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Apr 09 2012

Sex Slavery must be abolished.

Bill Gates foundation donated a huge lot of money to improve prostituted women’s health in India. Now, the son and daughter-in-law of Warren Buffet have come to India to help the organizations that are working for the abolition of sexual slavery. Finally! some sane people! The idea of making buffet family visit some of India’s prostitutions came from feminist icon Gloria Steinem. She also believes sex trafficking and sex slavery must be abolished.

 

There are more slaves today than any time in human history. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today.

 

The Indian government says, there are more than 3 million prostitutes in India. Human Rights Watch says, there are more than 20 million prostitutes in India. I believe there  are more than 20 million prostitutes in India.  In India, like many other countries, most people are for legalization of prostitution. They call prostituted women sex workers. But sex slavery is not sex work. Sane people do not call prostituted women  sex workers, because sex is not ‘work’.

 

2.5 million people are being trafficked around the world, 80% of them women and children. The sex industry generates billions of dollars.  Will it ever be possible to abolish prostitution? Actually it is  not difficult to abolish prostitution. Criminalize clients. Where there is no demand, there will be no supply. Swedish abolitionist law is working very well in Scandinavia. You can sell  body, but you  can not buy body. This law saves poor women.

 

People all over the world believe in some lies about prostitution but they should know the truth.   After research on prostitution for years, we now know the truth.

 

 

Lie1. Prostitution is an oldest profession.

Truth1. Prostitution is the oldest form of patriarchal oppression, not oldest profession.

 

Lie2. Prostitution is sexual freedom. /Prostitution is sex.

Truth2. Prostitution is sexual exploitation./ Prostitution is not sex, it is sexual violence.

 

Lie3. Legalizing prostitution gets rid of sex traffickers and pimps.

Truth3. Legalizing prostitution benefits sex traffickers, pimps,clients,sex industries.

 

Lie4. Men need sex therefore prostitution must exist. Prostitution is a natural
form of human sexuality.

Truth4. The sex of prostitution is not “sex” for women in it. Most men who use women
in prostitution have other sexual partners.

 

Lie5. Women choose to enter prostitution.

Truth5. Prostitution is not an acceptable job for women. They are forced to enter prostitution. Prostitution is an abusive institution and women stay poor in prostitution.  It  is not a vocation choice, it is human rights abuse.

 

Lie6. Legal prostitution protects women in prostitution.
Truth6. Legal prostitution does not protect women in prostitution from harm. All prostitution , legal or illegal, harm women.

 

Lie7. Social Stigma is most harmful aspect of prostitution

Truth7. Not social stigma, Harmful aspects are rape, beatings, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and other violence from clients and pimps.

 

 

Lie8. Prostitution is deterrent to sex crimes.

Truth8. Prostitution is associated with increased rate of sex crimes.

 

 

Lie9. Legalization of prostitution is an entirely separate issue from human trafficking.

Truth9. Prostitution is the destination point for trafficking.

 

 

Lie10. Legalized prostitution would control the sex industry.

Truth10. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution expands the sex industry

 

 

Lie11. Opposing prostitution means prostitutes would be arrested.

Truth11. We have to decriminalize poor prostituted women but criminalize their predators: clients, pimps, traffickers.

 

 

306 comments

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  1. 1
    Charles Sullivan

    I’m not sure I agree with all of your points as it applies to a developed country, but in a poor country I think you’re exactly right on every point.

    1. 1.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      A developed country has a third world country of the poor within it.

      1. Charles Sullivan

        But it also has women (from middle class families?) who freely choose to be sex workers. Maybe that’s Greta Christina’s point. But you’re point is well taken. If the women can’t really choose, they’re fucked. I really think it’s a class issue.

      2. Kimi

        Hah!

        “A developed country has a third world country of the poor within it.”

        This exactly why I dont want to speak about USA !

        Taslima you couldnt be more wrong. Obvioiusly you have seen world a lot but you really believe this you just havent seen world enough. If this your case why you earlier took Sweden for example? Dont you realise at all differeences that nations de facto have?

        Italy has MORE in common with India than Sweden! I dont need any apologies but your statement was idealism only and it doesnt aply to western world in general. Please, you have INTERNATIONAL audience here at Freethoughts. Dont speak about USA ansd claim “this is true in all developed countries”. That is not Rationalism IMHO.

        1. Kimi

          And my grammar is horrible Sorry!

          I will pay more attention about that.

          Some grammar corrections:

          Obviously you have seen world a lot but IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE this you just haven’t seen world enough. If THIS IS YOUR case WHY DID YOU earlier took Sweden for example? Don’t you realize at all differences that nations de facto have?

  2. 2
    Avicenna

    @Taslima…

    I generally agree with you on most aspects but not on the issue of prostitution. I have worked with prostitutes in the past and I suppose that has coloured some of my views on the matter.

    See people go into prostitution in different parts of the world for different reasons. Each woman is different with different drives. I cannot go to a Californian sex dungeon and class a high class dominatrix in the same world as a nepali sex slave in the Cages District of Mumbai or a Calcutta Streetwalker. Even the Nepali girl and the Calcutta girl may have entirely different reasons (force vs. necessity). Punishing the Johns of the Nepali Girl is pointless. Her pimp needs punishing. The Calcutta Streetwalker may not even have a pimp. Even within India there are a sheer diverse mix of prostitutes that needs to be distinguished and treated on a case by case basis.

    What’s the point of removing the business of “necessity” prostitutes. All that does is drop these women out of a job and forces them to take more risks. (AKA unprotected sex for higher costs or be less picky with clients or go on the street to beg)

    The problem is we cannot STOP prostitution by punishing Johns because it hurts the prostitute too and they need to make a living. India is not like the west. My country can afford to pay people money to do nothing, India cannot. India’s response to prostitution often is to bust up pimps, arrest Johns and release the women shouting “Good Luck” and then do the same thing week after week because these women are prostituting themselves for a reason. Because they have no other options.

