Center for Sex & Culture Sex Worker Media Library

Work from Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot

Additional videos and information about this project:
Sex Workers Rights and Trafficking: "Collateral Damage"on Facebook

1. Collateral Damage:
Sex Workers and the Anti-Trafficking Campaigns

Trailer for Work-in-Progress (2 min.)

Trailer from Collateral Damage:
Sex Workers and the Anti-Trafficking Campaigns

from Carol Leigh on Vimeo.

Festival Preview: Part 1, Introduction (20 min.)

Collateral Damage: Sex Workers and the Anti-Trafficking Campaigns
from Carol Leigh on Vimeo.

Project Information:

Anti-trafficking is a sacred cow, but behind this humanitarian concern is a century-old movement that historically reflects xenophobia and prostitution abolitionism.

The 20 minute introduction to the project is embedded above and available for screening, with permission (password required). This preview offers a historical view of US 19th century anti-trafficking campaigns and a survey of contemporary trafficking portrayals in the media. Please email 

The feature length work-in-progress (segments below) is an in-depth examination the role of the United States in a campaign to further the criminalization of sex work around the globe, and the impact on sex workers internationally.

"When I first heard about the resurgence of the white slavery/trafficking framework, I knew that I had to show how this moral panic has historically resulted in discriminatory immigration policies, increased criminalization of sex work and few solutions for individuals who are victims of forced labor."

Written and Directed by Carol Leigh
Narated by Cosi Fabian
Illustrations by Willem Weijters

Featuring: Dr. Laura Agustin, Mariko Passion, Dr. Nandita Sharma, Dr. Kamala Kempadoo, Marjan Wijers, Esq., Dr. Grace Chang, Lin Chew, Dr. Molly Merryman, Noy Thrupkaew, Catherine Healy, Kara Gillies. Based on work from Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Empower Foundation, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, AIM for Human Rights,, Women's Network for Unity, Police Prostitution and Politics, Licadho, International Human Rights Law Group, Center for Health and Gender Equity, and Open Society Foundation.

2 minute trailer-Collateral Damage: Sex Workers and The Anti-Trafficking Campaigns

This two minute trailer focuses on broad issues of human rights in the context of anti-trafficking.

The following are individual segments are from the longer work-in-progress:

Pt 1 Introduction and 19th-Early 20th Century History (11:29)

Pt 2 Social Factors Leading to Resurgence of Anti-Trafficking Campaigns (4:10)

Pt 3-Drafting the Palermo Protocol (4:19)

Pt 4 Introduction to the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act and Policies that Impact Sex Workers (2:10)

Pt 5 The Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath (4:14)

Pt 6 TIP Report and International Impact of US Policies (2:13)

Pt 7 Unlikely Alliances: Feminists and Fundamentalists (7:11)

Pt 8 Cambodia: The Frontlines of The War on Trafficking and
The Rise and Fall of Somaly Mam (11:39) This draft is of work from Asia Pacific Network of Sex Work Projects, Women's Network for Unity, VICE News "From Sex Worker to Seamstress: The High Cost of Cheap Clothesm" and Anne Elizabeth Moore's "Unraveling."

Please visit this page for a questionaire that would help me as I complete this project:

Student Resource: This essay provides references to recent writings on the subject of "The Anti-trafficking Industrial Complex."

Additional segments to follow.

This work is dedicated in Loving Memory to Andrew Hunter, who held my (virtual) hand through this process, encouraged me and provided an abundance of information and material.


Full Artist Bio:

Carol Leigh has been a sex worker and activist since the late seventies. A writer and performance artist, she coined the term "sex worker" in the late 70s. She was lead writer of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor's Task Force on Prostitution representing San Francisco's Commission on the Status of Women. She is a founding member of SWOP and a long time COYOTE member. Leigh founded and co-produces the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival ( Leigh received the Creative Work Fund Award for her video documentation in conjunction with the Center for Sex and Culture Sex Worker Media Library Since the late seventies, Leigh has written and performed political satire as "Scarlot Harlot," work based on her experience as a prostitute and has toured internationally and in the US with the Sex Worker Art Show Tour. She has produced work in a variety of genres on women's issues including her video, Blind Eye To Justice: HIV+ Women Incarcerated in California was narrated by Angela Davis. Leigh's book, "Unrepentant Whore: The Collected Work of Scarlot Harlot" was published by Last Gasp in 2003. Leigh presents sex worker and human rights perspectives on trafficking at Trafficking Policy Research Project: Examining the Effects of U.S. Trafficking Laws and Policies (


From Bleeding Hearts to Critical Thinking (excerpt-Introduction by Carol Leigh)
Exploring the Issue of Human Trafficking Edited by Kamala Kempadoo and Darja Davydova

From Bleeding Hearts to Critical Thinking (full PDF)

Please visit this page for a questionaire that would help me as I complete this project:

Center for Sex & Culture
Sex Worker Media Library


Created with the goal of preserving sex worker culture and discourse, funded by a grant from the Creative Work Fund, the library features a pathfinder-based delivery system of digital materials documenting the stories, artistic expressions, history, and legal and social positions of sex workers internationally. from Sex Worker artist Carol Leigh (AKA Scarlot Harlot) and the Center for Sex & Culture (CSC)