The impacts on women in countries where the sex industry is either legal/partially legal or fully decriminalised/partially decriminalised (including for pimps and johns), or where current laws to curb male demand and provide support services, impunity and exit programs for women aren’t enacted. [by no means complete]
– Sweden versus Amsterdam “After legalisation the illegal forms of prostitution increased spectacularly and, contrary to expectations, human trafficking did not decrease – not even to the official brothels supervised by the state. The police themselves have had to admit in their report that despite earlier positive news, the approach isn’t working(11):
It’s an illusion to think a normal, clean industry has been created. In the legal window prostitution of Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Utrecht human traffickers, pimps and body-guards have had free rein for years. (our translation)
They estimate that between 50% and 90% of women working in legal brothels arrived there via trafficking. March 21, 2014
– In Amsterdam “Pimps, under legalisation, have been reclassified as managers and businessmen. Abuse suffered by the women is now called an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe. Sex tourism has grown faster in Amsterdam than the regular type of tourism: as the city became the brothel of Europe, women have been imported by traffickers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to meet the demand. In other words, the pimps remained but became legit — violence was still prevalent but part of the job, and trafficking increased. Support for the women to leave prostitution became almost nonexistent. The innate murkiness of the job has not been washed away by legal benediction.” February 2, 2013
– Debt-bondage in NSW brothel network via student visa traps. Pimps evade police with illegal pop-up “massage parlours”: Sydney massage centre challenges illegal brothel claim, Sydney Morning Herald, February 21, 2016
– Melbourne sex worker ring leads to jail, news.com.au, December 11, 2015
–Sex inquiry recommends greater powers for police to tackle brothel crime, Brisbane Times, November 7, 2015
– It’s time to clean up prostitution in NSW: “The community and individual damage wrought by prostitution in Sydney is now apparent to everyone, even foreign governments (South Korea sent an emissary to the state in 2010, to investigate the trafficking of its female citizens). NSW Police this year publicly admitted outlaw motorcycle gangs had links with at least 40 brothels in the state; a sex worker was set alight a few years ago; groups of women have been found debt-bonded to brothels; and individual women have been found dead in hotels.
“The victims are often foreign. In 2012, researchers identified more than 50 per cent of their research sample in approved brothels in metropolitan Sydney as being of Asian or other non-English speaking country background, and nearly 45 per cent of these respondents as speaking only “poor” or “fair” English.” Dr Caroline Norma, lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia, Brisbane Times, November 10, 2015
–Sexual slavery, forced drug-taking in NSW brothels on the rise: police, ABC, September 1, 2015
– “The Australian Federal Police’s (AFP’s) manager of victim-based crime, Commander Glen McEwen, told a parliamentary inquiry into the regulation of brothels on Friday that there were 24 separate investigations involving alleged sexual servitude in the previous financial year, six of which were focused in NSW – and some still ongoing. But he believes that number represents a “fraction” of the abuse that is passing under the radar, describing the human trafficking problem as “wide and vast.”
“Commander McEwen supplied the select committee with a “snapshot” involving “opportunistic” criminal syndicates and vulnerable women, from Asia, “seeking to improve their own life, and those of their family, by moving to Australia for legitimate work.” – http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/afp-reveals-sex-trafficking-based-in-sydney-brothels-20150912-gjkzwt.html reveals sex trafficking based in Sydney brothels, Sydney Morning Herald, September 2015
– Human trafficking: Most of Australia’s alleged sex slavery victims left without government support, ABC, 27 August 2015
– Australia remains a destination for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, news.com.au, July 28, 2015
– Sex trafficking, slavery and forced marriage on the rise in Australia, say police, Sydney Morning Herald, October 31, 2014
– Women forced into sex industry in Australia – Abbott must fund Exit Programs , Tasmanian Times, July 9, 2014
– Buying sex should be banned in Australia, The Conversation, December 4, 2013
– Women used as sex slaves in Melbourne and Sydney, news.com.au, October 2, 2012
–Trafficked women ‘forced’ into brothels, The Australian, October 2, 2012
– Sex slavery (Video), ABC, Four Corners, October 17, 2011
– It’s time to get serious about sex trafficking in Australia – Legalising prostitution has not made the women working safer, The Age, October 13,2011
– Legal brothels linked to international sex trafficking rings, (Video, transcript and related videos), Sydney Morning Herald, October 10, 2011
– Flesh trade – interview with Commander Chris McDevitt, AFP Human Trafficking Unit. (Video), Sydney Morning Herald, October 6, 2011
– The secret world of Melbourne’s sex trade, The Age, March 5, 2011
–NSW government inquiry into the regulation of brothels: Submission number 27, by Ms Geena Leigh, Date Received: August 16, 2015
– Legalized prostitution in Australia behind the scenes… interview with Simone Watson, a prostitution survivor and the director of NORMAC (Nordic Model in Australia Coalition)
– Legalising prostitution is not the answer: The example of Victoria, Australia, by Mary Sullivan and Sheila Jeffreys Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Australia), excerpt of conclusion below:
“Prostitution is an industry that arises from the historical subordination of women and the historical right of men to buy and exchange women simply as objects for sexual use. It thrives on poverty, drug abuse, the trafficking in vulnerable women and children. Prostitution teaches men how to mistreat women and damages the lives of both the women who are used, the women whose partners, sons, brothers and workmates are the abusers, and the status of all women in the state. Legalisation causes the business of sexual exploitation to flourish. As more and more women and children are drawn into the industry, and more and more men become abusers, the profits from the abuse become an indispensable part of the state’s revenue. The sex “businessmen” network with judges and politicians, and float their brothels on the stock exchange. Once prostitution is legalised, ending it becomes much more difficult, as a lobby of “respectable” businessmen would have to be put out of business, and the government would have to tax the rich instead of living off women’s bodies.