    There is a demand. There is a massive demand in India for the same reason there was a massive demand in the UK during the victorian era. Women are brutally assaulted and murdered for a reason… Because of Victorian Morals. India may not be as bad as Pakistan or Bangladesh but hell’s bells, the way women are treated is shockingly Victorian. And like Victorian England this kind of treatment and expectation in women creates a big drive for prostitution.

    Prostitution in the west is dying out because we don’t treat women as chaste flowers who would swoon at the sight of a penis. Sex has lost it’s traditional poetic, religious and procreative meaning with women taking an equal interest in it. Why pay for a prostitute when there are people who are willing to sleep with you for free? You cannot compete with free. The sexual revolution in the west achieved it. India may need something similar.

    You may need to revise the article. The irony is? Prostitutes hear about how BAD their profession is daily. They don’t often see you as rescuing them so much as dooming them to starvation or wasting a day or two’s earnings. The change will occur and it has to be driven by society and it will be slow. Because you have to realise that pimps and johns don’t care so much and traffickers REALLY do not care. They already made their profit, what they earn after that is purely bonus.

    There are some great arguments and some fallacies here.

    For me? It’s baby steps. The legalisation of prostitution allows me to do one major major thing. Bring Girls from under street lamps to inside houses. Giving them access to healthcare that they do SORELY need. Non Judgemental Healthcare. It’s the same idea as a needle bank. When these women are treated as normal they will work safe and seek help when needed from sources that are not “their pimp” but “the law”. When they realise the options available. It gives us access to these women.

    It’s just such a complex issue that cannot be boiled down to eleven black or white points. I wish I could go into more detail.

    1. 2.1
      Rita Banerji

      @Avicenna — I agree with you. I think that the anti-trafficking ngos have lumped prostitution and sex-trafficking together. Even though often localized prostitution and people involved and probably the same channels and people involved with sex-trafficking.

      But in India, there are lots of women who may have entered this profession due to hardened circumstances, but eventually it is the money that keeps them there. Without a proper and adequate middle class style education and job skills (which none of the rehabilitation centers offer I should add) — these women are looking down another dark tunnel. It is horrifying how the so called rehabilitation homes are like prisons. They are conjested, airless, quite filty. They are often padlocked from outside so the women don’t run away, which many want to because it is one, long dark depressing life. They are stuck there for the rest of their lives in these so called ‘homes.’ Recently Shakti Vahini an ngo in Delhi helped ‘rescue’ a girl who had been trafficked from Bengal to Delhi. That girl did not want to return to Bengal. She said, she preferred the life she had now because other men in her village would abuse her, and that she did not want to go back to the life of utter poverty she had, because she was happier with the lifestyle — clothes, food, house she could afford now. And the ngos shook their heads and said, “these girls are only interested in money.” Well, I say, if you don’t give them very good education and an alternative skill and means to earn a good living and live the way they want to live, it is not right to make that kind of a judgement about them.

      The other issue I feel is that most NGOs that say they are working with sex trafficking don’t actually address the machinery that sustains sex-trafficking. And that is the government and police. Not just within India but also internationally. For e.g. when Gloria Steinem was speaking here she said, that 50,000 Indian women are trafficked into the U.S. from India every year. It is absolutely not possible to move that volume of human beings from one end of the world to another without the involvement of government and other officials from police and other agencies at high levels at both ends, and other in-between transit zones. I know Rahila Gupta in the U.K. has established about sex-trafficking of women from Eastern Europe into the U.K. But these anti-trafficking NGOs in India never address the actually traffickers and the system and officials who are perpetuating it. I feel often they go after local prostitutes because they are easier to go after.

      Taslima, you mention the use of the term ‘sex-work’ — and I didn’t use the term before, but many of the women in organized unions of prostitutes in India insist on the term because, they believe that is their profession, and the word ‘prostitute’ creates a social stigma against them. And they say that ‘sex work’ gives them legitimacy, and dignity of work.

      I personally, would not advise any person, man or woman to go into this profession because I think it is more dangersous than being a race-car driver!! But in terms of indignity etc. — sometimes I feel particularly in India with such a large number of women going into prostitution — that culturally girls are raised to alienate themselves from their own bodies. They are forced to marry men they don’t love and have sex and children when they don’t want sex and children, and so psychologically I think that Asian cultures actually prepare women better for sex work — which actually is horrible.

      1. stellamarr

        I think prostitution and sex trafficking should be seen as interchangeable terms. In the vast majority of cases, prostitution within one’s own country amounts to domestic sex trafficking. In drawing a distinction, we are acquiescing to the mistreatment of the prostituted class.

        For what it’s worth, a ‘high class dominatrix’ in a dungeon often owns the dungeon and is exploiting other women. In other words, these women are often madams.

        Calling a madam a prostitute is like calling a plantation owner a migrant farm worker.

        1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

          Please cite your source for your assertion that “high class” (ugh) dominatrices and/or submissives typically make money by taking a cut of other dominatrices’/subs’ earnings.

          I know people that do kink. Almost none of them do it professionally. However a few have done and one still does. None of them, despite being off-street, client-selective, and in other ways “high class” (that term is so loaded with crap I use it only because it’s the phrase under discussion) in terms of fitting a stereotype (primarily of business methodologies), **none** of them took money from others’ earnings. Nor does any of them own a dungeon, though several friends (mostly the people who have never done any sex for money) have toys around their houses sufficient to deck out an area when the mood strikes.

          So I ask, where are you getting all this compelling information? I don’t assume my personal experience constitutes data, but I have no evidence what you are saying is remotely true and am wondering if you are extrapolating inappropriately from personal experience, making things up, lying, or sitting on some really, really useful citations.

          I’d very much prefer to clarify that.

          –)->

    2. 2.2
      Kitty Stryker

      “They don’t often see you as rescuing them so much as dooming them to starvation or wasting a day or two’s earnings.”

