How living near the Holbeck red-light zone turned us into activists against the sex trade

This is an edited transcript of Paula and Claire’s talk at the Experience of Prostitution webinar on Sunday 27 September 2020.

Paula and Claire are campaigners against the decriminalised red-light zone in the Holbeck area of Leeds. They are part of the Save Our Eyes community group. Read More

Three Dangerous Myths About Webcamming, Debunked

There are many popular myths about cam girls. The men who pay them often believe cam girls are lazy, superficial, money-hungry [insert gendered slur of your choice here]. A lot of women think the work will be sexually empowering, or at the very least, innocuous.

However, I once worked as a cam girl and got to find out first-hand what being one was actually like.  I learned that all the myths about webcamming are not only false and misleading but dangerous. Here is the truth behind three of the biggest myths… Read More

The experience(s) of prostitution

This is an edited transcript of Linda Thompson’s talk at the Experience of Prostitution webinar on Sunday 27 September 2020.

“Hello everyone. My name is Linda Thompson and I am absolutely delighted to join the webinar today on the experience – no, the experiences – of prostitution.

I work for the Women’s Support Project. I am national coordinator on commercial sexual exploitation. I get funded by the Scottish Government to develop and deliver programmes of work to raise awareness of the harms and realities of commercial sexual exploitation as a form of violence against women… Read More

‘Sex work’ advocates and the Nazi propaganda playbook

Last month Nordic Model Now! was asked to participate in a University of Exeter student debate on the proposition that “This house believes that sex work is real work.” As a group, we are ambivalent about taking part in such debates. On the one hand, they are seldom a conducive forum for understanding nuanced and complex issues – but on the other hand, if we don’t participate there is a risk that the audience won’t hear the feminist analysis of prostitution. No one else in the group was able to take part that night, so reluctantly I agreed. Read More

Hidden in plain sight

This is a transcript of Rebecca Mott’s talk at the ‘Experience of Prostitution’ webinar on 27 September 2020.

“I was prostituted from the age of 14 until my early 20s. I will speak to what it is to be prostituted; to the conditions for the prostituted and the breaking down of their humanity.

To understand prostitution, we need to see deeper than the generalised language of it being a bad thing. Instead, I will speak about the mental and physical trauma of the prostituted…
Read More

The Israeli Strip Clubs’ Swan Song

In this article, Israeli abolitionist activist, Luba Fein, discusses the recent announcement that signals the end of legal strip clubs in Israel and the long history of women’s activism behind it.

In September 2020, about two months after the Israeli Sex Purchase Ban came into force, the Tel Aviv municipality made a dramatic announcement: all the strip clubs in the city would be closed and no new clubs would receive a license. This meant the elimination of all the legal strip clubs in Israel, because Tel Aviv was the only place that still had them. Read More

Porn, Violence and Consent

By Michelle Kelly

As a trafficking survivor who later went on to enter the UK porn industry, I have been following the recent media focus on trafficking in porn with a lot of interest, even though, as I have previously expressed, I am highly cautious of the influence of what is often termed the ‘religious right.’ Nevertheless I believe that calling for — as a bare minimum — greater regulation of sites such as PornHub to be a matter of urgency.

This is why… Read More

Unmasking the sex industry in Scotland

This is an edited transcript of a powerful and informative podcast, in which Siobhan from Nordic Model Now! talks with Linda Thompson about her work with women who have lived experience of prostitution in Scotland and why Scotland must urgently address the desperate poverty and inequality that is the backdrop to women’s involvement in the sex trade and introduce the Nordic Model without delay. Read More

Interview with Rebecca Mott

We are honoured that sex trade survivor activist, Rebecca Mott, has been a member of Nordic Model Now! from the very beginning. Many times her insight and wisdom have helped us to keep our focus. Here she talks about blogging, sex trade activists, what being an abolitionist means to her, and advice to other women who want to speak out about their experiences in the sex trade. Read More

The Colonisation of Intimate Life

The Mainstreaming of Sexual Violence and Hazard.

By Esther

This article is based on the second presentation at our recent webinar, Porn, Prostitution and Violence against Women.

“Expressions of fear and distress on the faces of porn performers are deliberately induced. The cruelty is the point. It associates sex as something painful for women in the eyes of the viewer…” Read More

Why I nearly turned my back on feminism

In this important post, Ally-Marie Diamond explains how she was introduced to a feminist analysis of prostitution as a form of violence against women, her first tentative steps into the feminist movement for the abolition of the sex trade, and her desire to share her own painful experiences as a way of helping others understand the reality. She then goes on to describe how she was silenced and ostracised within the movement and her determination to put aside division and work with other women to bring about real change for the most vulnerable women and children. Read More

Prostitution and pornography: A historical view

This article is based on the first presentation at our recent webinar, Porn, Prostitution and Violence against Women.

