Bay Area Sex Workers' Advocacy Network
Box 210256
San Francisco, CA 94121

Recovery and Rehab Facilities:
Background and Referrals


We have received a great deal of anecdotal information about residential programs geared towards substance users who have been involved with the most negative aspects of prostitution who wish to/are ready to change the circumstances of their lives. Much of the feedback about programs is very negative, as many are accused of harsh and humiliating tactics. In addition, most programs deal with participants who are partially forced to enroll, based on criminalization of substance use and prostitution. It is not a wonder that these programs are not helpful to many women.

On the other hand, even the most oppressive of programs can be helpful to specific individuals, and we have received positive reports about the changes women were able to make, even within the most oppressive environments.

We have received many requests from prostitutes who simply seek job training support programs and other assistance in programs which are senstive to their former work experience, and might even incorportate some of the skills learned in prostitution. These referrals are difficult to make as we have run accross no programs (in the US) which help prostitutes transition without condemning former lifestyles, which concerns many of those who request services.

In the US, as prostitution is criminalized, there are no programs which enable prostitutes who wish to stay in the business learn how to protect themselves, save their money, and improve their businesses, although Australian prostitutes groups such as PCV , and SIN do offer related classes.)

Because of the above factors, we have been at a loss for referrals in most areas, as some women (we have not received requests from men, as yet) who have experienced some of the worst conditions in prostitution do not respond well to attack therapy. In addition, the model for 'prostitution recovery' is often based on the Synanon model, which involves attack therapy and other forms of treatment which are highly controversial, often not recommended for women. In fact, Synanon has been fodder for many exposes on the injustices of recovery centers.

In this context, it is difficult to make recommendations, however, below are two centers for women for transition. These are the only two about which we have received no complaints. In addition, we have heard these treatment centers praised by those who understand the basis of harm reduction--that is not to say these are harm reduction programs-- as yet we have heard of no harm reduction based programs in this field.

We would very much appreciate reports regarding facilities, and other programs and facilities, positive and negative.

Below are two facilities which have received recommendations:

Alcolholism Center For Women
(Unlike the name suggests, this center deals with all substance issues. They are operated and specifically target women of color and lesbians or bisexual women, although all are invited.)

1147 South Alvarado St.
LA, CA 90006
contact: Roberta Davis, Rose Garcia

Mary Magdelene Project
3300 Liberty Blvd.
SouthGate CA 90280
contact : Rev. Ann Hayman

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