      Yes. Exactly.

      Don’t be so quick to say that Sweden has it all figured out- see: http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/theotherswedishmodel/

      Please do not tell me that my clients are abusers, or that I am being sexually violated. I’m not, and I don’t want you to speak for me. I have agency, kthnxbai. Maybe you should try talking to more prostitutes and encouraging/signal boosting their voices before you start saying what the “truth” about sex work is- or better yet, leave it to sex workers to say. Signal boost US instead of calling us “poor prostituted women”.

      Also, please cite proof of any of the things you’re saying. Prostitution increases sex crimes? All prostitutes are forced? Decriminalization leads to a boom in the market? I’d like to see some proof of these things.

      I will tell you this, though. I’ve worked in a country with less social stigma about sex work, and I was immensely safer than I am now in a place where the police can rape, abuse, and arrest me for coming to them for help. Stigma is exactly why all this violence happens- people know they can get away with it, because the stigma gives them permission.

    3. 2.3
      sem

      it IS a complex issue. mr Gates has done many wonderful things charity wise. I do not like the idea of people in prostitution, but it is complicated.

  3. 3
    Wazza

    yes, speaking from a developed country with legal prostitution… two of my friends are sex workers. Both of them chose that profession over other possible lines of work, because they enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

    That said, they had a choice. In unregulated sex markets, so many people don’t have that choice.

    Prostitution can never be entirely abolished – it’s like the drug trade, there will always be customers. Bringing it into the open, regulating it, and drafting laws to protect the rights of those who choose to enter the industry is the best way of preventing abuses.

    1. 3.1
      stellamarr

      As a woman who was in prostitution for ten years, I find the ‘my friends are sex workers’ statements quite laughable. We never call ourselves sex workers. We call ourselves hookers, prostitutes or, if it’s appropriate, call girls.

      Usually when a commenter refers to ‘sex worker friends’ they are a John who buys women in prostitution (the so-called ‘friends’). Of course I don’t know if that’s the case here — but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck ….

      1. Sal Bro

        I’m definitely not a john but call men and women “sex workers” (1) as a general term that could encompass different types of work, (2) because I think it’s fine if people want to call themselves hookers but don’t feel like I can assume that I can call them that, (3) I got the impression somewhere that it’s the preferred term. If I’m wrong on any of those, though, I’d like to know.

      2. StealthBadger

        “Of course I don’t know if that’s the case here — but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck ….”

        …the alleged duck still can not be included as conclusive data.

        What is it with people and going “we don’t need independently confirmed results, my personal experience invalidates everything else on the planet!”

        1. Stella Marr

          Let’s just say that we have women who’ve survived trafficking/prostitution speaking out about their experiences. Let’s listen to them, not to anonymous posters with ‘sex worker’ friends. It’s extraordinarily odious to experience being bought by a John imagines himself as your ‘friend’ let me tell you. It’s a dehumanizing power trip. Friends don’t do that to friends.

          1. xxxild61

            Well, Stella, I am one of stealthbadger’s friends. You and I may have worked around the same time period (I don’t know I’m just becoming familiar with your life experience by reading your blog). I worked in Philadelphia.

            I don’t understand. You worked for people who harmed you and other women. You understand the corruption in and around the activity and the abuse that happened to us. Yet you promote the continued stigmatization and silencing of people advocating decriminalization so that the things that happened to you, me, and others don’t happen as much anymore, and if so there will be punishment.

            I don’t get where you get off likening people who have NOTHING to gain, and often much to lose, in taking and advocating this position to the very creeps who hurt you and so many others and will likely continue to do this given the current system in place here in the US.

            I appreciate learning about your experience, but these tactics you’re using are obvious to me, you’ve used every one of them here, and frankly I tired of them a few months into seeing them used on me for speaking my mind.

      3. Kitty Stryker

        “we never call ourselves sex workers”

        Speak for yourself! I actively call myself a sex worker, a prostitute, and a prodomme, depending on what stage of my life we’re discussing. Many of the people I know who also do sex work and sex work activism also call themselves sex workers. Making sweeping generalized judgments is kind of ridiculous.

        1. Stella Marr

          Kitty, I never said I was pro-domme anywhere? So no reason to claim I’m speaking for you.

  4. 4
    Antares

    Hm, I understand the good intentions and the noble goals, but I’d nonetheless like to see some of the sources discussed. Maybe in future posts.

    I have this suspicion that factors like poverty, religiosity and gender inequality are significant confounders.

    That is explicitly not to belittle the struggling and suffering of sex slaves, especially in developing countries, but to make sure that the arguments and facts are sound and evidence-based. Skepticism goes both ways and generalizations generally don’t help. *cough*

    1. 4.1
      Stella Marr

      When people talk about “judgment” or “religiosity” or “moralizing” in the context of the nordic model, they are not talking about prostitution, they are talking about themselves. This is one of our biggest problems. We prostitutes are made invisible and dehumanized into stand ins for the entitleds’ feelings about sex.

      When you think about trafficking and prostitution, stop thinking about sex and start thinking about human beings. Researchers have found that women in prostitution experience the same levels of trauma as the victims of state sponsored torture. In other words, prostitution is clinically equivalent to torture. That’s what you should be thinking about, not sex.

      Truth is, prostitutes know something horrible’s been done to us. We want society to acknowledge this — and that’s the beauty of the nordic model — it acknowledges that we are crime victims, that we’ve been wronged. When society tries to whitewash this by equating our situation with some nonprostitute’s (and often a man’s) titillating sexual fantasies, society does us great emotional violence.

      1. xxxild61

        Stella Marr: Researchers have found that women in prostitution experience the same levels of trauma as the victims of state sponsored torture. In other words, prostitution is clinically equivalent to torture.

        citation, pls.

