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So you don’t want to take Amnesty’s word for it? Okay.

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CN: stuff you might find by googling for low-quality cishet male porn 

Last week, Amnesty International finally published its full policy position on sex work. The reaction from anti-sex work feminists has been predictable: lots of vitriol, penis-shaped candles, and pimp smears, but little to no engagement with Amnesty’s actual arguments. The 101-page report into Amnesty’s research in Norway (Melissa Gira Grant has summarised it well here) has been, unsurprisingly, almost totally ignored, apart from a couple suggestions that Amnesty is too compromised for its research to be trusted anyway.

Well, great news, “Nordic model” advocates: you don’t have to take Amnesty’s word. Because Swedish super cop Simon Haggstrom – you’ll know him from his frequent visits to other countries to proselytise for the sex purchase ban – has now published his memoirs. Only in Swedish, alas, but that’s why God made Google Translate. Here are some of his views on how the law actually functions in practice. Let’s take them thematically, shall we?

On whether the law is “working” to end demand



On the law’s “normative effect” on young Swedish men


On whether sex workers are still hassled by police


Note the subtle threat in the above, made explicit in the next one:

On whether sex workers are de facto criminalised


Pro tip: ask anyone with a precarious immigration status in your country whether that sounds like a request to voluntarily assist with a police investigation. Or not.

On whether sex workers are treated respectfully and with dignity during raids

Confiscating their used tampons and displaying them as “evidence”? You decide.


Yes, this is an actual picture in the book

On whether the law is more concerned with preventing or punishing “exploitation”


In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking the “main reason” is something totally different. If the cops intervened before any sex took place, Simon would miss all the good parts:








And if all that wasn’t enough to answer one final question…

On who exactly benefits from this law


Well, there you go: it provides the cops with “excitement” and plenty of wank material, in which they themselves play a starring role in the action. Ironic, when you consider that Amnesty are the ones being accused of privileging men’s sexual desires.

So let’s recap. According to one of the law’s chief enforcers, it hasn’t changed men’s attitudes. It isn’t deterring them from paying for sex. It isn’t stopping women from selling sex (indeed, they have to engage in a sexual act before enforcement will take place at all). It is subjecting them to unwanted interactions with the police, up to and including detention, and deportation for those who refuse to accept the cops’ “help”. That … sounds an awful lot like what Amnesty found next door in Norway, doesn’t it?

But even Amnesty might be surprised at the clumsy, cringeworthy porn that Haggstrom illustrates his accounts with – more surprised than Swedish sex workers seem to be, which is possibly telling in itself. Is it any wonder he’s such an advocate for the law?  Without it, he’d have to get off with only his imagination again.

Credit to Lucy Smyth for translations and screenshots. 

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About Wendy Lyon

Fighting a lonely battle for evidence-based policy and the proper use of apostrophes.

72 responses »

  1. The gentleman doth protest too much,methinks

    Reply
  2. I am registered blind and use a screen reader (Jaws which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to read the screen). Jaws can only read text and the explanations of the Swedish policeman’s book appear to be graphical which Jaws can not interpret. Can you help in explaining them please? Many thanks, Kevin

    Reply
    • Hi. Here’s my attempt to transcribe the images. I may have made a few errors, but probably most of the apparent errors are in the original images. (For example “age of the average purchaser of sex has been raging” is in the original, along with many other mistakes and awkward phrasings.)

      On whether the law is “working” to end demand

      After all these years, the one thing that continues to amaze me – and that is that this trade in people in general are permitted to continue. Year after year women are transported in and out of Sweden. Here they sold a few weeks at a time, and then passed on to the next country. In politics we talk about human trafficking as a priority issue… But the number of individuals who work with concrete problems are extremely few and in most cities in Sweden, there are not any at all. This saddens me, for I am painfully aware that the majority of the victims being dragged into this will never go into a police station and… we will not see an end to this slave trade.

      (New image)

      But what provokes me most are still buyers. There are hundreds of them out there…. Do you remember the subject we had last year with that 15-year-old girl who put out a sex advert online and received 600 responses in 48 hours? Of all the hundreds of ads out there, we have had time to check a few pieces a week. The question every day we must ask ourselves is: What are all these people most in need of a visit from the Prostitution Group?
      One thing I am sure in all cases on. We in the Group Prostitution will never be unemployed. And we will never ever feel that we are inadequate.

      On the law’s “normative effect” on young Swedish men

      When I was on my first efforts against prostitution was the typical sex buyer an elderly Swedish man. Year after year, his name was usually something like Sven, Gustav Anders, Ulf, His or perhaps Ingemar, and was about 45 years old and up. But something happened about three years ago, in 2013. The sex buyers we seized was getting younger, and the way it has continued. Today we seizes men aged 18-25, sometimes even younger, more or less every week. From my front-line perspective, I can attest to the age of the average purchaser of sex has been raging in a relatively short time.

      On whether sex workers are still hassled by police

      -Fuck, I do not want the police to do. Go away.
      -We can not. We have arrested a total of six men who have been with you.
      -I do not do anything illegal. Why do you talk to me?
      -Because you are a witness to several crimes. Listen to me, sooner or later, we need to talk to ou, so it’s just as well that we do it now. Then we will not have to risk any neighbor sees or hears what the police are outside your door and do not let in. We do not want to spoil anything for you.

      Note the subtle threat in the above, made explicit in the next one:

      On whether sex workers are de facto criminalised

      You’ll have to follow us to the police station. You are not criminals and you are not under arrest, but we need to talk to you. We want to know why you are here, because we suspect that you may be involved in prostitution. And, if possible, we want to help you. If you don’t want our help, you will most likely be sent back home to where you live. I am sorry, but you don’t have a choice right now. You have to follow us to the station. Please just do as we say. We do not want anything bad to happen to you. You are not criminals, but you still have to do as we say.

      On whether the law is more concerned with preventing or punishing “exploitation”

      Sometimes I question why we do not stop the event before. Why do we let it go so far? How can we stand by and watch as these women are being exploited?…

      The crime is called purchase of sexual services is punishable at the attempt phase, which in theory means that already the verbal agreement of six against payment constitutes a breach of the law…

      We intervene at an experimental stage, it is very difficult to prove a buying sex… This is the main reason why we often intervenes in the middle of the act.

      In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking the “main reason” is something totally different. If the cops intervened before any sex took place, Simon would miss all the good parts:

      We place ourselves outside room 539, puts us on each side and press their ears against the hotel room door. Trying to listen through doors are always a lottery. Sometimes you can very clearly hear what is happening on the other side, but in other cases the door can be most likened to a cement wall…the smacking and slurping as I first did not identify. After a few seconds I realize that it is the sound of intense kissing…. A moment later, the sounds have been replaced by a strong male groan and a female whimper. And so that klatschandet that occurs when two people have sex with each other. Skin hitting the skin.

      (New image)

      At the far end stands Emilia. She has her jeans pulled down to her knees and is leaning forward. Behind her stands a man, the same age as myself… H emoves back and forth. He has intercourse with Emilia from behind, and is completely engrossed in what he does. I take two steps in… The man turns around, discovering only now that he has been joined in the small space… I hold up my police ID, and the man withdraws immediately from Emilia.

      (New image)

      The man closes his eyes. Enjoying. He thinks about how much he loves it here. How long he waited. That it is both forbidden and wrong makes it so exciting. He has control over the situation. He owns her. He does what he wants. Faster. And harder. The sweat starts running down his forehead. But he was horny too long for him to be able to hold out longer than a few minutes… He is very close now. Harder. Faster. The moment the pleasure reaches its climax… and the whole man’s life is destroyed. Black shadows comes rushing toward him… We come from the police. You are under arrest.

      (New image)

      I still can not believe that I hold in my hand is real… “Pregnant Swedish Escort with genuine PHOTOS…” I was completely convinced that the ad was fake… We could not be more than arrive before the first sex buyer was standing outside the gate, waiting to be let. In just a few hours we had seized the entire five – and here we are, waiting for the sixth… From inside the apartment heard groaning and moaning from a man and a woman, and the regular flapping that occurs when skin meets skin -Oh! I’m coming now! I’m coming now! Now jets I!

      (New image)

      The woman’s head moves back and forth, and he enjoys while his limb becomes harder and harder. Man thinking. Why is it so much more comfortable when a hooker sucks him than when his wife does? Is it the thrill? Or is it for the whores do it very often and therefore become so damn good at it? It seems logical. If you do something enough times becomes simply the best at it….

      (New image)

      I want to fuck you now. Can I fuck you without a condom?..

      The woman takes out a condom from her purse and gently crack the package in half. She leans forward and threading the condom over the man’s erect penis. Looking up…

      When she gets up she pulls up his pants, but only to the knees. The woman stumbles up to the big tombstone, taking support with both hands, spreads her legs and bends forward. The man comes up right behind her, taking a firm hold of the woman’s waist and moaning when he penetrates her….

      (New image)

      Under cover of darkness, we sneak quietly, quickly and carefully across the gravel parking lot. The car still sways up and down when we get to the tailgate. They thus have not discovered us… I pressed myself against the cool car door and starts to slowly get up. A few centimeters at a time. Up at the window, I see a naked woman’s back in the back seat. Kristýna. She moves up and down over a man, also naked. The woman riding the man intensely….-Fuck me harder! Fuck me harder, you little whore! The woman responds with a groan higher and the car is moving increasingly intense… It’s time now…. I’m banging on the window and screaming. – POLICE!

      And if all that wasn’t enough to answer one final question…

      On who exactly benefits from this law

      I loved my job as a narcotics agent… But there was one thing that I thought was even more exciting, and it was the recurring prostitution efforts. I found that both the environment and the meetings with these people, both those who sold and those who bought sex were incredibly interesting, and I saw as often as I could… I had to start to open the door to a world that I could not imagine in my wildest imagination.

      Reply
  3. sexworkersupporter

    This is truly nauseating. I gave up reading at one point. It took two goes to get through it.

    Only a few years ago we’d have all been proud of how civilized we had become now that the era of police or detectives breaking down doors to catch consenting adults ‘in the act’ was past or passing. Such things surely were the correlatives of an age that still believed in ‘homosexual’ criminalisation and fault-based divorce. It is genuinely distressing how many people seem to want to turn the clock back –and are succeeding in turning it back.

    Hopefully between this, the Amnesty report, and Emily Bazelon’s articles the ‘Swedish Experiment’ will no longer be seen as some sort of progressive, social democratic agenda item, and will go back to being the hobby horse of a small coterie of ‘PiV-Critical’ feminists and Christian evangelicals and conservatives.

    Maybe some people are about to notice that the expensive outfit they’ve been cutting such a dashing figure in lately is no longer in style, and are going to quickly go home and get changed.

    Reply
  4. Pieter Kees de Jong

    The link to Amnesty’s full policy position doesn’t work (any more).

