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.”
Read More

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

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 child sexual abuse hidden behind the ‘sex work’ façade

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

A Very Yorkshire Brothel or A Dereliction of Duty?

This is a letter of complaint that we have sent today to the ITV complaints department about its recent ‘documentary’ series entitled, A Very Yorkshire Brothel. We are also preparing a shorter version to submit to Ofcom. If you are also concerned that a British TV channel is presenting an extremely biased picture of prostitution for amusement under the guise of being a documentary, we encourage you to also submit a complaint. You are welcome to copy and paste from our letter. Read More

Statement on the recent jailing of women in Ireland for brothel keeping

Under a headline that accuses supporters of the Nordic Model of ‘co-signing the imprisonment of women,’ Molly Smith reports in The Independent that two migrant women were given nine-month prison sentences in the Republic of Ireland for selling sex from an apartment they shared. This article explains that the headline is both misleading and unfair, because we have always made it clear that we are opposed to women being criminalised for their own prostitution. Read More

What nurses need to know about the RCN motion to decriminalise prostitution

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

A critical review of ‘Revolting Prostitutes: The fight for sex workers’ rights’ by Juno Mac and Molly Smith

‘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

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

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

Submission to the APPG on Prostitution & the Global Sex Trade’s inquiry into ‘pop-up’ brothels

This is the text of our submission to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade’s inquiry into ‘pop-up’ brothels. We argue that pop-up brothels are not a new phenomenon, permanent brothels are operating with impunity all over the country, prostitution is damaging to both individual and community, the UK is not meeting its international obligations in this area, the police too often pursue vulnerable women involved in prostitution rather than the ruthless profiteers, and we provide 13 recommendations for a complete overhaul of the law and policy. 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

Francine Sporenda interviews Huschke Mau about Germany’s legalised prostitution system

Huschke Mau is a survivor of Germany’s legalized prostitution system. In this article, Francine Sporenda interviews her, focusing on the recent changes in the prostitution law in Germany and why Germany is known as the “bordello of Europe.” Read More

The problem with “safety in numbers”

The law in England and Wales prohibits brothel keeping; a brothel being defined as premises that two or more persons use for the purposes of prostitution. Many people call for this law to be changed so that small groups of prostituted women can operate together; the argument being that this would provide “safety in numbers.” They often cite the fact that female estate agents and police officers work in pairs, and call for the New Zealand approach that allows up to four women to operate from the same premises. At first sight, these arguments might appear persuasive. However, when you look more deeply, it becomes clear that things are not as straightforward as they might at first seem. Read More

How to Spot an Illegal Brothel

All brothels are illegal in the UK. Many people argue that legalising them would make the women safer and prevent the involvement of criminal gangs. However, experience where the sex trade has been legalised tells a different story. Here Jacqueline Gwynne reports on the illegal brothels in Melbourne in the State of Victoria in Australia where the sex trade is legalised. Read More