Ireland must invest in services to help people exit prostitution

This piece was sent in anonymously through our Share Your Story page, which provides a space for women to tell of their experiences of the sex trade in their own words.

“I am a 43 year-old Irish woman who was actively involved in prostitution for five years from 2008 to 2013. My involvement in the sex trade came about as a result of my chronic addiction to heroin. I was not a victim of trafficking, nor was I being controlled by a pimp… Read More

Porn, Violence and Consent

By Michelle Kelly

As a trafficking survivor who later went on to enter the UK porn industry, I have been following the recent media focus on trafficking in porn with a lot of interest, even though, as I have previously expressed, I am highly cautious of the influence of what is often termed the ‘religious right.’ Nevertheless I believe that calling for — as a bare minimum — greater regulation of sites such as PornHub to be a matter of urgency.

This is why… Read More

Wahine Toa Rising launches brilliant new website

This week, Wahine Toa Rising, a New Zealand grassroots organisation led by sex trade survivors, launched its website. Here members of the organisation explain what it is about.

“Wahine Toa Rising is a voice for vulnerable, exploited women and children in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, who are overrepresented in the sex trade. Like us, they deserve to know they are WORTHY, VALUED, HEARD, SEEN, and LOVED.” Read More

What price for ruining the lives of 100s of young women?

Sex trade survivor, Dana Levy, writes from Israel about a sex trafficker, dubbed the ‘greatest pimp in Israel’s history,’ who trafficked hundreds of vulnerable young women and has recently been granted early release from jail. She asks, why does society place so little value on the lives of poor young women? Read More

PODCAST: The Colonisation of Intimate Life – The Mainstreaming of Sexual Violence and Hazard

In this podcast, Esther, who has a longstanding interest in research on legal and public policy approaches to sexualised violence and domestic abuse, uses her own experience of porn and prostitution to reflect on consent, the global reach of depictions of sexualised violence and what this means for women and girls. Read More

Interview with Rebecca Mott

We are honoured that sex trade survivor activist, Rebecca Mott, has been a member of Nordic Model Now! from the very beginning. Many times her insight and wisdom have helped us to keep our focus. Here she talks about blogging, sex trade activists, what being an abolitionist means to her, and advice to other women who want to speak out about their experiences in the sex trade. Read More

The Colonisation of Intimate Life

The Mainstreaming of Sexual Violence and Hazard.

By Esther

This article is based on the second presentation at our recent webinar, Porn, Prostitution and Violence against Women.

“Expressions of fear and distress on the faces of porn performers are deliberately induced. The cruelty is the point. It associates sex as something painful for women in the eyes of the viewer…” Read More

Israel becomes the 8th Nordic Model country as it implements its Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services Act

I’ve been waiting for thirty years for this moment. The Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services Act will be enforced in Israel on 10 July 2020. The law imposes fines for consuming prostitution and attempting to pay for it. The aim is to reduce prostitution by prohibiting the purchase of sex as part of an integrated process that includes public education, and the expansion of services for the population in prostitution – including trauma-informed care and practical help to rebuild their lives, while recognizing the harmful nature of prostitution and the damage it causes. Read More

Why I nearly turned my back on feminism

In this important post, Ally-Marie Diamond explains how she was introduced to a feminist analysis of prostitution as a form of violence against women, her first tentative steps into the feminist movement for the abolition of the sex trade, and her desire to share her own painful experiences as a way of helping others understand the reality. She then goes on to describe how she was silenced and ostracised within the movement and her determination to put aside division and work with other women to bring about real change for the most vulnerable women and children. Read More

“Murder Porn”

In this ground-breaking and harrowing article, Esther, who was herself involved in prostitution and the making of porn, shows how the eroticisation of cruelty in both the political and personal arenas is fed by the global sex industry’s violence and cruelty, and she reveals the hypocrisy of those who insist that ‘sex work’ is a private matter of no consequence to anyone else and who wilfully ignore its devastating consequences for both individuals and society. Read More

‘I had no support or way out’

Stacy sent this account of her life in the sex trade, and after, through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously and in their own words.

“I prostituted for more than seven years and endured lots of physical, sexual, mental and spiritual abuse from both my pimp and the johns. I became an alcoholic and drug addict to ease the pain. Selling sex was never OK for me but I was in fear and had no support or way out.” Read More

‘Made to feel like nothing, made to feel worse than nothing, like she was just disposable’

A woman, who wants to remain anonymous, sent us this #MeToo account of her life in prostitution through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“Imagine going to the cops because you have been severely raped/beaten/robbed and they laugh at you because you are a whore and you got what you deserved…” Read More

Full decriminalisation of prostitution colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable

When HARRIET EVANS fell into difficulties with her housing, and universal credit was too little to live on, she turned to prostitution as a way of keeping a roof over her head. Here she explains how the Nordic Model could have helped her and others in the sex industry.