    Reply
  5. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    The respected human rights organisation Amnesty International has come out in favour of the decriminalisation of prostitution by which they mean payed sex between consenting adults. This post is thought provoking and well worth a read. Kevin

    Reply
  6. As an ex-police officer I am of the view that prostitution should be legalised and regulated so that the ladies (or gentlemen, for that matter) can work in a safe and clean environment, contribute taxes and to a pension fund and receive the benefits and protections offered to any other lawfully employed person. The use of contraception would be mandatory and regular health checks for the staff carried out. You will never stop the sex trade – it is the oldest profession – but it can be made safer for all concerned,

    Reply
    • Do you think your view that prostitution should be decriminalised is widely shared by many serving police officers? I seem to remember seeing articles in the press whether someone from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) had mooted the idea of “tolerance zones” in which prostitution would be permitted subject to certain conditions. I may, however be mistaken on that point. Kevin

      Reply
      • From those I worked with, yes – wholeheartedly. We had ‘tolerance zones’ where I worked, with specialist outreach workers engaging with the girls regarding drug addictions, personal safety and all sorts. But the girls were still working on the streets, still controlled by pimps and not really addressing other health issues. It works up to a point, but unless the government move to regulate the ‘industry’ the same old problems will occur.

        Reply
        • Thanks for your response Lucy. Its interesting to note that many police officers appear to be in favour of a more liberal approach to the world’s oldest profession. Kevin

        • It is something that won’t go away so it is better to make it safer. And on a purely practical note, taxes raised from it could be put into drug addiction programs and such.

    • Thanks for your comment. Mandatory health testing is opposed by the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and organisations involved in sex worker health promotion around the world. It isn’t cost-effective, it’s discriminatory and it encourages the development of a two-tier system where the most marginalised sex workers remain outside the law’s protections. The better approach is regulation of sex work as work, under the occupational health and safety code, and with ready access to condoms, non-judgmental health services and voluntary HIV/STI testing, as is done in New Zealand and New South Wales.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: In the News (#642) | The Honest Courtesan

  8. Wow. I just… don’t know what to say. Wow. Has there been any chat about this on the anti’s sites?

    I’ve often pondered why much of the prohibitionists’ discourse sounds like brutal hate porn. Seems like they and the police here are matches made in heaven.

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  9. When the links between decriminalisation of sex work and trafficking are widely acknowledged

    http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/pdf/Article-for-World-Development-_prostitution_-anonymous-REVISED.pdf what do you put forward as better than the Nordic model?

    Nearly 90 per cent of sex workers in Germany and France are trafficked. Hopefully that will change now that France has implemented the Nordic model. Those women will now be able to get identity papers.

    How do you think legalisation or decriminalisation helps prostitutes in Germany, Netherlands or NSW? Netherlands has a huge problem with trafficking:

    http://www.novinite.com/articles/164171/Bulgaria+Among+EU+Countries+with+Most+Human+Trafficking+Victims+-+EC

    New South Wales has more Asian sex workers than does any other state. Many are held in debt bondage; some unable to leave the premises. They are beaten, and forced to work every day of the month (except on the days they have their period). With so much competition, they are forced to offer unprotected sex: http://www.news.com.au/national/more-than-500-sydney-prostitutes-are-offering-unprotected-sex-to-clients-in-brothels/story-e6frfkvr-1226240361118

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  10. And I’ve given you a link which shows exactly why that research is hopelessly unreliable. Please feel free to address the criticisms in that link. Saying that the people who published the research are “distinguished academics” isn’t really much of an argument.

    Reading those excerpts from Haggstrom’s book, does it sound to you like the power is in the hands of the people who sell sex in Sweden?

    Reply
    • Wendy, you are clutching at straws. If a book written by a policeman is all you’ve got–the only evidence you have–you’ve got nothing.

      It seems you would rather that women be subjected to the torture that they’re made to endure in German LEGAL brothels, where men can select from a menu: cutting, anal sex without condom, gang bangs. Perhaps you prefer that more than 80 per cent of a country’s sex workers are trafficked from Romania or elsewhere in Eastern Europe (as in France or Germany); or India, where they start them off as young as nine. They ‘condition’ them by constantly raping these girls until they lose hope. You would prefer a system whereby sex workers are so often murdered, that they authorities can no longer keep track and sometimes not identify the body–as happens in Germany.

      Noone has said that the Nordic model is perfect, but it is the only system which acknowledges the imbalance of power in the transaction. It keeps women alive. France has recently adopted the Nordic model, and then some. It is giving identification papers to those sex workers (86 per cent) who have none. It provides employment assistance, retraining, counselling, education and housing assistance. Why would you object to women receiving such assistance if they want it?

      It seems you’ve not read any of the links I provided. If you had, you would see that the New Zealand model is an abject failure: all decriminalisation did was put the power in the hands of the brothel owners and pimps. Decriminalisation throws the most vulnerable–young girls (and boys) escaping a dysfunctional home environment–to the wolves. You would prefer young 12 year old Maori and Islander children selling themselves on the streets and addicted to drugs? Because that’s what’s happening in New Zealand.

      Reply
      • The “only evidence I have”? There’s evidence all over this blog. Much of it comes from reports written by various branches of the Swedish government. And that policeman is the one who is primarily in charge of enforcing the law in Sweden. When he’s addressing people in other countries bragging about how great the law is, Swedish model advocates cite him all the time, yet when he writes a book for Swedish consumption only all of a sudden he’s just some policeman?

        I did read your links, and I’m not sure how you think they prove NZ is an abject failure. The only real detail is that there is more unsafe sex in NZ brothels now. Studies of Sweden and Norway have also found that there is more unsafe sex there, so again, this is a poor argument for the Nordic alternative.

        Once again: where is the evidence that the Swedish model actually puts power in the hands of sex workers, rather than merely “acknowledging the imbalance”?

        As for the rest of your comment, is it not possible for even one Nordic supporter to make your arguments without resorting to porny language and straw men?

        Reply
        • Sorry, one more thing. The French “exit assistance” is provided only to those who stop selling sex completely – and so little funds have been made available for it, it’s unlikely anyone is going to receive enough to actually enable them stop selling sex. As in Norway, it seems the real intention behind the law is to get migrant sex workers to leave the country.

        • The French law makes it possible for all the ‘migrant workers’ to get ID papers, so it’s nonsensical to say that France is trying to get rid of them. http://www.cap-international.org/

          What is it about the ‘porny’ language that you find so offensive? It’s the truth. Why be so prudish? More and more, sex workers are finding that ‘clients’ want porn sex–pummelling, slapping, biting. I’m sorry if that offends your sensibilities, but it’s what sex workers put up with on a day-to-day basis. Most men who buy sex are married, and prostituted women are expected to do the things that wives and girlfriends won’t. People need to be disabused of the notion that it’s ‘just like any other job’. Read any punter site and the misogyny and hatred of women is clear.

          Decriminalisation does not put power back into the hands of the sex workers; it simply enables traffickers and empowers the brothel owners. That has been the case in New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands. http://www.sabinabecker.com/2014/09/the-invisible-men-germanys-woman-haters-hide-in-plain-sight.html

          “The johns talk about when and whether a woman is ready for anal sex. Others say just shove it in without asking. Or take the condom off before you cum. It is the johns, whose demand determines the low German prices, whose demand for condomless sex raises the health risks for women. It is the johns whose demand for paid sex ensures that human trafficking is a more profitable business in Germany than drugs or guns. The men shamelessly ask where they can find under-age girls.”

          Prostitution doesn’t affect only the prostituted. Those men that buy sex (and only 10 per cent of men do) go home to wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters and daughters. It affects ALL women.

          A study found that men who use prostitutes have less empathy for women and were more likely to rape and commit other sexual offences. Both groups (men who commit sexual violence and men who buy sex):

          ” tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification.”

          http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/crime/study-men-who-pay-for-sex-are-more-likely-to-rape-and-abuse-22253

          NatashaFalle has worked with prostituted women since 2001. Her findings from the surveys filled out by the women was that 97–yes, ninety-seven–per cent wanted to exit the industry. Hundreds said they were controlled by pimps and had entered prostitution between the ages of `13 and 16.

          These are the facts. I’m sorry if you’re uncomfortable with them. But the problems won’t get dealt with while they’re hidden and people pretend that it’s just a ‘job’.

        • The French law makes it possible for all the ‘migrant workers’ to get ID papers, so it’s nonsensical to say that France is trying to get rid of them.

          It’s not nonsensical when France is making it “possible” only to those migrant workers who abide by impossible conditions. They know full well most will not be able to, and hope they will simply leave.

          Read any punter site and the misogyny and hatred of women is clear.

          Read Reddit or 4chan or any other site mostly populated by men and you’ll see exactly the same thing. Incidentally, you do know that “punter” sites originated in the US, where it’s been illegal to pay for sex for decades, and became popular as a means for clients to distinguish genuine escorts from undercover cops?

          You’ve still failed to provide any substantial evidence for the “failure” of the New Zealand model. Bald assertions that it has empowered pimps, without any explanation or examples of how it has done so, are not evidence. Reports by both the Norwegian Department of Justice and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, by contrast, have provided specific explanations as to how the Swedish model has made sex workers more reliant on pimps.

          A study found that men who use prostitutes have less empathy for women and were more likely to rape and commit other sexual offences.

          Ah, Melissa Farley. Her research methods are notoriously suspect, but even if you accept this to be true: which types of male sex buyers do you think are more likely to be deterred by laws that criminalise clients? Those who are more likely to rape and commit other sexual offences, or those who are not?

          NatashaFalle has worked with prostituted women since 2001. Her findings from the surveys filled out by the women was that 97–yes, ninety-seven–per cent wanted to exit the industry. Hundreds said they were controlled by pimps and had entered prostitution between the ages of `13 and 16.

          The organisation where Natasha Falle worked when she made these findings was an organisation whose purpose was to help women leave the sex industry. This is like taking a survey at a jobs fair and reporting that 97 – yes, ninety-seven per cent of attendees are looking for jobs.

          Since you like statistics on very marginalised Canadian populations, though, have a look at this one.

  11. Under the French Nordic Model five million euros every year will go into prevention as well as exiting and support services. Are you saying that you don’t want some of the most marginalised women affected by intergenerational abuse to access that five million euros?

    The French legislation offers trafficked women six-month residency permits in order to make use of the exiting programs. Are they the ‘impossible conditions’ you speak of?

    What’s your point about misogynists on Reddit or 4chan? That misogynists exist other than on punting sites? That punters also frequent Reddit or 4chan? That the world is populated by a portion of men who hate us? And what do you think feeds that? Domestic violence and violence against women starts with men’s disrespect of women. Having women objectified and treated like pieces of meat does nothing to engender the ‘respect’ needed for gender equality. The fact that prostitution exists tells us that we have a long way to go: men can’t respect us while they can buy us.

    You have failed to provide any evidence at all for the success of the New Zealand model. Here http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/228448/prostitutes-tell-mps-law-changes-have-failed-them, Elizabeth Subritzky tells MPs that decriminalising prostitution has not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but has also transformed prostitution into an acceptable job for young, poor women… She told the committee no other legalised industry in New Zealand has the violence that occurs in the sex industry.

