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UT Expert researches prostitutes

“Pretty Woman” it’s not.

The reality of street-level prostitution is a far cry from what many of us are exposed to in the movies and television, with prostitutes facing the threats of violence, sexually transmitted diseases and drug addiction every day.

Tomorrow, Dr. Celia Williamson will be on campus to explore these realities in a public lecture titled “Street Level Prostitution in Toledo: A Typology of Women.”

Williamson, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Toledo, has done extensive research on prostitutes. In addition to interviewing and studying prostitutes and running a program to help women leave prostitution, she headed the first National Conference on Prostitution, Sex Work and The Commercial Sex Industry in September.

Having Williamson present at the University was an easy decision to make, said Mary Krueger, director of the Women’s Center. The Women’s Center is sponsoring the lecture along with the Bowling Green Chapter of the American Association of University Women.

“The Women’s Center is very familiar with Dr. Williamson’s work,” Krueger said. “We have a lot of respect for her.”

In addition to speaking about the lives of prostitutes, Williamson will examine community perceptions of prostitutes.

“I hope it encourages people to reexamine their preconceived ideas about prostitution and about prostitutes,” Krueger said. “The way people think about prostitution affects the women who are involved in prostitution.”

Krueger said Williamson’s hands-on experience working with women who are prostitutes makes her research unique.

“This is very groundbreaking research,” Krueger said. “She’s out there seeing what prostitution is really like.”

“Street Level Prostitution in Toledo: A Typology of Women” will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. in room 210A of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.

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