The Sex Trade Course

Exposing the Reality, Dispelling the Myths


The media plays a significant role in the way we understand and respond to sexual violence and exploitation.

Although people are not passive recipients moulded by media influences without any capacity for critical reflection, the media does not only reflect our dominant assumptions about what is ‘normal’, ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ – it helps to create and reinforce them. It can also, under the right circumstances, play a role in challenging them. This is the goal of The Sex Trade Course: Exposing the Reality, Dispelling the Myths.

For too long has the narrative around media reporting on sexual exploitation focused on terms like “empowerment” and “choice”, when the reality of the global sex trade couldn’t be further from those myths. The Sex Trade Course aims to challenge these notions, to accurately report on the true horrors of sexual exploitation, and to shift the narrative to give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves.


The course was initially devised for anyone working in the media who might at some stage report on issues regarding the sex trade. Copy editors and sub-editors, as well as photographers, are welcome. However, since its inception, we have now expanded its user-base to include those working in the public and private sectors; law firms; public authorities; and anyone who may be involved in working with individuals subjected to sexual exploitation.

The goal is to offer an alternative perspective on how to empathetically and sensitively work with these individuals, no matter what job or sector you are working in.

The course will include hand outs and other resources to encourage participants to enhance and improve their knowledge and skillset moving forward.


1. Knowledge of the reality of sexual exploitation in the UK

2. Invaluable perspectives from survivors of prostitution

3. Practical tips for working sensitively with survivors of the sex trade

4. Greater empathy with those who have been sexually exploited


Julie Bindel (@bindelj): Investigative journalist, trainer, and campaigner against sexual violence, abuse and exploitation.

Fiona Broadfoot (@BuildaGirlProj): Founder of Build a Girl. With over 22 years of experience as a trainer on these issues, she has worked with the police, social care, child protective services, among many others. She is a public speaker and sex trade survivor.

Julie Bindel

Fiona Broadfoot

Julie Bindel is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher. She has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979 and has written extensively on rape, domestic violence, sexually motivated murder, prostitution and trafficking, child sexual exploitation, stalking, and the rise of religious fundamentalism and its harm to women and girls.

Julie has authored over 30 book chapters and reports on a range of topics relating violence and abuse of women and girls. She writes regularly for The Guardian newspaper, the New Statesman, Truthdig, the Sunday Telegraph and Standpoint magazines, and appears regularly on the BBC and Sky News. Julie was Visiting Journalist at Brunel University (2013 – 2014) and Visiting Researcher at Lincoln University (2014 – 17).  Julie’s book on the state of the lesbian and gay movement in the UK (Guardian books, 2014) has been praised for being thought-provoking and challenging.

Julie’s most recent book, The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth, is a detailed examination of the global ‘sex workers’ rights’ movement and how the ‘happy hooker’ narrative has come to shape our perceptions – including many women involved in prostitution – of what is misleadingly named as ‘the oldest profession’. In it, she examines the situation in the UK, Netherlands, the Nordic region, Germany, South Africa, East Africa, North America, South America, France, New Zealand and Australia, South Korea, Turkey and India.

Julie is co-founder of Justice for Women, set up in 1990 in response to cases of spousal homicide in which men killed their female partners and were given sympathy and understanding by judges and jurors, in contrast to women who killed their male partners or ex-partners after suffering domestic violence and abuse, and were punished disproportionately by the criminal justice system. Following the tragic death of Emma Humphreys, for whom Justice for Women campaigned for, Julie co-founded the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize in 1998.

In 2015 Julie became a board member of SPACE International, a global organisation seeking abolition of the sex trade, with members (sex trade survivors) from countries and states worldwide.

Fiona Broadfoot is a sex trade survivor, having been trafficked into prostitution at the age of 15. Fiona spent 11 years entrenched in the violent world of prostitution. She has since worked to raise awareness and the harm it causes to young people and their families. She was a close friend and fellow campaigner of Irene Ivison, the founder of PACE (formerly known as CROP), and was instrumental in the setting up of CROP in 1996, alongside her own organisation, EXIT, which was formed offer support to women exiting prostitution.

Fiona travelled the country with Irene, campaigning, speaking about her own experiences, at conferences and on television, challenging the public and professional perception that young people involved in CSE were ‘prostitutes,’ who had chosen that ‘lifestyle’. She went on to become involved in training professionals and working with young people at risk of, or being, sexually exploited. She was able to speak directly to young people, using the credibility given to her by her own personal experience.

Fiona has also continued to campaign on the issue of violence against women and girls. She has spoken at many national and international conferences, impressively for the last 3 years at the United Nations in New York and has advised government policy in both Ireland and Scotland.

She is a fierce proponent of the Nordic model and is a member of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment). She is an inspirational communicator, who has the ability to change attitudes through the power and passion of her public speaking. She is also selfless in telling her own story, sometimes at much personal cost, in order to demonstrate the reality of being a victim and survivor of CSE.

She has the ability to communicate effortlessly and effectively with victims, survivors, professionals and those in power. She has spent her life combatting CSE, sexual abuse and violence. Fiona recently achieved a place on the highly competitive Lloyds School for Social Entrepreneurs and has now started her own social enterprise called the ‘Build a Girl Project’.

The Project is firmly based on a survivor led perspective and is deeply committed to supporting and empowering victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse and challenging the normalisation of sexism and misogyny that girls and young women are often faced with and constrained by.


We can tailor the course to your sector or area of work. To find out more about the course, or to discuss how it could help you or your colleagues, contact Tom Farr at