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Letter to my (often feminist) friends who are concerned about those in “prostitution” and think that criminalizing those who pay for sex really can’t be such a bad idea.

Guest post by Susann Huschke

I write this with you in mind, those friends of mine who are generally open-minded, critical, progressive leftists. We agree on a lot of things – like, that capitalism is a problem, that Theresa May needs to go, and of course Trump, too, and that gender equality continues to be worth fighting for.

But when it comes to “prostitution” – that is, the selling and buying of sexual services – you are not so sure about my views. You have heard me argue that criminalizing those who pay for sex is a bad idea, but perhaps I have not done a good enough job explaining why that is. I believe it would be fair to sum up your position as follows: “We want to live in a society where women do not sell sex to men. And to get there, we think that it would help if we made it a crime to buy sex.”

I believe that you have good intentions, thinking this way, and that you are not driven by hatred of women as sexual beings, like for example, those fundamentalist Christians who lobby for the criminalization of sex work around the world.

Before I go into details, let’s check we’re on the same page. If you answer NO to any of these questions, we’re not starting from the same set of assumptions, and in that case, this article is not written for you.

1. Do you generally feel that the people who are affected by a given change in policy should have a say in the policy process?
2. Do you feel that women, or indeed all (adult) people, have the right to determine what to do with their bodies, for example when it comes to reproductive rights and LGBT+ rights?
3. Do you believe that sound empirical social research is a worthwhile endeavor and should be feeding into political decisions and public discourse? And by sound empirical research I mean research that is a) designed and conducted by people who have been trained to do research; b) reflects critically and transparently on research questions, research methodologies, funding sources and researcher bias; and c) does not do any harm to the communities that are targeted in the research?

If you answered those three questions with a YES, you cannot possibly agree with the “Swedish model” of criminalizing the buyer of sexual services. And here is why.

1. Sex worker movements do not support the criminalization of buyers, not in Sweden, not in Ireland, not anywhere (;;; Yes, individual former sex workers (or survivors of prostitution as they prefer to be called) are often very prominent supporters, for whatever their reasons may be. But if you actually look at groups, movements and organizations that represent the diverse people who work in the sex industry – they don’t want criminalization. Why not? For example, because they feel that the more their way of making a living is criminalized, the less safe it is for them. And because they feel that criminalization adds to the stigma that is one of the worst parts of their job. And because they feel that those who propose these laws have not actually bothered to meet them; listen to them; engage with them in any meaningful way.

Interesting fact on the side: the Swedish model is often hyped up as punishing the punter (by criminalizing the purchase) and helping the sex worker (by decriminalizing the sale of sex). Now, in Ireland, both North and South, we only got the first part of the bargain. Sex workers continue to be criminalized, for example when they work together in pairs for safety – that is deemed “brothel-keeping” with the two sex workers “pimping” each other, and they continue to get arrested for that. Now, you might say that policy-makers just forgot to decriminalize sex workers because they were busy with the really important social issues. Or you might say they actually don’t give a rat’s ass about the well-being and safety of “fallen women” – they just want to sound like they do.

2. Among the most prominent supporters of the Swedish model are right-wing Christian groups that oppose same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Surely, that should make you suspicious about their motives, and perhaps about the policies they propose. If you are ever in doubt about this, just take a brief look at the kind of worldview the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is spreading, and ask yourself if they are really your political allies?

3. There are many things that are unsound about the kind of “research” or statistics that get cited to support the claim that the Swedish model “works” – that is, that it really reduces sex trafficking and shrinks the sex industry, and that sex workers are happy and grateful about the law. Let me just highlight a few issues. For example, the fact that the Swedish police do not have many victims of sex trafficking in their statistics does not necessarily mean there are none. A very basic rule of thumb in research: the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It might mean that they can’t find them, or worse, didn’t actually look for them because they were too busy policing consensual sexual acts between sex workers and clients. As a Northern Irish police officer explained to me in 2014, commenting on a collaboration with the Swedish police on an international crime network that exploited women in the sex industry: “They had no idea this was going on in Sweden. They said ‘we normally just go after the punters.’”

It is also a good idea (in any field and for any contested political question) to question the source of information. I am going to give you a very concrete example, and you will have to trust me that this is not an exception but a typical example of how research is misrepresented in this debate (or you start following the information back to the source like I did, which I highly recommend).

