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Enduring (the) Myths: Sex Work, Decriminalisation and the Nordic Model

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“When prohibitionists do cite other researchers’ findings, they sometimes distort the results and assert the exact opposite of what the cited researchers found.”

– Ronald Weitzer, The Mythology of Prostitution: Advocacy Research and Public Policy (2010)

In early March 2013, the Huffington Post published an article with the title Debunking The Myths: Why Legalising Prostitution Is A Terrible Idea. I was not desperately keen to read it, but I proceeded to anyway because I am generally interested in what people are saying about sex work. And then I was angry. And then I went away and did something else, but I’ve had to come back to it again, a month later, because this one has specific features that make me particularly angry, and I need to share with you what they are.

It was written by Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now. And despite its title, its scope is not limited to legalisation: she believes decriminalisation is an equally bad idea. At first glance, her article looks fairly reasonable and well researched, citing studies from various countries in which sex work has been legalised or decriminalised. It should be noted, however, that any legal model can be tweaked: whichever approach to sex work is selected by authorities, sex workers’ rights and well-being may or may not be prioritised in the accompanying legislation. Germany’s legalisation model is not identical to Austria’s (given the choice, I’d pick Germany). This means that negative outcomes might very well indicate the need for better legislation, rather than conclusive proof that legalisation or decriminalisation should never be entertained again. On the other hand, criminalising sex workers’ clients, as per the Nordic model, has specific, negative repercussions for sex workers’ safety, and there is no conceivable way to criminalise clients that won’t result in those negative repercussions.

I’m not going to address each and every claim Hunt makes about legalisation or decriminalisation: my intention in writing this post is, instead, to examine the ways in which some of her claims have been made, ways which I believe undermine her credibility. My main interest here is in references she makes to New Zealand, where I recently visited the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) to specifically discuss the effects of decriminalisation. And because the primary source for her observations on New Zealand reveals a markedly different picture from the one she has chosen to paint, I’m given to feel that all of her claims ought to be thoroughly investigated before anyone takes them as gospel.

For most of her remarks on New Zealand’s experience, Hunt links to a government publication, the Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. She first makes mention of it under the heading “Myth 1: The Legalisation/Decriminalisation of Prostitution Makes Things Safer for the Women Involved”:

“According to a 2008 New Zealand government report, “the majority of sex workers interviewed felt that the [act of decriminalising prostitution] could do little about violence that occurred” in the sex industry.”

Actually, the square brackets above have replaced “PRA”, which stands for “Prostitution Reform Act”. That’s a specific piece of legislation, not decriminalisation per se. As such, it’s misleading to imply that the sex workers taking part in the evaluation believed that decriminalisation in and of itself is ineffective against violence.

The paragraph in the report, however, does go on to say that:

“a significant minority thought that there had been an improvement since the enactment of the PRA. Of those feeling in a position to comment, the majority felt sex workers were now more likely to report incidents of violence to the Police, though willingness to carry the process through to court is less common.”

The report’s discussion of violence, in fact, primarily focuses on the gradual improvement of relations between sex workers and the police. As regards levels of violent crime, however, it states that:

“There is conflicting evidence on whether violence is reported more often since decriminalisation.”

In other words, we do not have the information here to determine whether violence has increased, decreased, or stayed the same. However, the PRA’s change in dynamics between sex workers and the police, while not, of course, as good as a reduction in violence (which may or may not have happened anyway, we don’t know), is a positive and relevant outcome, with the knock-on effect of sending the message that crimes against sex workers are to be taken seriously, and better enabling police and sex workers to exchange and circulate information about violent individuals. So, how should “safer”, as per “Myth 1”’s designation, be quantified in this respect? Does decriminalisation have to fix everything all in one go in order for prohibitionists to approve of it? Is it not better to improve things to some extent than to not improve things at all? Is Hunt’s implication that things are no “safer”, given that the data we need to fully assess the situation is absent from the report, just a conveniently vague term here?

Well, that’s all debatable. What’s not so debatable is Hunt’s next reference to New Zealand, in which she deliberately misleads the reader:

“A 2008 report, commissioned by the New Zealand government, confirmed that most people in prostitution “felt there had been no great change” in their access to health services and information since decriminalisation, and key informants “were not aware of any substantial change in the use of safer sex practices by sex workers as a result of the enactment of [the law that decriminalised prostitution]”.”

Seen in its original context, though, the “no great change” quote actually reads:

“Those in the industry valued greatly NZPC services in particular, which they felt had always been good. Most felt there had been no great change in access for sex workers, although some felt there had been improvements since the PRA.”

