LETTER:Prostitution facts

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From Ms Maggie O'Neill

Sir: Angela Lambert ("Keep out. This is a private view", 26 September) reports mistakenly that I believe that "one man in 10 visits a prostitute". There is no reliable data in Britain to produce this kind of generalisation. When asked by Ms Lambert about clients, I did suggest that she talk to a project based in the West Midlands, where this figure had been extrapolated from numbers of contacts women had had with clients over a certain period. As a professional researcher and sociologist, I am not in the business of believing generalisations without reliable data.

Also, I have not been "collecting information on prostitutes since 1993". However, I have been engaged in researching prostitution as a cultural practice since 1990, and I have been engaged in action research, often with women and young people who are working as prostitutes, in order to help develop policy changes.

Yours sincerely,

Maggie O'Neill

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Staffordshire University