“‘Sex work’ as a valid form of income redefines ‘consent.’ Full decriminalisation colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable; it can be bought; it can be ignored.” Read More

‘I believe legalised prostitution strengthens and emboldens misogynistic attitudes in men’

‘Siobhan’ sent us this #MeToo account of her experiences in the legal sex trade in New Zealand and Australia through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“These deliberate attempts by punters to mess with my head have affected me much, much more than the multitude of times I was physically and sexually assaulted in prostitution. I still ruminate about the veiled insults they made about my worth, my looks and my character… I thought I had low self-esteem at 17, but prostitution has absolutely destroyed it.” Read More

Wahine Toa Rising letter to New Zealand ministers

The new, prostitution survivor-led New Zealand organisation, Wahine Toa Rising, has sent this letter to ministers to draw attention to the plight of women in prostitution during the current COVID-19 crisis, to ask advice about what support is available to women currently involved in prostitution and how the emergency subsidies apply to the sex trade, and to offer advice based on their own intimate knowledge of the realities of the sex trade.

In New Zealand the sex trade is fully decriminalised and prostitution is considered a job like any other. The letter brilliantly exposes this idea as a travesty. Read More

Prostitution is not a job and never will be. Here’s why.

By Dana Levy

Can prostitution be a normal job? Sex trade apologists claim that ‘sex work is work.’ Some of them say: “We just need a proper regulatory structure to make it safe,” while others insist: “All regulatory restrictions are harmful. Prostitution is not the problem; society is the problem. You are the problem! If we get rid of the regulations and stereotypes, it will become just like any other job.”

We, the survivors of prostitution who struggle against the sex trade, know the truth: prostitution is not a job. Read More

‘His hands are on me, my skin is screaming. Every touch burns.’

“He’s here.

A faceless, nameless, terrifying man. He could be anyone really.

I’m trying to hear the music but I can’t. His hands are on me, my skin is screaming at him. Every touch burns.

His lips touch, and ask, and demand, and smile. It’s not a happy smile, it’s a smile of contentment, an “I own you” smile. I’m not here. I can’t be here.” Read More

Why the Nordic Model? A view from New Zealand

Ally-Marie Diamond is of Maori/Pacific Islander heritage and grew up in New Zealand, where she was groomed into prostitution. In this engaging post, she explains how she came to be an activist for the Nordic Model and why she believes it is the best approach to prostitution policy and legislation. Read More

I was an altruistic surrogate and am now against ALL surrogacy

In this article, a woman who was herself an altruistic surrogate for some friends writes about her experiences, which led to post-traumatic stress disorder, and why she is now against all forms of surrogacy.

“Women should not be encouraged to endanger their emotional and physical health and safety for other people’s ‘need’ to have babies. Women matter. Women should not be encouraged to put ourselves second, and to risk our lives for other people.” Read More

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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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 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

Miseducation – This is not a love song

Drawing on her own experiences in porn and prostitution, Esther asks that we break through our cultural denial and open our eyes to the brutal reality that easy access to online porn and anything goes prostitution has unleashed: The everyday sexual, bodily and psychic torture of women and girls throughout the world and the presentation of this to children as if it were normal sex and not fraught with danger, not only for the individual but for our very social fabric. 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

20 Years On – Scotland learning from Sweden’s Sex Purchase Act

This article is based on the live tweets Bec Wonders sent out during an event in the Scottish Parliament on 5 December 2019. The event was entitled ‘Twenty Years On: What can Scotland learn from Sweden’s ground-breaking law to tackle demand for prostitution and sex trafficking?’ We are grateful to Bec for letting us publish the article because she captures the feeling and essential messages of the event brilliantly.

“I cast my eyes much higher than ‘mitigating’ violence against women and girls. Commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls must be eliminated, not mitigated or tolerated – eliminated.” says Ruth Maguire. Read More

Open letter to all the sex buyers everywhere

‘Jo’ sent us this powerful and moving open letter to all the sex buyers everywhere through our Share Your Story page.

“Behind your backs we share a very different reality. We are tired of the emotional labour you put us through, not only the fact that you feel entitled to our bodies, but also that you feel entitled to our souls too. We talk about how much easier a client is when he is fast, less demanding. I’m saying ”we” because I’m talking about the majority of prostitutes I talk with, as well as my own experience in the sex trade.”
Read More

The F*ck Union and 20 years of Stockholm Syndrome

Dana Levy is an Israeli prostitution survivor and abolitionist activist in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law has recently been passed. In this article she provides a persuasive critique of the Swedish organisation, Fuckförbundet’s recent report on the impact of the 1999 Swedish Sex Purchase Act, entitled ‘Twenty years of failing sex workers.’ She shows that many of the claims in the report simply do not hold up to scrutiny. Read More