As such, the PRA has had no negative results in this area. Yet the fact that sex workers already saw effective service provision prior to its implementation has been twisted by Hunt to suggest to unwitting readers that it has fallen short.

This cynical manipulation of the facts is also employed in her reference to safer sex practices. The government document actually reads:

“The CJRC’s key informants were not aware of any substantial change in the use of safer sex practices by sex workers as a result of the enactment of the PRA. It was generally felt that most sex workers had already adopted such practices – as a result of the effective HIV/AIDS prevention campaign that ran in the late 1980s.”

In fact, it goes on to emphasise that sex workers are interested in maintaining good sexual health – something Hunt seems to have banked on her readers not grasping. It seems nigh on impossible that she would have missed this information in her reading of the report, but she has recognised that few readers are going to bother clicking on the links to double-check for themselves. Nothing bad has actually happened to sex workers’ safer sex practices in New Zealand: quite the opposite! What is bad – appalling, in fact – is the implication that sex workers don’t know about, or care about, or look after their own sexual health. Hunt is apparently happy to let readers assume that a lack of “substantial change” in safer sex practices post-decriminalisation is synonymous with a risky situation, which rather points to a reliance on the old sex-workers-as-vectors-of-disease angle. This isn’t merely lazy journalism: it’s brazen, deliberate obfuscation, and it’s indefensible.

There are also some telling gaps elsewhere in the article. “Myth 3: The Legalisation/Decriminalisation of Prostitution Improves the Social Protection of the Women Involved” gives us a paragraph solely about Germany. Hunt may well have thought it best not to mention New Zealand’s considerable social protections for sex workers here, but it’s poor form to suggest that the perceived shortcomings of one country’s model of legalisation can sum up both legalisation and decriminalisation in general.

By the time we reach “Myth 6: If We Criminalise the Buyer, We Are Not Acknowledging What Women in Prostitution Really Want”, we’re in wearyingly familiar territory: a link to a Melissa Farley study (which crashes my browser every time), famous for her flawed research, is cited as evidence that “89% of women in prostitution would choose to exit if they felt empowered to do so”. (The same PDF is linked again later on, this time labelled “a recent study”, even though it’s a decade old.) The thing is, sex workers want many things, and I think we are in fact all agreed that a way out of the sex industry is something that should be accessible to anyone who wants it. But Hunt neglects to discuss any of the other things that sex workers want, regardless of whether or for how long they want to continue doing sex work. Just off the top of my head, some examples might include: police who are more interested in protecting them than persecuting them, support services which respect their choices and autonomy, laws that allow them to work collectively, an end to mandatory medical testing (a glaring omission from Hunt’s critique of legalisation), the ability to select and turn down clients as they see fit, and solidarity from feminists in their pursuit of these goals rather than campaigns to put them out of business. Furthermore, it’s a bit of a jump to assume that women wanting to exit the sex industry is the same as women wanting their clients to be criminalised, as per the Nordic model Hunt favours: nowhere does she actually debunk “Myth 6”.

In her summary, Hunt claims that legalisation and decriminalisation:

“do not reduce violence against women in prostitution; they do little to improve their health, well-being or social protection; they fail to reduce stigmatisation of the women involved; they fail to acknowledge the context in which women enter and stay in prostitution; they do not truly support those wishing to exit – instead they help to support a permissive environment for exploitation and organised crime.”

Not only has Hunt failed to sufficiently back up these claims, she neglects to explain how the Nordic model will address any of these concerns. Yet again, the implication seems to be that with its implementation, the sex industry will magically vanish overnight without any problems, and nobody will have to worry about violence or health or stigmatisation or exploitation any more. The only thing that will help sex workers, according to Hunt and other advocates of the Nordic model, is for them to not do sex work any more. This viewpoint enables them to bypass concerns about harm reduction and the negative impact of ‘end demand’ legislation on sex workers’ safety and well-being, and as such, it does not present a helpful or realistic solution. The Nordic model has been shown, time and again, to increase sex workers’ vulnerability to violence, to have an adverse effect on their safer sex practices, and, of course, to promote stigma: it regards all sex workers as victims, and any who claim otherwise are seen as victims both of the sex industry and of false consciousness. Just as Hunt rightly observes that those who enter the sex industry as minors “will not suddenly develop a wealth of alternatives when they reach 18”, neither will sex workers suddenly develop a wealth of alternatives when the Nordic model is implemented.