“Ultimately the best way forward in Victoria would be to follow the example of Sweden where model legislation in 1998 penalises the men who “buy sexual services” and decriminalises the women. In combination with generous services to support prostituted women in getting out, this would be effective. Unfortunately it will take some time to create a social understanding of prostitution in Victoria that will make this possible. Countries that have not yet gone down the path of legalisation are in a position to develop policies to end the harms of prostitution. Legalisation compounds the harms of prostitution rather than relieving them. It is not the answer.” full report here
– Global trafficking in women and Australian legislation: Do legalised sex industries encourage the trafficking of women and children? Are they partly to blame for the explosion in this trade over the last decade? Whose needs are being served by the legitimation of sex work? by Sheila Jeffreys for Arena Magazine,
–Reaching out to sex workers – Project Respect, Australia (transcript and video, Lateline ABC Broadcast: March 13, 2015). Kate Connett is an outreach worker with Project Respect, but was formerly a sex worker herself. Lisa (not her real name) has been working in legal brothels in Victoria since she was 16. March 13, 2015
Kate Connett, PROJECT RESPECT: “…I think nearly every single woman I have worked with at Project Respect has gone into the sex industry because of financial hardship. All women are there for the money, they’re not there for the sex, they’re not there because they enjoy having sex with men, they are there to get the money.
(Every month Kate visits legal brothels, offering support to women.)
“…Homelessness is a huge issue. We find many women that are homeless. We find a lot of women that sleep in brothels which is illegal, so I guess it’s kind of hidden homelessness in women.
(Before she became an outreach worker, Kate was a sex worker. From 17 to 23 she worked on the streets to support her heroin habit.) “I worked on Gray Street and surrounding areas of St Kilda, so it was basically just standing on my corner and waiting for mugs, blokes to drive up in their… and I would then just say how much my services were, so I would say $100 for sex, $50 for oral and then I would charge, you know $120, $130 for both together.
“I was raped. I was… a man came and booked me and he took me back to his place.
“I was given a drink of water and I still don’t know what it was to this day, but I woke up to him having sex with me and I… that was… that was in my mind as clear, that was rape.”
OUTREACH WORKER: “So we need to find some way for those women’s voices to be heard and it has to be…”
KATE CONNETT: “They have to be anonymous… We meet women constantly who have been either raped or beaten. Currently working with a woman at the moment who is pregnant due to a client raping her. I don’t think legalisation works. I don’t think decriminalisation works either. Again, it hasn’t stopped the incidence of violence.”
(For the past year Kate has been case managing “Lisa” who has been working in brothels since she was 16.)
LISA: “It was around Year 10 and then one of my best mates, she asked me if I wanted to work in the sex industry and I actually thought it was more like the movie, like the pretty lady where you can make a lot of money so I said, “I’ll give it a shot. I will try.” Basically I just wanted quick cash to pay off my debts and buy groceries and put my siblings through school, but when I actually got into the industry, it’s not like where they show you on the movie. The amount I make is about $200 a day per shift. It depends on the day and depends what the men are looking for. So, they just put a price on you, really.
(“Lisa” has tried to leave the sex industry several times, but keeps returning.)
“I want to become a teacher one day and exit the industry, just contribute to society and help other people and have a job which I’m actually proud of.”
KATE CONNETT: “I don’t think there is any quick fix answer to this. The Nordic model which looks at criminalising the buyers which are predominantly men and making it legal for people to sell sex which is predominantly women, I think so far that’s the best option that I’ve seen come out.
“What girl, what young girl goes, “I want to be a prostitute when I’m older”? What young girl ever has that aspiration? What mother ever wants their child to become a prostitute when they are older? It’s not a dream job for anybody.” Video and full transcript here, ABC, Lateline, Broadcast: March 13,2015
–Samantha X and her new recruits: Girls who want the high-class escort dream. Samantha X chose to leave her lucrative career at channel Seven to become a “high-class escort” for a short period of time, she is now a pimp recruiting ‘new girls’ as well as making money via the media and workshops by selling the high-class escort dream to the mainstream public. However, from the article “…the young escorts who came from around Australia to see Samantha X: In Conversation told a troublingly different story, of aggressive and creepy clients, unpleasant work and relatively low earnings.” SAMANTHA X is Australia’s best-known high-class call girl, and now she’s selling the escort dream to girls, news.com.au, April 7, 2016
– ‘I clutched the cash while he used me’: Former prostitutes on why they want the industry banned, former prostituted women from across Australia come together April 2016 to talk about the sex industry at RMIT university, Melbourne. “…a growing group of survivors and abolitionists say they are disturbed at pro-sex trade lobbyists painting the industry as a profession, chosen by autonomous women [like Samantha X] because it makes them feel empowered.” – [excerpt from book >]“I couldn’t negotiate my own life in any sense without making that trade off: prostitution for poverty.” news.com.au, April 8, 2016
–Tracy could not have been Wendy or Jill, but she could have been any other woman in prostitution. Prostituted women are the ones at the coalface of the misogyny and pornography-fuelled attitudes, by Dr Caroline Norma, July 30, 2013
– RCMP breaks up Canada-wide prostitution ring “that smuggled hundreds of Asian women into the country… Over an unspecified period of time, the group allegedly brought more than 500 women, mostly from Korea and China, into the country illegally. The women were sexually exploited through various bawdy-houses, RCMP said.
