Dismissing our arguments as ‘lies’, and other misconduct

Earlier this year, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress voted overwhelmingly for a motion that requires the RCN Council to lobby Governments across the UK for the “decriminalisation of prostitution.” We believe this was a terrible mistake and that the debate was biased and those promoting the motion behaved improperly.

We therefore wrote a letter, jointly with Stand Against Sexual Exploitation (SASE), to the members of the RCN Council setting out why they might want to revisit the matter. We offered to meet with them to discuss the issues in more depth and we asked for a response by the end of August. We have not had a single reply and so we are publishing the letter here. Read More

Porn is Videoed Prostitution and Fully Decriminalised. That Doesn’t Make it Safe.

By Scarlett X

As a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, both within prostitution and the porn industry, I find the claim that decriminalisation of third parties such as pimps to be necessary to ‘keep all women safe’ absolutely ludicrous.

This is why. Read More

The Holbeck red light zone: condoms, sex offenders and cars full of jeering men

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

The long road to abolition

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

Flyers about Motion 108 at the Unison Delegate Conference 2019

We’ve just taken delivery of a batch of flyers we’ve had printed to give out at the Unison National Delegate Conference next week (18-21 June 2019). They briefly explain that Motion 108: ‘Decriminalisation for safety’ seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model and replace it with full decriminalisation of the sex trade, which implicitly decriminalises pimps, brothel keepers and punters. Read More

An EMDR therapist on what she’s learned working with people who’ve experienced prostitution

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

Open letter to the RCN

50 groups and organisations, and more than 400 individuals, have added their name to an open letter calling on the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to reject the motion calling for the ‘decriminalisation of prostitution’ at its upcoming 2019 Congress. We are concerned that many people will incorrectly assume the motion means the decriminalisation only of those directly engaged in prostitution and not of the entire sex trade, including pimps, brothel keepers and sex buyers (punters). Read More

Unison Conference 2019: Vote AGAINST Motion 108 “Decriminalisation for Safety”

Motion 108 “Decriminalisation for safety” at the Unison Delegate Conference 2019 seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution and replace it with support for full decriminalisation of the sex trade, including profiteers (pimps, brothel keepers, and procurers) and punters (sex buyers), on the basis that this is safer for “sex workers.” This article goes through the motion, showing that it relies on partial facts, poor-quality research, and distortion of the bigger picture. Read More

Flyers explaining what the RCN motion for “decriminalisation of prostitution” REALLY means

Before voting at the RCN Congress in May 2019, nurses need to understand what “decriminalisation of prostitution” really means. We believe that most would expect it to mean the decriminalisation of those engaged in prostitution and not of pimps and brothel keepers as well, which would open the way for multi-storey brothels that can serve hundreds of men simultaneously like they have in Germany. This page provides information about the flyers we’ve produced to help nurses understand the practical implications of the motion and how you can order some to give out to nurses you know or in your local hospital. 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

Who says decriminalised red-light districts are safer for women?

A kerb-crawler attempting to pay a woman £10 to hand over her baby shows the Leeds ‘managed prostitution zone’ is a failed experiment. This  shouldn’t surprise us because anything that legitimises prostitution implicitly legitimises one-sided sex and the commodification of women. Read More

‘Why does radical feminism exclude sex workers?’

In this post, Chelsea, a radical feminist who has had many years’ experience of prostitution in the legal brothels in New Zealand (NZ) answers some of the questions she’s tired of hearing – not only ‘Why does radical feminism exclude sex workers?’ [it doesn’t] but also, ‘Isn’t it paternalising to say men can be held accountable but women can’t?’ ‘Aren’t prostitutes in danger from the police? So wouldn’t it be better to hire security instead?’ and ‘How are prostitutes supposed to make any money if buying [sex] is illegal?’ 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

Unison Conference 2018: Vote AGAINST Motion 127 “Decriminalisation for Safety”

A motion to the Unison Delegate Conference 2018, seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution and replace it with support for full decriminalisation of the sex trade, including profiteers and sex buyers, on the basis that this is safer for “sex workers.” This article goes through the motion showing that it relies on partial facts, poor-quality research, and distortion of the bigger picture. We hope that this will help delegates and Unison members understand what is at stake and why we recommend you vote against the motion. Read More

What does full decriminalisation of the sex trade mean in practice?

This article explains briefly what “decriminalisation of prostitution” or “decriminalisation of sex work” means in practice. This supplements the bullet points on our RCN Congress 2019 flyers (and the white flyers we have given out elsewhere) with further information, links to research studies, etc.

We refer to “decriminalisation of prostitution” as “full decriminalisation” to distinguish it from the Nordic Model which decriminalises those (mostly women and girls) who are engaged in prostitution but not the other actors. 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

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

Lies, Damn Lies and Ignoring Statistics: How the Decriminalisation of Prostitution is No Answer

This guest post responds to Juno Mac’s 2016 “The Laws that Sex Workers Really Want” TED Talk, showing that her insistence that ALL “sex workers” want the blanket decriminalisation of the entire sex industry is only believable if you are irritatingly shallow in your analysis. It shows how such blanket decriminalisation leads to an upsurge in the sex trade and sex trafficking, and takes us on a whirlwind tour of the economic disaster that engulfed the former Warsaw Pact countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and shows how this disproportionately hit women. In their efforts to escape the direst poverty, many women and girls fall victims to traffickers and become ensnared in the sex industry – particularly in the decriminalised brothels of Western Europe. The result is tragedy on a vast scale. Read More

Smoke and mirrors at TUC Congress fringe meeting on decriminalising “sex work”

We report from the ASLEF fringe meeting on Motion 39 to decriminalise “sex work” at the TUC Congress 2017. Fortunately the motion was defeated later in the week. In this article we deconstruct some of the arguments put forward at the fringe meeting, showing that, like the motion itself, they do not stand up to scrutiny and are in fact misleading and sometimes downright dishonest. Read More

TUC Congress 2017 Motion 39: Decriminalisation of sex work

The agenda for the 2017 TUC Congress has been published. It includes a motion from ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, calling for the full decriminalisation of “sex work.” This approach implicitly decriminalises pimping, profiteering and related activities that are currently considered to be exploitation. The motion is worded in such a way that on a superficial level it appears to be in the interests of the women and children who are involved in prostitution. However, that simply does not stand up to scrutiny. Read More

Prostitution Policy and Law: What are the Options?

This article looks at legal and policy approaches to prostitution and why the Nordic Model is the human rights and equality-based approach.  Read More

Controversy over Prostitution at the Amnesty UK AGM

In January, we posted about a motion being brought to the Amnesty UK AGM in April 2017. The motion called for Amnesty’s current policy of lobbying for the full decriminalisation of the sex trade (including pimps and brothel owners) to be reviewed. This article explains what happened at the AGM and afterwards. Read More

Open letter to the BMA

More than 30 organisations and nearly 300 individuals have added their name to an open letter calling on the British Medical Association (BMA) to reject a new policy passed by junior doctors backing the full decriminalisation of the sex trade (including of pimps and brothel owners) as implemented in New Zealand. Read More