Although Hunt has applied (selectively) high standards to multiple issues in her consideration of decriminalisation and legalisation, those same standards are absent from her call for the criminalisation of clients, betraying the lack of importance afforded to them under the Nordic model. Following her duplicitous claims about highly successful health campaigns in New Zealand, Hunt has suddenly glossed over what anyone needs to know if they are to in good conscience lend their support to her preferred course of action. Her platform has been used not to debunk myths, but to spread them: ultimately, it’s just another promo piece for laws which prioritise ideology over people’s health, well-being, and lives.

About Nine

Writer, editor, traveller. Member of the redundancy club since 2009. @supernowoczesna

34 responses »

  1. I just don’t understand how someone can quote a study and then completely ignore its conclusions.

    Reply
    • I think part of it is that antis are so strenuously opposed to sex work, they think that nothing short of perfection could justify decriminalising it. So when they see any evidence that the law hasn’t eliminated every single negative thing that sex workers ever experience, in their mind, that proves the law is a failure.

      Of course, that doesn’t explain or justify deliberate misrepresentations of research conclusions, and some of them are just liars.

      Reply
      • You guys are all retards, we all (brothel workers) want the Nordic model in New Zealand and are campaigning to bring it here. You should maybe go and talk to some actual prostituted women in the brothels instead of the NZPC. Do you even know what the NZPC is? It’s a pimp focused organisation that pumps out pro prostitution propaganda so that it can make money off of us. Come visit my work, speak to the girls yourself. Lol we have been saying this for EVA!

        Reply
        • Bwahahaha ….. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

          Isn’t it strange how someone makes this claim when there is no evidence among sex workers in New Zealand for it.

          Are these workers in managed brothels? Because under the Swedish model they would be closed and they would be out of a job. Are you, and the one or two others who may agree with you aware if that?

          Furthermore, in Sweden and Norway they are pushing Operation Homeless, where the police approach a landlord of a worker operating from home or from a motel and tells the landlord that if the don’t evict the sex worker, the landlord will be prosecuted under the sexskopslagan.

          Police in Sweden and Norway harass Stretton based sex workers, and even take videos of them having sex in cars with clients.

          Do you realise that? Would you, who claims to work in a brothel, suddenly like to be without a job, and of you start at home, end up homeless, and if you start on the street, be continually harassed by the Police?

          Are you even aware that a group of young Thai women, who had nothing to do with the sex industry, we’re refused service in a cafe bar, because “all your type are sex workers and we don’t serve sex worker here”. When the women complained to the Discrimination Ombudsman, the original decision was allowed to stand as it was not an “unreasonable suggestion” and the intent of the Swedish law is to abolish sex work.

          NZPC on the side of the Pimps? Bwahahaha … bwahahaha … trololololololol.

          Given a lot of NZPC’S work is in support of sex workers, getting money back from bosses who bond or fine, supporting sex workers in the Disputes Tribunal when needed, supporting sex workers in front of other organisations such as the Police, and then supporting the sex worker and providing evidence to, the Human Rights Review Tribunal when a brothel operator sexually harassed a sex worker.

          That last could not happen in Sweden because of the ruling in the Office of the Discrimination Ombudsman. If you are assaulted as a sex worker the police turn a blind eye and let it slide, because maybe if it happens often enough, you’ll realise how violent it is. Yet in New Zealand we have police officers who take complaints from sex workers over violence and act on them. The Police here will even make sure you get paid properly if the client under pays you.

          So where are all these brothel workers who want the Swedish laws, and want their rights curtailed. Take them to NZPC so they can read the academic and other writing coming out of Sweden that shows it is one of the least desirable options for sex work regulation. Have you told these workers what would happen, as outlined above? What would they think then?

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  3. Why are prostitutes strongly opposed to periodic mandatory medical checkups?

    Reply
    • Because it treats us like animals who can’t be trusted to take care of our own sexual health.

      Reply
      • Michael Framer

        But you’re allowing men to treat you like animals when they pay to have sex with you, and then no doubt (at least in very many cases), go away and have fantasies about you that may well involve treating to you as less than an animal.

        Reply
        • Apparently in the UK, 10% of men have bought sex in the last five years (published in various newspapers, but I cannot verify the data). If true, perhaps a safety first approach to protect women should require mandatory STD checks on all men every six months.
          Or we could respect people’s autonomy…

    • P.S I think you mean “sex workers”. It isn’t okay to refer to us a ‘prostitutes’.

