In 2019, the UK law commissioners ran a consultation on proposals to open up commercial-style surrogacy in the UK. We argued at the time that it was so flawed it should be abandoned and restarted, this time centring the human rights of women and children. We organised an open letter setting out some of the many ways the law commissioners had failed to adhere to good governance, equality legislation and even their own code of practice. Within about three days the letter had gained hundreds of signatures. In response, the law commissioners invited us to a meeting to expand on our concerns. This is the text of one of our presentations at that meeting. Read More
In this article, a woman who was herself an altruistic surrogate for some friends writes about her experiences, which led to post-traumatic stress disorder, and why she is now against all forms of surrogacy.
“Women should not be encouraged to endanger their emotional and physical health and safety for other people’s ‘need’ to have babies. Women matter. Women should not be encouraged to put ourselves second, and to risk our lives for other people.” Read More
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) is an umbrella group of hundreds of organisations around the world that purport to represent ‘sex workers,’ while in fact supporting and lobbying for the full decriminalisation of the entire sex trade, including pimps and brothel keepers (who they call ‘third parties’). This article looks at NSWP’s position on the prostitution of children and young adults, and shows how it serves to condone the paid rape of children. Read More
Huschke Mau, who was herself in prostitution for around 10 years, writes about the psychological and structural barriers that make it difficult, or even impossible, for women to exit prostitution and build a life for themselves outside. While some of the details are specific to Germany and its legalised prostitution system, the themes are more or less universal. Read More
This is a diary entry from way back when Huschke wasn’t yet called Huschke, and was sitting around in the brothel as Svenja or Charlotte or whoever.
“Enough of this. I could not do another client today, it would hurt too much. To own up to this, to open myself to this, feels lethal. It does free me somehow, but the fear of Monday is back, where I mustn’t be this vulnerable any more, where I must push aside my knowledge that this is abuse, if I don’t want another murder to be perpetrated against my soul.”
The short Nordic Model Now! slideshow is a fully scripted presentation that provides a brief summary of the impacts of prostitution, showing that is part of a wider systemic problem, and that the Nordic Model approach provides a systemic solution – unlike full decriminalisation which would exacerbate the very problems that we need to solve. We provide downloads of the slideshow (in PowerPoint and PDF formats) and a full script (which can also be used as a handout). Read More
Ally-Marie Diamond is a sex trade survivor and activist, who grew up in New Zealand and now lives in Australia. This is the final part (slightly edited) of a speech she gave last year to the South Australian and Northern Territory parliaments when they were debating bills for Full Decriminalisation of the sex trade. Read More
Before we consider options for prostitution law and policy, we need a full understanding of how prostitution affects both the women and men involved, and the wider society. This article provides a brief summary of the impacts of prostitution and shows that prostitution is part of a wider systemic problem and that it therefore requires a systemic solution. The article goes on to show that the Nordic Model approach provides such a systemic solution – unlike full decriminalisation which would exacerbate the very problems that we need to solve. Read More
In this important article, Esther, who was herself in prostitution, draws parallels between methods of mass control and subjection introduced during the industrial revolution and the control of women and their widespread subjection to practices of sexual torture during the current technological revolution. She exposes the hypocrisy of the human rights organisations and capitalists who argue for the blanket decriminalisation of the sex trade, which would open up legal mega-brothels such as are found in Germany, and draws on her own experience to argue that the sex industry is rife with racism, sexism and classism, preys on the most powerless women and girls and is inherently traumatising. Legalising brothels benefits only the punters and the profiteers, not the women. Read More
A review of ‘Body for Rent’ by Anna Hendricks and Olivia Smit.
This is the true story of two girls being groomed, and then pimped into the windows of the famous De Wallen red light district in Amsterdam on the day they reach 18, the magical age that prostitution becomes legal in the Netherlands, and their subsequent years of struggle to get free. Underlying this story is another one: the power of the love and friendship between the two women, even under the most brutal circumstances and the best efforts of their pimp to drive a wedge between them. Read More
This article reviews the key research that has been undertaken on the results of the Nordic Model in the countries in which it has been implemented, and provides a summary of the findings. All of the studies show evidence of a significant reduction in men’s demand for prostitution. Although accurate estimates of the size of the population engaged in prostitution are difficult, the evidence suggests a reduction in the numbers involved over the medium and long term. Where the sex purchase ban is enforced, the sex trade becomes less viable and this discourages sex trafficking and pimping. Read More
This article looks at evidence from Germany and New Zealand that legalising or decriminalising the prostitution of adults creates a façade behind which the prostitution (or paid rape) of children can thrive and weakens men’s individual and collective resistance to sexually abusing children. This suggests that opening up the commercial sex industry will always have profound child safeguarding implications – and gives the lie to assertions to the contrary. Read More
This is a letter of complaint that we have sent today to the ITV complaints department about its recent ‘documentary’ series entitled, A Very Yorkshire Brothel. We are also preparing a shorter version to submit to Ofcom. If you are also concerned that a British TV channel is presenting an extremely biased picture of prostitution for amusement under the guise of being a documentary, we encourage you to also submit a complaint. You are welcome to copy and paste from our letter. Read More
Drawing on her own experiences in porn and prostitution, Esther asks that we break through our cultural denial and open our eyes to the brutal reality that easy access to online porn and anything goes prostitution has unleashed: The everyday sexual, bodily and psychic torture of women and girls throughout the world and the presentation of this to children as if it were normal sex and not fraught with danger, not only for the individual but for our very social fabric. Read More
Drawing on her own lived experience, Jade looks at the ‘everyday reality’ of prostitution for women operating under three key models of prostitution law and policy – legalisation, full decriminalisation, and partial decriminalisation (aka the Nordic Model), and asks which model is safest for the women involved. Read More
This article is based on the live tweets Bec Wonders sent out during an event in the Scottish Parliament on 5 December 2019. The event was entitled ‘Twenty Years On: What can Scotland learn from Sweden’s ground-breaking law to tackle demand for prostitution and sex trafficking?’ We are grateful to Bec for letting us publish the article because she captures the feeling and essential messages of the event brilliantly.