Supporters of the Swedish model present the view that sex work always constitutes violence and abuse. They pretend that this is a view based purely on empirical evidence, rather than a view based mainly on ideology – based on picking and choosing and tweaking selected bits of evidence rather than actually engaging with all the existing empirical data. See, if they clearly stated that their policy proposals were driven by their moral and political standpoints, at least we could have an open debate about these. None of us are morally neutral, especially when it comes to sex and money. [And if you are wondering what my moral and political position is, please re-read the questions I posed above, particularly No. 1. First and foremost, I am a firm believer in people’s right to self-determination, self-expression and self-representation, none of which are compatible with the views expressed by proponents of the Swedish model].

Now, let me give you an example of the misrepresentation of empirical evidence in this debate. In Northern Ireland, supporters of the Swedish model liked to support their view of sex work by arguing that the majority of people started selling sex when they were children or teenagers. This argument is explicitly presented, for example, on the website of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign (a very successful lobby group across Ireland) as one of the “10 facts about prostitution.” They state that 75% of women in prostitution became involved when they were children, citing as a source a conference paper by Prof. Margaret Melrose from 2002. I read the original paper and learned that Prof. Melrose’s research specifically investigated the exploitation of children in the British sex industry. And logically, because she wanted to know about child sexual exploitation, she recruited participants who had experienced child sexual exploitation, that is, people who had entered the sex industry before the age of 18. In her presentation, she states that 75% of the people in her sample, 75% of the people she interviewed, had started selling sex when they were children, i.e., 14 or younger – not 75% of all people in the sex industry! Huge difference!! And pretty obvious, even to the untrained lay eye. I also emailed Prof. Melrose to ask her about this rather distorted use of her study, and she replied to me saying:

“The findings were never intended to suggest that 75% of ALL women involved in sex work become or became involved [as children] – only those included in the study – and as we were looking at adult women who became involved before they were 18 this is hardly surprising. I am aware that the work has been used by those who argue that all sex work is violence against women – it is not a position I adhere to myself.”

Now, my last point. After everything I just presented to you, you might still say: But what about the kind of society we want to live in, should we not envision a world without “prostitution”? And you know what, I might actually agree with you.

But I also envision a world without Amazon, where temporary workers run from one shelf to another all day long to meet the targets, and get punished for taking sick leave. And a world without large scale agricultural businesses that employ undocumented workers who get paid shitty wages and are exposed to poisonous chemicals on a regular basis. And yes, also a world without neoliberal universities trying to compete in a market by running their staff into the ground until we end up with “burn-out”.

How do we get there? I would say, first and foremost, through solidarity with the workers. And second, through a critique of the social structures that enable exploitation. Distributing books, growing vegetables, investigating the world, and having sex, mind you, are not inherently problematic activities that need to be eradicated. It is the ways in which they are integrated into the current economic system and tied up with multiple forms of oppression along the lines of gender, “race”, class, and nation, amongst others, that is problematic!

So, what sex workers could really do with is, for example: free access to higher education, equal pay for women, decent social welfare, erasure of their criminal record when they try to leave the sex industry, legalization of their immigration status, and gender norms that do not instill in young people that men need to fuck (lots of) women and women need to please men.

So how about we align ourselves with the workers – of whatever industry you fancy – and fight for a better, more just, less violent society, rather than spending our time applauding a bunch of narrow-minded, hard-hearted misogynists and their (perhaps) well-meaning, yet out-of-touch feminist allies, for a judgmental, regressive, and ineffective law.

If you want to read more, check out, for example, the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects.

14 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on the plain language lawyer and commented:
    This is good.

  2. Such an excellent post I feel pedantic for pointing out this non sequitur:

    2. Among the most prominent supporters of the Swedish model are right-wing Christian groups that oppose same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Surely, that should make you suspicious about their motives, and perhaps about the policies they propose. If you are ever in doubt about this, just take a brief look at the kind of worldview the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is spreading, and ask yourself if they are really your political allies?

    So should I question my opposition to neoliberal trade treaties such as the TPP because Donald Trump also opposes them? My skepticism of the mainstream media because many rightwingers are also skeptical? My support for prison abolition because it was a policy of the (now defunct) Australian Nazi Party?

    • Very good point. I suppose my point is about considering WHY political actors hold certain positions. The DUP supports the Swedish model NOT because they are feminists, but most likely (and this is my interpretation) because they view sex work as a disgusting sin, and would support any law that stigmatizes sex workers further. But your examples clearly show that my argument is too superficial – just because some of the supporters of a certain proposal are right-wing fascists doesn’t mean that the proposal itself has to be problematic, you are right. Will have to think of a better argument!!

