Myth: Regulation makes prostitution safe

In any other occupation where there is a risk of exposure to other people’s body fluids, workers are required to wear masks, goggles, and protective clothing.

Health and safety regulations require RETHINKING working practices to eliminate unreasonable risk. When this is not possible, it is time to close the industry down, like the asbestos industry was closed down.

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MYTH: Prostitution stops men raping women

Are you serious? Do you really believe that men are such weak, fragile creatures that without prostitution they have no choice but to rape women and children indiscriminately?

Are you really serious?

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MYTH: Prostitution is the oldest profession

For millennia human communities were egalitarian and prostitution was unknown. Prostitution was invented when men seized control and started the system of male supremacy known as patriarchy.

We believe that prostitution is still a key mechanism in the patriarchal system and that women will never have equality with men while buying and selling women is considered acceptable.

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MYTH: Prostitution is a victimless crime

Detail from “Shut up and take it” by Suzzan Blac. http://www.suzzanb.com

Prostitution treats a woman as a commodity that men can use as a sex object, causing her real psychological and physical harm, and in violation of her human rights and the human right of all women to equality with men.

“Anyone who thinks prostitution is a victimless crime hasn’t seen it up close.” (Joe Parker, 2004)

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MYTH: Punters respect the women they buy

Any claims that punters respect the women they buy and never use those who are unwilling or appear to have been forced or drugged are exposed as a lie by the comments that punters themselves post on sites like Punternet.

What they say makes it clear that they do not care a jot for the women’s comfort, welfare or health.

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MYTH: Punters are lonely single men

Comments by punters on sites like Punternet make it clear that most punters are in a romantic relationship with a woman who thinks he is faithful, and if they are not in a relationship, many admit to being too lazy to seek and form one.

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MYTH: Disabled men have the right to prostitutes

This argument is discriminatory and offensive, not least because it implies disabled people are too grotesque to be sexually attractive and are not capable of forming intimate relationships. It is sexist because it only considers men’s sexual needs, and it is exploitative because it requires a class of prostituted women to be available for men’s sexual use.

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MYTH: Legalisation makes prostitution safe

Claims that legalisation makes prostitution safe are exposed as a myth by women who have experienced prostitution under a legalised regime. Alice Glass talks to Alexis and Marie who have been in prostitution in Germany, where it is legalised.

“[Legalisation] serves the purpose of removing the stigma from men to treat all women as potential sex objects.”

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MYTH: Legalising Prostitution Reduces the Stigma

If legalising prostitution made it safe and reduced the stigma for the women, we would expect to see these benefits in the state of Victoria, in Australia, where the sex trade has been completely legal for the last 33 years. Jacqueline Gwynne draws on her experience as a receptionist in a high-end legal brothel in Melbourne to show that stigma for the women is still alive and legalisation has not improved conditions or social acceptance for women in prostitution.

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MYTH: The Nordic Model hinders the global fight against HIV

It’s sometimes claimed that the Nordic Model hinders the global fight against HIV, and that full decriminalisation of the sex trade is a more effective means of reducing its spread. Indeed, this is what the WHO recommends. However, investigation shows the modelling studies on which this recommendation is based are flawed; the Nordic Model is incorrectly conflated with prohibition; and the recommendation ignores other health risks of prostitution and the negative impact of full decriminalisation on the status and safety of women and girls. In addition the way the WHO and UNAIDS came to recommend this approach, which is in direct conflict to binding UN human rights treaties, has rightly been described as a human rights scandal.

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MYTH: Police pursue prostituted women for sharing flats in Sweden

Some people argue that the Nordic Model does not fully decriminalise prostituted women in Sweden, because the police pursue them for sharing flats under laws prohibiting procuring. This article, based on information from legal scholar, Gunilla S. Ekberg, explains why this line of argument is erroneous.

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MYTH: Amnesty’s research in Norway has proved the Nordic Model is harmful to “sex workers”

It’s sometimes claimed that Amnesty’s research into prostitution in Norway provides evidence that the Nordic Model doesn’t decriminalise prostituted individuals as claimed, and actually causes them significant harm, including forced evictions, deportation, and denial of medical care. However, the research was flawed. International human rights law was misinterpreted, and no general conclusions about the effectiveness of the Nordic Model can reasonably be inferred from this research.

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Further reading