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

What nurses need to know about the RCN motion to decriminalise prostitution

There is a motion calling for the “decriminalisation of prostitution” on the agenda at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress in Liverpool on 19–23 May 2019. This article explains all you need to know before making a decision about how to vote on this motion or how you ask your branch representative to vote on your behalf. Read More

The problem with sex doll brothels

Many people who promote and support the sex industry insist that sex doll brothels are a good thing and they will not affect women involved in prostitution. In this short article, Chelsea, who has had many years’ experience in the legal brothels in New Zealand, responds to a piece promoting this viewpoint. She explains why it is mistaken and that in fact sex doll brothels spell disaster for prostituted women. Read More

A critical review of ‘Revolting Prostitutes: The fight for sex workers’ rights’ by Juno Mac and Molly Smith

‘Revolting Prostitutes: The fight for sex workers’ rights’ is a clever attempt to sell the full decriminalisation of the sex trade as the only enlightened solution to prostitution. But the authors are not as clever as they seem to think they are. In this review, we tease out key themes in the book and show why many are at best over-simplification and at worst misrepresentation of the facts. Read More

Prostitution law in Germany: Regulation for taxation

Francine Sporenda interviews Inge Kleine, a German feminist activist, about recent developments in the sex industry in Germany. The background is that in 2001 Germany passed new legislation around prostitution, called the Prostitutionsgesetz. It was implemented in 2002 and opened up and liberalised the law around prostitution, which was already legal. The prostitution law has now been tightened up, ostensibly to alleviate some of the negative consequences of the 2001/2002 law. But of course this is not the whole story, as Inge explains. Read More

A review of Exit! by Grizelda Grootboom

Exit! is the harrowing true story of Grizelda Grootboom’s journey into and through prostitution. Many people justify prostitution on the basis of the prostituted person’s choice. Grizelda’s story reveals the shallow irrelevance of this idea in a life blighted by childhood neglect and abandonment, rape, racism, poverty and lack of opportunity, coercion, betrayal and abduction. While Grizelda’s story is unique, there are many elements that are common to many of those who are prostituted worldwide. Read More

Can the preconditions for true consent ever exist in prostitution?

Dana Levy is a survivor of the sex industry, who supports and promotes the Nordic Model in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law is making its way through the legislative process. The Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government) approved the law on its first reading on 22 October 2018. The second and third readings are still ahead. In this article, she talks about the preconditions for consent and whether they can ever be present in prostitution. Read More

Who says decriminalised red-light districts are safer for women?

A kerb-crawler attempting to pay a woman £10 to hand over her baby shows the Leeds ‘managed prostitution zone’ is a failed experiment. This  shouldn’t surprise us because anything that legitimises prostitution implicitly legitimises one-sided sex and the commodification of women. Read More

Prostitution and free choice

Dana Levy is an Israeli sex industry survivor who promotes the Nordic model in Israel. She publishes articles in local newspapers in order to influence public opinion. She very kindly sent us this translation of one of her articles with a message of thanks for what she describes as our ‘amazing work.’ We send thanks for her amazing work in return. Read More

‘Why does radical feminism exclude sex workers?’

In this post, Chelsea, a radical feminist who has had many years’ experience of prostitution in the legal brothels in New Zealand (NZ) answers some of the questions she’s tired of hearing – not only ‘Why does radical feminism exclude sex workers?’ [it doesn’t] but also, ‘Isn’t it paternalising to say men can be held accountable but women can’t?’ ‘Aren’t prostitutes in danger from the police? So wouldn’t it be better to hire security instead?’ and ‘How are prostitutes supposed to make any money if buying [sex] is illegal?’ Read More

How the Modern Slavery Act fails women and girls

This is the text of Anna Fisher’s talk at the CEASE UK summit (#CEASE18) on Wednesday 14 November, 2018. She explains that the Modern Slavery Act 2015 fails to follow international law in how it defines the offences that mainly affect women and children, why she thinks this happened and why it matters, and what kind of legislation and policy we need to effectively address the issues. Read More