  5. 5
    msironen

    Should be interesting to see if the other bloggers will let your list go unchallenged. especially since you chose to declare that many widely held opinions are not only mistaken but lies.

  6. 6
    Aeryn

    As someone who lives in a first world country and is by choice a sex worker I have to disagree with what you are saying.

    Slavery, sexual, domestic or otherwise is horrid and needs to stop. However prostitution =/= sex slavery. Thats like calling slavery “having a job”. It’s not.

    Some people can be forced to work as prostitutes, but not all of us do. I know that I am part of a privileged minority of sex workers, but being in a minority doesn’t mean we don’t exist. I make the choices that are right for me and I do what I enjoy. I am fully in control of my mind, body and sexuality and have not been influenced by magical patriarchy to be this way. I have full personal autonomy.

  7. 7
    Ace of Sevens

    You seem to have some broad generalizations here. Certainly some people go into prostitution voluntarily. They do it because they need money, but that’s true of all jobs. I’m also unclear on some of the claims. For instance, number 10 seems to assume that the sex industry can’t be both larger and more controlled without explaining why this would be.

  8. 8
    ik

    Same here, though I wish that you would not speak in absolutes. I think that most of what you say is good for comparatively poor countries or ones where the patriarchy is still strong, not as much for richer places or those where feminism is already more successful. I do wish that you wouldn’t tell people that they didn’t just want something.

    Scandinavian model: it’s not that simple, and I have heard a lot of people complaining about it.

  9. 9
    Rilian

    Mightn’t someone ever choose to be a prostitute? I’m emphatically against anyone being forced into it, but if they choose it freely for themselves, I don’t know.

    1. 9.1
      stellamarr

      So because one person might choose prostitution — we should forget about all the brutality, violence and coercion the vast majority of us prostitutes experience?

      No logic to that.

      1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

        NO ONE that i’ve read has made that argument.

        One can say that some people choose to work shi77y night-work jobs at convenience stores AND claim that violence and robbery and employee abuse should be prohibited generally and punished when they occur.

        What part of that makes no sense to you? In case you haven’t noticed, violence against another person is generally illegal pretty much everywhere. The problems have more to do with enforcement than with legal prohibitions. …and those enforcement problems often have to do with failing to recognize the humanity of those violated.

        In case you haven’t recognized it yet, humanity involves choice: if we do not recognize the power of choice that I’ve had in my life – even while abused and raped – or that you’ve had or that others have had, we are not treating ourselves as fully human.

        If we treat persons who have taken sex for money as inhumanly incompetent then we do not help others recognize the humanity of all those among us who have earned money this way. There are reasons to adopt the Swedish model. However we gain nothing from an erroneous assertion that tolerance of violence inevitably flows from recognizing certain persons chose prostitution from a number of options when trying to earn money and/or survive.

  10. 10
    Martyn

    ‘There are more slaves today than any time in human history. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today.’

    That is shocking isn’t it? It begs the question’s; What went wrong? How? Why?

    I read somewhere Taslima, that human trafficking is on the rise because the criminals behind it don’t need any financial capital to begin with.

    For example; drug runner’s or gun dealer’s would have to have a certain amount of finances in order to buy the drugs and guns before selling them on to make a profit, but criminal gangs don’t need money to buy human beings, they target and abduct vulnerable people.

    This could also explain why human trafficking is more widespread today than at any other time in history.

    What are other people’s thoughts on this?

    1. 10.1
      Stella Marr

      I completely agree with you Martyn. And these huge profits give huge motivation for the violent coercion of women in prostitution.

  11. 11
    FeministWhore

    Seriously? Wow.

  12. 12
    FlickingYourSwitch

    I can’t agree with everything in this post. Slavery should be abolished everywhere immediately, and workers’ rights must be respected. I am a supporter of workers’ rights, but I am also for the freedom of every individual, and that would include the freedom to sell sexual services. I oppose slavery but support freedom.

  13. 13
    FO

    Taslima, I am surprised by your stance against the legalization of prostitution.
    From the top of my westerner ignorance I believe that, at least in developed countries, legalizing prostitution would improve the conditions of those involved.
    I can imagine that in countries where human rights are violated more blatantly legalization of prostitution would become legalization of exploitation.
    Would you please clarify this?
    I will not be able to change my mind without an argument.
    Thanks.

    1. 13.1
      Stella Marr

      FO, I am part of an international online network of trafficking/prostitution survivors. While we believe it should never be illegal to be a prostitute, we also believe it should always be illegal to be a pimp, madam, John, escort agency owner, brothel owner, etc. The genius of the nordic model is that its focus is on the wellbeing of the women in prostitution, rather than the interests of those who use or profit off of them. I suggest you read what some eloquent survivors are writing about this:

      http://www.survivorsconnect.wordpress.com
      http://www.secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com

  14. 14
    Roy G

    “Swedish abolitionist law is working very well in Scandinavia”

    Coming from Norway, a part of Scandinavia, I must admit I did not know we used Swedish laws.
    Still, Norway has also criminalized sex buyers; it is illegal to buy sex in any shape or form. You’re saying this is working? No, it’s not. There is roughly the same number of prostitutes now as there was before the law was enacted; some sources say there are more.
    Criminalizing sex buyers obviously doesn’t work.

    Why is this? Maybe it’s because pimps and traffickers don’t care about laws. They want to sell, and they buyers want to buy. Criminalizing prostitution only helps to hide prostitution, to make it harder for those that are forced to work to find help.

    About those points you make, I would really love to see some data to back up those that can be backed up, and some reasoning behind the emotional statements.
    For someone fighting religious dogmatism you sure come across as very dogmatic in this post.

    PS: This is written from a western point of view; depending on the country, some of what you say may or may not work, but saying that criminalizing sex buyers in Scandinavia has helped prostitutes is a flat-out lie.