    That decriminalisation and legalisation empowers pimps is well known: Germany has Michael Beretin and Jürgen Rudloff; the Netherlands has its gangs; New Zealand has the Chow brothers. http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/welcome-to-paradise/

    You’ve failed to provide any evidence of your claims that Swedish women have to rely on pimps. It’s pretty clear that your objection to Farley has nought to do with her research, but everything to do with her findings. You don’t like the evidence so you impugn the character of the messenger.

    Considering the following information, one has to ask why you would wish this ‘job’ on any woman (All facts drawn from studies http://www.ksufreedomalliance.org/sex-trafficking.html):

    60% to 75% were raped in prostitution;
    – 75% of those in prostitution have been homeless at some point in their lives
    – 65% to 95% of those in prostitution were sexually assaulted as children;
    93% were sexually abused prior to prostitution
    – 85% of those were abused prior to being prostituted
    – 68% of 854 people in strip club, massage, and street prostitution in 9 countries met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
    – 71% of the women interviewed in a study had significant symptoms of dissociation
    – 90% of prostituted women interviewed by WHISPER had pimps
    – 100% of those said “they didn’t want anyone they loved to ever have to prostitute their bodies for survival”
    – 85% to 95% of those in prostitution want to escape it, but have no other options for survival
    – 92% of those in prostitution of a 5-country study who wanted out of prostitution immediately and considered it slavery, not work 
    – 89% of 854 people in prostitution from 9 countries told us that they wanted to escape prostitution
            -75% needed a home or safe place
            -76% needed job training
            -61% needed health care
            -56% needed individual counseling
            -51% needed peer support 
            -51% needed legal assistance
            -47% needed drug/alcohol treatment 
    – Prostituted women are the number one victims of serial killers
    – Prostituted women have a 200% greater chance to die
    – Out of 218 “johns” who were warned that the women they were looking at online were actually minors, 42% still wanted the underage girl

    Again, you take issue with the messenger, Natasha Falle, instead of dealing with her findings.
    One has to wonder whether you are on the side of women, or the men buying them. Unfortunately some women say you can’t wolf whistle at a woman in the street but you can pay a poor or drug addicted woman to give you a blowjob. Think about it.

    Reply
    • The French legislation offers trafficked women six-month residency permits in order to make use of the exiting programs. Are they the ‘impossible conditions’ you speak of?

      I’ve already referred to the impossible conditions: they insist that women stop selling sex in order to avail of the programs. If you have any actual experience with survival sex workers, you’ll know that they are rarely able to simply stop selling sex, and usually drift in and out for some time until they’ve found a suitable alternative and dealt with any other issues underlying their participation in the sex trade. Most “exit” services don’t require them to totally stop, for precisely this reason.

      €4.8m may sound like a lot of money, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what it would actually cost to make sufficient changes in the lives of many of these women to compensate for a total loss of their sex work income.

      So, why do you think they’ve made it a prerequisite that the person is no longer selling sex?

      As for Elizabeth Subritzky, I would not be in the habit of citing conservative Christians as authority on women’s rights, but whatever floats your boat. Here’s some actual research evidence on the impacts of the law.

      That decriminalisation and legalisation empowers pimps is well known: Germany has Michael Beretin and Jürgen Rudloff; the Netherlands has its gangs; New Zealand has the Chow brothers.

      … Sweden has the Romanian gang, the US has god knows how many. The evidence that the Swedish model promotes pimping appears in this report by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, this from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, and the 2014 report commissioned by the Norwegian government, which I can’t find the English link to at the moment, but the specific finding is cited in Amnesty’s Norway report.

      And I haven’t taken any issue with Natasha Falle’s findings. I 100% accept her findings. They’re no more than you would expect from a survey of women attending an exit service. With regard to Farley’s, again, even if they’re correct they’re still not justification for a law against paying for sex. Nor are your other statistics, because none of them address the core issue which is how that law actually works in practice. If so many women are having such a horrible time in prostitution, why would you want to impose on them a law that those actually working under it overwhelmingly say makes things worse?

      Reply
      • Five million euros EACH YEAR is offered to women. What’s offered to women under decriminalisation or legalisation regimes? Oh, that’s right—nothing.

        Oh dear, here you go shooting the messenger again. Elizabeth Subritzky presented a petition signed by New Zealand sex workers on the failure of decriminalisation. You’ve completely ignored them in your dismissal of Subritszky, just because she’s either not the right religion, or any religion at all. What makes these ‘sex workers’ not worth listening to?

        ‘Prostituted woman’ is the term preferred by women who’ve exited the sex trade. I can understand men being apologises for johns; much harder to understand when it’s a woman. It’s ironic that this, a feminist site, has

        You’ve provided two links: one is more than ten years old; the other nearly ten The 2004 report states that street prostitution has halved in both Sweden and Gothenburg. The ‘doubling’ that you refer to is due to “a list of clients found by police”. The report also states that ’85 per cent of prostitutes have problems with alcohol and/or drugs and that is the reason they turn to prostitution’; and that up to 50 per cent have a mental illness. And you don’t want to provide counselling, housing assistance, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation to those women?

        I–as most women are–am very happy that the Nordic Model is spreading worldwide. It’s a testament to our evolution as humans.

        I want to thank you. It is people such as yourself that show the world what we do not want and what we need to move away from to create a better place for women.

        I’ll end with parts of a letter written by Huschke Mau–a woman who spent ten years in the German (the decriminalised environment of which you are so enamoured) sex trade. Although it is written to a German political party, I hope you read it with the understanding that it addressed to any prostitution proponent, just like you:

        “I too know prostitution well, having spent ten years in it.

        …Why do we need to allow men to buy women (because most prostitutes are female and those who are male serve homosexual buyers). How do you explain this fact and what does it tell you? Apparently, for you, this does not constitute a forced relation. And there it is already, the first blind spot on your lens.

        The only one living it up in prostitution is the punter!

        You are writing that prostitution is sex. You know, for me, there are at least two persons involved in sex. It is not one person exclusively serving the client’s sexual wishes while having to “delete” her own sexuality and herself, who she is, her personality.

        I would like to ask you which sphere of prostitution you are living in if you haven’t noticed that the “varieties” of “sexualities”, i.e. the punters’ “wishes” are becoming more and more violent and are more and more seeking to humiliate.

        Why don’t you read the punters’ websites, dear Stephanie? It is clearly written there that men (punters) experience it as an expression of their own power when they can spit into women’s faces in brothels and “squirt” their sperm into them; if they can test how much the woman can take when it comes to anal intercourse; when they ejaculate on her face and insist on her swallowing their sperm, after they, the punters, have pushed their dick up to her tonsils.

        Why don’t you take a look at the language in those punters’ forums? Look at how they’re enjoying it, how they’re getting off on the knowledge that the woman does not like this, but only does it for the money, that she has to do it because she needs the darn dough or because there’s some dork sitting in the next room. How they consciously test out and violate limits and even if they may not fully indulge in their own sadist side, they at least are fully aware of it.

        …And no, Stephanie, the punter does not forget this feeling of power that he’s paid for. He doesn’t forget that women are disposable, that he can take them for himself, that they are there to satisfy his desires, that they delete their sexuality and soul during the act and aren’t allowed to have needs/boundaries/wishes. Oh, no. He takes this feeling that equates sex with power for him and carries it away from the brothel and it affects his behaviour towards women who aren’t in prostitution. Prostitution is violence. A man-satisfying machine.

        … I already hear the pseudo argument according to which the punter isn’t buying the women, but a “service,” what nonsense! Can you separate your pussy, your ass, your breasts, your mouth and what you do with them from yourself? It’s always the whole person being touched.)

        You do NOT speak for me, nor for any prostitute that I know!

        Just take a look at what punters want: kissing, everything without condom, anal intercourse (without a condom as well), French complete (meaning, swallowing sperm), tongue anal, fist fuck, ejaculating in the face, they want gang-bang and rape-parties, they want younger and younger girls, they want girls “with no taboos” who are conditioned to do EVERYTHING the punter wants. They want flatrate-fucking, as many girls and women as possible, all included in the club’s entry fee.

        How do you explain this to yourself? It is clear that with its legalization, prostitution has shown its true essence: violence. Complete disposability of women’s bodies. The unbridled acting out of male violence. And also: sexualized torture.

        Because, dear Stephanie, if you took a look around the punters’ forums, you would see that punters are misogynists. That they love to torment women, to go to the limits of what’s bearable for them. And there’s something else: punters want forced prostitutes. Because they can be sure that they (have to) accept practices that every “decent”, old-established German prostitute would reject.

        … there are several big brothels in every city and that almost all of the women working there barely speak any German or very little, their “protectors” bringing them there in the morning and picking them up in the evening, women who offer practices that hurt and put their health at risk? Do they enjoy that, or what? All masochists? And you write that for these women (from Romania, from Bulgaria) prostitution is a great alternative? You think that prostitution is a great alternative to poverty?

        For example, when the room rent is so high that they have to accept a punter even if they don’t want to, because if they don’t, they are covered in debt they owe to the “landlord.” When they don’t dare to reject a punter or they will again get in trouble with the “guards” or the “brothel owner” who doesn’t like it when his girls have a reputation of “being difficult.”

        … I am one of those “voluntary” prostitutes so many people talk about. I started at age 18, after having been battered and sexually abused by my stepfather for 17 years and after having run away from home. I thought this was the only thing I was capable of, that I was only good for fucking. And anyway, if this is the only thing I am good for, then this is my life insurance allowing me to survive.

        At the beginning, I thought I had power. Well look, they’re even paying for you. I regulated access to my own body through prostitution. This is what I learned: anybody can jump on your bones anyway. And then, I was allowed to filter: nope, not anybody any longer, only those who can afford it.

        … I have not witnessed one single prostitute who hasn’t been sexually abused/raped or experienced some other form of sexualized violence as a child or as an adult. I would even venture to say that the reason why our society doesn’t consistently shut down the mass abuse of young girls is that it profits from it. Abuse is like breaking in a horse at an early age. Which comes in useful, as through the abuse, women/girls learn to dissociate, to delete themselves during the act. To not being there (and this is exactly what the punter pays for – for the women’s will not being there in that moment, because he has paid it away).

        The link between sexual abuse and prostitution has long been proven and documented: at least 60 percent of all female prostitutes have been sexually abused in their childhood (with other statistics stating 90 percent).The only thing these women are living out, Stephanie, is the re-enactment of their traumas which they hope to be able to process, but of course cannot.

        There are women living in prostitution who are traumatized and prostitution traumatizes them further. … there are tons of prostitutes (including myself) suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (studies show at least 60 percent with fully developed PTSD)?

        I am one of those women who entered prostitution when prostitution stopped “offending morality” in Germany. Should I tell you what the effect of legalization was? Just like the majority of all prostitutes, I did not register as such because I was afraid that then I wouldn’t be able to exit. Because I was afraid of being asked why I didn’t want to work as a prostitute any more, as this was a job like any other. And this is exactly what happened when I wanted out. I had been seeking help at the public health department and only received incomprehension. And I didn’t get out.