From sexual abuse to prison via prostitution: guilty of being victims

Francine Sporenda interviews Yasmin Vafa, co-founder and executive director of Rights4Girls, which works to end male violence against young women and girls in the United States. She is a lawyer and her work focuses on the intersections between race, gender, violence, and the law. She educates the public and policymakers on these issues and how they affect the lives of marginalized women and children. She has successfully advocated for several anti-trafficking laws at the federal level, has testified before Congress and international human rights bodies, and co-authored a seminal report mapping girls’ unique pathways into the justice system: The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story.  Read More

A plea for the Nordic Model from Nigeria

Arinze Orakwue, Director of Public Enlightenment at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Nigeria, sent this message of support for our campaign for the Nordic Model in the UK. He explains that it is only when men in Europe stop buying women and girls in prostitution that the tide of human trafficking from Sub-Saharan Africa, and all the suffering that entails, will end. Read More

Why stigma persists against women involved in prostitution in New Zealand

In this post, Chelsea, who has had many years’ experience in the legal brothels in New Zealand (NZ), makes a searing critique of an article by Lynzi Armstrong that laments the ‘stigma’ that results in banks denying services to ‘sex workers,’ even though profiting from women’s prostitution is entirely legal in NZ. Chelsea argues that the ‘sex workers’ in question were in fact pimps, and the stigma against women involved in prostitution is intrinsic to the system of prostitution itself. Read More

What is feminism and why do we need it?

This article draws on the work of key feminist thinkers to provide a brief introduction to feminist theory and to show how many of the things we struggle with as women are not personal failings but are consequences of a system that is rigged against us – simply because we are female. That system has many threads – including the systematic deprivation of resources from women, men’s impunity to rape and abuse women, and the system of prostitution. Read More

Minimizing the harms of prostitution

This is the text of a short talk Anna Fisher gave at a Public Policy Exchange event, called “The Future of Sex Work in the UK: Working in Partnership to Support Sex Workers and Minimise Harm,” on Wednesday 19 September 2018.

When the state sanctions prostitution as work, it institutionalises male domination and female suffering, and motivation to address women’s poverty and fix the broken benefits system is lost – because prostitution is institutionalised as welfare for poor women. Read More

Survivors speak out about what prostitution is REALLY like

As a group campaigning for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution, people often berate us for not “listening to sex workers.” If we did, they say, we’d know they all want full decriminalisation of the sex trade and not the Nordic Model. But our group includes survivors of the sex trade and we know that the reality is a little more complicated. In this article we explain why we created our Share Your Story page and distill some of the themes that have emerged from the moving and heart-breaking stories we’ve received so far. Read More

No, decriminalisation of johns and pimps has not improved our safety or lives

Chelsea Geddes has had many years experience in the legal brothels in New Zealand, whose fully decriminalised approach to the sex trade is often held up as the most enlightened solution to prostitution. In this article, she begs to disagree and explains that, on the contrary, it has made punters more demanding and entitled, and has done nothing to make conditions safer for the women like herself. Read More

How the Swedish Sex Purchase Law moved the shame of prostitution from the women to the punters

Simon Häggström talks with Francine Sporenda about his work as a Swedish Detective Inspector in the Prostitution Unit enforcing the Sex Purchase Law in Stockholm. He now heads the Swedish Police Trafficking Unit, which tracks trafficking and pimping networks. He is the author of “Shadow’s Law: The True Story of a Swedish Detective Inspector Fighting Prostitution.” Read More

Working as a receptionist in a legal brothel proved to me that prostitution is anything but a normal job

The media glamorises prostitution and presents the illusion that it’s sexually liberating for women, and sex industry lobbyists claim that it’s just regular work. For a long time Jacqueline Gwynne accepted this without question even while working as a receptionist in a legal brothel in Melbourne. It was only two years later that she began to see the dark, seedy and dangerous truth. Here she explains what it was like so you can decide for yourself whether prostitution can ever be considered a normal job. Read More