Throughout this knowledge module, reference to certain provisions or sections of a piece of legislation, part of a legal judgment, or aspect of a practice does not imply that the legislation, judgment, or practice is considered in its entirety to be a good example or a promising practice.

Some of the laws cited herein may contain provisions which authorize the death penalty. In light of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/14963/16865/206, and 67/176 calling for a moratorium on and ultimate abolition of capital punishment, the death penalty should not be included in sentencing provisions for crimes of violence against women and girls.

Other Provisions Related to Domestic Violence LawsResources for Developing Legislation on Domestic Violence
Sexual Harassment in Sport Tools for Drafting Sexual Harassment Laws and Policies
Immigration Provisions Resources for developing legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls
Child Protection Provisions Resources on Forced and Child Marriage
Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
Related Tools

Evidence of Prior Sexual Activity or Prostitution Convictions

Last edited: January 25, 2011

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Drafters should review the rules of evidence where the sex trafficking law will be implemented. Rules of evidence related to the impeachment of witnesses must not be based on a gendered concept that sexual virtue is equivalent to credibility. 

Drafters must carefully guard against laws and rules, which allow impeachment based on evidence of prostitution convictions reasoning that prostitution is a crime involving “dishonesty” or “moral turpitude.” This reasoning is flawed and based on discriminatory attitudes and double-standards for women and men, which promote the view that a woman’s honor and therefore her truthfulness and credibility depend on her chastity, whereas a man’s honor and therefore his truthfulness and credibility depend on his sworn statement regardless of whether or not he is chaste. 

Drafters must ensure that evidence of prior sexual conduct, including prostitution, is not used to impeach sex trafficking victim’s testimony.  Neither a reputation for nor specific acts of prostitution should be admitted as evidence to impeach the trafficking victim’s credibility. (See: Julia Simon-Kerr,, “Unchaste and Incredible: The Use of Gendered Conceptions of Honor in Impeachment,” Yale Law Journal, June 2008)