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The Blue Booklet

Authors : Yves LAMBERT, Christine BINSFELD, Paul ALONSO, Nicole DOME and anonymous prostitutes.
Translated from French to English by Natalie LEVEL and Annie WARMKE

This brochure (picture) is for prostitutes. The purpose is to help preserve their health, their security and dignity. There is no other objective.

The Blue Booklet was developed in 1995 in a group process by Antigone with the help of prostitutes and ex-prostitutes. Antigone thanks :

 the prostitutes and ex-prostitutes who participated in the development of this brochure
the GGD Group in Rotterdam for their help
the Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie for their financial help
the DDASS of Meurthe-et-Moselle for their support.

Certain points in this document have been inspired by L. Synn Stern, Tricks Of The Trade, 1991.

"I was without work and I decided to become a prostitute. It was very hard, of course but I didn’t have a choice. It is true that when you are a prostitute you feel you are different from “normal” people who stay at home at night. “Normal” people look down on us. But nevertheless we are important to our clients who are, during the day “normal” people. It is true that when you are a prostitute you don’t have the same life. We work at night. We sleep in the morning. As a matter of fact life is different from “normal” people. We feel very lonely even though we have contacts with our clients. We feel very nervous. We always feel we are in
danger because we do not know if the clients are mad or dangerous. Because of all that it takes to be a prostitute, I am afraid.”
E., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

The way we dress

For your security

 It is best not to wear dangling or hoop earrings because they can be pulled out of your ear accidentally or intentionally
It is best not to wear a scarf of any length. It is also not a good idea to carry a bag with a strap long enough to go around your neck. In fact it is best not to carry anything that can be used to go around your neck
 Choose shoes that you can run in or that can be removed easily
You should not wear any object that can hurt you or that can be used against you like a bangle bracelet or a large dress, etc.
Please put your money in a place where you can find it without having to look at it
Keep your glasses with you if you need them to see with. You not only have to be seen but you need to be able to see everything that is going on around you
If you drink alcohol or if you use other mood altering drugs that make your work seem less difficult be careful. This type of use of drugs makes you less aware of what is going on around you. Using alcohol or drugs, or both can put you in danger
Don’t carry any weapons. Any weapon can be used against you
If you are in danger you must use your voice to shout to draw attention to what is happening to you, or be prepared to move quickly instead of using some type of force. You are no match for a person who wants to harm you. Make a lot of noise. Use the car horn. Put on the car lights. Don’t hesitate to run away in the direction of people and light

What is very hard is that before I have to go with a man I have to drink. If I don’t drink I can’t work. Drinking helps me to be able to do my work.
A., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

For your health

 Take care of your feet. Keep your nails short
Synthetic underwear can cause infection. It is better to use cotton underwear. You need to change to clean underwear everyday
You should not wear nylon stockings without underwear because it can cause infection
During your period you should use tampons, instead of feminine napkins. You should change the tampons frequently
 You should take a daily shower or bath. It is better to take a bath without adding any bubbles or perfumes because it can cause infection

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)

STDs are diseases or infections you can contract during unprotected sexual activity (without using contraceptive sheath/condoms) involving the mouth, vagina, penis and/or anus. You can contract an STD if your mouth, vagina, penis and/or anus touch those same parts of your sexual partner.

The STD can come in different forms :

 Parasites : public lice (crabs), scabies, trichinosis
 Bacteria : chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis
 Virus : genital warts, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV.

Each STD has different symptoms. Usually you don’t have any symptoms. You do not know that you have hepatitis, chlamydia and HIV in their early stages. If you have symptoms or you don’t have symptoms, you may have an STD or you can transmit an STD to someone else.
An STD does not go away without medication that is given to you by a doctor or clinic. For some STD’s the cure is very simple. Only a doctor can diagnosis your particular STD and give you the right medication to cure the parasite, bacteria or virus.
If you don’t get medical help for an STD, it can be very bad for your health (sterility, cancer of the uterus for instance). An STD can be very bad for the health of the people you have had sex with. You must take all of the medicine you are given by the doctor otherwise the STD may not be cured even if the symptoms go away. Your sexual partners must also take the medication. You will need to warn your sexual partners as soon as possible so that they will not give the STD to other people.

It is possible to protect yourself from hepatitis A and B by vaccination. There is no vaccination for other kinds of hepatitis.

With the clients


 Decide what you agree to do or not
Decide where you are going. Don’t leave the choice to the client
Refuse strange clients. Clients who have drunk heavily and those who have odd requests
You need to have a supply of contraceptive sheaths/condoms, lubricants and tissue

The negotiation

 If the client gives you a bad impression when you meet (on the sidewalk which is your territory), it will be worse when you will be in his car (on his territory).
When you draw near the car keep a safe distance from the door so as to avoid being injured by a knife or spit on or tear gassed ...
Make sure the client is alone in the car
Be watchful and keep a close eye on his attitude/behavior
 Negotiate the fee and the place before going away with the client
You have to insist on using a contraceptive sheath/condom
If you work alone pretend you have a friend close by. For example you could act as if your friend is off in the bushes or round the corner, pretend you're talking to her/him