        What was I supposed to tell the employment office when asking for unemployment benefits so that I didn’t have to suck ten dicks a day any longer, so that I could have a place to stay and something to eat?

        … You also forget the use of drugs and alcohol among prostitutes… (Why? If everything’s so great? But apparently, it’s all just a great big party, an orgy, a debauch, and it’s just part of living it up, hey?) There’re so many things you forget. You forget the forced prostitution, the punters’ violence, the pimps’ violence (oh wait, they’re not called pimps any longer, but “partners”, “security guards”, “landlords”). You forget the hatred of women, the self-hatred. You forget that landlords, brothel owners, newspapers (yes, those ads in which prostitutes promote themselves are extremely expensive), the state (taxes), that they’re all profiting. You forget that everyone makes money off of a prostitute and that they exploit her.

        Who benefits the least? The prostitute. She receives the smallest share of the money, everyone makes money out of her, everyone gets something out of her (sex, money, a satisfied lust for power), but what does she get? She gets post-traumatic stress disorder, a substance addiction and a whole lot of loneliness and self-loathing…

        What’s weird is that when I have those flashbacks that I get from the PTSD caused by prostitution, what I see before my mind’s eye are always the images of punters abusing me! Stephanie, why don’t you ask trauma therapists where the PTSD comes from that the prostitutes suffer from, the prostitutes who are lucky enough to manage to exit?

        I’ve had enough of you prostitution proponents who have no clue about what prostitution is, you who want to tell me that prostitution is a job like any other. I’m fed up with you, you who try to feed everybody the fairy tale of the oh-so-great voluntary prostitution. You who have no idea about prostitution and blab something along the lines of “prostitution used to be an expression of power over women, but now, it’s a reversal of the power relations, the prostitute has power over the punter” in your leftist self-conception. I’ve never experienced any power when I lay under some damn punter and I don’t know any woman who’s ever experienced it that way!

        You make me want to puke, you who are in prostitution and call yourselves “sex workers.” Because you arrogate the right to speak for us all, for all of us in prostitution, and because you make those who know nothing about prostitution … believe that it’s all just okay.

        I can’t bear it any longer that you pretend to speak for ALL prostitutes. You’re a minority in prostitution. The reality you’re depicting doesn’t exist that way. You deny victims of violence their being victims, and, what’s more, advise them to be cheerful about it because it’s all so fabulous. You’re silencing the MAJORITY of prostitutes.

        The majority that’s still boozing, taking drugs or enacting their abuse again and again, in the treacherous hope this will ease the pain. The majority that, at some stage, adopts the hatred of those committing violence against them, transforming it into self-hatred and who “voluntarily” enter this spiral of violence. You spill your sneer over those women wanting to speak up about the violence in prostitution: “Oh well, I’m sorry YOU’ve had bad experiences,” as if the violence wasn’t inherent to the structure of prostitution, but due to the woman’s lacking professionalism, to her damaged personality that makes her unable to bear such an amazing experience.

        You want to speak for everyone? You do NOT speak for me, nor for any other prostitute I know. You profit from the fact that most prostitutes are simply too busy surviving, too traumatized to even talk. I forbid you to speak for all prostitutes, because you silence those who could name this violence, you use their silence and simply don’t mention them, making them victims once again.
        When you say “everyone should be allowed to do what they want,” in reality, you only mean that the punters and pimps, those standing behind you, should be allowed to do what they want. Not the prostitutes.

        You aren’t liberating anybody with your neo-liberal drivel. When you say that prostitution should simply be freed from any controls, sanctions etc. and then everything would be super, you’re lying and you pursue a strange theory: If the victims of slavery feel unhappy from being slaves, will it help to legalize slavery so that the slaves won’t be “discriminated against by society” any more and can have themselves enslaved even better within the walls of slavery?
        Without regards,
        Huschke Mau”

        Reply
        • Five million euros EACH YEAR is offered to women.

          Er, no. €4.8m/pa is not being offered to women. According to the law the funds are available to “support any initiative aimed at sensitizing the population to the effects of prostitution on health and reduction of health risks, prevention of entry into prostitution and inclusion of prostitutes.” In other words, some of that money is going to “public awareness” programmes (a notorious black hole of waste, from my experience of many years working in legislature), a lot of it will go towards salaries and other admin costs of whoever is providing the prevention and exit programmes. The actual benefits or assistance to women for leaving prostitution will come from whatever’s left over from that – and again, the notion that it will be sufficient to enable them to meet the condition of not selling sex at all is utterly farcical.

          And France gets away with it, because people like you see numbers like “4.8 million” and get stars in your eyes without actually querying what those numbers really mean. If it’s so important to you to have exit programmes, why aren’t you demanding real ones?

          I make no apology for not believing a conservative Christian really has women’s best interests at heart. But according to your link, the petition was signed by “former prostitutes”. Do you know how many of them even worked under decrim?

          And no, “prostituted woman” is the term preferred by some women who have left the sex industry and who are now vocal advocates against it. Many others who have left are still active in the sex worker rights movement, and there’s a whole lot more who are just getting on with their lives and have probably never even heard the term.

          You’ve provided two links: one is more than ten years old; the other nearly ten

          Actually I provided three. The Amnesty Norway report is linked in the post that we’re commenting on. It’s from this year and cites a report two years old. The fact that the findings from the 2014 report are similar to those of the 2004 and 2007 reports suggests that the 2004 and 2007 reports are still pretty reliable, at least on this particular issue.

          The ‘doubling’ that you refer to is due to “a list of clients found by police”

          Er … what doubling is that? Now you’re replying to things I haven’t even said.

          And you know, you can quote as many lurid reports as you like (and you sure do seem to like them). You still aren’t going to convince me that the solution is to bring in law that the women actually working under it say make things even worse.

        • You sound the cry for the very few at the top of the tree who are there of their own volition. You don’t include all the millions upon millions of women and female children raped and held hostage in brothels in every developing country in the world; the women who do it because of their belief they’re not good for anything else; the women who do put their hands out for help, but are turned away; women who are simply trying to keep a roof over their heads or pay for their next meal. At least the Nordic Model acknowledges these women and provides them something–far more than does the system for which you advocate.

          And, yes, I know sex workers–both past and current. I suspect you don’t know many, because if you did, you wouldn’t be so sensitive to the reality of what goes on during a ‘transaction’. Talk to women about what they do in prostitution: you need to be disabused of the notion that this is a clean job with ‘lovely’ clients. In fact, if I were to quote you what current sex workers have told me of the industry and their feelings about it, I’ve no doubt it would affect your puritanical, white sensibilities.

          For what purpose do you whitewash the reality? It is what it is–it’s a dirty, lurid business. If you turn your back on the luridness of it, you turn your back on knowing the truth of any sex *worker* and you turn your back on women.

          Your brand of censorial wowserism doesn’t help women. I’ve been told by a good friend (who’s a sex *worker*) that many keyboard warriors who decry the Nordic Model are men posing as women. Gee, I wonder why men would want the oppression of prostitution to remain?? Her words: ” Ask that they validate their claim to fame of being a gettin down fkn n sukn hooker.”

        • You sound the cry for the very few at the top of the tree who are there of their own volition.

          The ones at the “top of the tree” are the ones least adversely affected by the Swedish model. In fact, a lot of them are doing pretty well out of it. They have their long-standing reputation built up already, clients know they’re genuine escorts and not undercover cops, so they’ll keep all their regulars as well as picking up new clients who are afraid to see less established women. And if they do want to leave the industry, there are plenty of other options. The ones hurt by the law are the ones who aren’t so well established, and lose clients to the “top tree” ones, and have to compensate by dropping their prices, taking on more dodgy clients, engaging in less safe sexual acts, and working longer hours, because they don’t have other options and the Nordic model actually isn’t giving them anything of real substance.

          Let’s be honest. This isn’t about them. It’s about you, and others like you, who just want a law that expresses your opposition to prostitution as an industry, whatever the effects on actual prostitutes.

          you need to be disabused of the notion that this is a clean job with ‘lovely’ clients.

          Again: replying to things I didn’t say. For your info, I know many, many sex workers, and former sex workers; I know them in person and not just through their keyboard. I’ve acted for many of them in a professional capacity, and for the most part these would be the ones you profess to be concerned about. The Nordic model would make their lives even worse. That’s why I oppose it.

        • And for the record: my objection to your resort to lurid anecdotes about “the reality of prostitution” isn’t puritanical. It’s because I find it a tool of deliberate diversion, by which you seek to avoid addressing the actual impact of the law you advocate. Which, in fact, is precisely how you’ve used it here.

        • I cant see how a prohibition on paying for sex could be enforced as regards those sex workers/escorts who see clients in their own homes. Most agencies use wording on their sites to the effect of “we provide companionship only. Anything else which may occur is a matter between consenting adults” or “money exchanged is for companionship only. Anything else which may occur is a matter between consenting adults”. There is no way of knowing what goes on once the escort is in the customer’s home. Of course authorities could bug the phones of escorts and/or escort agencies but experienced operators (both clients and agencies) would, surely not discuss the provision of sexual services over the phone or via email etc. As an author/poet I have researched the sex industry which leads me to be sceptical of the effectiveness of the Nordic Model both from the point of view of practical implementation and it’s negative effect on sex workers.

        • Simon Haggstrom’s book includes a number of photos which show exactly how he enforces it. There are pictures of him listening in outside doors, and peeking in through windows. The level of state intrusion that Nordic model supporters are willing to accept is also something I find remarkable, but I suppose it’s different when you’re not the one with Peeping Toms in uniform outside your house.

        • The idea of policemen listening at doors to what consenting adults are doing in private chilling (it would be rissible where it not such a gross infringement of the liberty of the individual). Do you know of any Swedish or Norwegian police who have expressed doubts regarding the law?

        • Doubts about whether it’s ok to snoop in at doors and windows? No. I do know of a few – including Haggstrom in his book – who, while not addressing the issue of whether the law itself is flawed – have publicly acknowledged that the number of people buying and selling sex is still quite high and perhaps even increasing.

        • Thanks. If you ever want to write a piece for my site please let me know. I would be pleased to host you. Kevin

        • Sorry, I meant to say “is chilling”.

        • You keep refering to Germany and the Netherlands as examples of decriminalisation. That’s wrong. Prostitution is not decriminalized in either country. Also, as for the gangs in the Netherlands: there is currently no proof of their existence. There was indeed one some years ago, but ever since nothing of the kind has come to the attention of Dutch police.As for human trafficking numbers in the Netherlands: Dutch police is instructed to report any even remotely possible case of trafficking. One known example: a Bulgarian woman, coming to visit friends on her own. Generally speaking: any young woman, arriving at Schiphol airport from countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary counts as a possible victim of human trafficking. That’s how you inflate numbers.

