Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

What is the Nordic Model?

The Nordic Model (sometimes known as the Sex Buyer Law) is an approach to prostitution that has also been adopted in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, and France. It has several elements:

1. Decriminalisation of those who are prostituted

Prostitution is inherently violent. Women should not be criminalised for the exploitation and abuse they endure.

2. Buying sex becomes a criminal offence

Buying human beings for sex is harmful, exploitative and can never be safe. We need to reduce the demand that drives sex trafficking.

3. Support and exit services

High quality, non-judgemental services to support those in prostitution and help them build a new life outside it, including: access to safe affordable housing; training and further education; child care; legal, debt and benefit advice; emotional and psychological support.

A holistic approach

A public information campaign; training for police and CPS; tackling the inequality and poverty that drive people into prostitution; effective laws against pimping and sex trafficking, with penalties that reflect the enormous damage they cause.

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Nordic Model Now! recently shared a meme on Facebook and Twitter saying, “Since full decriminalisation of the sex trade in 2003, New Zealand has seen a huge increase in domestic violence and rape. This is related to the normalisation and acceptance of women as objects for use, abuse and discard.” This post explains evidence that backs this up.

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Nordic Model Now! welcomes the commitment that the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, made to tackling human trafficking and modern slavery in her statement on the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2016. However, we have some concerns about the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution that we call on her to address.

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Nordic Model Now! wrote a letter to London (UK) mayor, Sadiq Khan, after women in the Leyton area told us about the alarming levels of street harassment in their area and how this had coincided with a proliferation of advertising of prostitution in the area. There are stickers advertising brothels on more or less every lamp post. On Wednesday 29 June 2016, four members of Nordic Model Now! went to City Hall to deliver the letter.

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On 1 July 2016, the UK Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) released an interim report on its inquiry into prostitution. Nordic Model Now! welcomes the recommendation to decriminalise soliciting and to delete convictions and cautions for prostitution from criminal records, and the call for in-depth research. However, we have some serious concerns about other aspects of the report.

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Nordic Model Now! made a submission about racism within the sex industry to the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism including islamophobia, within the Labour Party. This is a slightly edited version of the text of our submission.

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Is what happens in prostitution sex, or is it, as survivors say, violence and sexual abuse? Why is a billion pound industry allowed to cause massive physical and mental health problems for disadvantaged women when other activities are micro-regulated: smoking is not allowed in pubs and supermarkets cannot give us a free plastic bag?

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Survivors’ Testimony

Prostitution Survivors' Testimony

Prostitution: Living in the Danger Zone

Interview of Laurin Crosson by Francine Sporenda

Laurin Crosson is the founder of RockStarr Ministries, a US charitable organization for helping victims of human trafficking. She runs a Safe House for those who want to exit that life. She is a survivor herself, having been trafficked for over twenty years throughout the United States. 

“My name is Beth, I was a prostitute for five years. I never thought it would happen to me, but debt and almost becoming homeless can drive people to do things they usually wouldn’t do.

I had a good understanding with my clients but eventually I got a violent one. I was badly beaten up, raped and had my ribs cracked.

A friend got me away and put me up till I was OK. I gave up and moved back to my parents home and used debt consolidation to end my debt. 

“It is hard to unravel ten years of prostitution into non fictional coherence. To put all the years of confusion and compromise and cognitive dissonance and bent consent onto a page. One year (this month, as it happens) after my last ever ‘appointment’ with a ‘client’, I am trying to retrace my steps through prostitution, with the clarity that comes from distance. Distance being the only thing that enables the human ego to confront its frailties and falsehoods. It is like the clarity a dipsomaniac obtains months, years, from their last, mind altering drop of booze.

“I really hated it… I didn’t go into the business happily. It was to pay my son’s private school fees, his dad didn’t help… All the prostitutes I’ve ever known have got children and that’s why they do it. Marriage is just a form of prostitution.

There is a problem now with the women and girls who are hooked on drugs. Also I am horrified at the kind of pornography freely handed around at the moment – children, animals, violence, snuff films, women being killed in front of the cameras. 

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