With the client

 Be in charge of the situation with your client
In the car, close the door and check immediately that you can open it again (make as if the door isn’t completely closed so that you can open it to check to see if it opens again)
Look closely at your client. It is not too late to change your mind and get out of the car
Put the money that he gives you somewhere that he can see it but not with the rest of your money

"When you prostitute you always have a condom in your bag. But sometimes the clients refuse to wear the condom (…). You cannot say anything because it is too dangerous, with regard to the other clients and
prostitution circle. Morally when you know that you are contaminating clients it is very hard but you don’t have any choice. For me it is not a question of negligence but it is a need of money and with AIDS less clients in general. So, on a few clients we have to accept everyone with or without a condom. To do whatever they want."
E., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

Oral sex

 In a two-door car, you must stay in the front seat
Put a contraceptive sheath/condom on the man with your hands or your mouth and be sure that it fits correctly
Don’t close your eyes. Keep an eye on him and on his hands at all times
Make sure that your chin or your cheek doesn’t touch his thighs or his testicles. If he has herpes or pubic lice (crabs), you can become infected
The inside of your throat is very fragile so don’t let the penis go very far into your throat
After ejaculation put firm pressure at the base of the contraceptive sheath/condom so that the sperm does not leak into your mouth

Oral sex without a condom

 You are taking the risk of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a disease like HIV (AIDS)
The risk of infection (for example HIV or STI) is due to the liquids making contact with sores in your mouth, your throat and your lips. It is probably not due to the fact of swallowing sperm
Keep your lips, your mouth and your throat as moist as possible. on’t swallow your saliva
Tension or contraction of the scrotum are the sign that the ejaculation is about to happen. The ejaculation should not happen in your mouth because sperm carries the HIV or STD germs. It is better for him to ejaculate on you. Not in your mouth
 When it is finished you need to take a bath or shower to wash your skin with an anti-bacterial product or rubbing alcohol you can buy from a pharmacy. Don’t brush your teeth. If your gums bleed for any reason (it can be unnoticed), this can introduce an infection.

HIV infection and AIDS

HIV or Human Immune Deficiency Virus is responsible for AIDS. AIDS is still today an incurable disease ending in death.

There are three ways of catching and transmitting HIV :

 Having sexual relations with someone who has HIV ;
 Exchanging blood (for example : sharing needles during drug use) ;
 From an HIV Positive mother to her fetus during pregnancy

Saliva, tears, skin contact, urine, and feces may not be the carrier of HIV. Blood, sperm, sexual secretion from women and men, and mother’s milk can be the carrier of HIV.

The HIV virus needs a way to get into your body. Microlesions in the mouth's mucus membrane or the vagina's or the penis' and the anus' make it possible to get HIV by the liquids getting in touch with blood.

Ways to protect yourself against HIV :

 Use contraceptive sheath/condom every time (men/men, men/women) or carry a piece of latex (women/women, women/men) during sexual contact ;
 Always use a new syringe for people who use drugs that require a needle

The only way to know if someone is HIV positive is to have a special blood test. A person who is HIV positive may have no symptoms but he/she can give HIV to anyone.

Vaginal sex

Sex at lower risk

 By using the contraceptive sheath/condoms you can be protected from catching HIV or an STD but, even if you use this every single time, you can get pregnant if not used correctly or in case of accidental tear. All prostitutes should use another form of contraception to keep from pregnancy

 Spermicidal gel, foam, vaginal suppository work well in preventing pregnancy if used with a contraceptive sheath/condom
You need to find the right combination of these products that work best for you. You can talk about it with your doctor or gynecologist
You can get a urinary infection from the friction of the penis against a full bladder. It is important to urinate regularly
The use of certain drugs gives you the impression that you don’t need to urinate. It is best to force yourself to urinate after each sexual relation
It is good to drink a lot of non-sugar liquids to prevent urinary track infection and dehydration. If you have too much sugar, tea, coffee, coca-cola and certain drugs with speed, this increases the risk of urinary and vaginal infection
The infection can give you sores that increase the risk of being infected by STI or HIV. You need to avoid having these infections or you must treat them immediately
Certain yeast infections are due to not being clean and or the use of synthetic underwear. Wear cotton underwear
Do not douche. If you have to do it, douche after your work, not before because you are increasing the risk of infection

With the client

 Try to negotiate the sexual relations without vaginal penetration. Use your hands, your mouth, your breasts, and your butt cheeks
 Stimulation is sometimes possible (between your thighs with the help of your hand, for instance)
Use lubricated contraceptive sheath/condom. Be sure that it has the NF symbol of approval (France only)
To convince the client, talk about his security, your security, his sexual needs (explain to him that with the contraceptive sheath/condom the sexual contact lasts longer and gives you more excitement)
If the client refuses to use the contraceptive sheath/condom and you accept to work with him without it, you have to simulate and to find a way to make him think you are having vaginal sex so as to avoid any contact of the sperm with the vaginal area
If the penis goes in too far inside the vagina it can cause damage to the cervix. Your hand at the base of his penis may limit how far he can go and makes sure that the contraceptive sheath/condom stays in place
If you are having pain during the penetration, there is a risk of infection. You must go to the doctor immediately
After ejaculation, be sure to keep the contraceptive sheath/condom in place by holding the condom tight at the bottom so when the client is finished the sperm doesn’t leak into the vagina
Don’t let him put his fingers in your anus and then afterwards into your vagina. There is a risk of infection