    • The term “prostituted women” implies that those entering sex work have
      no agency. While there are cases of forced prostitution I have seen no
      convincing evidence that the majority of those engaged in sex work are
      coerced into it. To me the indiscriminate use of the term “prostituted
      women” implies a lack of respect for the individual autonomy of those
      who freely choose to sell sex.

      Reply
      • Like if people want to call themselves “prostituted woman” to emphasise the fact that they felt they had no choice, that’s fine. But insisting that self-defined sex workers or prostitutes are actually “prostituted women” is bizarre, coming from a movement that claims to be against objectification. In a grammatical sense, that is literally objectifying them.

        Reply
  12. Does anyone have a copy of the PDF book to share? That vile person should not make profit on exploiting sex workers!

    Reply
  13. 1. It’s very trendy to be ‘pro sex work’ – it’s seems very ‘progressive’ and ‘free thinking’….
    2. If you focus on those who ‘choose’ prostitution, the rest…the kidnapped, trafficked, tortured, raped, murdered, seem to fade away somehow…
    3. You ignore the fact that ‘choice’ is actually loaded anyway in a misogynistic, racist, white supremacist, patriarchal society
    4. You don’t focus on the fact former abuse, addiction, DV, poverty, coercion, lack of resources and opportunity etc often form part of that ‘choice’
    5. You kid yourself that the sex trade is a solution to economic inequality for women and poverty as a female issue…
    6. You tell yourself it’s a job like any other (where abuse, torture, rape, murder is a daily reality).
    7. You blame feminists for bringing up uncomfortable truths. This is the real violence!
    8. You get kudos from men, your opinions are validated for once…..
    9. You write academically about ‘sex work’, but the reality is you’d never ever really want it for your own daughter ….

    10. And you tell yourself that the idea of buying a woman does not uphold patriarchy, perpetuate male violence or harm all woman and womanhood as a whole……

    https://sisterhex.com/2015/11/11/on-being-pro-sex-work/

    Reply
    • Exploitation is wrong whenever and wherever it occurs. However the issue of exploitation is far more acute as regards those trafficked for non-sexual purposes, for example this article from The Guardian references a number of men from Bangladesh tricked by a fellow Bangladeshi into working for slave labour wages in a remote Scottish restaurant (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/28/slavery-human-trafficking-hotel-workers-bangladesh-scotland). However I dont see people arguing that workers from foreign countries should be prevented from working owing to the fact that some of them are trafficked. The issue of concern is exploitation/trafficking not prostitution in and of itself (I.E. its the exploitation which needs to be tackled rather than introducing blanket bans on purchasing sex. Surely the answer is to enhance the opportunities of women (and men) as much as is possible so they dont feel “forced” to work in prostitution. Even if welfare where to be expanded significantly you would still get those willing to engage in sex work because of the financial returns which can flow from it. Strong welfare provision would, no doubt reduce the numbers of sex workers but not eliminate them.

      Reply
    • The feminist movement really is in a pickle these days. It used to be a given that things like prostitution, pornography and stripping were bad, but nowadays there’s some resistance to these time-honoured notions. Women are increasingly coming out as sex workers and demanding rights. As feminists seek to shut down strip bars and criminalise clients, those women are complaining not just that they’ll lose their livelihood, but that they’ll be at increased risk of abuse and violence if their industries go underground! You can’t let such trivial concerns get in the way of your crusade, so below are some handy tips for discrediting these pesky meddlers. Remember: being an actual sex worker doesn’t entitle her to speak about sex work!

      I don’t believe you; you don’t realise the harm you’re doing to yourself

      This is generally your starting point. There you are, explaining that no woman really wants to work in the sex industry, and then some bint pops up claiming that her existence proves otherwise! Aim for the ‘false consciousness’ tactic here: citing statistics from research that the audience doesn’t need to know has been widely criticised by academics, you can imply that you know better than she does what’s good for her. Bonus points for using a strategy also employed by opponents of abortion rights!

      a) You think the sex industry is the best thing ever!
      b) What you said just proved that sex work is bad!

      Keep her on her toes: if the sex worker claims any degree of autonomy or job satisfaction, paint her as a naïve fool who believes that the entire sex industry is a magical fairytale land of flowers, rainbows and sparkly dildos. Your own points about abuses in the industry should outweigh anything she has to say, rather than combining the two to give the audience a greater understanding of the diversity of human experience.

      On the other hand, if the sex worker at any point mentions having a bad day at work, outlines the safety precautions she takes, or even jokes about clients with smelly feet, be sure to pounce on this straight away as evidence of the inherent harm of the sex industry. Don’t budge an inch if she tries to point out that none of these things are unique to sex work. It’s different, because it’s sex. Got that? Soon enough, she’ll stop publicly discussing any problems related to sex work, for fear that you’ll use them to call for complete eradication. And once she’s shut up about them, you can safely return to point a). Genius!

      You’re only concerned about losing business

      Goddammit, what is with these people? You’re only trying to send a message about equality between men and women, and they’re raising hell about disrupted support networks and a rise in violence! But that’s okay. As long as you make them out to be purely motivated by greed, you needn’t actually address the issues they’re highlighting, let alone the reasons why they might need money in the first place. Bonus points if you’re able to employ this one against, say, an escort who’s concerned about the increased vulnerability of street-based sex workers. Don’t for a moment entertain the idea that there might be solidarity across the sex industry.

      You’re being paid off by pimps and traffickers

      This is a great one. It’s a bit preposterous, but if your audience has already lapped up everything you have to say, you can possibly get away with the notion that the only reason people might disagree with you is that they’re the sockpuppets of shady criminal masterminds.

      You’re letting all women down

      If, despite your best efforts, the audience seems in danger of accepting that your opponent genuinely chose sex work, experiences it as a relatively worthwhile pastime and, furthermore, has some points that might be worth listening to, quickly play your trump card: it’s not about her, it’s about all women.

      Although, once upon a time, feminism was concerned with questions such as “Does lesbianism discredit the movement?” or “If I like painting my nails, buying shoes and sucking cock (for free, of course) am I letting the side down?”, these issues have largely been cleared up in the name of freedom of choice. Luckily for you, though, feminism on the whole does not (yet) look so kindly upon women whose choices include sex work. Keep it black and white and don’t let any nuance get in there. Base your argument here on claiming that the sex industry promotes negative attitudes to women – for bonus points, use objectifying language to describe sex workers while explaining that objectification is bad. You’ve already established that consensual paid-for sex is wrong, so a woman who willingly provides it is clearly a traitor to your gender. Under the guise of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, you can proceed to being as nasty as you like to those uppity sex workers: they didn’t listen to you when you warned they were making the wrong choice, so they’ve already forfeited their right to sisterhood.

      You’re not representative

      Feminism has fought long and hard to dispel stereotypes and push for more rights for all women. Cast that legacy aside for now and focus on the task at hand! You may be advocating a course of action that will affect everybody in the sex industry, but you can still get away with claiming that anyone who doesn’t like it simply doesn’t count. Plus, if you play your cards right, manage to keep the dissenters in their place, and get the law-makers to agree that your ideology is more important than women’s safety, eventually the sex industry really will become a wholly unpleasant place to be. Those who have the means to find other work will at long last understand that it’s time for them to do so, and the only people left will be the ones who were already having a hard time of it and have no alternatives. Then all sex workers really will meet your standards of ‘representative’! It’s a bit of a circuitous route, grinding down a diverse industry until it encompasses nothing more than a homogeneous group of abused victims of pimping and trafficking, with no agency of their own and uniformly miserable experiences. But by then, at least, everybody will be exploited and unhappy, just like you were saying they were all along. You’ll have proved your point. Congratulations, and thanks for your contribution!

      https://feministire.com/2012/09/24/just-dont-call-it-slut-shaming-a-feminist-guide-to-silencing-sex-workers/

      Reply
  14. The feminist movement isn’t in a pickle. You confuse neoliberalism with feminism. Feminism is not about the individual; it’s about the class struggle of women to be liberated from patriarchy. Feminism challenges an unequal system that offers already marginalized women few viable options outside the sex industry. You simply agitate to maintain the status quo, which is neither progressive nor feminist. You are a beautiful example of ‘fluffy feminism’ — palatable to the masses; not the least bit threatening to men.

    The sex industry is built upon by a patriarchal system which functions to maintain the oppression of women. Domestic violence and abuse of women and girls thrive only because of that oppressive system.

    I’ve noticed that you have yet to provide one link, one skerrick of evidence that prostitution is somehow good for women; how it improves our mental health (or at least doesn’t damage it). Where are the studies showing how empowering it is to be pummelled by strange men having passionless sex all day?

    Amsterdam: ” a magnet for trafficked women, drug dealers and underage girls. Zones in Rotterdam, The Hague and Heerlen have shut down in similar circumstances. The direction of travel is clear: legalisation will be repealed. Legalisation has not been emancipation. It has instead resulted in the appalling, inhuman, degrading treatment of women”

    Norway: Rapes were down by half under the Nordic model. Violence from regular clients down 65% and violence from an unfamiliar man in a car declining 60%. “Visible injury has decreased from a third of the sample to a fourth. One thing that has changed is that the number that experienced violence from someone unfamiliar in a car has declined from 27% to 11%.We also see a decline in violence from regular clients from 20% to 7%, and 14% to 7% from boss/pimp.” http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/01/22/new-research-shows-violence-decreases-under-nordic-model-why-the-radio-silence/

    In any event, thank you for showing us what feminism is not.

    Your thinking is anachronistic. You are behind the times. You are bogged down in the quagmire of primordial sludge while the rest of us have evolved. People are moving forward. They are acknowledging that the Nordic model is “a state commitment to offer something better to women and not to use prostitution as a social safety net.”

    Reply
    • No, new research does NOT show that violence decreases under the Nordic model. Debunked that one years ago.

      Why does sex work have to be “good for women” before those who do it should be entitled to the basic protections of workers in other industries? Nobody tells tobacco pickers that their job is dangerous (which it is), and their industry is harmful to society and we want to end demand for it, so therefore they should not be treated as workers with the corresponding employment and OHS rights. And yeah, calling for workers to have those rights is superneoliberal, isn’t it? Do you even know what words mean?

      Reply
      • Your personal-axe-to-grind piece debunks nothing; it’s playing the game of semantics and resorts to criticising research methods, which seems to be your modus operandi.

        Tobacco pickers? The article you linked to states that ‘frequent hand washing and changing clothing throughout the day’ is recommended’ and that symptoms abate within a few days. Are you seriously comparing that to PTSD comparable to war veterans? I would have thought you would at least have chosen dangerous professions like Alaskan fishing and oil riggers, who by the way have half the death rates of prostitutes.

        You want prostituted women to have occupational health and safety rights? Well, here you go:

        “OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is responsible for overseeing worker safety and health in the U.S. They specify the standards for worker safety regarding in employment contexts that include exposure to blood borne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials (of which sperm counts)[19], as they are concerned with the potential transmission of HIV or Hepatitis, or other infectious diseases.