    1. 14.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Sweden has significantly reduced the occurrence of trafficking in Sweden compared to neighboring countries that have not implemented a similar model. Sweden made it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. Pimping, procuring and operating a brothel are also illegal. The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique when first enacted in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009. The law reduced prostitution in Norway too. http://bit.ly/IuRu3o

      1. Roy G

        You need more sources about the effect of the law in Norway. The police, of course, says it works.
        Those that work with prostitutes says it doesn’t work. There are more reports of rape, more violence, and an actual increase in the number of prostitutes working in the three largest cities in Norway.

        Yes, I agree with you that human trafficking is a horrible thing that should be ended, that it should be punished much more harshly than it is now. The thing is, though, that I do not believe that prostitution will ever end. There will always be men and women wanting to buy sex, some purely for the sex itself, others for the companionship it brings. Keeping prostitution hidden by forbidding it will never end prostitution. What it will do is perpetuate the situation we have now in that women are smuggled into a country and kept hidden, ensuring that the authorities never even know they are there. A total ban will also make the police thin out their resources trying to catch everyone and everything.

        A better way would be to legalise and regulate it. I may be an idealist here, but I do believe that if women and men were allowed to sell sex in regulated brothels, where there was control over who had access, the ones selling sex were regularly tested for STDs and there was government oversight, it would significantly improve the working conditions of the ones selling sex, as well as significantly reduce the nomber of sex slaves, because, you know… They’d need to have a work permit to be able to work there.
        Yes, it does need a lot of work to function, and it may be an unattainable dream solution, but it is infinitely better than what we have now, and it is infinitely more likely to work than a total ban on prostitution.

      2. Kimi

        I think you should meet and talk women on the sex industry of the developed countries.

        Illegalising buying of sex only forces sex workers underground. And makes it so much difficult to help those that are forced to work in the profession or victims of human trafficing.

        It allso makes hard to keep up reliable statistic of differents areas of prostitution. That is what has happened at Sweden.

        Allso in the link you gave, no sex worker or organization that works with prostitutes were interviewed.

        Allso Finish sex workers organization SALLI disagrees with your point of illegalising of buying sex. The real problem is to recognise the victims of trafficing and to organise co-operation of authorities and different institutes to help these people.

        http://www.vice.com/read/a-sex-worker-breaks-down-why-ontarios-new-prostitution-laws-still-suck

      3. Andrew G.

        Not everyone agrees with you on that.

        In fact, there seems to be criticism of the claims of reduction in prostitution in Sweden coming from the Swedish academic community; surely they would be best placed to evaluate the statistics (or lack thereof)?

      4. Wendy Lyon

        Taslima, please see Norway and Sweden’s official Country Progress Reports to UNAIDS (available here). The Swedish report says that they do not know how much prostitution there is in the country because most of it is hidden. The Norwegian report says that they do not know whether the law has reduced prostitution and trafficking. The latter report also highlights many negative impacts of the law, such as the fact that sex workers are more difficult to reach for health services and are exposed to greater risks.

        See also this article in which the head of the Stockholm anti-trafficking police is quoted as saying that it is beginning to look as though there is a brothel on every corner.

        I would put more weight on these reports than on propaganda pieces written by people who support the law for ideological reasons unrelated to its actual consequences.

  15. 15
    psocoptera

    Just out of curiousity, which developed countries do you guys (Charles Sullivan and FlickingYourSwitch) think have sufficient protections for prostitutes? In the United States, the majority of prostitues are children and controled/abused by pimps. In Europe, a lot of them are trafficked from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Maybe in some idealized world ADULT men and women could have sex for money and not be at huge risk of being exploited or exposed to horrible diseases and conditions, but with only a handful of prostitues living like that out of hundreds of millions of women worldwide, I can’t find myself supporting the notion that sex work safe or is a form of sexual freedom. I think folks need to differentiate between some idealized world view and reality on the street or in the brothel.

    1. 15.1
      Kimi

      “Just out of curiousity, which developed countries do you guys (Charles Sullivan and FlickingYourSwitch) think have sufficient protections for prostitutes?”

      In Finland, Sweden and Norway theres exactly protection for prostitutes but its almost nonexisted that finish women would be forced to work in the industry. Why? Because in the northern Europe we have good basic socialsecurity and welfare. We have very low corruption and progressive/liberal laws that protect women better than in many places.

      “In the United States, the majority of prostitues are children and controled/abused by pimps.”

      You might be right. Wehave absolute NO SLUMS or GHETTOS in Finland. I’m sorry but I dont comment on USA. I just dont want to get started.

      “In Europe, a lot of them are trafficked from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and Asia.”

      That is true in the Finland allso but it doesnt aply to finish women that become prostitutes them selves.

      Spain is exactly the opposite because apparently 90% of sex workers there are victims of trafficing.

      “Maybe in some idealized world ADULT men and women could have sex for money and not be at huge risk of being exploited or exposed to horrible diseases and conditions,…
      …I think folks need to differentiate between some idealized world view and reality on the street or in the brothel.”

      You generelise too much because there are prostitutes that live allmost according to this “idealized world” or want to live. Out of those millions of prostitutes in the world theres very different stories. And because of that I really disagree with your notion that my point of view is “the idealization”. No its not. Its based on the views of prostitutes and official views of
      association that prostitus have made for them selves.

      1. Kimi

        Sorry important corection:

        “In Finland, Sweden and Norway there IS NOT EXACTLY PROTECTIOVE LAWS for prostitutes but its almost nonexisted that finish women would be forced to work in the industry.”

        That how it was supposed to be!

      2. Andrew G.

        Spain is exactly the opposite because apparently 90% of sex workers there are victims of trafficing.

        That figure is not even slightly credible.

        For comparison, a few years ago in the UK there was a big fuss about this, with people claiming that 80% of prostitutes were trafficked. A large police operations (Operation Pentameter 2), which raided over 800 brothels, was carried out and found what was claimed to be 167 “victims” – but not one single person was convicted of forced trafficking as a result of this operation. (Five men already caught by unrelated police work were deceptively counted as part of the operation to boost the numbers; 10 convictions for trafficking were obtained in which there was no claim of any coercion.)

