The long road to abolition

A reflection on the transatlantic slave trade – what drove it, how it was justified, and the long road to its abolition – and the current battle between those who want to open up the sex trade to the free markets and those who want to abolish the sex trade and the entire system of prostitution.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, 1995 Read More

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. Read More

‘I survived but only just & sometimes I wish I hadn’t’

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.” Read More

Flyers about Motion 108 at the Unison Delegate Conference 2019

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. Read More

Statement on Universal Credit and ‘survival sex’

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. Read More

An EMDR therapist on what she’s learned working with people who’ve experienced prostitution

Dana Levy is an Israeli prostitution survivor and campaigner for the Nordic Model in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law has recently been passed. In this article, she talks to Dr Tal Croitoru, the CEO and founder of the Israeli network, EMDR Experts, about her EMDR work with people who’ve experienced prostitution. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. Read More

Is ‘sex work’ real work? ‘If work is being slapped/beaten/told you’re a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work’

Is ‘sex work’ real work? “If ‘real work’ is having a 70 year-old drunk man bargaining with your ‘price’ because you won’t continue without a condom… that man getting aggressive and asking for his money back… if work is being forced to give up 50-100% of your income to a pimp… if work is being forced to have sex with men on the run from the police for domestic abuse… if work is being filmed without your consent… if work is being slapped/beaten/told you are a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work.” Read More

Open letter to the RCN

50 groups and organisations, and more than 400 individuals, have added their name to an open letter calling on the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to reject the motion calling for the ‘decriminalisation of prostitution’ at its upcoming 2019 Congress. We are concerned that many people will incorrectly assume the motion means the decriminalisation only of those directly engaged in prostitution and not of the entire sex trade, including pimps, brothel keepers and sex buyers (punters). Read More

The ‘independent’ review of the Modern Slavery Act ignores women’s human rights

The ‘Independent’ Review of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) has published initial reports on their recommendations. In this article we respond to the report on the MSA’s legal application. We show that the ‘independent’ review abjectly failed to consider the full implications of the MSA’s incorrect definition of human trafficking on women and girls, and instead justified it by clutching at straws that would be laughable were the consequences for the most vulnerable women and girls not so grave. Read More

A Sexist Prism: National Police Guidance on Policing Prostitution

In January 2019, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) released new national Guidance for ‘Policing Sex Work and Prostitution’ in England and Wales. While we welcome its emphasis on treating those involved in prostitution with respect and not as criminals, we have some major concerns about this Guidance, which we set out in this article. Read More

‘Women Wanted’ on Melbourne Streets

Advertising for the sex trade is prominent in Melbourne, Australia, where the sex trade has been legal since 1994. In this article, Jacqueline Gwynne explains how WOMEN WANTED flyers offering quick and easy cash lure women into the sex trade. This is what we could expect to see in the UK if the sex trade is fully decriminalised and prostitution is recognised as regular work. Read More

‘The sex industry preys upon poor, abused and mentally ill women’

“The issue is so much bigger than just the sex industry. I was treated like a sexual object and commodity from an incredibly young age and still am. I can’t walk down the street without being catcalled or harassed. It really hurts to know these men are so willing to use my body but have absolutely no concern for me as a person or my wellbeing. Things have to change.” Read More

Unison Conference 2019: Vote AGAINST Motion 108 “Decriminalisation for Safety”

Motion 108 “Decriminalisation for safety” at the Unison Delegate Conference 2019 seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution and replace it with support for full decriminalisation of the sex trade, including profiteers (pimps, brothel keepers, and procurers) and punters (sex buyers), on the basis that this is safer for “sex workers.” This article goes through the motion, showing that it relies on partial facts, poor-quality research, and distortion of the bigger picture. Read More

Women of colour against the sex trade

We report on the recent ‘Women of Colour Against the Sex Trade’ conference in London, UK, that was hosted by Space International and heard first-hand from black and ethnic minority survivors of the sex industry.

“In Dr Vednita Carter’s Black Minnesota neighbourhood, white middle class men cruise the streets in luxury cars, looking for Black girls and young women to pay to use and abuse sexually. This echoes back to the white man’s white god-given right to unlimited sexual access to Black women and girls during the long centuries of slavery.” Read More