        The sexual acts that form the necessary working conditions for (persons) women selling sex means that routine “Occupational Exposure” is intrinsic to the “job”. Occupational exposure “means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”[20]

        Employers must “list … all tasks and procedures or groups of closely related task and procedures in which occupational exposure occurs…” and [t]his exposure determination shall be made without regard to the use of personal protective equipment.”[21]

        So, presumably, every potential sex act would need to be on the list, as “tasks”, in which occupational exposure occurs, and the list needs to be made without reference to condom use because the list is required list exposure threat without reference to personal protective equipment.

        Condom use certainly would be a minimum requirement for compliance with OSHA standards. However, condom use will not be sufficient to meet OSHA regulations, for: “All procedures involving blood or other potentially infectious materials shall be performed in such a manner as to minimize splashing, spraying, spattering, and generation of droplets of these substances.”[22]

        Condoms break, they are not foolproof. Moreover, condoms break more frequently in anal sex. The CDC states that receptive anal sex with an HIV positive person, even with a condom, represents a 100X greater risk for contracting HIV than oral sex with a condom.[23] Anal sex, with an HIV positive partner, without a condom puts the “recipient” at a 2000X greater risk for contracting HIV than oral sex with a condom.[24]

        Condoms, while reducing risk, does not eliminate it, nor arguably does it “minimize risk” per the OSHA standard; Condoms also don’t protect against all sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

        The CDC makes clear that, though condoms can reduce some STIs, they are not effective for all STIs, HPV and genital ulcers occur in places that condoms don’t cover, and hence condom use is not necessarily an effective prophylactic in all cases.[25]

        Moreover, we know that even where condoms are required by law, “clients” often prefer not to use them.[26] We also know that the most vulnerable among persons selling sex are the least likely to use condoms (to have the power to require purchasers of sex to use them), for example, transgendered persons and “migrant sex-workers.”[27]

        Other relevant OSHA regulations that clearly would govern worker safety in a “sex work” environment:

        1. “Mouth pipetting/suctioning of blood or other potentially infectious materials is prohibited.” Note this doesn’t say is permitted with protective gear. It says prohibited. So, oral sex seems to be inconsistent with OSHA worker safety standards as applied to every other form of work.[28] Will “sex work regulations” allow an exception? And if so, what could possibly be the rationale? Will we say that worker safety is less of a concern in this industry?

        2. “Gloves. Gloves shall be worn when it can be reasonably anticipated that the employee may have hand contact with blood, other potentially infectious materials, mucous membranes, and non-intact skin…” This regulation seems to entail that “sex workers” must wear latex gloves while performing any “work task” in which their hands may come in contact with potentially infectious materials (i.e., sperm).

        Should this sound ridiculous to some readers, consider that the St. James Infirmary Occupational Safety & Health Handbook makes a very similar recommendation, but only for some activities. The Handbook suggests: “use latex gloves (ideally, elbow length) and lots of lube for fisting.”[29] But, this is not the only “task” in which exposure is possible or even likely. Moreover, in other fields in which exposure is possible or likely, notably medical fields, glove wearing is mandatory.

        Small cuts or abrasions to the skin are potential transmission sites and “minimizing risks” surely seems to demand gloves be worn at all times for all “tasks” in which exposure is possible. Hence, St. James’s Handbook goes further and states: “Because body fluids such as blood, vomit, urine, feces, saliva and semen many contain infectious organisms, protective gloves must always be worn when dealing with body fluids.”[30]

        3. “Masks, Eye Protection, and Face Shields. Masks in combination with eye protection devices, such as goggles or glasses with solid side shields, or chin-length face shields, shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated.”[31]

        Ejaculation on the face of women in pornography is routine. Data for how wide spread this practice is among men who buy sex is unknown. However, we can safely assume it’s not zero.

        However, this practice would either be prohibited (under the OSHA minimize risk standard) or if permitted worker protection demands masks, eye protection, and face shields. If this sounds absurd, consider that among porn performers gonorrhea and Chlamydia is frequent, including such infections in the eyes.[32]

        4. “Gowns, Aprons, and Other Protective Body Clothing. Appropriate protective clothing such as, but not limited to, gowns, aprons, lab coats, clinic jackets, or similar outer garments shall be worn in occupational exposure situations. The type and characteristics will depend upon the task and degree of exposure anticipated.”

        While this may indeed sound absurd in the context of “sex work”, it goes to the point that the kinds of worker protections deemed necessary in every other work context, in which exposure to infection materials is possible or likely, cannot be maintained in the context in which the work is sex.

        One can argue that an exception can be carved out for this type of “work”, but then what does that say about the relative value of these “workers” as opposed to every other worker who is entitled to such protection? Moreover, exceptions are permitted only in “rare and extraordinary circumstances” where it is judged that health and safety are put in jeopardy by the use of personal protective equipment.[33]

        Even further, as noted above not all STIs can be protected against by condom use, or even gloves. “Syphilis can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and does not require exposure to semen or vaginal fluids.” The same is true of herpes, molluscum contagiosum, and HPV, among other infectious diseases.[34] Direct skin on skin contact puts “workers” at risk. Hence, direct skin-to-skin contact is not compatible with OSHA regulations governing exposure to potentially infectious materials.

        5. In the event of exposure OHSA requires: “The source individual’s blood shall be tested as soon as feasible and after consent is obtained in order to determine HBV and HIV infectivity. If consent is not obtained, the employer shall establish that legally required consent cannot be obtained. When the source individual’s consent is not required by law, the source individual’s blood, if available, shall be tested and the results documented.”[35]

        This means that if any employee is exposed to a potentially infectious material, despite using personal protective equipment, the source individual (the buyer in the case of “sex” work) needs to be tested for HIV and HBV. In all of the places in which prostitution is legal it is the sellers not the buyers that are mandated for testing, which of course protects the buyer to an extent, but does nothing to protect the seller/worker.

        … If selling sex is work like any other form of work, then the safety of these workers is just as important to protect as the safety of workers in other contexts. The retort that condom use will be required by law and that is sufficient to protect the health and safety of “sex workers” is simply not true. Condoms may reduce risk in some cases, as noted above, however they do not “minimize” risk nor do they protect against all potentially infections transmissions (STIs) as noted above.

        Moreover, where the selling and buying of sex is currently legal and condoms required by law–New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, parts of Nevada, e.g.—there is ample evidence of clients preferring sex without condoms, offering to pay more for sex without condoms, and a lack of enforcement among “management.”[36]”

        http://logosjournal.com/2014/watson/

        Reply
        • it’s playing the game of semantics and resorts to criticising research methods

          No, it isn’t. There’s no criticism of research methods there. It’s criticism of how the author of your piece misinterpreted the research, which she did – badly. The research report itself states very clearly that the two studies are not to be regarded as comparative, precisely because of the issues that I identified and that your author ignored.

          She also ignored an awful lot of other things in that report, like all the stuff about how Norwegian sex workers are now terrified of police and are constantly in fear of eviction and the most vulnerable ones are the worst off of all. You know, the same things you ignore in comment after comment here.

          As for the rest of your post, I am really struggling to understand how the author feels that sex workers would be better protected without any OHS entitlements at all (as is currently the case in Sweden and Norway) than with those they have in New Zealand and Australia. Where, by the way, the HIV infection rate among that population is incredibly low.

        • Its noteworthy that many of those working in the field of sexual health dont wish to see either sex workers or their clients criminalised. For example, when responding to the UK government’s consultation paper “Paying the Price”, which was published in 2004, the British Association for Sexual Health, which represents professionals working in the field of STD diagnosis and prevention, came out against criminalising both prostitutes and their clients, (www.bashh.org/documents/1118/1118.pdf ). I would rather listen to The British Association for Sexual Health than those who have an ideological agenda to criminalise those who pay for sex and, by default sex workers also.

  15. Sorry, but it takes more than one blogger with personal and biased views to debunk a study. A quick glance at the stats show that in practically every indicator violence, brutality and rape have GONE DOWN since the Nordic Model.

    If women in prostitution were entitled to the same OH&S standards of other workers, they would have to wear safety goggles, masks & suits. Are you arguing that sex workers should not be afforded the same protections as other workers? If you admit that they should be afforded the same protections, why aren’t you agitating for their safety, health and welfare by the wearing of the safety gear?

    You should perhaps avail yourself of the facts before you continuously hold up Australia and New Zealand as shining examples of decriminalisation.

    New South Wales is the state which has decriminalisation. I lived there for more than 20 years and for years I lived next to a brothel. The majority of *sex workers* in New South Wales are from minority groups: Indian, South East Asian, Aboriginal, Korean, etc. Many brothels in Sydney simply masquerade as karaoke bars. Many of the women are trafficked.

    The South East Asian women don’t go to Australian general practitioners to get their STIs treated; they have their *cures* sent over from Asia. They fly under the radar; their sexual health is not included in any studies. Punter sites in Australia are full of men posting which women at which brothels give unprotected sex; and which women at which brothels are HIV-positive or have other STIs.

    Victoria has legalised prostitution. A trafficked woman hidden inside a wall:

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/authorities-push-to-shut-down-melbourne-brothel-after-discovering-chinese-woman-hidden-in-wall-20141217-129108.html

    Oh look, sex trafficking and slavery on the increase in Victoria, AUSTRALIA. http://www.smh.com.au/national/sex-trafficking-slavery-and-forced-marriage-on-the-rise-in-australia-say-police-20141030-11e62z.html

    Oh look, more stories of sex slaves in Victoria, AUSTRALIA: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/05/08/sex-slaves-victoria-brothels-inquiry-told

    More trafficking stories from Melbourne and Sydney. Last time I looked they were in AUSTRALIA:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/trafficked-women-forced-into-brothels/story-fn3dxiwe-1226486748762

    There are many more news reports of trafficking in Australia. But I figured this would give you an idea of how wonderful the state of play for women is in Australia. New Zealand is just as bad.

    Your arguments fail at every level.

    Your agitating is pretty useless now anyway. Face it: you’ve failed; you’ve lost the battle. Kudos to Northern Ireland for adopting a version of the Nordic Model.

    Reply
    • I am genuinely puzzled as to how making it illegal to pay for sexual services will prevent trafficking. If you criminalise paying for sexual services you will, surely drive it underground. At present in juristictions where it is legal to pay for sex customers can go to brothels, hire escorts etc without having to hide the fact they are doing so. Many sex workers will ask for information from a potential client prior to taking a decision as to whether to see them. This may include 9(in some instances) a photograph. There is evidence (not surprisingly) with the Nordic model that most customers are unwilling (not surprisingly) to share such details making it difficult/impossible for working women (and men) to screen potentially dangerous clients. What you are advocating has the potential to put the safety of sex workers at risk. Surely it is better for police resources to be concentrated on tackling trafficked and underage prostitutes rather than introducing a blanket prohibition on paying for sex. In practical terms its very difficult to proove that payment for sexual services took place unless money is observed being handed over, one of the parties to the transaction admits it or communications are intercepted. As far as communications are concerned clients and workers will be careful what is communicated while, in relation to admitting payment for sex has taken place, sex workers have no interest in admitting this as they will lose customers.