RCMP Const. Erique Gasse said the women were kept in “unspeakable living conditions”. “They came to Canada on their own choice but quickly realized that the conditions were not that good,” he said at a news conference Wednesday. Gasse said the ring operated in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. April 1, 2015
– Vancouver Rape Relief disappointed, one year after prostitution law adopted, Keira Smith-Tague with Vancouver Rape Relief said, “We knew when the Vancouver Police Department said they weren’t going to go after johns, it was bad news. The City of Vancouver said the same thing, so it has been disappointing.” She says women are no safer now. “We know the harm that’s done to women in prostitution, and we know this directly from the frontline crisis work we do. The johns and pimps are the men that harm them and exploit them.” She hopes that as the federal government reviews the law, it retains the section that criminalizes johns, because she says as long as men can buy women, women will be subordinate to men.
“She would like to see one change in the legislation however. She says the section that criminalizes women who sell sex in public spaces has to be removed, because she says it has marginalized women who are most at risk in getting arrested in those areas.” (Nordic model), December 10, 2015
– ‘It’s getting worse’: Winnipeg girls as young as 9 being lured into sex trade: expert, Community forum on sex-trafficking hears details hard to hear. 06 June 2016
– The Sex Trade: “This feature documentary is a study of the sex trade, a reality that has expanded worldwide to become a true industry, both online and off, over the course of the past few decades. Part investigative report and part editorial, the film is a foray into a brutal world whose key players trivialize the impact of their actions by claiming that prostitution is simply a service like any other. But who’s really benefiting? To meet customer demands and keep this lucrative business rolling, unscrupulous pimps and sex traffickers target women and girls, who are afraid to speak out. High-end and street prostitution, escort agencies, massage parlours, strip clubs, the porn industry, sex tourism – the sex trade is sprawling, and has even spread beyond major urban areas. Behind the glowing signs of clubs and bars and on various websites, men are paying for sex and buying the consent of the women. With incisive comments from experts and enlightening interviews with people who have left or are still in the sex trade, the film takes a behind-the-scenes look at this industry to reveal a modern form of slavery.” WATCH TRAILOR HERE 2015
– Devastating truth about Britain’s first ‘legal’ red light district: The police and council insist it’s made their city safer. The reality? Intimidation, murder and locals too scared to go out. “Officers turn a blind eye to seedy activities there between 7pm and 7am. Scheme hailed as so successful that it will now continue indefinitely. Far from the story told by residents, business owners and sex workers. Body of a Polish prostitute, Daria Pionko, 21 was found in December”. January 16, 2016
–Sex on the street for £30: Mum-of-two working as a prostitute takes us inside Britain’s legal red light district. “Asked what her advice would be to other women who are thinking the new zone might make it it safer to get into the profession, Catherine said: “Don’t get into it. What I do doesn’t define me as a person it’s just quick money, not easy money, it’s not easy money at all.” Irish Times, January 14, 2016
–Modern slavery and human trafficking on the rise in UK: “Efforts to eradicate modern slavery in the UK are failing, with the number of potential victims being trafficked into Britain rising by 245% over the last five years, according to official figures… Andrew Wallis, founder and chief executive of the anti-slavery charity Unseen, said the rise showed the reality of an underground trade driven by the exploitation of people.
“What’s driving it is the demand for cheap goods, cheap labour, cheap sex and there’s an insatiable demand that causes questions for society as a whole. On the other side, there’s an endless supply of vulnerable people.” July 10, 2016
– “Germany legalised prostitution in 2002, aiming to bring the industry out of the shadows… Germany has become the sex capital of Europe, and the number of prostitutes has doubled to 400,000, with some estimates suggesting 90 per cent are coerced into the trade.” January 29, 2015
– “Since 2002, when prostitution was fully legalized in Germany, at least 55 prostitutes were murdered by clients or by persons from the milieu, and there have been at least 30 attempted murders. Countless other acts of male violence against women (out of jealousy, etc.) up to and including murders and murder attempts have not been taken into consideration. Since 1999, there has been ONE single case of murder of a prostitute in Sweden – the tragic death of « Petite Jasmine », which has been very much exploited by the sex lobby, even if she was neither killed by a john or a pimp.” August 14, 2015
–Petition calling for the repeal of German prostitution law – Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, a German psychologist, initiated a petition in 2014 signed by prominent trauma experts calling on the German government to repeal the 2002 law that decriminalized prostitution. In an interview with CATW’s Executive Director, Taina Bien-Aimé, Dr. Kraus discusses her reasons for starting the petition and the reality of prostitution for women in Germany. She also recently launched a Change.org petition urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to create a legal framework that will outlaw the buying of sex and support survivors. Excerpt of interview below:
IK: “Today, approximately 90 percent of prostituted women in Germany come from the poorest European countries, especially Bulgaria and Romania. Most of these women don’t speak German and don’t know their rights. The reality looks like this: For its opening weekend, the Pussyclub brothel chain in Stuttgart, offered beer, bratwurst and an unlimited number of women for a flat rate of 69 Euros. Close to two thousand sex buyers were expected that night. The women, mainly Romanian, broke down crying realizing they would have to cope with so many men. Some brothels now have menus.
