Voice of Holbeck, a coalition of community groups, has today released its ‘Listening Well’ report about local residents’ experiences of the decriminalised red-light area in Holbeck, Leeds. The area is also known as the ‘Managed Zone’ because it is part of the Leeds-wide ‘Managed Approach’ to prostitution, but as one young person who contributed to the report, said: “It is not managed at all, we are approached.” Read More
A woman who wants to remain anonymous sent this powerful piece about her experiences in, and understanding of, prostitution through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell of their experiences of the sex trade in their own words.
“Sex buyers, pimps and traffickers are delusional, narcissistic murderers of innocence that malevolently groom, then prey upon, people who are often victims of child molestation and sexual assault. These vulnerable people also tend to struggle with substance abuse, mental illness and most of all, financial insecurity… Read More
This is an edited transcript of Paula and Claire’s talk at the Experience of Prostitution webinar on Sunday 27 September 2020.
Paula and Claire are campaigners against the decriminalised red-light zone in the Holbeck area of Leeds. They are part of the Save Our Eyes community group. Read More
This is a transcript of Rebecca Mott’s talk at the ‘Experience of Prostitution’ webinar on 27 September 2020.
“I was prostituted from the age of 14 until my early 20s. I will speak to what it is to be prostituted; to the conditions for the prostituted and the breaking down of their humanity.
To understand prostitution, we need to see deeper than the generalised language of it being a bad thing. Instead, I will speak about the mental and physical trauma of the prostituted…
‘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
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
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
‘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.”
This is the text of our submission to the Women & Equalities Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution. Unfortunately the inquiry is now closed because parliament has been dissolved for a general election. However, the evidence collected will remain available for future consideration. 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
In this article women who have not been in the sex trade themselves share how it has nevertheless affected their lives in various ways. We received these #MeToo accounts through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.
“It always made me sick to my stomach, the way that one human buys another. To use her as his toilet and dump her back in the street after – only for another man to pick her up.” Read More
In this brilliant and important interview, Yağmur Arica talks to Francine Sporenda about how technological developments have hugely increased the scale of sexual exploitation that is taking place and the vast profits that are being made from it. Yağmur goes on to argue, persuasively, that the popularity of sex dolls or robots, which she calls ‘masturbatory dolls,’ can be interpreted as yet another backlash against the gains of the feminist movement, as we rapidly approach the terrifying end-point where, “One woman is as good as any other and a doll is as good as a woman.” Read More
A few years ago, feminists in Hungary ran a publicity campaign aimed at helping men to understand the harms of prostitution and how the money they pay for sexual access to women and girls drives the whole exploitative system, right up to the sex trafficking of children. The Hungarian women have generously given us permission to use the photo that was central to the campaign and translations of the key messages. We have created postcards and hope they will help start a conversation with men. 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
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
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
How do we #MakeAllWomenSafe in prostitution? Is that even possible? 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
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
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
A few days ago we published a new Share Your Story page. We asked you to help us gather real experiences of the sex trade, to help put the record straight, to counteract the “Happy Hooker” myths and explain the truth, to say #MeToo, and #TimesUp for the sex industry. The responses have been overwhelming and heartbreaking and we want to thank everyone who has shared their story. This is a selection of the responses we’ve received so far. Read More
The London Mayor’s VAWG strategy no longer commits to targeting men’s demand for prostitution and does not even mention sex buyers once in its 100 pages. Meanwhile the men who bought children to rape and sexually abuse in Telford are mostly excised from the media reports. How can we address the heinous crimes of CSE, sex trafficking, and the pimping of women in prostitution if we refuse to look at the men who drive it and the culture that creates this behaviour and gives it impunity? Read More
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
Alice Glass, survivor of ten years in the sex trade, reflects on punters (prostitution-buyers), why there is no organised punter movement, and their apparent absence from the prostitution debates. She goes on to ask why many women in prostitution support a cause that does not further their own interests (or women’s generally) and attack the Nordic Model approach that would decriminalise them and provide much needed services. Read More
A chance encounter with a homeless man in a coffee shop, lead Alice Glass, recently exited from prostitution, to reflect on poetry, prostitution and the nature of work. Read More
We are calling on men to join a #CoolMenDontBuySex social media campaign to raise awareness that prostitution-buying is damaging and drives the vast prostitution industry, most of whose $186 billion annual global turnover goes into the pockets of pimps and traffickers. This article introduces the campaign, explaining some of the background and why it is in everyone’s interests, including men’s, to end prostitution. Read More
This article takes a hard look at prostitution, and how it affects people, taking in its intrinsic links with porn, sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation, its inherent racism, and why we should hold those who drive it accountable. Read More