  3. Excellent article – the clarity is needed and so well done. Only one thing missing, IMHO. There are also women who love sex work and choose it freely as a job they enjoy, as opposed to continually framing it in terms of desperation, poor/only choices, or addictions.

    • Absolutely – just like there are happy academics, and happy mushroom pickers, and happy delivery people! I would argue that the reason some people are happy in a given profession is because of their specific circumstances: in the sex industry, it appears to me that sex workers who enjoy a good amount of freedom in their job, i.e. being able to choose clients, pick their work locations, keep all their earnings to themselves, are more likely to be happy in their job than for example the very marginalized working class sex workers I worked with in illegal taverns in a South African township. Doesn’t mean they like being treated as stupid victims though! Just means that working conditions aren’t the same for everyone, and we need solidarity and complex, detailed pictures of this industry – just like any other.

      • Hear, hear.

        I live in NSW, Australia. I have friends and relatives who work/worked in the sex industry. In the 80s I shared a Darlinghurst flat with a series of sexworkers back when it was illegal. The inner Sydney brothels were controlled by a small contingent of quite nasty men who exploited the workers mercilessly in return for keeping the law off them via bribes. The workers on the streets were controlled largely by corrupt police who not only took a portion of their earnings but typically demanded free ‘trade’ for themselves and their mates as well.

        In 1995 sex work was decriminalised in NSW. It didn’t fix everything, but the Kings Cross kingpins were pretty much put out of business overnight and the cops were reduced to extorting from the handful of brothel keepers who still manage to operate outside the law.

        The sex workers I knew in the 80s mostly hated their work (and their clients) and lived in fear. Most of the sex workers I’ve known since decriminalisation are reasonably happy with their jobs and much more able to operate independently, set their own working conditions, organise to protect themselves and seek help from government and NGOs when needed. I wouldn’t say they love their work, by and large, but mostly they’ve chosen it freely because it’s the best option available to them. Some use it to put themselves through university in the hope of finding a career they do love.

        A couple of years ago the conservative (Liberal/National) NSW government initiated an inquiry that many thought was intended to recriminalise sex work. The committee members did the usual thing, taking submissions from all interested parties (including prominent SWERF academics), interviewing stakeholders, checking out the situation in other jurisdictions (including those following the Nordic model) and concluded – to the horror of much of the media – that the current NSW model is world’s best practice.

      • Yes! Again – well said.

  4. Thank you for an excellent article. In my experience (i.e. people I know), those who oppose decriminalisation of prostitution have a different view than your summary. It’s more like “Prostitution involves degradation, abuse and violence towards women, informed by, and helping perpetuate, misogyny more broadly in society.” They therefore want to “eliminate” prostitution. I wonder if you can comment on that position?

    • Absolutely, that’s exactly what I was trying to respond to. So, the question is, what can we do to create a society free of degradation, abuse and violence towards women? And I get that making something illegal is, at least partially, meant to express society’s disapproval of the abuse. But I do find it curious that nobody has so far suggested to criminalize any other industry, even though we all know that the conditions for workers in many different parts of the capitalist economic system are absolutely full of abuse, violence, racism, sexism etc. So that’s my question for you: why is criminalization viewed as the remedy when it comes to sex work, but when it comes to abuse in other industries, we might be more inclined to argue for workers’ rights and regulation?

      Secondly, what I am arguing is that on a very practical level, criminalizing any part of the sex industry only makes these problems worse. It is absolutely naive to think that criminalizing clients will get rid of sex work. Only someone who hasn’t engaged at all with the reasons why people buy and sell sex would believe this myth. It is actually quite similar to the myths we are fed about migration: that closing borders would stop migration. It doesn’t, it just criminalizes the process, and makes those who decide to cross borders (often for very similar reasons as those entering the sex industry – mainly economic hopes) much more vulnerable to be exploited and abused.

      If we were to try to “eliminate” sex work, or at least reduce it, I suppose what we would need to do is eliminate the reasons why people buy and sell sex. Like I said in the post:

      “free access to higher education, equal pay for women, decent social welfare, erasure of their criminal record when they try to leave the sex industry, legalization of their immigration status, and gender norms that do not instill in young people that men need to fuck (lots of) women and women need to please men.”

      Does that make sense?