      Reply
    • The World Health Organisation is against them too. There’s absolutely no evidence of medical benefit from them; they just cost a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere, and they deter sex workers from engaging with social services.

      Reply
    • Aside from the way sex workers are treated by the medical staff, there is another legitimate reason to oppose mandatory medical check ups… and that is, not all sex work involves intercourse, or even the exchange of bodily fluids in any way. For example, sex workers who do ‘full body massage’ use their hands to stimulate their clients. Other sex workers specialize in ‘fantasy’ and fetish sex- which includes foot fetishes, B&D, etc. In those cases, why would a medical examination of ones’ genitals be necessary? The same holds true for ‘mandatory condom’ use… if a man wants to masturbate on a woman’s feet, why would a condom be necessary? The government does not know how individual sex workers do their jobs. Legislating mandatory anything for sex workers only gives law enforcement agents the power to harass and to arrest if the sex worker ‘violates’ any of the mandatory regulations.
      Don’t you think that adult women know when they need to use condoms and when they don’t?

      Reply
    • State Rape. Heard of that? Would *you* allow the state to say that if you are in any sort of sexual relationship, you *must* have a sexual health check-up every week, fortnight, month, etc?

      Reply
  4. We must use analogies that these prostitution abolitionists understand when it comes to their argument the legalization/ decriminalization ““does not reduce violence against women in prostitution.”

    Homosexuality has been legalized or decriminalized in most countries now- yet hate crimes and violence against gays continues… so, did the legalization or decriminalization reduce violence against gays? Or is it possible that because it was no longer a crime, those who experienced violence were able to report those crimes to the police, who formerly were their adversaries and who may have also participated in violence against gays? Not to mention that cops would have been less likely to take a criminal report from someone whom they considered ‘deviant’?

    Would it not appear that there was MORE violence against gays AFTER they were no longer considered criminals? Would it be helpful to gays and protect them from violence to re-criminalize homosexuality in order to reduce the number of reported crimes against them?

    And then there is marriage… one of the most violent and harmful relationships in the world for many women and children (and some men) – and vulnerable women who are in such relationships have no one to watch over them, to protect them because they are isolated and confined to private homes/ dwellings where anything at all can be done to them.

    In the US, for example, the government estimates there are over 12 MILLION incidents of intimate partner violence and 1 MILLION intimate partner rapes every year… should we ban marriage and all other personal relationships to protect those vulnerable women? Not just heterosexual marriage, but ALL marriage and personal relationships. Some studies claim that there is a greater likelihood of violence in the relationships of bi-sexual women and men… If the goal of these abolitionists is to reduce violence against prostitutes (which it is not), would they not also want to reduce violence against ALL women, including wives? Why are they selective in who they want to protect?

    Reply
    • “And then there is marriage… one of the most violent and harmful relationships in the world for many women and children (and some men) – and vulnerable women who are in such relationships have no one to watch over them, to protect them because they are isolated and confined to private homes/ dwellings where anything at all can be done to them. ”

      Nail on the head. The fun thing about abolitionists is that they consistently fail to consider the violence and coercion that exist in apparently ‘normal’ relations such as married couples, and that they live in some sort of bubble where coercion exists only in prostitution.

      Ironically, the radical feminist ideology, which underpins the so-called ‘Nordic model’, also considers marriage as a form of patriarchal oppression against women. But of course, the abolitionists being keen on revisionism, conveniently ignore that part of their ideology and choose what they want. A-la-carte radical feminism, isn’t that great?

      You said it very well: behind their airs of bravery, abolitionists are hypocrites who pick the easiest battles and carefully avoid taking on powerful industries or institutions that oppress or exploit women: marriage, the fashion industry, advertising…

      Reply
      • The recent report on violence against women from the World Health Organization rather supports the obvious- that the majority of women who are victims of violence are victims of domestic violence… 33% of women are victims of violence and for 29% of all women, that violence is domestic violence. There are over 2 billion females over 15, so a third of those is over 800,000,000 – a number that far surpasses the number of estimated victims of human trafficking world wide…

        Combined with the latest report on human trafficking where they could only identify 46,570 victims of human trafficking – worldwide- and that figure includes persons trafficked into domestic servitude, agriculture etc. – men, women and children- it doesn’t say much for the campaign against trafficking that with all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ‘creating awareness’ and actively looking for victims which the abolitionists claim are estimated to be over 27 million people… they could only find a tiny fraction of said victims.