        Organizations that actually work with prostitutes rather than engaging in “rescues” report that the proportion of trafficking victims is tiny (much less than 1%).

        Even the Home Office now officially repudiates the “80%” figure – but that doesn’t stop it being trotted out regularly by crusading politicians.

        1. Kimi

          “That figure is not even slightly credible.”

          Im referring to 2009 TAMPEP study. But you are kind of right. The study doesnt say they are all victims of trafficing only that they are “migrants”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Spain#Migrant_workers

          http://tampep.eu/documents.asp?section=reports

          “For comparison, a few years ago in the UK”

          You really cant refer to UK when trying to dispute my statements on the Spain.

          “A large police operations (Operation Pentameter 2), which raided over 800 brothels, was carried out and found what was claimed to be 167 “victims” – but not one single person was convicted of forced trafficking”

          This is not a study. Its only anecdote. And getting conviction in the court isnt proof of trafficing taking place or not happening. Legal system is too slow and byrokratic to be used as indicator in complex issues like slavery.

          First you have to know the guilty person. Guilty person is not the person sold to work as slave.

          Second you need enough proof to convict. Most proofs are what people are saying. In these cases very few physical evidence exists.

          Third is that in every legal system theres allways people that have been convicted and afterwards proven to be innocent.

          “Organizations that actually work with prostitutes rather than engaging in “rescues” report that the proportion of trafficking victims is tiny (much less than 1%).”

          That I can believe, afterall its UK. Id appreciate links to their sites though.

          1. Andrew G.

            This isn’t what I was looking at when I wrote the above, but I think it has a better basis (and is newer):

            http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/research-units/iset/projects/esrc-migrant-workers.cfm

            This is primarily qualitative, but of their survey population, which was migrant sex workers (who make up less than half of all sex workers), mostly sampled by the researchers but supplemented with some referrals of victims from the police and other organizations (and therefore intentionally biased), only 13% (9% of the unbiased sample) reported any degree of exploitation and 6% reported experiences outside their control or consent (these results are specifically stated in the report). Scaling this to the whole population (including non-migrants) suggests (by my calculation) a plausible range of 2% to 5% of active sex workers having been at some time somewhere on the spectrum from exploited migrant workers to trafficked slaves.

            The only large-scale data of any use comes not from any academic research projects but from the results of Operation Pentameter, in which a substantial proportion of all brothels in the UK were raided. Extrapolation from the Pentameter results (not only my calculation but also those used by the IUSW in their consultation responses) suggests an estimate of 1000 for the number of victims nationally; this represents possibly 2% of the number of sex workers (usually estimated at around 50,000-80,000).

            Both these calculations are problematic, but they are arrived at by completely different methods and produce results which are consistent.

    2. 15.2
      FlickingYourSwitch

      Since it can’t happen legally, it takes place in the dark, so to speak. And therefore there is not much protection at all, for anyone involved in this.

      And yes, this is about freedom. And I already said that I’m against slavery and exploitation of workers. I don’t want anyone to be forced into it, and work as slaves. If that is a problem, it will continue to be no matter if we make prostitution illegal or not.

    3. 15.3
      firebird

      I have a friend in New Zealand who was surprised to hear prostitution is illegal in the US. She seemed to find it normal that prostitutes have legal work, worker’s rights, and health care (which is socialized in New Zealand).

      1. Taslima Nasreen

        If prostitution is a job like any other, people can be forced into it even more. Are there ads in New Zealand media – Prostitutes Wanted?

        1. Tsu Dho Nimh

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_New_Zealand

          You ask if there are help wanted ads for prostitutes. I don’t have access to the New Zealand newspapers, but a Google search for brothels in Auckland gave me a lot of hits.

          Some of them do have an “opportunities” page:
          http://www.pelicanclub.co.nz/money.html
          Or an employment application: dollhouseescorts.wufoo.com/forms/doll-house-employment-application/

          One of the hits was for how to get a license:
          http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/services/prostitution/licence.asp

        2. Phillip Helbig

          Let’s see, if it is legal to work as a policeman, then there must be huge problems in countries where police work is legal with people being forced to be policemen. Substitute any job for policeman to see the absurdity. At first, I thought your intentions were good but misguided, but now you seem to bend over backward to argue against prostitution.

          Yes, if it is legal you can advertize to hire people to work in the job in question. Big deal. Your argument only works if you believe that prostitution per se is immoral.

          Note: Even in countries where it is legal the unemployment office never suggests that anyone work as a prostitute, much less penalize them if they don’t accept such offers.

        3. Phillip Helbig

          ”Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

          That’s the first quote on your web page.

        4. steve oberski

          That statement makes no sense.

          There are probably ads in New Zealand papers saying “Gardener Wanted” or “Truck Driver Wanted” but that does not mean that people are forced to be gardeners or truck drivers.

          Now if it was illegal to be a gardener or truck driver then that could just happen.

        5. Curious Chloride

          Yes. Not on prime time TV, and often using euphemisms (“escort”).

          For example, http://www.trademe.co.nz/jobs/hospitality-tourism/other/listing-465349618.htm

      2. Stella Marr

        Oh these anonymous friends! How they do crop up.

  16. 16
    alanflynn

    Yet another call to control women’s lives. You have common ground with the Islamists in seeking to drive out ‘sexual immorality’. Why make a ban on sexual services in particular? I do not think this will go down well with sex-workers – be they female or male. They are just trying to make a living like everyone else. In this society where everything is a commodity,a woman or a man should be free to buy or sell sexual services in an open, honest & respectful way. No decent person is going to defend slavery or trafficking, but attempts at eradicating prostitution only serve to stigmatise sex workers, when they are deserving of the same rights & respect as everyone else. Decriminalisation encourages destigmatisation & serves to protect the health & safety of the worker.