      Reply
    • Sorry, but it takes more than one blogger with personal and biased views to debunk a study.

      Once again: I did not debunk a study. If you read the study, which you clearly haven’t, you’ll see I’m actually just confirming what its authors said. The author of the piece you shared is the one trying to debunk it. Your “one blogger with personal and biased views” is her, not me.

      Pro tip: you can’t properly analyse data with a “quick glance”. Actually examining the stats and how they were collected, I identified three very specific errors that your blogger made, any one of which would have been fatal to her interpretation. Since you seem to have difficulty picking important things out of articles you read, I’ll highlight them again for you:

      1. Comparing lifetime experience to experience over three years
      2. Wrongly assuming the violence even happened in Norway, when for more than a fifth of respondents, some or all of it didn’t
      3. Ignoring the possible overlap between different ways of defining rape

      So, by all means, please point out to me why you believe that these are not critical errors and that your blogger’s interpretation actually is correct. I’m eagerly anticipating your detailed response.

      If women in prostitution were entitled to the same OH&S standards of other workers, they would have to wear safety goggles, masks & suits.

      No, they wouldn’t. That is one of the errors in the Logos article. OHS standards are meant to be practicable for the industry in which they are being applied. Being entitled to “the same OHS standards as other workers” doesn’t mean being micromanaged down to a one-size-fits-all set of rules; it means being able to enforce your right to do your job as safely as the job can reasonably be done. What you’re arguing is that sex work can never be done “safely”; therefore sex workers can’t have enforceable OHS rights. That’s a misstatement of the law.

      As an example, brothels are legal in some parts of Nevada, notwithstanding the OHS laws that your author linked to as an example of why sex work can’t be made compatible with US OHS law. Brothel workers don’t have to wear goggles and masks, but they (and their employers) do have other safety requirements. Verified cases of HIV transmission in legal Nevada brothels since legalisation: zero.

      As to your claim that the health of migrant sex workers in Australia isn’t studied, it took me all of two seconds’ Googling to find out you’re wrong. See here and here and here. The LASH study on New South Wales, which found it to have a very healthy sex industry compared to Victoria and Western Australia (i.e. non-decrim states), also studied the health of Asian sex workers: they accounted for over 53% of the approximately 200 sex workers interviewed.

      Hey, here’s something we can agree on: the Victoria model sucks! I don’t see the women currently working in it agitating for the Swedish model, though, do you? (Links please)

      As to my side having “lost the battle”, I think the Amnesty policy and the recent decisions of a number of jurisdictions – including New South Wales – to reject the Swedish model suggests otherwise. As for NI, yes, kudos for passing a law that its police are not and have no intention of enforcing! Incidentally, you should read what the PSNI had to say about their experience working with the Swedish police on a cross-border trafficking ring whose organisers were based in Sweden. Their conclusion that the law was at best an unenforceable piece of fluff, at worst an actual hindrance to protecting sex workers from exploitation was largely based on seeing how the Swedish police completely overlooked the trafficking that was going on there, because they were so busy chasing ordinary guys paying for sex.

      Reply
      • BTW: let me save you the trouble of Googling for newspaper articles about how bad the Nevada model is in other respects. I’m not an advocate of that model. But it has effectively protected its legal sex workers from HIV transmission, despite being subject to the same federal law that the Logos author cited to argue that sex work can’t be brought under OHS rules.

        Bet you a Lancet subscription that that Nevada sex workers operating outside the legal sex industry don’t have anywhere near as low a transmission rate.

        Reply
    • sexworkersupporter

      It’s amazing how you interpret what you read to support your viewpoint. The article concerning the woman hiding in the wall goes on itself to say: “There is no evidence or suggestion that Paradise Playmates is involved in human trafficking or organised crime”.

      And a line to note:

      “It is understood the woman has been deported”.

      The woman in question was manifestly hiding from an immigration raid. There is nothing in the situation to say she was ‘trafficked’, just that she was working without a valid visa. Does that of itself in your opinion means she was a trafficking victim? Or is it because she was a migrant sex worker full stop? I worked teaching English in Japan on one occasion without an appropriate visa –good thing the Japanese police didn’t raid the language school and deport me. But I doubt anybody would have called me a trafficking victim.

      The woman was almost certainly not a “trafficking victim”, but a victim on a supposed anti-trafficking raid, and, by extension, a victim of anti-trafficking moral panic. I note the article makes reference to certain unspecified “human rights advocates”. In Victoria, as elsewhere, this term, “human rights advocates”, is often a euphemism for “anti-trafficking activists”, which, of course, simultaneously means “anti-sex work activists”. It’s a nice fudge.

      Reply
  16. Look at all these women and little girls expression their ‘agency’ while they’re trapped inside a walled brothel where prostitution is LEGAL!

    What about their expressing their ‘agency’ to be free of a lifetime of being used as receptacles and dumping vessels of men’s cum? Where are their rights to own their own bodies?

    For the sake of a few white, wealthy choose-y prostitutes, you would sentence these innocent women to a lifetime of trauma and abuse. Shame on you.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2016/06/13/heartbreaking-photos-show-what-its-like-living-in-a-walled-city-of-a-brothel/#e2fedf52c6

    Reply
  17. Meena Seshu, head of SANGRAM (above), was found by the US State Department to have trafficked minors back into brothels. And here is Sangram being held up as an example of ‘sex worker rights orgs’. Sangram has close ties to Open Society, owned by George Soros, neoliberal extraordinaire, who funds NGOs & *sex worker rights* organisations so that they do his bidding. He gifted $100 million to Human Rights Watch, and is one of Amnesty’s biggest benefactors.

    Pimp apologism.

    Reply
    • Oh, and local police found Meena Seshu running a brothel.

      Reply
      • Oh, bull. An Indian newspaper published that allegation about SANGRAM (not about Meena Seshu herself) and it was publicly repudiated by the US Embassy in a matter of days. This was, like, ten years ago. Can’t you folks even keep up to date with your unfounded pimp slurs?

        As for Soros, yes, he funds a lot of organisations. He’s funded at least two abortion rights NGOs here in Ireland, which we’re certainly very thankful for. He’s also given a bit of money to our (very small) sex workers’ association – far, far, far less money than Chuck Feeney has given to orgs trying to bring in the Swedish model.

        What about all the other non-white wealthy women in all those videos calling for their rights? Do you accept they exist?

        Reply
        • “An NGO funded by the State Department was “confronted … by SANGRAM while the former attempted to rescue and provide long-term care for child victims of sex trafficking. The confrontation led to the release of the 17 minor girls-victims of trafficking-into the hands of traffickers.

          SANGRAM allowed a brothel keeper into the shelter to pressure the girls not to cooperate with counsellors. The girls are now back in the brothels, being subjected to rape for profit.”

          http://www.wisdomofwhores.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/SANGRAMSouderletter100605.pdf

          “Restore International has also helped eliminate United States funding of an advocacy organization called SANGRAM, whose related entity, VAMP, is an organization WHOSE MEMBERS INCLUDED BROTHEL OWNERS. These entities opposed Restore’s efforts to free children located in the brothels.

          http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/perspectives-php/162/01-2006

          “Seventeen minors were reportedly rescued during the raid. According to the RI report, SANGRAM, WHICH HAS MANY BROTHEL OWNERS AS ITS MEMBERS, has been trying to thwart attempts to rescue minors in prostitution.”

          http://www.childtrafficking.org/cgi-bin/ct/main.sql

          In 2002 Meena Seshu purchased an 18-bedroom hour in Nipani, a red-light district. Officials found her to be running a brothel with Shabana, head of VAMP.

          What do I think about all the other *voluntary* women in your pieces? This:

          “During the first weeks of her arrival, the girl is beaten, raped, and mocked that she can never escape. In time, she submits, is happy with the money she receives and forgets all thoughts of returning home. When she’s old enough, there’s only one job she can do. So she returns to her hometown, impresses the young girls with stories of Mumbai’s prosperity and beguiles them into running away. They are thus trafficked into the brothel she has set up for herself.”

        • Instead of taking the word of a right-wing Republican Congressman, maybe you could hear the story from one of the women who was actually there?

          All in all 30 women, four girls and 13 brothel owners were picked up and dumped into vans. None of the 30 [were] minors. All of them were adult women. So we insisted they were adults. We told them [the police], they have a right to be in sex work but they didn’t listen. Out of the four girls, two were school-going children who had come home for summer holidays and two girls were pregnant,” said Pani.

          After the raid, the VAMP community had a battle on their hands releasing those detained. “The police kept two kids, for ten days. We tried to have teachers intervene so they could be released. The kids [once released] were traumatized, refusing to return to school,” Pani said.

          As for the adults, “The 30 women were held for a month. The 13 madams were held 13 days.” Seshu provided background for the length of the detention: The police doubted the documentation submitted showing the majority of the girls were 18 and over, despite records proving they had completed school. Police forced them to undergo a second medical evaluation, stalling their release.

          To explain their position, SANGRAM released a statement: “Every brothel in Sangli had a minor when SANGRAM started work in 1990; today, very few brothels have minors. How has this happened? Through time, trust, and community involvement. Not through police raids, indiscriminate arrests, and physical violence.”

          The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi released a letter on October 6th, 2005, that said funding was terminated by “mutual consent” on the part of SANGRAM and USAID. The letter went on to explain “In reference to the article that appeared September 29, 2005 on the website HindustanTimes.com, I would like to clarify that the article does not reflect the position of the United States Government regarding SANGRAM.” The letter was signed by David Kennedy, U.S. Embassy Spokesperson.

          The raid against VAMP was initiated by the U.S.-based organization Restore International, a Christian NGO under the leadership of Greg Malstead. Malstead, undeterred, continued to harass the sex worker community. During the raid in May, he had frightened and angered women by kicking open the doors to their homes to gain entrance, and as a result, they had pushed for charges to be filed against him. He returned again in June of that year, loitering in the area and alarming the community.

          On October 22, 2005, he came back to the community once again, in an SUV with two other men, perhaps to initiate a raid without the support of the police. From the community’s perspective, he was a white man trying to dominate and threaten them, so they fought back.

          Three cheers for you, supporting the white man over the local women. BTW, speaking of white men, did you bother to read the web page that you got your first link from?

          As for VAMP and SANGRAM, VAMP’s members are all sex workers, whatever your monthly magazine providing missions and evangelism news claims. SANGRAM isn’t a membership-based organisation. And as for your final link, it appears the “officials” who claimed Meena Seshu was running a brothel might have had an ulterior motive in making that accusation. The willingness of pro-criminalisation people like yourself to trust police to have sex workers’ best interests at heart never ceases to amaze me.

          So, any non-western white woman in sex work must have been beaten and brainwashed into thinking she wants rights? What a racist, colonialist mentality you have.

