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

“Caught in the Crossfire and Not by Accident”: In Canada, the Legislation was Just the Beginning

As the five year anniversary approaches of Canada passing its Nordic Model-style Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), Zoë Goodall interviews several activists from the women’s movement to find out what PCEPA has achieved. What she finds is both disappointing and enraging and provides salutary lessons to all who want to see the Nordic Model implemented: passing the legislation is just the first step in the battle. Read More

The Domestic Abuse Bill: Nice try but it doesn’t come close

The UK government is consulting on a new Domestic Abuse Bill. While we welcome some of its measures, male violence against women and girls is at emergency proportions, and the Bill is too much like a sticking plaster. We need something bigger and bolder – for the government to also urgently address the worsening inequality between the sexes, the low pay and precarious nature of so much work, the lack of affordable housing, and to implement a mandatory gender mainstreaming approach in all government departments. Read More

Keith Vaz & the HASC inquiry into prostitution

This article (written in late 2016) by Alice Glass gives an insightful analysis of the 2016 Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) inquiry into prostitution and how it shamefully privileged pro-sex industry voices. She calls for higher standards of honesty and integrity among our politicians. Her arguments are as relevant to the current debate as they were to the specific situation she describes. Alice was herself in prostitution for a decade. Read More

Hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance in Haiti and Westminster

This article, which originally appeared in the Morning Star on International Women’s Day, asks why the government can respond so quickly to the news of European men renting young women and girls for sexual use in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake but find it so hard to respond appropriately to the coercion and inequality of prostitution here in Britain. Read More

Invisible men in London and Telford

The London Mayor’s VAWG strategy no longer commits to targeting men’s demand for prostitution and does not even mention sex buyers once in its 100 pages. Meanwhile the men who bought children to rape and sexually abuse in Telford are mostly excised from the media reports. How can we address the heinous crimes of CSE, sex trafficking, and the pimping of women in prostitution if we refuse to look at the men who drive it and the culture that creates this behaviour and gives it impunity? Read More

Sex Worker Voices

This piece, by Alice Glass, is timely in the light of the recent cancelling of an event about prostitution that was to be co-hosted by a UK university and an organisation that provides services to people involved in prostitution, after complaints from students that it didn’t feature “sex worker” voices – even though a woman who had experienced many years of prostitution was billed to speak. Alice Glass, who herself survived ten years in prostitution, asks who are the “sex workers” who must be allowed to speak? Read More

Survival Mechanisms and Trauma Bonding in Prostitution

Drawing on testimony from women survivors of the sex trade, German feminist activist, Manuela Schon, writes about mechanisms women use to survive prostitution and why exiting can be so hard, why we need to hold the perpetrators accountable, and how prostitution has a key role in maintaining male supremacy and the second class status of all women and girls. The article was first published in German on the Abolition 2014 website. The English translation is by Elisabeth Lauer. Read More

How important are punters in informing the prostitution culture and ergo, the culture at large?

Alice Glass, survivor of ten years in the sex trade, reflects on punters (prostitution-buyers), why there is no organised punter movement, and their apparent absence from the prostitution debates. She goes on to ask why many women in prostitution support a cause that does not further their own interests (or women’s generally) and attack the Nordic Model approach that would decriminalise them and provide much needed services. Read More

The Ever Increasing Concentration of the Sex Industry in Germany

Francine Sporenda interviews Manuela Schon about the legalised sex industry in Germany and the impact of new regulations. Manuela is a sociologist and political activist in Germany. She co-founded “Abolition 2014 – Für eine Welt ohne Prostitution” and “LINKE für eine Welt ohne Prostitution.” She is a blogger at the radical feminist blog “Die Störenfriedas.”  Read More

Alice Glass challenges three common myths in the prostitution debate

In this article, Alice Glass brilliantly challenges three common myths in the prostitution debate: that “once the industry is fully decriminalized, prostitutes will form unions in order to fight for their workers’ rights”; that “if we don’t decriminalize prostitution it will be pushed further underground”; and that “only contemporary prostitutes should have a say in the debate, former prostitutes should not, it is no longer their business.” Read More

How a Nordic Model approach to tackling prostitution was implemented in Ipswich

This article explains how a Nordic Model approach to tackling prostitution was implemented in Ipswich, UK, after a series of brutal murders of prostituted women in the town. It includes an interview with Helen Hepburn, who was a project manager with a social work background, who managed the exiting services that were put in place. Read More