decriminalized.”

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