What’s the problem with sex dolls? A conversation with Kathleen Richardson

This is an edited transcript of the podcast with Professor Kathleen Richardson on our culture’s increasing obsession with sex dolls, and what this means for women, and human relationships.

“What’s interesting about sex dolls and sex robots, is that it reveals really clearly what patriarchy thinks of women and what men want from women.” Read More

‘I had no support or way out’

Stacy sent this account of her life in the sex trade, and after, through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously and in their own words.

“I prostituted for more than seven years and endured lots of physical, sexual, mental and spiritual abuse from both my pimp and the johns. I became an alcoholic and drug addict to ease the pain. Selling sex was never OK for me but I was in fear and had no support or way out.” Read More

‘Made to feel like nothing, made to feel worse than nothing, like she was just disposable’

A woman, who wants to remain anonymous, sent us this #MeToo account of her life in prostitution through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“Imagine going to the cops because you have been severely raped/beaten/robbed and they laugh at you because you are a whore and you got what you deserved…” Read More

Ask your MP to take action on the Law Commission’s surrogacy proposals

Calling all UK citizens! Please write to your MP to ask them to take action in response to the Law Commission’s proposals for surrogacy law reform, which we believe will lead to the UK becoming the commercial surrogacy destination of Western Europe. We provide a template letter that you can simply copy and paste (or download) and send. This only takes a couple of minutes. Read More

NMN Submission to GRETA’s third evaluation of the United Kingdom

This is the text of our submission to the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) on its call for evidence in advance of its third round of evaluation of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (the Convention) in the UK. Read More

Full decriminalisation of prostitution colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable

When HARRIET EVANS fell into difficulties with her housing, and universal credit was too little to live on, she turned to prostitution as a way of keeping a roof over her head. Here she explains how the Nordic Model could have helped her and others in the sex industry.

“‘Sex work’ as a valid form of income redefines ‘consent.’ Full decriminalisation colludes with the notion that a woman’s consent is negotiable; it can be bought; it can be ignored.” Read More

‘I believe legalised prostitution strengthens and emboldens misogynistic attitudes in men’

‘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

Facts about the global sex trade exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and how to solve them

Dana Levy is an Israeli prostitution survivor and abolitionist activist. In this article she shows how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed three fundamental facts about the sex trade that many feminists have always known: 1. That men CAN survive without access to prostitution; 2. That most women involved in prostitution are extremely poor; and 3. That legalisation / decriminalisation of the sex trade provides little protection to the women involved. She goes on to discuss solutions. She says: “The solution for women in the sex trade exists. You won’t believe how simple it is.” Read More

Wahine Toa Rising letter to New Zealand ministers

The new, prostitution survivor-led New Zealand organisation, Wahine Toa Rising, has sent this letter to ministers to draw attention to the plight of women in prostitution during the current COVID-19 crisis, to ask advice about what support is available to women currently involved in prostitution and how the emergency subsidies apply to the sex trade, and to offer advice based on their own intimate knowledge of the realities of the sex trade.

In New Zealand the sex trade is fully decriminalised and prostitution is considered a job like any other. The letter brilliantly exposes this idea as a travesty. Read More

Who is misbehaving? Reflections on the film, Misbehaviour

At the beginning of the film, Misbehaviour, Sally Alexander (played by Keira Knightley) is applying to study history at University College, London (UCL). We see her walk into the large wood-panelled interview room where six middle-aged white men are waiting for her, seated in a row behind a long table. The camera pans back so we can see them giving her a mark out of ten as she settles on the lone chair in front of them… Read More

‘I am a child impacted by the sex trade! I am a child impacted by paid rape!’

Imagine being a trapped in a world where sex is money and your body is an item for someone else’s pleasure. Now imagine being trapped in that world as a young mother with a tiny baby you would give anything for to see have a better life – only to have that baby removed from your care while you’re left unsupported to just “deal with it.”

That woman you’re imagining was my mum.

That tiny innocent baby was me… Read More

Prostitution is not a job and never will be. Here’s why.

By Dana Levy

Can prostitution be a normal job? Sex trade apologists claim that ‘sex work is work.’ Some of them say: “We just need a proper regulatory structure to make it safe,” while others insist: “All regulatory restrictions are harmful. Prostitution is not the problem; society is the problem. You are the problem! If we get rid of the regulations and stereotypes, it will become just like any other job.”

We, the survivors of prostitution who struggle against the sex trade, know the truth: prostitution is not a job. Read More

‘His hands are on me, my skin is screaming. Every touch burns.’

“He’s here.

A faceless, nameless, terrifying man. He could be anyone really.

I’m trying to hear the music but I can’t. His hands are on me, my skin is screaming at him. Every touch burns.

His lips touch, and ask, and demand, and smile. It’s not a happy smile, it’s a smile of contentment, an “I own you” smile. I’m not here. I can’t be here.” Read More

The cost of Western Europe’s rampant prostitution: the genocide of Romanian women

“I have decided to try this avenue and post here, not my story, not the story of a relative, not even the story of a friend, but the story of a whole country, my country – Romania. It is a gruesome story – in fact, ‘story’ is a misnomer. It is a gruesome reality. Of course, you are well aware of it, but I’ll tell it nonetheless.