    1. 16.1
      Stella Marr

      And yet Alan … you are a man aren’t you? Could it be that with your comments you are trying to control the lives of women in prostitution? I was a prostitute for ten years and I think the nordic model provides women with the greatest protection and dignity.

  17. 17
    mouthyb

    We do a poor job here in the US, at least in my observation, of separating between the conditions of sex work for people who have resources and have entered sex work by choice, and people who have been trafficked.

    Even if we were to legalize sex work, the conditions would not become better; we don’t value women, people in positions to be exploited, the poor and people who are the most affected by sex work. Sex workers would still be exploited, beaten, raped and murdered. We can’t even prevent fast food workers from being taken advantage of. Why would sex workers be any different?

    They wouldn’t be. We literally can’t, at this point, legalize sex work. If people want to make the conditions better, they should work to change society so that taking advantage of sex workers is unthinkable.

    Unfortunately, right now, the big thing is to ‘support sex workers’, which typically means ignoring the conditions which trafficked persons and the poor enter sex work, for an idealized and unrealistic view of what sex work is like for the majority of the persons in it. The illusion that sex work is a matter of desire for everyone, and that it’s liberating, and that it allows sex workers to be self-sufficient is pretty naive, and part of our inability to see power dynamics at work where they concern self-interest and patriarchal lines of oppression.

    1. 17.1
      FlickingYourSwitch

      If your labour unions were more powerful, maybe they would do a better job at keeping the employers in check, making sure they pay a decent salary and treat the workers fairly? It certainly worked here in Sweden.

    2. 17.2
      Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

      Thank you for saying this.

      Personally I think banning sex work will cause more problems than it solves, but I’m heartily sick of the idealization of prostitution.

  18. 18
    Divinity33372

    I see many of the same old rescue industry talking points but no sources to support these assertions. Got any?

  19. 19
    MarkH

    The other problem is these are the same kind of arguments the anti-drug warriors make. It’s true, prostitution isn’t a good thing, it’s never been a good thing, it likely never will be anything but patriarchal and exploitative. However, drug use is similarly not a good thing, but the harm from the illegalization of the substances like marijuana is far greater than the harm of the drug.

    Ultimately people have the right to make choices, even bad choices. The harm from illegalization of bad choices is often worse than allowing people to make bad choices. A balanced view should weigh the harms of constantly, and ineffectively, suppressing prostitution, which likely makes it more dangerous, and allowing some form of legalization such as in Nevada.

    Otherwise what is the solution? Yes it’s bad, so what? Will we ever stop it by keeping it illegal or will we just continue to ensure it’s the domain of organized criminals forever? What better solution do you have?

    1. 19.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Legalizing prostitution is a failed experiment. It does not work to benefit individuals or communities. Regardless of prostitution’s legal
      status prostitution is a violation of women’s human rights that results in massive harms. Prostitution is not women’s free choice. It is not men’s right. It is not inevitable.There is a myth, Criminalising the purchase of sex drives prostitution underground. Prostitution can never truly exist “underground”. In Sweden, where they have criminalised the buying of sexual acts, there has been a significant reduction in trafficking and prostitution. Sweden is no longer an attractive market for traffickers and pimps – the law clearly works as a deterrent.

      1. FeministWhore

        Of course prostitution can exist ‘underground’ prostitution has been abolished in the US for years, and yet it still exists, and the current push to enact ‘End Demand’ statutes, further punishing buyers, only serves to finance the Police State.

      2. StealthBadger

        The experiences of Australia and New Zealand argue against your assertions, in much the way the experience in Portugal argues against the War on Drugs. I’m not saying that the solutions in those two jurisdictions are for everyone, only that the situations are more complex than you’re laying out.

        Coercion, however, is simple, and it is distinct from prostitution just as it is distinct from construction and agriculture (which are the two largest industries using slave labor in the world today).

      3. Anthony Kennerson

        Really, Ms. Nasereen?? “Legalization of prostitution is a failed experiment”???

        Funny, but the people in New Zealand seem to think otherwise about their experiment to decriminalize sex work. They don’t see it as anywhere near a “failure”, but as an continuing process to be tweaked and adjusted.

        And, there is serious disagreement over whether your cherished “Swedish Model” of regulation/abolishment has effectively reduced “sex trafficking” or merely driven it more underground into far more dangerous places where active sex workers are threatened even more. But, I guess that that’s irrelevant when you are selling your own position, right??

        And, if you don’t mind, I’d rather let active sex workers on the ground dictate for themselves what is or isn’t their “choice” or “right”, thank you very much.

        This is supposed to be FreeThought, not Genderberg Forums. Perhaps you

        1. Anthony Kennerson

          OOPS…sorry, hit return prematurly.

          Perhaps you took a wrong turn?

          Anthony Kennerson
          Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

        2. Taslima Nasreen

          ”Decriminalization of prostitution in Australia and New Zealand has resulted in an increase in illegal, hidden, and street prostitution. Decriminalization promotes sex trafficking. Decriminalization increases child prostitution. This has been well documented in the Netherlands since brothel prostitution was instituted. Pimps – owners of brothels, escort agencies, and massage parlors – want to make money. They don’t care if someone is illegal, a child, or trafficked. Pimps, traffickers, procurers and especially johns flock to wherever a thriving prostitution industry exists. Prostitution is not labor, it is a violation of human rights. It is often paid rape. It is intrinsically harmful and traumatic. For almost everyone in it, prostitution is about not having a range of educational and job options to choose from. Most women in prostitution end up there only because many other options are not available. They do not have stable housing, they urgently need money to support children or pay for school, and they often have limited or no education. It’s not the legal status of prostitution that causes the harm, it’s the prostitution itself. The longer she is in prostitution Ð legal or illegal – the more she is psychologically harmed. The shame and the isolation persist even if prostitution is decriminalized or legalized. Women in Dutch prostitution don’t register as legal prostitutes because they are ashamed to be known as prostitutes – even though they’d be accruing retirement benefits if they registered. Regardless of its legal status, women don’t want to be prostitutes and are ashamed of it. Does any woman in prostitution deserve to be treated disrespectfully or stigmatized? Of course not. But prostitution inevitably means that you’re treated like an object to be masturbated into.”