      • While there are some people here opposing decriminalisation with the argument that it degrades women and promotes misogyny (presumably male sex workers are OK then) it seems to me that the most implacable and persistent opponents are ‘gentrifiers’ who worry that visible sex work will impact on property values.

        When the local ‘Islington Action Group’ isn’t trying to criminalise the sex workers that have been prominent in their suburb for over a century they’re busy opposing low cost housing developments.

  5. no terfs no swerfs

    Exactly! If only expensive housing exists, then only rich people can live there (Islington in your example). And funny thing about that, most rich people are white. So this is racist. In fact anyone making ‘affordable’ or ‘low-cost’ housing should BOTHER, which they never seem to do, to find out who the local people needing housing are, how they live, what housing they need and want, and what they can pay as rent. In the last two UK councils I have experience of, there is always ZERO consultation with the thousands needing housing. Every time, the council grants planning permission for developments, and then the number of homes is altered and the designs are changed after they start construction. Little imagination is given to the samey, ‘ticky-tacky’ houses built as homes to buy. The small proportion that will be ‘affordable’ homes, gets cut by a lot before construction ends.

    To cut corners, the councils hire the lowest bidder and allow the shoddiest construction – several residential and nonresidential developments witnessed over the last decade have even brought in Workfare – untrained, unpaid random men of all ages (= SLAVES) from the various Work Programmes (sent by Jobcentres as a condition of not having their benefits stopped) and directly from Jobcentres.
    In fact several times I was sent too, but the moment they saw me the construction companies sent me home as I am disabled. I used the rest of the time to infiltrate to an extent, by observing errors in construction (banned cladding materials, leaking roofs, crap safety) and interviewing workfare staff. The paid staff I was able to speak to, exactly the same as occurs at Poundland using workfare, resented the presence of the workfare staff. On an active building site, all of that makes for a negative and highly unsafe working environment, with the potential for bullying and ‘deliberate accidents’ . Most of the workfare people had zero PPE. The one woman sent was trans and not transitioned or out. So really if she had the opportunity to freely express her real sex/gender, according to the rules she should never have been sent, if they were going to keep insisting it was a male-only workfare project. And even if she was still unable to transition, as she was still a woman.

    Ironically paid workers have/had the theoretical ‘right to be female’, except the construction companies and smaller builders’ firms hire only a tiny minority of women. Even though there are MANY more women going on college courses to be architects, builders, plumbers, civil engineers, carpenters, electricians, engineers, gas fitters, maintenance technicians and repair workers, communications engineers, roofers, scaffolders, bricklayers, surveyors, landscapers, amenity horticulture workers, plasterers, lorry drivers, welders, etc. (All jobs that Literally Required A Penis until 1/1/1990. /s
    …do you stir the tar with it or something???)
    [Of course not all men have a penis, and not all people with a penis are men]

    Most of the people I spoke to at least made an effort, as they would lose their benefits if they did not participate. One workfare I was at had actually only two schemes: building and hairdressing! If you were listed as male you could technically ask to do hairdressing; but nobody did. If you were listed as female you could only be sent to hairdressing. Yay, open horizons! They had an ‘Investors in People’ and everything. But only those listed as male could be sent on the construction sites. Fun fact, a lot of the sites had no toilet, which breaches employment/workplace rules, and can’t have been fun for the paid staff either. To be fair, some of the workfare staff went AWOL, stole things, smoked (including around fumes), took drugs, turned up drunk/high, got in fights, broke things, disobeyed orders… Some stole phones and money from the paid staff, who they resented for being paid. They stole food too, as the workfare slaves were not fed. Another point, as unpaid or temporary or internship (= also unpaid) staff, the workplace has no real responsibility to look after your safety and welfare. Nothing happens to the bosses or Jobcentre or Work Programme when workfare people inevitably get injured. There is no job at the end of it, a precondition of workfare (see ‘Poundland workfare schemes’). There’s no holidays, childcare, flexible working hours, sick pay, health insurance, paid overtime (plenty of compulsory unpaid overtime), travel assistance… And no work-related taxes either, so for the government they count as ‘one less unemployed’ in DWP figures, but in your personal tax record as an unemployed person it does not count at all. Time on workfare can even get you ‘denied a pension unless you pay the government £4,000′, because someone’s computer said you are not working and paid insufficient NI contributions. Which also happens if you left the country for a day – potentially no pension, because government computers are rubbish.