        Reply
    • Great analogy with violence against gays and domestic violence! 🙂

      Reply
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  6. “Not only has Hunt failed to sufficiently back up these claims, she neglects to explain how the Nordic model will address any of these concerns. Yet again, the implication seems to be that with its implementation, the sex industry will magically vanish overnight without any problems, and nobody will have to worry about violence or health or stigmatisation or exploitation any more.”

    Like any self-respecting abolitionist, one should say. Those people are the scum of the Earth. And to think I used to believe that they were right!

    Reply
  7. Nine,
    the PRA review from 2008 is a bit old now. Are there plans to conduct another review, plans to tweak some of the current laws, or are all stakeholders happy?

    I believe, the industry in NZ has changed since then in a number of ways, more migrants, some consolidation of legal sector, emergence of “illegal” sector, etc. Having visited NZPC and seen for yourself, do I have the wrong impression? Are there other changes (for better or worse) that most people might be unaware of?

    Reply
    • Hi, thanks for your comment! For up-to-date info you’d be best to check with NZPC directly – I’m afraid I can only partially answer your questions. But one of the things that really stands out about the New Zealand system is that migrant sex workers are completely excluded – work visas do not extend to work in the sex industry. NZPC published a study earlier this year about migrant sex workers’ occupational health and safety, if you’re interested: http://www.nzpc.org.nz/images/Migrant_Workers.pdf

      Besides this, the main issues tend to be at the discretion of local councils, such as zoning laws which affect street-based sex work. Also, some council bylaws prevent sex workers from working from home in certain parts of New Zealand, which plays into the hands of bigger businesses.

      Overall, the laws are well written and serve to empower sex workers rather than handing control over to bosses or clients, so I still see New Zealand’s as the best model in existence – which is not to say there is no room for improvement.

      Reply
    • The only people who are not happy are those who have a strong religious belief against sex work – but these same people are unhappy about marriage equality, anti-smacking laws, and whole heap of other things. These are the people that are behind the proposed change in Manukau, that is now being taken over by the Auckland Council, now that Manukau City no longer exists. The main changes are that sex workers are preferring to work for themselves rather than a managed, and often larger brothel. Immigration and the police have yet to find any instance of a person trafficked to NZ to work as a sex worker. There are not really any more migrant sex workers now than there were in 2008, or even 2003. The type of migrant has changed – more from mainland China than from Thailand, for example. If the law does change, it should focus its change on s19, which targets migrant workers. This should be changed so that migrant workers have the same rights to access the complaints process (i.e., police, disputes tribunals, etc), as permanent residents and citizens.

      Reply
      • Michael Framer

        That is absolutely not true. I don’t believe in God, and I have no religious beliefs at all. I want equality in marriage, I loathe the notion of anyone smacking a child. I simply believe that men who go to sex workers, do think of those women as animals, and even ‘if’ they show you respect in the moment, the fantasies they have about you afterwards are not even worth contemplating. I cannot understand how anyone who wants equality for women, could possibly support the sex industry. Yes, ti must be protected in terms of as safe as possible working environments etc… but the industry is only ever going to attract men with issues to do with the hatred of women.

        Reply
        • So Michael, is this how you treat women? Like animals? Or like children who are incapable of knowing what’s good for us? Because unless you have interviewed thousands and thousands of sex workers and or our non violent, non abusive clients so that you have concrete data to back up your idiotic claim, all we can see from your comments is that this is how YOU view women, and then you project your own sick, twisted view of women as animals onto all other men, and in particular, those who pay for our services. It is YOU who has the issue with sex work, and your hatred of women which causes you to infantilize us, patronize us with your own inadequacies in how you deal with women.

          You do know that millions of wives around the world are treated like animals- that, according to the World Health Organization, one out of three women over the age of 15 are victims of violence, primarily at the hands of their spouse or boyfriends… which means that, based on your beliefs of how men treat sex workers- we ought to consider banning marriage.

          Unfortunately, the men whom people like you entrust to ‘rescue’ us DO treat us like animals. Cops are notorious for using the prohibition of consenting adult commercial sex to rape, extort and even pimp – prostitutes. And I have the documentation to prove it: http://www.policeprostitutionandpolitics.com/pdfs_all/Truth_about_sex_trafficking/122_196_cops_rape_extort_pimp_murder.pdf

          Not to mention, cops love diddling minors-
          http://www.policeprostitutionandpolitics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100:pedophile-and-child-porn-cops-all-years&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50

          I found that my clients were far more respectful of us than the many cops I dated when I worked on the LAPD for 10 years. And if my clients viewed me as an animal, they certainly never showed it. On the other hand, the cops I slept with DID show their contempt for women. So I would have to say that I much preferred to being treated the way my clients treated me than the way the cops did.