"Yes, it makes me cry. It is going to make me cry to tell this story when I was young. It was very hard. Particularly the way I lived by prostituting to get money. I was 16 years old in Paris, in Lyon … In fact I started in Nancy, Place Carnot. I started to prostitute myself because I didn’t want to keep moving around. I prostituted myself to get money, so as not to steal and go to jail."
A., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

Anal sex

 Sodomy is the most dangerous practice and the most risky for infection by HIV (AIDS), hepatitis and other illnesses : try to negotiate another service.
 Here again pretending to have sex this way (simulation) is sometimes possible
Use a thick contraceptive sheath/condom and add a water-based lubricant (check the notice on the package). Apply often
Never use Vaseline, oil or cream. These oily products make the contraceptive sheath/condom porous and inefficient against STDs and HIV (AIDS).
To avoid infection don’t let him go from your anus to your mouth or vagina
If you have to do something else with the client after sodomy change your contraceptive sheath/condom
Sodomy can be uncomfortable or make you feel uneasy, it can make it difficult for you to have a bowel movement. If you are constipated you have to drink a lot of water, eat a lot of oily/fatty food and fruits and vegetables

“With regard to the circle in which I was living, silence was advisable and even essential to survive in this prostitution circle.”
E., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

Other practices


 It is possible to be contaminated by hepatitis and or amoebas by licking the anus of someone infected
Pretend by putting some saliva on the joint of the finger
Otherwise use a piece of latex or cut a piece of contraceptive sheath/condom


 It is very risky to stretch out under someone
Bites can present a risk of infection or increase the risk of being contaminated by another client
If you are HIV positive or have an STD use a piece of latex or cut a piece of contraceptive sheath/condom

Vibrators, dildos and sex toys

 Use your own material only
Use these objects with a contraceptive sheath/condom and clean after each use
If an object must go from the anus to the vagina, change the contraceptive sheath/condom

Playing with urine

 Urine do not transmit HIV (AIDS) but it can transmit other infections


 Excrements do not transmit HIV but it can be the source of many infections
Avoid all contact with the mucus membrane (mouth, penis, vagina). If contact with the mouth, penis, or vagina happens talk to your doctor. He will prescribe antibiotics


 Don’t let the client tie you up. You must be the one who dominates
Never be in contact with blood

How do you know if you have been contaminated by AIDS virus ?

The only way to know is to have a blood test : it is just a simple blood test (you can eat or drink before the test).

You can ask your doctor to prescribe this test (even if you are a minor) or it can be done at the Centre de Dépistage Anonyme et Gratuit (CDAG, France only). This clinic does not ask you to give your name and the blood test is free of charge.

It is necessary to know if you have been contaminated by AIDS virus :

  You must know if you are HIV positive before you can receive medical help and treatment. It is necessary to have early treatment. These treatments help people who have been contaminated live longer.

If you have been contaminated it is necessary :

 to protect others
to protect oneself so as not to be contaminated several times for it accelerates the AIDS disease

Prostitution and pregnancy

 During pregnancy your immune system is weakened. Be very careful. You and your baby are more sensitive to infection
 Be very aware of infections and treat them immediately
Avoid penetration and be the master of your situation with the client. In all cases you must use a contraceptive sheath/condom
It is possible you may develop hemorrhoids : they can bleed and be an open door to infections

 At the beginning I had an STD. The doctor at the test center advised me to make a test for HIV […] It is true that you see life differently when you have AIDS. We tell ourself that we are going to die, that you are condemned shortly. Then you think. You become more serene, with ups and downs morally, of course. But, on the whole each day that goes by is a victory on time.
E., ex-prostitute, HIV positive

Prostitution and drug use

 See that the client doesn’t know that you are a drug user : he could take advantage of this situation
 An antihistamine will stop you from sniffing
You must be paid cash, never with drugs : it seems more professional and you will look more confident
Avoid obvious needle marks
Always use clean syringes and new needles or clean them correctly with household bleach or boil the needles for ten minutes. You will avoid HIV (AIDS) and hepatitis if you don’t share the syringes and other materials with others
If you shoot up too much or you use too many drugs, you are not working safely at all
Drink a lot of water to prevent constipation, dry mouth and itchy skin
Urinate frequently even if you don‘t feel like you need to in order to avoid risk of infection

I meet A. and the world of drug. I think I wanted to try the drug use so as to try not to think of my past without knowing that I was going to know another world which is much more cruel. Because drug make you loose your identity. You are nothing any longer. Heroin is much stronger than you. It is heroin that tells you that you have to get money where you can. You are its slave.
D., ex-prostitute, HIV positive.

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home l domestic violence | rape and sexual abuse | sexual harassment | prostitution | lesbians | health | birth control and abortion
heart and body | links, resources | professionals | questions, messages, answers | what's new ? | all about sos femmes accueil | @
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