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
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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
‘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.”
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
‘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
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
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
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 hardest ‘adjustment’ for me mentally was that prostitution wasn’t just about providing sex for a man paying you, it was about making them think you’ve orgasmed too and you really want to have sex with them for horny reasons, not cash reasons.” Read More
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
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
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
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
Dana Levy is an Israeli survivor of the sex industry and campaigner for the Nordic Model in Israel, where a Nordic Model-style law has recently been passed. In this article, she reflects on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the Nordic Model legislation in Norway and the work that is still ahead. Read More
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
Dana Levy, who was herself in prostitution in Israel for a number of years, responds to Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng’s recent article in Teen Vogue entitled “Why Sex Work Is Real Work.” Read More
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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