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, South Korea, 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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We report from the ASLEF fringe meeting on Motion 39 to decriminalise “sex work” at the TUC Congress 2017. Fortunately the motion was defeated later in the week. In this article we deconstruct some of the arguments put forward at the fringe meeting, showing that, like the motion itself, they do not stand up to scrutiny and are in fact misleading and sometimes downright dishonest.

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The agenda for the 2017 TUC Congress has been published. It includes a motion from ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, calling for the full decriminalisation of “sex work.” This approach implicitly decriminalises pimping, profiteering and related activities that are currently considered to be exploitation. The motion is worded in such a way that on a superficial level it appears to be in the interests of the women and children who are involved in prostitution. However, that simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

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The law in England and Wales prohibits brothel keeping; a brothel being defined as premises that two or more persons use for the purposes of prostitution. Many people call for this law to be changed so that small groups of prostituted women can operate together; the argument being that this would provide “safety in numbers.” They often cite the fact that female estate agents and police officers work in pairs, and call for the New Zealand approach that allows up to four women to operate from the same premises. At first sight, these arguments might appear persuasive. However, when you look more deeply, it becomes clear that things are not as straightforward as they might at first seem.

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On Tuesday 11 July, I was fortunate to attend the launch of Nia’s “I’m No Criminal” report, which examines the impact of prostitution-specific criminal records on women seeking to exit prostitution, and their campaign for such criminal records to be erased. The room was electric with passion at the injustice that women who are (or have been) involved in prostitution face and the warped system that makes disadvantaged women pay for the damage that men cause.

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A report on efforts to bring some balance into the British Medical Association (BMA) debate on decriminalising the sex trade.

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This article looks at legal and policy approaches to prostitution and why the Nordic Model is the human rights and equality-based approach. 

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Survivors’ Testimony

Prostitution Survivors' Testimony

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. 

Beth

“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. 

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 in Conversation with Laura, Chelsea, Alisa & Rebecca

“We must listen to Sex Worker’s Voices”

It is a rallying cry I have heard countless times in the last few years. It is one of the most prolific and popular phrases currently in use in relation to prostitution, so much so that it is approaching the status of the idiomatic. And like all phraseologies fiercely adopted in the service of social agendas, the statement itself becomes the politics. What it is supposed to be referencing is distorted and obliqued. Like, Destroy Power Not People, or Make Love Not War.  

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