“Here in Romania, we’re at the end of our wits and we, as common people, are doing everything we can on our part and I can only hope I can contribute by telling it here in the hopes of making a dent, at least…” Read More

Ask your MP to attend event on 24 March 2020

Calling all UK supporters: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade is hosting an event in Westminster on 24 March 2020 for MPs and Lords on what the UK can learn from Sweden’s ground breaking law to tackle demand for prostitution and sex trafficking.

Please take a few minutes to write to your MP to ask them to attend this event. We provide a template letter that you can use. Read More

Surrogacy: How much is a woman worth?

In 2019, the UK law commissioners ran a consultation on proposals to open up commercial-style surrogacy in the UK. We argued at the time that it was so flawed it should be abandoned and restarted, this time centring the human rights of women and children. The law commissioners subsequently invited us to meet with them to expand on our concerns. This is a personal account of that meeting, which took place on Thursday 13 February 2020 at their London offices. Read More

Why the Nordic Model? A view from New Zealand

Ally-Marie Diamond is of Maori/Pacific Islander heritage and grew up in New Zealand, where she was groomed into prostitution. In this engaging post, she explains how she came to be an activist for the Nordic Model and why she believes it is the best approach to prostitution policy and legislation. Read More

Surrogacy: Medical risks, and costs and implications for the NHS

In this article, Elizabeth Purslow, who was a midwife for 20 years, sets out some of the key medical risks associated with surrogacy pregnancies and egg harvesting, the burden of costs any increase in surrogacy in the UK will place on the NHS, and the implications of this for other NHS users. She also considers safeguarding and the impact of the conflicts of interests that are inherent to surrogacy relationships.

This article is based on a presentation that Liz gave to the UK law commissioners at a meeting on 13 February 2020 about their proposals for commercial-style surrogacy in the UK. Read More

Surrogacy: A human rights violation

In 2019, the UK law commissioners ran a consultation on proposals to open up commercial-style surrogacy in the UK. We argued at the time that it was so flawed it should be abandoned and restarted, this time centring the human rights of women and children. We organised an open letter setting out some of the many ways the law commissioners had failed to adhere to good governance, equality legislation and even their own code of practice. Within about three days the letter had gained hundreds of signatures. In response, the law commissioners invited us to a meeting to expand on our concerns. This is the text of one of our presentations at that meeting. Read More

I was an altruistic surrogate and am now against ALL surrogacy

In this article, a woman who was herself an altruistic surrogate for some friends writes about her experiences, which led to post-traumatic stress disorder, and why she is now against all forms of surrogacy.

“Women should not be encouraged to endanger their emotional and physical health and safety for other people’s ‘need’ to have babies. Women matter. Women should not be encouraged to put ourselves second, and to risk our lives for other people.” Read More

Paedocriminal apologetics from the sex industry apologists

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) is an umbrella group of hundreds of organisations around the world that purport to represent ‘sex workers,’ while in fact supporting and lobbying for the full decriminalisation of the entire sex trade, including pimps and brothel keepers (who they call ‘third parties’). This article looks at NSWP’s position on the prostitution of children and young adults, and shows how it serves to condone the paid rape of children. Read More

What makes exiting prostitution so hard?

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

Thursday afternoon at the brothel

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.”
Read More

The Short Nordic Model Now! Slideshow

The short Nordic Model Now! slideshow is a fully scripted presentation that provides a brief summary of the impacts of prostitution, showing that is part of a wider systemic problem, and that the Nordic Model approach provides a systemic solution – unlike full decriminalisation which would exacerbate the very problems that we need to solve. We provide downloads of the slideshow (in PowerPoint and PDF formats) and a full script (which can also be used as a handout). Read More

Full Decriminalisation of the sex trade will start an irreversible and dangerous domino effect

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

Prostitution: What are the problems and how do we solve them?

Before we consider options for prostitution law and policy, we need a full understanding of how prostitution affects both the women and men involved, and the wider society. This article provides a brief summary of the impacts of prostitution and shows that prostitution is part of a wider systemic problem and that it therefore requires a systemic solution. The article goes on to show that the Nordic Model approach provides such a systemic solution – unlike full decriminalisation which would exacerbate the very problems that we need to solve. Read More

Legalisation of brothels and the carceral state

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

The women behind the windows in Amsterdam’s red light district

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

Has the Nordic Model worked? What does the research say?

This article reviews the key research that has been undertaken on the results of the Nordic Model in the countries in which it has been implemented, and provides a summary of the findings. All of the studies show evidence of a significant reduction in men’s demand for prostitution. Although accurate estimates of the size of the population engaged in prostitution are difficult, the evidence suggests a reduction in the numbers involved over the medium and long term. Where the sex purchase ban is enforced, the sex trade becomes less viable and this discourages sex trafficking and pimping. Read More