November 2021

If your organisation would like to endorse the Nordic Model Now! Handbook for Universities, or if you are an academic, sex trade survivor, or professional who works in a relevant field (such as healthcare, sex education, addiction or VAWG services) and you would like to endorse this handbook as an individual, please email us at and put Handbook endorsement in the subject line.

“This is, unfortunately, a very timely, necessary and probably life-saving handbook. For any student thinking of getting involved in the so-called sex industry, read this handbook first. For any university staff thinking of encouraging their students to get involved in this form of coercive exploitation, read it twice.”

Peter Jenkins has been a student counsellor in Further and Higher Education for the past 40 years, and has written in detail about the university’s legal duty of care towards students and staff in D. Mair (Ed) ‘Short-term counselling in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2016).

“As a prostitution survivor, I am deeply concerned about the promotion of ‘Pretty Woman’ notions that obscure the violence and abuse inherent in the sex trade. This, along with pornography, is driving the hyper-sexualisation and objectification of girls and young women in the wider culture and creating a perfect hunting ground for young men to treat girls and young women as prey. The results are there for all to see in the soaring numbers of rapes, sexual assaults, and strangulations. This handbook provides universities with a much-needed vision for how to tackle this terrifying new reality.”

 Fiona Broadfoot, founder of Build A Girl UK, sex trade survivor, and women’s rights activist.

“I would like to promote this handbook to universities as a means of preventing more students and young people from going down the route of participating in the sex industry. My clinical work in our GP outreach service (where we care for traumatised individuals often selling sex in order to obtain drugs) and the Zone’s Icebreak service (where I see a group earlier on the trajectory, including students) has convinced me of the harm, often through re-traumatisation or bodily violence, that can result.”

Richard Byng has worked as a GP for 25 years and has particular experience of working with people with complex needs. He is also Professor in Primary Care Research at the University of Plymouth where he specialises in developing and evaluating interventions for complex clinical problems.

“It is very important that universities support the physical and psychological welfare of all students, and not promote policies which can leave them vulnerable and at risk. In particular, universities with nursing schools must, as NMC approved institutions, ensure that the ‘learning culture prioritises the safety of …students’, that they are ‘provided with information and support… which encourages them to take responsibility for their own mental and physical health and well-being’. As such, I wholly support this handbook.”

Dr Sinead Helyar, BSc. PG (Acc.) Dip. MSc. PhD. RN.

“It is incomprehensible to me that any educational institution would promote any aspect of the sex trade as an option, instead of equipping students to avoid its harms and provide non-judgmental holistic and tailored support to those currently involved and those who want to exit.

For learning institutions committed to taking their responsibilities to safeguard the welfare of their student body seriously, I strongly urge you to read this handbook and act on its recommendations. In addition, please listen to survivors and examine the overwhelming evidence base of the harms and long-term effects of this sexist, misogynistic, racist and oppressive system. Reject an approach that seeks to camouflage exploitation and abuse as empowering and that accepts the sexual commodification of people, while protecting the power of those who choose to exploit!”

Diane Martin CBE. Diane has over 25 years’ experience as a practitioner in the women’s sector, specialising in improving policy and practice and developing services for women involved in or exited from prostitution, including 15 years of founding and managing a specialist exiting service. She is the Chair of ‘A Model for Scotland’ and a Vice Chair of ISTAC (International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council to ODIHR). She is also a Survivor of prostitution in London and of being trafficked to the Middle East.

“To promote the selling of sexual acts as anything other than an age-old patriarchal control strategy is to fail on many fronts. It is to fail our young women by colluding with the historical social forces that have always sought to exploit them, by glibly repackaging those forces as ‘progressive’, ‘modern’ and ‘empowering’. It is failure-as-collusion to endorse the abuses which the restricted set of choices poverty imposes on some young women as valid, reasonable or worthy of promotion. It is also to fail our young men – who take behavioural and ethical cues from the institutions they form part of – by adding to the already-toxic sexist atmosphere on many campuses. A university promoting prostitution as a viable option for economically disadvantaged young women will symbolically condone every misogynistic trope that can be found in our culture. Assaults, rape, coercion, drink-spiking and image-based abuse are already rife in our universities. Addressing that unacceptable reality is where the duty of socially-responsible places of learning lies, not in officially bolstering the endemic commodification of women’s bodies.”

Michael Conroy is the founder of Men At Work and creator of the ‘Men At Work: 10 Dialogues’ resource for those working with boys and young men.

“We are very grateful that Nordic Model Now has taken the time to pull together this necessary and realistic handbook. We know only too well the trauma impact that the so called sex trade can have. Women are not a commodification to be bought and sold and the re-framing of the sex trade as an empowering model of ‘work’ is just another extension of the harm it causes its victims.”

Dr Shonagh Dillon – CEO Aurora New Dawn

Further reading

The Nordic Model Now! Handbook for Universities

Leave a Reply