“I cast my eyes much higher than ‘mitigating’ violence against women and girls. Commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls must be eliminated, not mitigated or tolerated – eliminated.” says Ruth Maguire. Read More
In this article, Helena Brors discusses the 2015 Swedish book, Allt som är mitt: Våldtäkt, stigmatisering och upprättelse (which translates as: Everything that’s mine: Rape, stigmatisation and amends) by two ‘sex-positive feminists,’ Alexander Chamberland and Anna Svensson, and exposes in a brilliant and illuminating way many of the logical fallacies that both ‘sex-positive’ feminists and pro-sex trade lobbyists routinely make.
‘Jo’ sent us this powerful and moving open letter to all the sex buyers everywhere through our Share Your Story page.
“Behind your backs we share a very different reality. We are tired of the emotional labour you put us through, not only the fact that you feel entitled to our bodies, but also that you feel entitled to our souls too. We talk about how much easier a client is when he is fast, less demanding. I’m saying ”we” because I’m talking about the majority of prostitutes I talk with, as well as my own experience in the sex trade.”
Northern Ireland is failing to implement Clause 6 legislation to prosecute sex buyers and to provide a programme of support to help the (mostly) women out of prostitution. Nordic Model Now! reports on this and its serious criticism of the review of the operation of the law commissioned by the Northern Ireland Department of Justice. Read More
The NI Department of Justice has published a review of the criminalization of paying for sexual services in Northern Ireland (NI). In this article, we respond to that review and show that the law, and the Nordic Model approach of which it is a key part, has not been properly enforced or implemented; key institutions have maintained deep opposition; the lead researcher also opposed the approach and sought assistance from organisations that are similarly biased and/or have conflicting commercial interests; and the research utilised questionable and unreliable methodology. Despite all of this, an astonishing number of punters said that the new law will cause them to change their prostitution using behaviour.
This is the text of our submission to the Women & Equalities Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution. Unfortunately the inquiry is now closed because parliament has been dissolved for a general election. However, the evidence collected will remain available for future consideration. Read More
Dana Levy is an Israeli prostitution survivor and abolitionist activist in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law has recently been passed. In this article she provides a persuasive critique of the Swedish organisation, Fuckförbundet’s recent report on the impact of the 1999 Swedish Sex Purchase Act, entitled ‘Twenty years of failing sex workers.’ She shows that many of the claims in the report simply do not hold up to scrutiny. Read More
‘Jo’ sent us this #MeToo account of her experiences of the sex trade through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.
“I would just sit on my bed afterwards, looking at the money, focusing on it, counting my savings every day to keep myself motivated, and counting how much more I would have to save to retire. To never return, to leave and to forget all that had happened in prostitution. Ever. To erase every single detail of my past.” Read More
These #MeToo accounts of women’s experiences of the sex trade came in through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.
“I made money from it, but felt like I had been all used up doing something that completely went against my core values. That experience induced trauma and I ended up going through even worse trauma in the years following that. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking a short fix. The damage it has done to me is irreparable.” Read More
In September 2016, a complaint was brought against Keith Vaz MP who was then the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC). The complaint hinged on Vaz’s conflict of interests – he was witnessed buying sex and offering to buy cocaine for another person to use shortly after chairing inquiries into prostitution and psychoactive drugs. In this article we respond to the House of Commons Committee on Standards’ report into the matter. Read More
Run entirely by unpaid volunteers, FiLiA is a national feminist conference that takes place annually in the UK. This year it was in Bradford on the weekend of 19 and 20 October. In this article we provide a very brief summary of some of the highlights of the weekend for us – focusing on critique of the sex trade. However, the conference covered many other feminist issues, which we don’t have room to cover here. Read More
In this article women who have not been in the sex trade themselves share how it has nevertheless affected their lives in various ways. We received these #MeToo accounts through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.
“It always made me sick to my stomach, the way that one human buys another. To use her as his toilet and dump her back in the street after – only for another man to pick her up.” Read More
Motion 25 “HIV/AIDS and decriminalisation for disabled people’s safety” at the Unison National Disabled Members Conference (NDMC) 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. In this article, we go through the motion, showing that it relies on partial facts, poor-quality research, and distortion of the bigger picture. We hope that this will help delegates and Unison members understand what is at stake and why we recommend you vote against the motion. Read More
In this brilliant and important interview, Yağmur Arica talks to Francine Sporenda about how technological developments have hugely increased the scale of sexual exploitation that is taking place and the vast profits that are being made from it. Yağmur goes on to argue, persuasively, that the popularity of sex dolls or robots, which she calls ‘masturbatory dolls,’ can be interpreted as yet another backlash against the gains of the feminist movement, as we rapidly approach the terrifying end-point where, “One woman is as good as any other and a doll is as good as a woman.” Read More
The UK and Scottish Law Commissioners’ joint consultation on opening up commercial-style surrogacy in the UK ends today (11th October 2019). The proposals and the methodology of the consultation have been heavily criticised by numerous women’s groups from the United Kingdom and around the world in an open letter sent to the UK and Scottish Law Commissioners today. The open letter, organised by campaign group, Nordic Model Now! was also signed by hundreds of concerned individuals. Read More