Q: “What is a “brothel menu”?
IK: “Since the law destroyed any questioning of the harm in men buying women for sex, the acts are becoming increasingly dangerous, violent and degrading. Buyers pick from a long list of sexual acts, most of which could easily be defined as torture. They are too graphic to describe here, but for example you can order a “sandwich” (two men and a woman), “blood sports” (involving cutting the woman) or myriad “à la carte” selections involving urination, ejaculation, defecation or worse inflicted on women. The brothels have “gang-bang” floors if a man wants to bring his friends and nudist floors where all women wear are stiletto heels. Even Ellen Templin, a well-known dominatrix and brothel owner in Berlin, says that before the 2002 law she sold sexual services to men, but since the law, she has to sell sexual violence. These acts cause extremely deep, enduring and traumatizing harm to the women.” Read full interview here, May 29, 2015
– Prostitution in Germany, Detective Superintendent Helmut Sporer’s Speech at the Seminar “Reality of Prostitution”, European Women´s Lobby, 2013 in Brussels – “The new Prostitution Act of 2002 turned the same actions, the very same rules set by brotheloperators and pimps, from punishable offences into legal practices – overnight. The new law gave them a “right of direction” (Weisungsrecht) over the women in prostitution. They can now legally give orders to the women. Only the worst kinds of orders, e.g. that awoman has to engage in specific sexual practices with a specific punter, remain illegal.Practically all other forms of influence are well within the limits of this law. They are now part ofthe right of direction exerted by those who run the brothel. The women are no longer sufficientlyprotected from these people, and for legal reasons, the police can no longer intervene. This is avery difficult situation for us.” October 1, 2013
–Germany’s Legalized Prostitution Industry Looks Like A Real-Life Horror Movie (photos): By Manuela Schon, an activist with an anti-prostitution organization called Abolition 2014 and co-founded Linke gegen Prostitution. She lives in Wiesbaden, Germany, via Fight The New Drug. [Original link here – contains nudity], May 9, 2016
– A formerly prostituted woman wrote an open letter to Manuela Schwesig, a government minister in charge of updating German prostitution laws, 2015: “Yes, if you like, I entered “voluntarily”. I’m one of the oft-cited “voluntary prostitutes”. But what is “voluntary”…when a person traumatized by child abuse comes to this decision? …In those ten years I met many prostitutes, and there was not a single one among them who was not abused as a child, beaten, or raped as an adult… Those are the realities of the milieu… and that’s just the “voluntary” prostitutes. And yes, they too suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, drug and alcohol addictions, because they can’t stand it. I really don’t want to talk about the fact that 90 percent of all prostitutes in Germany aren’t even from Germany.” Translated to English here April 23, 2015
–Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution Has Failed, “When Germany legalized prostitution just over a decade ago, politicians hoped that it would create better conditions and more autonomy for sex workers. It hasn’t worked out that way, though. Exploitation and human trafficking remain significant problems.” By SPIEGEL Staff, May 30, 2013
–Welcome to Paradise: When Germany legalised prostitution in 2002 it triggered an apparently unstoppable growth in the country’s sex industry. It’s now worth 15 billion euros a year and embraces everything from 12-storey mega-brothels to outdoor sex boxes. Nisha Lilia Diu visits some of them to find out who won and who lost. Telegraph UK, 2013
-Resource with further articles, publications and research relating to Germany since legalised prostitution, by Banishea: Online Reading List for Prostitution in Germany (English), June 8, 2016
– Young women selling sex for the price of a sandwich in Greece. A half an hour session with a sex worker can now be as cheap as $2. November 2015
–Sex worker abuse ‘on the rise’ in Hong Kong and most of the alleged abusers are police officers: “Zi Teng, which offers support for prostitutes, this year received 615 reports of physical and verbal abuse relating to both police and clients, up from 225 in 2015. The most serious cases, concerning clients, included grievous bodily harm, rape, robbery and fraud. Police were reported on 490 occasions for a catalogue of alleged abuses, including 225 cases of arbitrary arrest, when sex workers were not told why they were being held, and 100 cases of excessive licence checks, when they were approached and questioned several times on the same day. Other allegations against officers included forcing women to carry out free sexual services (11 cases), provide free massage services before arresting them (17), making verbal threats and insults (57), carrying out indecent assaults (three) and physically assaulting them (three). Meanwhile, clients were accused of 125 abuses, Zi Teng said. Among them were theft (56 cases), removing a condom during sex (seven), denial of payment (19), fraud (six) and one of rape…
“Zi Teng volunteer Wing Pang said the figures were a snapshot of the increasing abuse and exploitation facing prostitutes. “Some of them may be scared, but some of them feel it is normal, they have become numb to [abuse],” she said. “We do not want to see this increase again.”… Prostitution is legal in Hong Kong if it involves a monetary transaction between a sex worker and a client, but brothels are illegal… Outreach programmes run by Zi Teng suggested there was also a rise in the number of sex workers this year. It estimates there were 20,000 operating both part time and full time within any given month.” December 31, 2016
– “Each year in India tens of thousands of girls go missing in a country where an estimated 1.2 million children work in the sex industry. Many are abducted by commercial sex traffickers and forced into prostitution. Missing, a nationwide public art project launched by the artist Leena Kejriwal as a memorial to victims of sexual slavery.” August 1, 2015
– “While prostitution is technically illegal in the Philippines, that is only on paper. It is openly practiced and even encouraged by the local government leaders who issue permits and licenses to the bars and brothels and the criminal aspect of abuse and exploitation is totally ignored. It is, in practice, decriminalized.