          And I am sure you are aware that there are plenty of bosses in other professions and jobs where they treat their employees as animals… what are we to do about those poor victim employees?

        • Seriously, why do you think you can get into other people’s heads? Why would you presume so much about what clients think? You’re making some pretty lofty claims there and I don’t see them being based on anything.

        • If you live in Manukau, or South Auckland, you would be one, of a minority of one, who have expressed public opposition to sex work and who have said they are without religious beliefs.

          However, your attitudes to women, believing that if they are paid for sex, they are being treated like animals is concerning, and is not backed up by evidence based research. What research do you have to back up your claims?

          You projection of your beliefs onto clients as a whole is also concerning, and again, without evidence.

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  10. ladysnowblood99

    Reblogged this on Ladysnowblood99's Blog and commented:
    still have to read it.. but it’s looking good for decriminalisation

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Melissa Gira Grant | Sex Work in 2013: No Debate

  12. Bwahahaha ….. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    Isn’t it strange how someone makes this claim when there is no evidence among sex workers in New Zealand for it.

    Are these workers in managed brothels? Because under the Swedish model they would be closed and they would be out of a job. Are you, and the one or two others who may agree with you aware if that?

    Furthermore, in Sweden and Norway they are pushing Operation Homeless, where the police approach a landlord of a worker operating from home or from a motel and tells the landlord that if the don’t evict the sex worker, the landlord will be prosecuted under the sexskopslagan.

    Police in Sweden and Norway harass Stretton based sex workers, and even take videos of them having sex in cars with clients.

    Do you realise that? Would you, who claims to work in a brothel, suddenly like to be without a job, and of you start at home, end up homeless, and if you start on the street, be continually harassed by the Police?

    Are you even aware that a group of young Thai women, who had nothing to do with the sex industry, we’re refused service in a cafe bar, because “all your type are sex workers and we don’t serve sex worker here”. When the women complained to the Discrimination Ombudsman, the original decision was allowed to stand as it was not an “unreasonable suggestion” and the intent of the Swedish law is to abolish sex work.

    NZPC on the side of the Pimps? Bwahahaha … bwahahaha … trololololololol.

    Given a lot of NZPC’S work is in support of sex workers, getting money back from bosses who bond or fine, supporting sex workers in the Disputes Tribunal when needed, supporting sex workers in front of other organisations such as the Police, and then supporting the sex worker and providing evidence to, the Human Rights Review Tribunal when a brothel operator sexually harassed a sex worker.

    That last could not happen in Sweden because of the ruling in the Office of the Discrimination Ombudsman. If you are assaulted as a sex worker the police turn a blind eye and let it slide, because maybe if it happens often enough, you’ll realise how violent it is. Yet in New Zealand we have police officers who take complaints from sex workers over violence and act on them. The Police here will even make sure you get paid properly if the client under pays you.

    So where are all these brothel workers who want the Swedish laws, and want their rights curtailed. Take them to NZPC so they can read the academic and other writing coming out of Sweden that shows it is one of the least desirable options for sex work regulation. Have you told these workers what would happen, as outlined above? What would they think then?

    Reply
  13. Re stats on workers wanting to exit the industry: I’ve always wondered about this (apologies if it’s obvious somewhere, I’m not a researcher).

    Sex work is largely service work, and I feel that stats should be compared to workers in other service industries. For example, I think it’s common knowledge that many people working in restaurants, cafes and bars may not want to work there forever, seeing it as a step in life, while others want a longer career there, and others who want different work struggle to find it. (It’s telling that when you work in hospitality many customers ask the same questions as they do of sex workers: “so do you study”/”do you have another job”/”what’s your long term goal?” – service work is undervalued and under respected across the board! And it’s so often the people valuing the work – ie paying for and accessing it – that simultaneously verbally devalue it)

    But we don’t talk of a bartender or similar “exiting” the hospitality industry. Do researchers ask SWs “do you feel trapped and you want to exit?” or do they ask “would you like to do different things in future work wise?” Very different questions in my opinion. Other workers get the luxury of just changing jobs or industries organically without having EXITING!! stamped on them.

    So I’d like to know, if anyone knows, do stats on the desire to “exit” sex work ever get compared with stats from workers across service and other industries who may desire to do different or multiple forms of work throughout their life?

    Reply

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