  18. Nothing you’ve said contradicts or detracts from the facts. You can attempt to discredit people as much as you want–you can blame them for being a Jew, a Muslim, or a Christian–but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Sangram trafficked minors back into brothels after they’d been rescued.

    The local Indian police found that Seshu and the head of VAMP were running a brothel from an 18-bedroom house they’d purchased. It was Seshu who campaigned long and hard to get the white people of UNAids to intervene. And what poor, local, Indian policeman has the wherewithal to stand up to UNAids?

    You’ve got yourself in a spin and have forgotten that the Nordic Model criminalised the buying of sex, not the selling. It criminalises the perpetrator (no, they’re not entrepeneurs).

    There are three million prostitutes in India, of which 40 per cent are children under 18. You think that had a plethora of ‘choices’?

    Hazel Thompson lived in India for many years. She wrote a book called Taken. This is what she says:

    “In the 11 years I’ve been there, I’ve never met one woman who has chosen to be there. Every woman I’ve met has been trafficked or born there. These girls who have been trafficked can’t return to their families because of the stigma and [yet it is] often [they who] are responsible for them being in Kamathipura.”

    Sarah Harris produced a documentary entitled Prostitutes of God. VAMP–attached to Sangram–gave her complete access to its prostitute members. Harris reported that many of VAMP’s members were PIMPS and BROTHEL OWNERS. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/8008562/Indias-prostitutes-of-God.html

    “It’s very much women recruiting women. When the devadasi become older and can’t attract the same business, they end up trafficking, and taking girls from the small villages to big cities like Bangalore, where they set up brothels”

    Why don’t you write a nice, long piece on Alejandra Gil, Madame of Sullivan St? She too headed a sex workers rights organisation (like Seshu); she too was an adviser to UNAids (like Seshu) and was affiliated with WHO (like Seshu). There’s lots of money in them there HIV-prevention hills!

    Reply
    • Nothing you’ve said contradicts or detracts from the facts.

      Except for the fact that you haven’t shown any facts. None whatsoever. Allegations from right-wingers and others opposed to sex workers’ rights are not facts. Even when they’re written on US Congressional letterhead. The actual US government body that you claim found her to be involved in trafficking publicly stated it hadn’t. Those are the facts.

      It was Seshu who campaigned long and hard to get the white people of UNAids to intervene.

      The “white people of UNAIDS”? Really? You do know what the “UN” part stands for, right?

      And what poor, local, Indian policeman has the wherewithal to stand up to UNAids?

      Oh, my god, you’re getting more and more ridiculous. This is the police force you’re defending. Your “poor, local” Indian policemen are notoriously corrupt – it’s far less improbable that this guy took money from a wealthy benefactor to try to bring false charges against SANGRAM than that UNAIDS interfered with a genuine investigation. I mean, really.

      You’ve got yourself in a spin and have forgotten that the Nordic Model criminalised the buying of sex, not the selling. It criminalises the perpetrator

      No idea what this comment is in reference to, but look again at the post at the top of this page. Look at what the Swedish police say to migrant sex workers. Detaining them at the police station under threat of deportation is de facto criminalisation. In Sweden and Norway and Northern Ireland, sex workers are still arrested for working together indoors for safety. In France, local police still have the power to arrest street workers on public order charges if they won’t leave their spot when ordered to. Just because a law says it’s not illegal for you to offer or sell sex per se doesn’t mean you’re really decriminalised. Funnily enough, the only people I ever see calling for these laws to be removed are sex workers’ rights advocates. Nordic supporters are quite content to leave them in place – presumably for the same reason you’re happy to have pervy cops using their vice squad roles for their own jollies, and “exit programmes” that sound impressive but really give out crumbs, whatever that is.

      There are three million prostitutes in India, of which 40 per cent are children under 18. You think that had a plethora of ‘choices’?

      I’d like to see the research behind that statistic, but in any case, you’re repeatedly missing the point. I don’t think the young men and women doing factory labour or domestic work in India had a plethora of ‘choices’ either. They’re still entitled to be allowed to do their work as safely as possible.

      And thanks for proving my point about your racist colonialism by citing two western white women as experts on sex work in India. I’d link you to the angry response by Indian sex workers to Sarah Harris’s film, but I’m sure you’d say they were just pimps anyway, so here’s a critical comment by an Indian filmmaker.

      As for Alejandra Gil, well, here’s a timely article about the Mexican criminal justice system which shows that being convicted of an offence there doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether you actually committed the offence. Interestingly, I note that the anti-trafficking activist who supported the prosecution against Gil has now herself been accused of exploiting the victims in her “care” – including by the regional branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, not known for being sympathetic to the sex workers’ rights movement. Are you familiar with Justine Reilly?

      Reply
      • ‘And thanks for proving my point about your racist colonialism’

        You are proving yourself to be prejudicial and a bigot. I am a Muslim woman. Will you now attack me for being a ‘colonising’ Muslim? The only person here showing racist tendencies is you. You are accusing black people in India of corruption. Shame on you. I feel sorry for you.

        There are hundreds of Indian ( and WOC) women who advocate for the Nordic Model. You don’t have the courage to mention those.
        http://www.halftheskymovement.org/issues/forced-prostitution

        “Take India, for example. There are 2 million to 3 million prostitutes in India, a significant number of whom entered the sex industry unwillingly. One study found that of Indian and Nepali prostitutes who began as teenagers, about half said they had been coerced into the brothels. Meanwhile women who started in their 20s were more likely to have made the choices themselves, often to feed their children.

        In some countries with strong class hierarchies, certain lower-class women are practically born into prostitution. In India and Nepal, for example, where the caste system is strong, girls from certain castes are pushed into prostitution from a young age, many times by their mothers. Some studies report that close to 90 percent of sex workers’ daughters in India join the profession.

        Once a girl or women enters prostitution it can be hard to leave. It’s not uncommon for pimps to use a variety of methods to force women to continue serving as prostitutes. Often, they lure girls with alcohol or drugs, build up their dependency and use this addiction as a means of control. They may also threaten girls with the shame they might bring on their families if they leave or the punishments they might suffer if they go to the police.”

        Reply
        • I am a Muslim woman.

          LOL, so what? That doesn’t mean you can’t be both racist and colonialist. Ask the West Papuans.

          The only person here showing racist tendencies is you. You are accusing black people in India of corruption.

          LOL again. How many “black (?!) people” have you accused of being “pimps”, on the basis of far less evidence?

          And oh. my. god. You’re trying to dodge allegations of racist colonialism and you link to Nick fucking Kristof‘s site? This is almost comical at this point.

          There are hundreds of Indian ( and WOC) women who advocate for the Nordic Model. You don’t have the courage to mention those.

          How many are actually current sex workers themselves?

  19. Ruchira Gupta (yes, a BLACK woman), recipient of new York Woman of Distinction award, said that the youngest girl trafficked into bonded labour she has met was just 7 years old:

    “The pimps would hand over these little girls to the brothel keepers . . . and these girls were locked up for the next five years,” she said. “Raped repeatedly by eight or ten customers every night.” By their 20s, Gupta said, their youth is gone and bodies are broken, and they are “thrown out on the sidewalk to die a very difficult death because they were no longer commercially viable.”

    “We do not want to be called ‘sex workers’ but prostituted women and children, as we can never accept our exploitation as ‘work,’ ” the letter signers wrote. “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.”

    Groups working with victims of sexual slavery in developing countries often see a widening gap between Western women — particularly “ACADEMIC FEMINISTS,” in Gupta’s view.”

    A little bit of self-reflection on your part would be wise. So you, a white woman, are accusing me, a woman of colour, of being a colonising racist. That’s a bit rich isn’t it?

    http://passblue.com/2015/03/31/prostitution-a-word-that-un-women-does-not-want-to-hear/

    http://www.tasmaniantimes.com.au/index.php/article/prostitution-a-word-that-un-women-does-not-want-to-hear

    Reply
    • Groups working with victims of sexual slavery in developing countries often see a widening gap between Western women — particularly “ACADEMIC FEMINISTS,” in Gupta’s view.”

      Well that’s ironic, because an Indian lawyer I know working with what you would call “prostituted women” in India (she doesn’t head up a very well-funded NGO, so you probably wouldn’t have heard of her) has had precisely that experience, seeing western academic feminists go to India to stump for the Nordic model. She tells me they’re very well received by India’s middle class feminists. But actual sex workers and front line support workers, not so much.

      Now here’s something else ironic that I’ve noticed. When Nordic model supporters are arguing about the inherent awfulness of prostitution, they’re able to quote any number of studies (most of them with Melissa Farley’s name on them) in which 90-99% of respondents told the researcher that they hate selling sex, they have PTSD, and any number of other things about how terrible it is and how miserable they are.

      Yet, point out to these same Nordic model supporters that there is nowhere in the world any discernible movement among current sex workers to have their clients criminalised, and all of a sudden they’re like “oh well we don’t hear from the really marginalised ones” or “they can’t say how bad things are until they get out of the life” or some other BS excuse.

      If research can find so many women currently selling sex who will say that they have been harmed by it and they want out, then research could find women currently selling sex who want the Nordic model. If there were enough of them to find.

      Reply
  20. “When I worked in prostitution, I had an emotional imperative to detoxify the sex industry in my mind. To re-orientate its nefariousness and its reckless abandonment in causing damage, into something that was periodically palatable …

    So … I conducted a valiant daily battle with myself to wilfully cloud the truth. I blotted out the repulsion I felt about the thousands of men who had used my body as some kind of operative tool for sexual gratification. …

    And then, somewhere in the brave new world of the neoliberal 1980s, a politics of choice, individualism took root and a diminishing of ideas of collectivism and social democracy occurred … empowerment feminism offers something much more simple and easy to obtain. Rather than change anything at all, we just need to accept life’s terminal roll towards capitalisation and inequality, but find a new language, a new set of descriptors as to why that is actually a good thing.

    … those women who suffer in prostitution who are trimmed from the debates, as is the offal or ugliest parts of the cadaver; nonetheless the source of its most substantial nourishment. I have spent the last few weeks speaking to women in prostitution, some of whom have recently left, for an article on their feelings about legislation. Not one of them favoured full decriminalisation and many were sympathetic to the Nordic Model … These women’s feelings and opinions are not what the pro industry advocates are referring to when they speak of listening to ‘Sex Worker’s’ voices

    Indeed, it is no coincidence that we wait until we finally escape to speak up. One doesn’t labour on brutality or humiliation whilst we are in its pits. Like the recently bereaved, the hurt is dulled so that our duties can be performed. And when it is over, we are suddenly enabled to read our pain, to understand it more fully.

    We don’t tell the contemporary, post modern audiences what they want to hear. We are burdened with PTSD, anxiety, suicidal ideation, homelessness and a panic that we may be forced to return to prostitution …”

    https://inpermanentopposition.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/survivors-the-ghosts-at-the-feast/

    Reply
  21. Pingback: ¿Así que no quieres creer a Amnistía Internacional? Pues mira esto | El estante de la Citi

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