What have we got as a result of ignoring the woman abuse and not enforcing the law? We have one whopping big sex tourist industry all over the country where thousands of young girls are forever made sex-slaves in bars and brothels on street corners and in houses of prostitution. They are doomed to a life of being less than human.
They are controlled, used and abused for the sexual gratification of the rich and well off. They are treated like sex machine for the pimps, brothel operators and their foreign and local customers. The Philippines authorities, especially the church going ones and long silent church leaders, have the reputation of being the white painted sepulchers of society. The policy declaration of Amnesty International will play directly in their hands.” August 15, 2015
– Driving instructors ‘may offer lessons in return for sex’, Netherlands government confirms. The practice, known as ‘ride for a ride’, has been deemed ‘legal but undesirable’. December 2015
– “10 years after full decrim: Former prostitutes and their advocates are calling for clients of sex workers to be prosecuted, saying the decriminalisation of the industry has failed them. Freedom from Sexual Exploitation director Elizabeth Subritzky told Parliament’s justice and electoral committee the only solution to the damage that prostitution caused, and the violence it created, was to prosecute buyers of sexual services through a reform of prostitution laws.”
“The Prostitution Reform Act decriminalised brothels, escort agencies, and soliciting when it narrowly passed into law by one vote in 2003. The act not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor women in New Zealand, Subritzky said.” 2013
– Published the same day AI celebrated their 2015 policy on “sex work” with champagne; “When the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 came into force, it was assumed street prostitution would diminish and sex workers would be safer but this has not happened. Instead, street prostitution has increased causing distress to residents in certain areas of Christchurch and Auckland. New Zealanders should be able to enjoy living in safe neighbourhoods, but at the moment there is crime, anti-social behaviour and noise, unsavoury and unhygienic waste. Street-based sex workers remain in danger of violence despite promises the Act would improve their safety. Street prostitution remains the main gateway for underage prostitution.” 11 August 2015
Turkey, Russia and Brazil
–Prostitutes reveal the reality of selling sex – from the streets to top hotels, “Dangerous environments are all in a day’s work for documentary-maker Stacey Dooley, but her new three-part series takes her into the darkest corners of global prostitution . For BBC3’s Sex in Strange Places, she spends time with sex workers in Turkey, Russia and Brazil… Interviewing sex workers, brothel owners and government officials, Stacey admits: “People have so many preconceptions about sex workers and I did too before I made this series. The reality is there’s usually only one reason these women are doing this and it’s to survive.” Irish Times, March 14, 2016
– FBI: “In 2010 the Anaheim Police Department (APD) vice detail in Orange County, California, realized that most of the prostitutes it had contact with came from similar backgrounds. Analysis of their common circumstances and reasons for prostituting caused investigators to believe that they were sex trafficking victims. Human trafficking is using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, obtain, or provide a person for sexual exploitation. This shift in perspective produced an innovative approach to addressing the problem.
“In over 100 arrests, most of the women expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice. In a 1998 study, 88 percent of the prostituted women surveyed stated that they wanted to leave the sex trade industry.1 The majority of prostitutes interviewed by APD vice investigators believed that selling themselves was their only alternative for survival. Further investigation showed that these women shared similar circumstances that led them to prostitution. Many came from dysfunctional homes, had few friends or family members who cared about them, and were drug addicts or alcoholics. Arrest and contact data indicated that most of these women were between 18 and 29 years old. Unfortunate situations and poor choices made them vulnerable.” March 5, 2013
–San Diego sex trafficking industry worth $800m annually, federal report finds: “Sex trafficking, defined as the trade in which someone has been forced, coerced or tricked into prostitution, involves some 110 gangs just in San Diego County, dubbed one of 13 hot spots for child sex trafficking in the US by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“This is a beautiful town with an ugly truth,” said Summer Stephan, the county’s chief deputy district attorney… 30% of victims interviewed said [their exploiters had used physical violence ‘on the girls and women in their control’]. But most exploiters rely on economic coercion or emotional manipulation, often accompanied by fostering a drug dependency.” June 21, 2016
Very Inconvenient Truths: Sex Buyers, Sexual Coercion, and Prostitution-Harm-Denial “…In France, 85 per cent of prostitutes are immigrants, many without papers, vulnerable to exploitation. In Germany, with its legal super-brothels, it is about two thirds. If demand is not tackled, more will come. Is that something any Western nation should be proud of: an underclass of poor women from Thai villages and Ukrainian towns, imported to service First World penises? – Janice Turner, 2014. 
