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, Ireland and Israel. 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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Statement on the recent jailing of women in Ireland for brothel keeping

Under a headline that accuses supporters of the Nordic Model of ‘co-signing the imprisonment of women,’ Molly Smith reports in The Independent that two migrant women were given nine-month prison sentences in the Republic of Ireland for selling sex from an apartment they shared. This article explains that the headline is both misleading and unfair, because we have always made it clear that we are opposed to women being criminalised for their own prostitution.

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Here are some more #MeToo stories that survivors of the sex trade have sent us on social media or through our Share Your Story page. Thank you to every one of you who shared these powerful words.

“I was beaten, set on fire, cut, bitten, choked, robbed and raped, sometimes by men who were high up in the police or were judges, doctors, politicians.”

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We’ve just taken delivery of a batch of flyers we’ve had printed to give out at the Unison National Delegate Conference next week (18-21 June 2019). They briefly explain that Motion 108: ‘Decriminalisation for safety’ seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model and replace it with full decriminalisation of the sex trade, which implicitly decriminalises pimps, brothel keepers and punters.

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What I Learnt at the UN Committee Against Torture’s Review of the UK

Last month I went to Geneva to attend the 66th session of the United Nations (UN) Committee Against Torture as it reviewed the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention Against Torture. This is what I learned.

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There has been considerable coverage in the media recently of benefit sanctions, and delays and shortfalls in Universal Credit, driving women into what is being called ‘survival sex,’ but which is in fact prostitution. We do not accept that prostitution becomes something different depending on what caused your engagement in it. This statement briefly explains our position.

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This is our statement on the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress voting yesterday to lobby for the full decriminalisation of the sex trade.

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Prostitution 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. […]

Mia De Faoite

Mia de Faoite is an activist and survivor of prostitution. She campaigned tirelessly for the introduction of the Nordic Model law in the Republic of Ireland. (The photo shows her holding a copy of the Act that implemented it.)

On the 27th March 2017, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 was enacted [in the Republic of Ireland]. It contains many necessary changes and amendments including a legal definition of consent. Right in the centre of the Act is Part 4, which criminalises the purchase of a human being for sex. []

Anonymous

If you imagine a situation to be inescapable you do whatever you can to make that situation agreeable. Coming to accommodate misery, in this way, is an insidious process. With specific regards to prostitution, if those who enter it have for years previous been emotionally or socially neglected, treated with ambivalence or indifference, and/or outright abuse (particularly) the psychological groundwork of ‘low personal expectations’ has been well and thoroughly set. []

Alice Glass

“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. []

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