Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

What is the Nordic Model?

The Nordic Model (sometimes known as the Sex Buyer Law, or the Swedish, Abolitionist, or Equality Model) is an approach to prostitution that has also been adopted in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, and Ireland. 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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This article explains how a Nordic Model approach to tackling prostitution was implemented in Ipswich, UK, after a series of brutal murders of prostituted women in the town. It includes an interview with Helen Hepburn, who was a project manager with a social work background, who managed the exiting services that were put in place.

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The viral spread of the #MeToo hashtag over the last few weeks and the accompanying avalanche of women’s testimony of sexual harassment has spread to the British political establishment. In this article we draw parallels and connections between sexual harassment and assault, and prostitution, and we call for a new code of conduct for MPs and parliamentary staff that includes a prohibition against prostitution-buying as well as sexual harassment and assault, just as the UN does for its staff.

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In response to a number of requests, this page provides a model (template) motion (resolution) calling for support for the Nordic Model. It is suitable for bringing to your local Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Although designed for use in the Labour Party, you could adapt it for use in a trade union or other organisation. There is also a briefing paper packed full of facts and information you can use to back up the motion and include in any speech you give in support of the motion.

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Huschke Mau is a survivor of Germany’s legalized prostitution system. In this article, Francine Sporenda interviews her, focusing on the recent changes in the prostitution law in Germany and why Germany is known as the “bordello of Europe.”

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In this article, Rae Story brilliantly challenges three common myths in the prostitution debate: that “once the industry is fully decriminalized, prostitutes will form unions in order to fight for their workers’ rights”; that “if we don’t decriminalize prostitution it will be pushed further underground”; and that “only contemporary prostitutes should have a say in the debate, former prostitutes should not, it is no longer their business.”

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This guest post responds to Juno Mac’s 2016 “The Laws that Sex Workers Really Want” TED Talk, showing that her insistence that ALL “sex workers” want the blanket decriminalisation of the entire sex industry is only believable if you are irritatingly shallow in your analysis. It shows how such blanket decriminalisation leads to an upsurge in the sex trade and sex trafficking, and takes us on a whirlwind tour of the economic disaster that engulfed the former Warsaw Pact countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and shows how this disproportionately hit women. In their efforts to escape the direst poverty, many women and girls fall victims to traffickers and become ensnared in the sex industry – particularly in the decriminalised brothels of Western Europe. The result is tragedy on a vast scale.

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Survivors’ Testimony

Prostitution Survivors’ Testimony

Cynthia Payne

“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. 

Prostitution: Under the Grip of a Sociopath

Interview with Wendy Barnes by Francine Sporenda

Wendy and her daughter Latasha live in Southern California. Wendy works full time as a customer service representative. In her spare time she speaks publicly about her life while being trafficked and her journey out of trafficking and into ‘the real world’. Wendy’s hope is that by her sharing her story, it will help others to understand and will give hope to survivors of trafficking. In her book “And Life Continues”, she tells about her years in prostitution. 

Rae Story

“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.

Prostitution: Living in the Danger Zone

Interview with 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. 

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