“Some pimps, some sex buyers and some governments have made the decision that it is reasonable to expect certain women to tolerate sexual exploitation and sexual assault in order to survive. Those women most often are poor and most often are ethnically or racially marginalised. The men who buy them or rape them have greater social power and more resources than the women. For example, a Canadian prostitution tourist commented about women in Thai prostitution, “These girls gotta eat, don’t they? I’m putting bread on their plate. I’m making a contribution. They’d starve to death unless they whored.” By Melissa Farley, February 26th, 2016
– Remembering the murdered women erased by the pro-sex work agenda “Since the Nordic Model was adopted in Sweden 16 years ago, not a single prostituted woman has been murdered by a john. Not one.
“New Zealand, with only half the population of Sweden, has lost several prostituted women to gruesome murders committed by johns since full decriminalization was implemented in 2002 (13 years).
“But let’s not just pick on New Zealand. In Germany, 55 prostitutes have been murdered since 2002 when prostitution was legalized. There have also been 29 attempted murders.
“The Netherlands has almost the exact same overall murder rate as Sweden. But 28 prostituted women have been murdered in the Netherlandssince the year 2000, when prostitution was legalized.” Full article here
*2015 – short video “documents 152 cases of deadly violence against women and transwomen in prostitution all around the world, that were committed in 2015. This list results on what we found in online newspaper articles and contributions by people via Facebook/Mail/Twitter. Meaning: This list is far (!) from being complete.” Full documentation here
*Is the New York Times Endorsing Legalization of Prostitution? by the Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), Taina Bien-Aime, The World Post, May 16, 2016
“The Swedish (Nordic) model decriminalizing victims and putting the emphasis for change on prostitute-using men is the way to go because men should not have a right to sex on demand and it is the belief they are entitled to sex on demand that fuels prostitution, rape, street harassment, workplace sex harassment, anti-choice dogma, and every other gendered ill that makes up what we call “sexism.”…A 5-country study of prostitute[d women] found 92% wanted help getting out of prostitution immediately. 100% said they didn’t want anyone they loved to ever have to prostitute their bodies for survival.
In Germany the service union ver.di offered union membership to Germany’s estimated 400,000 “sex workers”. They would be entitled to health care, legal aid, thirty paid holiday days a year, a five-day work week, and Christmas and holiday bonuses.
Out of 400,000 “sex workers”, only 100 joined the union. That’s .00025% of German “sex workers”. Women don’t want to be prostitute[d].
There is no sensible feminist reason to ignore the 92% of prostitute[d women] who do not consider it work but slavery in favor of the 8% minority, especially when doing so only affirms the rape culture that affirms men’s entitlement to use women’s bodies any way they desire, any time they want it.” See full genderberg.com FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) by Samantha Berg here, 2005
* Men who buy sex Who they buy and what they know, by Eaves, London and Prostitution Research & Education, San Francisco: “A sample of 103 men in London, England, who used trafficked and non-trafficked women in prostitution were asked about their experiences and awareness of the sex industry. Almost all (96%) bought sex indoors. Many reported that they were aware of pimping, trafficking and other coercive control over those in massage parlour, brothel, and escort prostitution. These men were frequently aware of the vulnerability and risk factors for entry into prostitution including childhood abuse, lack of alternative job choices, coercive control and homelessness. The men listed effective deterrents to buying sex which included time in prison, public exposure and being issued an ASBO. They described their ambivalence about buying sex and their ambivalence about the nature of their relationships with women. Some of the attitudes expressed by the interviewees in this study have been associated with violence against women in other research.” Researchers; Melissa Farley, Julie Bindel and Jacqueline M. Golding, December 2009
1. We do not want to be called ‘sex workers’ but prostituted women and children, as we can never accept our exploitation as ‘work’. We think that the attempts in UN documents to call us “sex workers” legitimizes violence against women, especially women of discriminated caste, poor men and women, and women and men from minority groups, who are the majority of the prostituted.
2. Body invasion is inherent to prostitution and cannot be legislated away. If we accept prostitution as work, the UN needs to hold consultations with all Member States and civil society representatives as it will be in contravention of UN standards defining what is accepted labour and livelihood. The nature of work should not be different for one class or caste of human beings just because they are socially and economically weaker. This would be in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
3. We want you to recognize that the majority of prostitution is an outcome of trafficking, as defined in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, where the “abuse of a position of vulnerability” is recognized as a method of trafficking. It is our vulnerabilities that are taken advantage of to seduce, trick, coerce or force us into prostitution. These vulnerabilities are based on our caste (De-notified Tribes, Dalits, OBCs), class (families from where women and girls are mostly trafficked earn less than INR 25 per day), sex (majority of those who are prostituted are women and girls), and ethnicity (Hill Tribes). We are denied access to education, land, livelihood, capital and often to justice. Traffickers take advantage of this by offering us food, a bed, some cash, jobs, marriage, housing. Local and legal authorities that take pay-offs or free services from us often abet them.
4. We want you to recognize that our survival strategies are not a choice but an absence of choice.
5. By legitimizing prostitution as a form of ‘work’, delinking prostitution from trafficking, we feel that UN Women has let down marginalized girls and women, without even a proper consultation. It seems, that UN Women’s policies are controlled by AIDS management agencies, who want to protect male clients/Johns from disease, rather than women and girls from repeated rape by male clients.