    When the shoddy housing is built, at a size that looks cramped, none of it is affordable. The homes built for rental are shoeboxes a housing association can kick you out of the moment a household with more points comes along. Nobody sits down with the architect and the people needing housing, to design that housing together based on the tenants’ wishes and needs. Under this sort of environment, imagine unemployed women, from the eager to the reluctant, all did the hairdressing course, in 1-3 counties. Now imagine some actually got to the end without dropping out, being kicked out, dying of boredom… NONE would be qualified to work as hairdressers. Say some of those actually wanted to become hairdressers. They would need to go on a college course that would give them qualifications. Colleges can turn down anyone on drugs or in sex work (now/past). Difficult if they need childcare. If the colleges let them in, they would need funding. They might get some or all of their fees paid, but if not would have to pay from their benefits, even if that meant not paying rent (= homelessness) or going without food. And everyone wants a hairdresser who is always keeling over because they haven’t eaten for a week. (Note to readers with Money – look up ‘Money’ under ‘Unicorns’ – a week is not uncommon on benefits.) Oh, sometimes you can get a tin of beans but eaten cold from the can because you can’t pay the gas or electric. If funding and attendance is sorted out, the college’s end is happy; but often the DWP pulls people out of college at no notice because they are supposed to be looking for jobs 30-40 hours a week. Nonexistent jobs in a bollocks economy, where any attempt to better yourself by education is called troublemaking. They even have the nerve to stick college brochures in jobcentres, but the moment you actually start a course they order you to leave it – often till the college (which loses money and your place) bans you ever returning. Or, you don’t tell the jobcentre, and go to college when you can. Tricky, as to get funding the colleges need you to fill in forms a) from the jobcentre to give you permission to go to college b) from the jobcentre to prove you are on benefits so you can be allowed in the college and get funding. And the jobcentre need forms saying you are at college and agreeing (sic) to quit the moment the jobcentre have Not Found You a Non-Job. (To go back on the regular dole doing nothing) So the odds are always massively stacked against you. Say you made it and completed the course. You are now a qualified hairdresser. But now there is an excess of hairdressers. You might need to move to somewhere without any, paying your own relocation costs on top of starting a business. How about policing? Though a lot of forces are cutting their police. ‘Civilian’ police support roles can be part-time. (A documentary on the new EU countries had a segment on a married straight couple in Estonia, both police officers. It was seen as a good job, but they were struggling to make ends meet.) Nursing? And guess what, there are some sex workers who have a larger annual income than nurses.

    Yet society (superficially anyway) ‘respects’ nurses and values them, unlike sex workers. If there was no demand for sex workers, there would be no sex workers. There is outrage when a murdered woman is a police officer, healthcare worker, teacher, or politician. However when she is a sex worker, her whole life is disregarded as if she was not a person. (Yes, the killers tend to be white cis heterosexual ablebodied men.) The same tabloid-readers who value sex workers enough to purchase sex from them, are dismissive to abuse/blaming when sex workers are killed. An atmosphere of covering up sex work, criminalising either side of the transaction, makes sex workers of all genders totally unsafe. The USA is worse, where there are open policies to evict or fire (or refuse to house/employ) anyone who was ever a sex worker. Sex workers are seen as bad (by politicians with ‘non-open relationships’, cheating on their wives with secret mistresses). Why is a sex worker ‘bad’ but trillions of dollars spent on armaments and pollution is ‘good’? Our ablist, looksist, body-fascist society is classist, sizeist, racist, ageist, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic. And it is also, who would have guessed, whorephobic. NO, not ‘all hookers’ look like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’. Sex workers are not there for some fantasising male to ‘save’ them. They are unlikely to turn into nuns, or join That Silver Ring Thing and have a ‘re-virgination ceremony’. Some leave sex work as their body is no longer capable of continuing. Or they meet someone and/or start a family.
    Whorephobia is so hypocritical. Catcalling, slut-shaming males (and some females in places) think it’s cool and fine for a man to be a stud, but a girl or woman should be taken by a man as her first time. And then she is ‘ruined’… If a girl has sex she is ‘easy’, if not she is ‘tight’ or a ‘bitch’ or a ‘dyke’. If she is a lesbian, men ask to watch or join in, or want to convert her by rape. Women don’t want to shower with her, and I (a man) recall there was a FUCKING IDENTICAL CAMPAIGN to ban lesbians from toilets. Which history books also tell us was a FUCKING IDENTICAL CAMPAIGN to ban black people from toilets (USA and South Africa). Previously, when the first public toilets in Britain for women were introduced, there was in a few parts of the country a FUCKING IDENTICAL CAMPAIGN by rich white women to ban the toilets in their area for working-class and underclass women. Similarly there have been FUCKING IDENTICAL CAMPAIGNS to ban gay men from toilets. Even since covid, when all or most public toilets were (or still are) closed, some of my area’s shopping centres have banned homeless people (as in, the people most needing the toilet) from using the only remaining toilets. I campaigned on it for months as I am ex-homeless and work with homeless people. All I did was ignored. Then after even more months of shopping centres and councils doing nothing to help, the local press (which I had told them at the start but it was not published) ‘suddenly noticed’ people were going to the toilet in bushes and the street. Um, because there were no toilets! Like a small child (another demographic in need of rapid toilet access) could tell you that was going to happen. A tangent, but another thing that has shot up since covid, furlough and lockdown (house arrest), is domestic violence and abuse. Most of the women I see at the soup kitchen are victims of rape, assault, and coercive control. What is being done about the human rights of THESE women? Earlier in the pandemic there were sex workers with no income due to lockdown. Even if they disobeyed, they had few or no clients. Now the confusing laws are relaxing a bit, people have been bending or breaking the rules because they need to go back to work to get an income, and their job is sex work.