“It’s very easy to think that the world we know is normal and is how human beings have always lived. But what if that’s not true? What if the social structures we now live in are an anomaly in the long history of the human race? That’s what we’re going to explore in this presentation. We’re going to investigate the origins of patriarchy and capitalism, with a focus on the role of prostitution and pornography.”
Read More

“Murder Porn”

In this ground-breaking and harrowing article, Esther, who was herself involved in prostitution and the making of porn, shows how the eroticisation of cruelty in both the political and personal arenas is fed by the global sex industry’s violence and cruelty, and she reveals the hypocrisy of those who insist that ‘sex work’ is a private matter of no consequence to anyone else and who wilfully ignore its devastating consequences for both individuals and society. Read More

Josephine Butler: Pioneering feminist activist

Josephine Butler was a pioneering Victorian feminist who was famous for her activism against the sex trade and the punitive, sexist laws known as the Contagious Diseases Acts. This article provides a brief outline of her political awakening, her involvement in the campaign for women’s suffrage, education and employment, and her leadership of the ultimately successful campaign to overturn the Contagious Diseases Acts. Read More

What’s the problem with sex dolls? A conversation with Kathleen Richardson

This is an edited transcript of the podcast with Professor Kathleen Richardson on our culture’s increasing obsession with sex dolls, and what this means for women, and human relationships.

“What’s interesting about sex dolls and sex robots, is that it reveals really clearly what patriarchy thinks of women and what men want from women.” Read More

Full decriminalisation of prostitution colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable

When HARRIET EVANS fell into difficulties with her housing, and universal credit was too little to live on, she turned to prostitution as a way of keeping a roof over her head. Here she explains how the Nordic Model could have helped her and others in the sex industry.

“‘Sex work’ as a valid form of income redefines ‘consent.’ Full decriminalisation colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable; it can be bought; it can be ignored.” Read More

Facts about the global sex trade exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and how to solve them

Dana Levy is an Israeli prostitution survivor and abolitionist activist. In this article she shows how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed three fundamental facts about the sex trade that many feminists have always known: 1. That men CAN survive without access to prostitution; 2. That most women involved in prostitution are extremely poor; and 3. That legalisation / decriminalisation of the sex trade provides little protection to the women involved. She goes on to discuss solutions. She says: “The solution for women in the sex trade exists. You won’t believe how simple it is.” Read More

Wahine Toa Rising letter to New Zealand ministers

The new, prostitution survivor-led New Zealand organisation, Wahine Toa Rising, has sent this letter to ministers to draw attention to the plight of women in prostitution during the current COVID-19 crisis, to ask advice about what support is available to women currently involved in prostitution and how the emergency subsidies apply to the sex trade, and to offer advice based on their own intimate knowledge of the realities of the sex trade.

In New Zealand the sex trade is fully decriminalised and prostitution is considered a job like any other. The letter brilliantly exposes this idea as a travesty. Read More

Who is misbehaving? Reflections on the film, Misbehaviour

At the beginning of the film, Misbehaviour, Sally Alexander (played by Keira Knightley) is applying to study history at University College, London (UCL). We see her walk into the large wood-panelled interview room where six middle-aged white men are waiting for her, seated in a row behind a long table. The camera pans back so we can see them giving her a mark out of ten as she settles on the lone chair in front of them… Read More

Prostitution is not a job and never will be. Here’s why.

By Dana Levy

Can prostitution be a normal job? Sex trade apologists claim that ‘sex work is work.’ Some of them say: “We just need a proper regulatory structure to make it safe,” while others insist: “All regulatory restrictions are harmful. Prostitution is not the problem; society is the problem. You are the problem! If we get rid of the regulations and stereotypes, it will become just like any other job.”

We, the survivors of prostitution who struggle against the sex trade, know the truth: prostitution is not a job. Read More

Why the Nordic Model? A view from New Zealand

Ally-Marie Diamond is of Maori/Pacific Islander heritage and grew up in New Zealand, where she was groomed into prostitution. In this engaging post, she explains how she came to be an activist for the Nordic Model and why she believes it is the best approach to prostitution policy and legislation. Read More

Paedocriminal apologetics from the sex industry apologists

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

What makes exiting prostitution so hard?

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

Thursday afternoon at the brothel

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.”
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Full Decriminalisation of the sex trade will start an irreversible and dangerous domino effect

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

Prostitution: What are the problems and how do we solve them?

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

Legalisation of brothels and the carceral state

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

The women behind the windows in Amsterdam’s red light district

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