6. We ask that UN Women advocate with other UN agencies, as the agency charged with representing the voices of women, to recognize that commercial rape is the same as non-commercial rape and to remove all demands advocating for decriminalizing pimping and brothel-keeping. We want an end to impunity for all those who take advantage of our vulnerabilities to sexually exploit us. We want them to be held accountable and we want laws that penalize and punish them. By calling for the decriminalization of pimping, UN agencies are effectively helping the sex-industry and impeding our access to justice.
We want UN Women to stand by agreed upon international conventions and protocols, including:
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
2. Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 1949
3. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979
4. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, 2000
To retreat from these protocols would be illegal and unethical.
We therefore ask UN Women to circulate a revised note calling for more gender sensitive language in all UN documents, recognizing and promoting the rights of girls and women from lower caste, minorities and other marginalized groups. In particular:
1. We request that UN Women changes the word ‘sex worker’ in all documents to ‘victims and survivors of prostitution’ or ‘prostituted women and children’.
2. We request that UN Women acknowledges that the majority of prostitution is an outcome of trafficking and calls upon all states and UN agencies to reduce the vulnerabilities of women and girls that make them easy prey for traffickers.
As citizens of countries including India, Nepal and Bangladesh we are surprised that UN Women could issue a note without consulting Member States or Civil Society representatives.
Both the note and its subsequent clarification contradict international law, as detailed in the conventions and protocols mentioned above.
“What does it mean to “reduce the harm” of patriarchy?… Certainly it does not deal with the reasons why men abuse and exploit women, and until it does, we will never see an end to violence against women.
“Harm reduction, as Erin Graham, PhD, notes, is a medical intervention — one that is meant to reduce public disorder, mortality, and morbidity. It is a public health model. It ensures the poor remain poor but do not spread disease. It ensures marginalized groups remain marginalized, but that they remain contained and unproblematic to the middle class. It does not address the cause of the harm or the harm that cannot be seen in physical impacts such as STDs. It protects johns and their families from STDs but does not protect the women those men pay for from abuse. It most certainly does not address or question male behaviour.
“In her thesis, “More than condoms and sandwiches: A feminist investigation of the contradictory promises of harm reduction approaches to prostitution,” Graham writes, of the harm reduction strategies advocated for by groups like Pivot, “This deliberate erasure of men’s responsibility for women’s misery, and the notion that prostitution is ‘the oldest profession’ constructs the contradictory idea that prostitution is something women choose.” In order to avoid having to “actually do anything,” Graham says, “to change the structural conditions of women’s lives,” these groups instead try to present prostitution as not only inevitable, but simply a job like any other — one that can be made “safe” through unintrusive “harm reduction” strategies. It becomes, then, not a source of oppression or abuse, but rather a viable employment option for desperate women (who are, of course, offered no other option.)” Male progressives who support harm reduction need a lesson in feminism and in radicalism, by Meghan Murphy, April 20, 2015
*From a prostitution survivor and advocate for women: “Recently the sex trade lobby have been shouting loudly – how we must listen to the prostituted who are inside the sex trade.
“But, as with everything with the sex trade lobby, it is highly selective on what type of the prostituted we should listen.
“It should be mainly white middle-class women who state how empowering prostitution has been for them.
“It is the classic Happy Hooker who appears to be rich, empowered and self-sufficient.
“In other words, the wet dream of the average punter, and the cash-cow for the sex trade profiteers.
“Most of these spokeswomen are being pushed forward to speak the male language of those profiteers and punters.
“If the sex trade can get the prostituted to say it is harm-free, a great earner, that it is flexible hours, that it is somehow feminist – then it can keep hidden all the common male violence and entitlement that underpins every aspect of the industry.
“These women are pushed to the front as ways to recruit, to advertise, and to speak words that are lies.
“The sex trade wants to pretend it is feminist, pretend it gives a damn about the rights of the prostituted, pretend it is somehow left-wing.
“It wants it to be invisible that the sex trade is the largest capitalist and exploitative industry that men have ever invented.
“Hiding behind prostituted women is easy – for most prostituted are emotionally dead and will speak whatever words that make them block out their reality.
“It is this blocking that makes the prostituted easy to manipulate.
“Blocking out reality is a vital survival mechanism for all the prostituted.
“Who wants to live with a reality where your only worth is to be brought and sold as sexual goods?” Rebecca Mott – Prostitution is survival
*‘Sex Work’ – The Dignity Of Men. Call it what it is, it’s prostitution.
