Tips for reporting on Commercial Sexual Exploitation

reporting on cse

What is it?

Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) describes a range of activities which (typically) men pay for or profit from, and which objectify and harm women.

These include:

  • stripping, pole-dancing and lapdancing
  • peep shows
  • prostitution, including prostitution via massage parlours/saunas, brothels and escort agencies
  • phone sex lines and webcams
  • pornography
  • trafficking
  • sex tourism


Tips for reporting

  • Reporting of commercial sexual exploitation, such as webcams, prostitution or pornography, should include information about dangers and harms.
  • Don’t use ‘murdered/dead prostitute’. Regardless of their involvement in selling sex, women who experience men’s violence are women first. Use ‘woman who was (e.g.) raped, murdered’; use the woman’s name where appropriate.
  • Focus on the choices of some men to exploit women, not the women’s motivation to be involved in prostitution.
  • Women involved in prostitution experience men’s violence. Regardless of any financial transaction, women have a right to withdraw consent. Any sexual activity after the withdrawal of consent is sexual assault or rape


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Zero Tolerance's Media Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls for PrintZero Tolerance's Media Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls for Print Zero Tolerance's media guidelines on violence against women and girls are for journalists, editors, and other media professionals.