International Federation of University women – Policy Position; prostitution of women and girls
REAL for women agree with CATWA that the prostitution industry “should not be narrowly defined as simply street and brothel prostitution, but should be understood as encompassing escort agencies, strip clubs and the pornography industry”.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA) is the Australian branch of CATW International, a Non Governmental Organization having Category II consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It works locally and internationally to end all forms of sexual exploitation of women, especially the violenceof prostitution, trafficking and pornography.
CATWA believes the prostitution industry should not be narrowly defined as simply street and brothel prostitution, but should be understood as encompassing escort agencies, strip clubs and the pornography industry.
CATWA believes the prostitution industry poses a serious threat to women. The prostitution industry promotes a model of sex in which women are bought and sold as objects for men’s pleasure. Prostitution requires the objectification of women in order to exist and it requires, and creates, women’s continued inequality in order to function.
CATWA believes that prostitution harms both the women directly involved in it and women more generally. Prostitution is harmful physically and psychologically for prostituted women, and this is supported by an ever-growing number of sociological studies. There is now substantial evidence that prostitution is not experienced as ‘just a job’ but, for the vast majority of women, is experienced as a form of exploitation and sexual abuse. The prostitution industry poses a threat to all women through fostering a prostitution culture, where the buying and selling of women is normal and acceptable.
CATWA believes that pornography and strip clubs can be seen to increase the legitimacy of the prostitution industry as a whole by depicting the commercial sexual exploitation of women as acceptable, and even entertaining and glamorous.
CATWA endorses the ‘Nordic Model’ of legislation as a way forward. The Nordic Model involves criminalising the buying of sexual services rather than criminalising women in prostitution. The model is based on an understanding that prostitution is a form of violence against women. The Nordic Model has been very successful in reducing prostitution and trafficking in many parts of Scandinavia.