Prostitution policy: The Nordic Model or full decriminalization?

What do sex trade survivors say?

This page provides access to the recording and transcript of our ‘Prostitution policy: The Nordic Model or full decriminalization? What do sex trade survivors say?’ webinar that was held on 24 January 2021.

The theme of the webinar was the debate about the Sexual Exploitation Bill that Dame Diana Johnson recently tabled in the UK Parliament. If passed, this would establish a Nordic Model approach to prostitution legislation and policy in England and Wales. In the debate on the first reading of the Bill, Dame Diana spoke eloquently on why this Bill is urgently needed.

Lyn Brown, the Labour MP for West Ham, spoke against the Bill making claims about the Nordic Model causing sex workers to be more exposed to violence, to find it harder to “distinguish between clients who are a threat and those who are not,” and to be less likely to report violence to the police and to use condoms. She also spoke very positively about the fully decriminalized approach that is in place in New Zealand – which decriminalizes all aspects of the sex trade, including pimps and brothel keepers.

In the webinar we heard from women who have lived experience of prostitution under the Nordic Model in Sweden, and under the decriminalized and legalized regimes in New Zealand and Germany. (You can find out more about the speakers below.) We asked them what prostitution is really like under these different regimes and whether they agree with Dame Diana or Lyn Brown.



Duration: 1.14.07 minutes | File size: 523 MB | Play in new window (with option to download file)


The Nordic Model vs. full decriminalisation: what do sex trade survivors say?


Ally Marie Diamond: Ally Marie is of Maori/Pacific Islander heritage and grew up in New Zealand where she was groomed into prostitution as a vulnerable young woman, leading to seven years trapped in brothels. She now lives in Australia and is a passionate activist against the sex trade and for the Nordic Model. She co-founded Wahine Toa Rising, a survivor-led organisation that campaigns for a better deal and genuine alternatives for women involved in the sex trade in New Zealand.

Unfortunately Ally Marie was unable to join us on the day due to a family emergency. Rebecca Mott kindly stepped into the breach and read Ally Marie’s speech and took her place in the discussion. Since the webinar, Ally Marie recorded herself delivering her speech and this is what you will see in the recording.

Rebecca Mott: Rebecca used to do indoor prostitution of various types, all of which allow punters to be violent. She is now an Abolitionist, and blogs to explain the conditions of prostitution and the impact of having trauma as an exited woman.

Huschke Mau: Huschke was, with interruptions, in prostitution in Germany for ten years, having been introduced to it as a sexually traumatized girl living through an economic emergency by a German police officer, her first pimp. She, too, is now a passionate activist against the sex trade and for the Nordic Model approach. She is the founder of Network Ella, an organisation of prostitution survivors.

Cajsa. When she was 14, Cajsa became involved with a violent man. She stayed with him for two terrible years. After she managed to get away, she started to abuse drugs and turned to prostitution to finance her habit. She is now 23 and has been clean for three years. She now fights for women’s rights and is a member of #intedinhora, an organisation of people who have experienced prostitution in Sweden.

Helen McDonald: Helen works for an Essex-based charity that supports survivors of sexual violence, including women exploited in the sex-industry. She joined Nordic Model Now! to contribute to the fight for a system she believes will play a major role in protecting women from sexual exploitation. Helen chaired the webinar.

Many thanks to Risto Juola for preparing the recording and podcast for publication.

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