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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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

‘Men circling the streets, looking at the women like meat and yelling at them like dogs’

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

From the woman as object to the object as woman

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 little something for the men

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 Holbeck red light zone: condoms, sex offenders and cars full of jeering men

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

‘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 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

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

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

‘In a terrible and brutal way, I learned to be a sex toy for men and listen to their wills’

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

Invisible men in London and Telford

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

Sex Worker Voices

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

How important are punters in informing the prostitution culture and ergo, the culture at large?

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

Cool men don’t buy sex

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

What’s Wrong with Prostitution?

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