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 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
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.
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
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 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
October 5th is International Day of No Prostitution. In 2019 we are marking it by remembering the women who didn’t survive prostitution – including all the women whose disappearances and deaths were unmarked and unnoticed – as we resolve to not rest until the vicious system of prostitution is brought to an end. Read More
In this article, Dr Stoyle, the Secretariat of the Cross Party Group for Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CPG CSE) in the Scottish Parliament, reports on a Scottish parliamentary trip to Sweden to find out more about how the Swedish prostitution law works in practice. The trip took place on 22nd and 23rd August 2019. Read More
Holbeck in Leeds has been dubbed the UK’s first and only ‘legal’ red light district and there have been claims that it proves that legalising or decriminalising the sex trade is the way to go. Many other local councils are watching carefully as they are tempted to introduce copy cat zones. But what is it really like? Does it really make things safe for the women? Has it ended the practice of giving women cautions, fines, ASBOs and prison sentences for prostitution-related activities? What do the local residents have to say? We visit the zone to find out for ourselves. Read More
Ever since she saw rows of male Labour Party members voting against a motion that backed the Nordic Model approach to prostitution, the author of this piece has been talking to those men in her head. She’s finally written down what she wants to say to them. Men on the left, please listen. Read More
Just as the Internet has changed how we buy books, holidays and electronic items, so it has changed how prostitution is organised. Now the Internet is one of the main ways that punters connect with the women (and others) they pay to use sexually, and it has opened up whole new opportunities for pimps to make vast fortunes while creating a living hell for many of those advertised. Read More
How do we #MakeAllWomenSafe in prostitution? Is that even possible? Read More
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
Last month I went to Geneva to attend the 66th session of the United Nations (UN) Committee Against Torture as it reviewed the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention Against Torture. This is what I learned. Read More
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
Dana Levy is an Israeli survivor of the sex industry and campaigner for the Nordic Model in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law has recently been passed. In this article, she reflects on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the Nordic Model legislation in Norway and the work that is still ahead. Read More
Legally sanctioned brothels only benefit the pimps, says nurse and campaigner Ellen Grogan. The RCN’s May congress in Liverpool will vote on a motion calling on the college to lobby politicians to decriminalise prostitution. Here, campaigner on the issue Ellen Grogan argues against a fully decriminalised sex trade. Read More
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
Dana Levy, who was herself in prostitution in Israel for a number of years, responds to Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng’s recent article in Teen Vogue entitled “Why Sex Work Is Real Work.” Read More
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
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
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
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
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
‘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
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