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 Law Commission’s Surrogacy Consultation: How to bamboozle through a dangerous new law

The UK Law Commission is running a consultation on proposals that would open up surrogacy in the UK, including provisions for paying birth mothers and allowing the advertising of surrogacy-enabling services. This article provides an overview of these proposals, and explains why we profoundly disagree with them, and how they are an assault on both women’s and children’s human rights. We show that the consultation is confusing, misleading, one-sided, and fails to ask clear questions about the high-level ethical issues. 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

Online Pimping: A New Dystopia

Just as the Internet has changed how we buy books, holidays and electronic items, so it has changed how prostitution is organised. Now the Internet is one of the main ways that punters connect with the women (and others) they pay to use sexually, and it has opened up whole new opportunities for pimps to make vast fortunes while creating a living hell for many of those advertised. 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

The long road to abolition

A reflection on the transatlantic slave trade – what drove it, how it was justified, and the long road to its abolition – and the current battle between those who want to open up the sex trade to the free markets and those who want to abolish the sex trade and the entire system of prostitution.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, 1995 Read More

Statement on the recent jailing of women in Ireland for brothel keeping

Under a headline that accuses supporters of the Nordic Model of ‘co-signing the imprisonment of women,’ Molly Smith reports in The Independent that two migrant women were given nine-month prison sentences in the Republic of Ireland for selling sex from an apartment they shared. This article explains that the headline is both misleading and unfair, because we have always made it clear that we are opposed to women being criminalised for their own prostitution. 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

Flyers about Motion 108 at the Unison Delegate Conference 2019

We’ve just taken delivery of a batch of flyers we’ve had printed to give out at the Unison National Delegate Conference next week (18-21 June 2019). They briefly explain that Motion 108: ‘Decriminalisation for safety’ seeks to overturn Unison’s longstanding support for the Nordic Model and replace it with full decriminalisation of the sex trade, which implicitly decriminalises pimps, brothel keepers and punters. Read More

Statement on Universal Credit and ‘survival sex’

There has been considerable coverage in the media recently of benefit sanctions, and delays and shortfalls in Universal Credit, driving women into what is being called ‘survival sex,’ but which is in fact prostitution. We do not accept that prostitution becomes something different depending on what caused your engagement in it. This statement briefly explains our position. 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

Open letter to the RCN

50 groups and organisations, and more than 400 individuals, have added their name to an open letter calling on the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to reject the motion calling for the ‘decriminalisation of prostitution’ at its upcoming 2019 Congress. We are concerned that many people will incorrectly assume the motion means the decriminalisation only of those directly engaged in prostitution and not of the entire sex trade, including pimps, brothel keepers and sex buyers (punters). Read More