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.”
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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 women behind the windows in Amsterdam’s red light district

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

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

Which model is safest for women in prostitution: legalisation, full decrim, or partial decrim (Nordic Model)?

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

‘Women Wanted’ on Melbourne Streets

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

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

Prostitution law in Germany: Regulation for taxation

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

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

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

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