Calling cards
Prostitutes calling cards are seen in a telephone box in London John D McHugh/ AFP

It is often argued that the only way to protect sex workers from crime, drug abuse and violence is to adopt a Dutch-style system of legalisation and regulation: that way the state is able to ensure that prostitutes do not have to rely on criminal gangs and pimps in order to ply their trade.

But feminist writer and journalist Julie Bindel believes that the argument that legalisation helps sex workers is a myth. She says that the only way to protect women is to increase punishment for men who visit prostitutes, while ensuring that sex workers themselves are not prosecuted.

Bindel has spent the last two years researching the sex trade and travelled to over 30 countries, including Cambodia, Nigeria, the US and Holland. She has spoken to current and former sex workers, activists and NGOs as well as men who visit - and have visited - prostitutes.

Her book: The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth is out later this year, but ahead of its publication IBTimes UK's new podcast, In the Field, sat down with her to discuss her research.

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