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.


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.


MYTH: Men with disabilities 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.


MYTH: Prostitution advertising websites enable women to screen clients

Pimping websites 4

It is often claimed that websites that host adverts for prostitution enable women to screen their clients, helping to keep women safe, and that closing down these websites would increase the dangers and drive the adverts onto the dark web.

Like many myths about the sex trade, the reality is rather different. Prostitution advertising websites do not provide any meaningful features for screening clients because clients are not required to log in or to prove their identity and often use untraceable email accounts and mobile phones.

Rather than keeping women safe, prostitution advertising websites are a pimp and human trafficker’s paradise and lead to a continual expansion of the industry, putting marginalized young women and girls everywhere at risk of being pimped into the sex trade as a meal ticket for ruthless people.


MYTH: The Nordic Model is more dangerous for sex workers than decriminalisation

This myth buster looks at publicly available homicide data to show that the claim that the Nordic Model is more dangerous for “sex workers” than full decriminalisation is FALSE.


MYTH: Women involved in prostitution in Sweden routinely have their children taken into care, and other myths

Myth children in Sweden

We often hear claims that women involved in prostitution in Sweden are treated brutally by the police, are routinely evicted from their homes, and have their children taken into care.

We put these claims to Merly Åsbogård, a survivor of prostitution in Sweden. She was adamant that there is no truth in any of these claims.


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.


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?


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.


MYTH: ‘Sex work’ is healing for men

Jacqueline Gwynne worked as a receptionist in a legal brothel in Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria, where prostitution has been legal since 1994. If prostitution was really about healing, we’d expect to see a drop in the numbers over the years, as men got better.

But  since legalisation was introduced here, there has been a huge increase in men’s demand for prostitution and there are now an estimated 700 illegal brothels in the state, in addition to the many legal ones. To give some perspective, there are only 262 McDonald’s restaurants in Victoria.


MYTH: Prostitution is a victimless crime

Detail from “Shut up and take it” by Suzzan Blac.

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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


MYTH: Nordic Model Now! is a well-funded evangelical extremist group that is ‘hellbent on killing sex workers’ – and other crazy myths

Myths about NMN

Nordic Model Now! often gets accused on social media and elsewhere of all sorts of bizarre things that are simply not true. Life is short and we don’t have time to do everything we want to do as it is – so generally we turn a blind eye. But we felt it was time to set the record straight for the most common ones…


Further reading