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.”
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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

‘I am a prostitute. I have been a prostitute since I was underage. I’m in my mid-30s now’

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

“I would just sit on my bed afterwards, looking at the money, focusing on it, counting my savings every day to keep myself motivated, and counting how much more I would have to save to retire. To never return, to leave and to forget all that had happened in prostitution. Ever. To erase every single detail of my past.” Read More

‘I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking a short fix. The damage it has done to me is irreparable.’

These #MeToo accounts of women’s experiences of the sex trade came in through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“I made money from it, but felt like I had been all used up doing something that completely went against my core values. That experience induced trauma and I ended up going through even worse trauma in the years following that. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking a short fix. The damage it has done to me is irreparable.” Read More

Mobilising against the sex trade at FiLiA 2019

Run entirely by unpaid volunteers, FiLiA is a national feminist conference that takes place annually in the UK. This year it was in Bradford on the weekend of 19 and 20 October. In this article we provide a very brief summary of some of the highlights of the weekend for us – focusing on critique of the sex trade. However, the conference covered many other feminist issues, which we don’t have room to cover 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 psychological damage & impact on my self esteem was devastating’

We received these #MeToo stories of the sex trade through our Share Your Story feature. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“They’ve even managed to get me to think that because I found prostitution and pornography traumatic that I was just one of the ones who ‘weren’t cut out for it,’ or was lacking in character and resilience somehow. I hate this so much.” Read More

‘I have A LOT of anger towards men’

Here are some more #MeToo stories that survivors of the sex trade have sent through our Share Your Story page. Thank you to every one who shared these powerful words.

“It hurts me when I read on twitter about how happy [prostitution] is and about choice and it’s empowering. Those people have never been in this situation. It is insulting to reality of so so many women worldwide who are in this not through choice and who don’t have much of a voice.” Read More

‘I survived but only just & sometimes I wish I hadn’t’

Here are some more #MeToo stories that survivors of the sex trade have sent us on social media or through our Share Your Story page. Thank you to every one of you who shared these powerful words.

“I was beaten, set on fire, cut, bitten, choked, robbed and raped, sometimes by men who were high up in the police or were judges, doctors, politicians.” 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

Is ‘sex work’ real work? ‘If work is being slapped/beaten/told you’re a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work’

Is ‘sex work’ real work? “If ‘real work’ is having a 70 year-old drunk man bargaining with your ‘price’ because you won’t continue without a condom… that man getting aggressive and asking for his money back… if work is being forced to give up 50-100% of your income to a pimp… if work is being forced to have sex with men on the run from the police for domestic abuse… if work is being filmed without your consent… if work is being slapped/beaten/told you are a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work.” Read More

‘The sex industry preys upon poor, abused and mentally ill women’

“The issue is so much bigger than just the sex industry. I was treated like a sexual object and commodity from an incredibly young age and still am. I can’t walk down the street without being catcalled or harassed. It really hurts to know these men are so willing to use my body but have absolutely no concern for me as a person or my wellbeing. Things have to change.” Read More

Women of colour against the sex trade

We report on the recent ‘Women of Colour Against the Sex Trade’ conference in London, UK, that was hosted by Space International and heard first-hand from black and ethnic minority survivors of the sex industry.

“In Dr Vednita Carter’s Black Minnesota neighbourhood, white middle class men cruise the streets in luxury cars, looking for Black girls and young women to pay to use and abuse sexually. This echoes back to the white man’s white god-given right to unlimited sexual access to Black women and girls during the long centuries of slavery.” Read More

‘I feel like I am being gaslit by society’

Two more #MeToo stories we’ve received through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously. We do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed, but each story is important, moving and powerful, and reveals yet again the awful truth about prostitution – that it is neither easy money, nor a route out of poverty for disadvantaged women. Read More

A review of Exit! by Grizelda Grootboom

Exit! is the harrowing true story of Grizelda Grootboom’s journey into and through prostitution. Many people justify prostitution on the basis of the prostituted person’s choice. Grizelda’s story reveals the shallow irrelevance of this idea in a life blighted by childhood neglect and abandonment, rape, racism, poverty and lack of opportunity, coercion, betrayal and abduction. While Grizelda’s story is unique, there are many elements that are common to many of those who are prostituted worldwide. Read More

‘In every possible way, it felt like rape’

This is a new selection of #MeToo stories we’ve received through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously. Each story is important, moving and powerful, and reveals yet again the awful truth about prostitution – that it has no place in a society that aspires to equality between women and men, and fundamental human rights for all. Read More

PODCAST: Anna talks about being groomed into prostitution and her subsequent 11 years in the sex trade

In this podcast, Trixie talks with Anna, who was groomed into prostitution as a teenager and continued in that life on the streets of Leeds for 11 years. Her story shows the insidious nature of the grooming process and the increasing violence and coercive control of her pimp, who was also her partner and the father to her kids. She talks about the punters, the women she was prostituted with, the connections with the local lap dancing club, and the long-term effects of ‘the life’ on herself and her children. Read More

Can the preconditions for true consent ever exist in prostitution?

Dana Levy is a survivor of the sex industry, who supports and promotes the Nordic Model in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law is making its way through the legislative process. The Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government) approved the law on its first reading on 22 October 2018. The second and third readings are still ahead. In this article, she talks about the preconditions for consent and whether they can ever be present in prostitution. Read More

Prostitution and free choice

Dana Levy is an Israeli sex industry survivor who promotes the Nordic model in Israel. She publishes articles in local newspapers in order to influence public opinion. She very kindly sent us this translation of one of her articles with a message of thanks for what she describes as our ‘amazing work.’ We send thanks for her amazing work in return. 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

Why stigma persists against women involved in prostitution in New Zealand

In this post, Chelsea, who has had many years’ experience in the legal brothels in New Zealand (NZ), makes a searing critique of an article by Lynzi Armstrong that laments the ‘stigma’ that results in banks denying services to ‘sex workers,’ even though profiting from women’s prostitution is entirely legal in NZ. Chelsea argues that the ‘sex workers’ in question were in fact pimps, and the stigma against women involved in prostitution is intrinsic to the system of prostitution itself. Read More

Survivors speak out about what prostitution is REALLY like

As a group campaigning for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution, people often berate us for not “listening to sex workers.” If we did, they say, we’d know they all want full decriminalisation of the sex trade and not the Nordic Model. But our group includes survivors of the sex trade and we know that the reality is a little more complicated. In this article we explain why we created our Share Your Story page and distill some of the themes that have emerged from the moving and heart-breaking stories we’ve received so far. 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

‘I do not believe that by decriminalising this violent and horrific patriarchal institution that we make women safer’

Rebecca sent this #MeToo story about her journey through lap dancing and into prostitution via our Share your story page.

“You simply cannot forget years and years of swallowing down your consent, of swallowing down what is, at best, disgust, irritation and boredom during sex and, at worst, anger, humiliation and terror.” Read More