    There are some aspects of sex work that are dangerous and/or exploitative. An open, accepted sex work industry would at least be able to begin addressing and tackling these issues. Criminalising sex work is not a solution. If you ban sex workers, you stop them reporting crimes or getting health checks (which spreads disease to workers and other workers, other clients, and all a client’s sexual partners such as wives). In the case where any person in this network is pregnant, syphilis can infect an unborn baby. So can HIV.
    You continue to allow it to be ‘lawful’ to deny employment, healthcare and housing to sex workers. Prejudice leads to harassment and bullying by neighbours of a known or suspected sex worker. Males who have multiple sexual partners are still seen as ‘studs’, or lucky sometimes if they are gigolos. But women are ‘sluts’ if they had sex with 2 or more males! That double standard must be confronted. Extremes of wanting women to be virgins, nuns, or monogamous housewives – versus a concept of ‘free love’ meaning all persons with vaginas are communal sexual property of all persons with penises – are just as wrong. Children under 16 cannot consent. Sex without consent is rape. A woman should be convicted of rape if she commits or aids a rape. She could hold a woman down or trick her into a house full of men; women have been convicted of that already. If a woman sexually penetrates an un-consenting person with an object (including her penis if she has one), that is rape. Also in the USA in some places a woman can be convicted of rape if she uses force or deception to make a man’s or woman’s penis penetrate her. If a woman with or without a penis rapes a woman with or without a penis, the woman who rapes her should be in the sex offenders wing of a female prison. Incidentally, female hormones in therapeutic doses prevent erection and cause the genitals to atrophy; surgery to create a neovagina would mean there was no longer a penis. And ALL the most dangerous offenders are meant to be in solitary confinement, whether because they sexually attack people or physically assault them. If a woman cuts off a woman or girl’s clitoris, holds her down while others do this, or sews up her vagina [This practice of course also happens to trans boys and trans men, so should in that case be IGM or MGM], commonly called FGM, that is illegal and should also be treated as a form of sexual assault. If a doctor mutilates an intersex baby or child that is IGM. If a person over 16/18 (depends on jurisdiction!) consents to trans surgery and/or hormones, that is totally their choice and their right. What feminism has always fought for is the equality of all genders, and maximum bodily autonomy to all individuals. As with every liberation movement, individual autonomy and liberty extends as far as it can without harming the rights of others. The existence of sex workers does not, per se, stop those who are not sex workers from having rights. Where forced sex and trafficking is involved, a more open society would allow proper investigation, prosecution of these crimes, and treatment for victims and offenders.It’s still glossed-over that most modern slaves in Britain are UK citizens (the largest nationality group of victims, by numbers); and that male trafficking/abduction/slavery victims can also be forced into sex work or are sexually abused. Sexual abuse of vulnerable disabled and/or elderly males and females also exists. There is still a widespread culture of disbelief towards any male victims of rape and abuse who come forward. According to the fundamental tenets of feminism, ALL humans are people, and ALL humans are equal. Feminism is for men too. Oh, and whorephobia is totally anti-feminist.


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