* Prostitution is Incompatible with Equality Between Men and Women Psychologist and trauma expert Dr. Ingeborg Kraus’s lecture at the Madrid Conference, organized by La Comisión para la investigación de malos tratos a mujeres (The Commission for the Investigation of the Mistreatment of Women) Madrid, 15 October 2015
“Male entitlement is a deadly seam running through male violence against women, whether coercive control, rape, prostitution, trafficking or femicide. Prostitution, pornography and trafficking are forms of violence against women, reducing women to commodities, possessions and objects for market exchange. Men are the purchasers, controllers and profit-makers, this market of women cannot be extricated from a context of inequality between women and men. At least 5 women killed last year (the same year as the ONS data) were women exploited through pornography and/or prostitution.” – by Karen Ingala Smith, #CountingDeadWomen founder. Read more here: Femicide – men’s fatal violence against women
- Please support groups that provide for and advocate for what women in prostitution tell us they want: EXIT SERVICES and ABOLITIONIST POLICY. Here are just a few of many groups who need your support; by Prostitution Research and Education
- Please support Project Respect Australia: Project Respect doors closing unless something miraculous happens (< < go-fund-me link at bottom of post < <)
* EXPUNGING PROSTITUTION CONVICTIONS ESSENTIAL FOR THOSE EXITING THE SEX TRADE – Simone Watson, Director NORmac
*Exiting Prostitution – Erase Criminal Records: http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2017/07/exiting-prostitution-erase-criminal-records/
See also –
“The sexual colonialization of women’s bodies is a material reality: men control the sexual and reproductive uses of women’s bodies. In this system of male power, rape is the paradigmatic sexual act. The word “rape” comes from the Latin rapere, which means to steal, seize, or carry away. The first dictionary definition of rape is still “the act of seizing and carrying off by force.” A second meaning of rape is “the act of physically forcing a woman to have sexual intercourse.” Rape is first abduction, kidnapping, the taking of a woman by force. Kidnapping, or rape, is also the first known form of marriage–called “marriage by capture.” The second known form of marriage is basically prostitution: a father, rather than allow the theft of his daughter, sells her. Most social arrangements for the exchange of women operate on one ancient model or the other: stealing, which is rape; or buying and selling, which is prostitution.
“The relationship of prostitution to rape is simple and direct: whatever can be stolen can be sold. This means that women were both stolen and sold and in both cases were sexual commodities; and when practices were codified into laws, women were defined as sexual chattel. Women are still basically viewed as sexual chattel–socially, legally, culturally, and in practice.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters From a War Zone – part IV The New Terrorism
- –Extract from the Feminist Party of Spain’s dossier on the abolition of prostitution, “Raise your voice against the Pimp State”. The document was written by Nerea Sanchís Rodriguez & Margarita Morales, via RadFem in Translation: Feminist voices from the Spanish-speaking world. February 15, 2017
- Male sexual entitlement is killing women
- Why is paying for sex legal in so many countries? Because the laws are made by men
- Sweden’s prostitution solution. Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?
- Legal prostitution in Europe: the shady facade of human trafficking
- Decriminalising the sex trade will not protect its workers from abuse, by
- “It’s not work, it’s exploitation: why we should never legalise prostitution”, by Kat Banyard, July 21, 2016
- Feminist opposition to the sex industry has little to do with women’s ‘choices’
- Are Poor Women Free to Choose Prostitution?
- A prostitute’s life: ‘Whether it hurts the woman or not, the men don’t care’
- What the johns don’t want to hear
- Do men have a right to prostitutes?
- Why men use prostitutes
- Men who buy sex have much in common with sexually coercive men
- Nobody’s entitled to sex, including disabled people
- The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
- If prostitution isn’t about lonely, undersexed men, what is it about? (Or, Justin Bieber doesn’t need to pay for sex)
- Are we hearing ‘sex workers’ when we listen to them?
- Let’s talk about his choices
- A transnational research project, funded by the EU and based on interviews in five countries, reveals who are the buyers of paid sex
- Being and Being Bought: An interview with Kajsa Ekis Ekman
- Pornography is a specific type of prostitution, in which prostitution occurs and is documented.
- Not just harmless Fun: The strip club industry in Victoria
- Prostitution research and education Melissa Farley
- Open letter in support of adopting the Nordic model in Canada garners over 800 signatures
- What the media won’t tell you about Bill C-36 (Prostitution in Canada)
- The sexualisation of women and girls
- Sexploitation overload: porn and public places – The Brisbane Times
- The real great British porn experiment
- OBJECT (2009): ‘Joining up the Dots’. Reviews the links between sex object culture and discrimination, inequality and violence against women
- Men’s magazines and ‘lads’ mags’ consistently promote sexist attitudes – Object Page 10
- ‘Making the Grade’. Since 2005, every EVAW report on violence against women has called for action on the sexualisation of women and girls
- How much longer are women going to be told to just try to cope?
- Social implications of pornography and violence towards women, Dr Ana Bridges
- Realising Rights, Fulfilling Obligations, July 2008, EVAW’s blueprint strategy on violence against women – we set out what governments at all levels should be doing. – End Violence Against Women Coalition
- HM Government; Call to End Violence against Women and Girls official report – UK Government
- The truth about the porn industry – Dr Gail Dines
- In response to Owen Jones – his defense of porn
- Speaking of prostitution – arguments and counterarguments about prostitution. Kvinnofronten/Women’s Front in Sweden 2013
If you are a woman inside the prostitution/sex industry in Australia and:
– you need help and support contact: Project Respect
– you want to leave prostitution contact: Project Respect
– you want to talk to a counselor and/or gain access to connecting services including police to report rape, assault, coercion, grooming, contact:
- Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120, 7:30am to midnight daily, or
- 1800 Respect 1800 737 732, 24 hour sexual assault and domestic violence support
If you are a woman who has exited prostitution and:
– you need support contact: Project Respect
– you need to talk to a counselor with access to connecting services, call 1800 737 732, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are feeling unsafe right now, call 000
To report human trafficking – contact the Australian Federal Police on 131 AFP (131 237)