          1. Alyson Miers

            What is the source of this quote? I think we’d all like to see some citations with evidence to back up your claims about the effects of decriminalization and the Swedish model.

          2. Anthony Kennerson

            Ahhhhh…citation for that, please??

            Ahhh, never mind…probably another one of Melissa Farley’s or Donna Hughes’ boiler room screeds.

            And in fact the New Zealand government itself held a review of their decriminalization efforts, in which they concluded that the policy was pretty much successful, but not without some issues left to resolve.

            The full report (PDF file) can be read here:

            http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/commercial-property-and-regulatory/prostitution/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/plrc-report/documents/report.pdf

            Not quite an endorsement of “sex slavery”, ehhhh??

            Anthony

          3. Daniel Schealler

            Just to tag in behind Anthony:

            New Zealand Legislation: Prostitution Reform Act 2003

            17 Refusal to provide commercial sexual services
            (1) Despite anything in a contract for the provision of commercial sexual services, a person may, at any time, refuse to provide, or to continue to provide, a commercial sexual service to any other person.
            (2) The fact that a person has entered into a contract to provide commercial sexual services does not of itself constitute consent for the purposes of the criminal law if he or she does not consent, or withdraws his or her consent, to providing a commercial sexual service.
            (3) However, nothing in this section affects a right (if any) to rescind or cancel, or to recover damages for, a contract for the provision of commercial sexual services that is not performed.

            - http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0028/latest/DLM197867

          4. Ann

            Taslima you are absolutely right about the failed experiment in New Zealand, Queensland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain. New Zealand do not accept prostution as a regular and normal job, the stigma is very much alive and the citizens in the larger cities like Auckland and Christchurch are sick and tired of the street prostitution which is taking part day and night just outside peoples home. They do have a lot of hidden and illegal brothels, childprostitution and coerced and trafficked women in their sextrade.

            Furthermore, the sextrade in New Zealand and Australia is controlled by the Chinese organised criminal gangs – facts that is wellknown if you read the papers in New Zealand and Australia, so it shouldn’t be a surprise for people who is talking about legalised prostitution. I don’t believe that I’m the only person who is reading the news papers.

            The failed experiment in Netherland and Germany is a fact. The Germans made a report last year about the clear link between legalised prostitution and traffcking. They are very close connected because legalised prostitution makes the demand for new women even bigger and the legal trade cannot supply the demand. A fact that supporters of legalized prostitution don’t even has realised or don’t want to realise – where do they think that this supply of women comes from? Not the home country because most women don’t wants to work as prostitutes.
            Fact is, that Netherland, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Spain and New Zealand all are targets for traffickers. And fact is, that most of the women in their sex trades all are imported women from Easteurope, Asia, and Africa. Fact is, that legalized prostitution did not remove the violence, stigma and coercing in the trade.
            And what is more serious legalisation has not removed the child prostitution.
            The Swedish model is working and more and more countries are now considering to adopt it – France, Western Australia, Israel and Ireland is some of them.

          5. Iamcuriousblue

            “Taslima you are absolutely right about the failed experiment in New Zealand, Queensland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain. New Zealand do not accept prostution as a regular and normal job, the stigma is very much alive and the citizens in the larger cities like Auckland and Christchurch are sick and tired of the street prostitution which is taking part day and night just outside peoples home. They do have a lot of hidden and illegal brothels, childprostitution and coerced and trafficked women in their sextrade.

            Furthermore, the sextrade in New Zealand and Australia is controlled by the Chinese organised criminal gangs – facts that is wellknown if you read the papers in New Zealand and Australia, so it shouldn’t be a surprise for people who is talking about legalised prostitution. I don’t believe that I’m the only person who is reading the news papers.”

            Citation please? There actually has been a large-scale review of how the New Zealand model has fared after 10 years, and it has clearly stated that while prostitution has not decreased, it has not increased either, and that there have been very real gains made by existing sex workers as a result of decriminalization. (I will find the actual cite for that; you should do likewise with your claims.) Most of the negatives I’ve heard of the New Zealand model have their source in one of the “studies” trotted out on the subject by none other than Melissa Farley.

            “Netherland, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Spain and New Zealand all are targets for traffickers.

            Again, evidence for Australia and New Zealand being trafficking destinations? Most surveys on the subject say otherwise. Again, the problem with the entire framework of human trafficking is that the concept is so poorly defined that anybody with an axe to grind can simply manipulate the definition of “trafficking” in such a way as to describe a country or city as a trafficking hub.

            “The Swedish model is working and more and more countries are now considering to adopt it – France, Western Australia, Israel and Ireland is some of them.”

            Ah, yes, the “other companies are scrambling to adopt the Nordic model” canard. Which seems to a standard part of “Nordic model” evangelism (lets call it for what it is). “Hey, everybody’s doing it!” Except when they are not. If I had a dollar for every country that has been named as imminently adopting this model over the last 10 years, I’d probably be able to buy my own server by now. For all the rhetoric about France, they haven’t actually changed their laws. The New Labour government in the UK tried and failed to implement is a part of their general “law and order” campaign, passing only a very limited set of restrictions on buying or selling sex. There is no indication it has any support in Denmark in spite of the fact that the leadership (though not rank-and-file) of the ruling Social Democratic Party support the model. At one point, the “abolitionists” were claiming Hungary was going to adopt the model, when in fact Hungary did entirely the opposite. And in the last few weeks Canada has made a strong move in the other direction, toward full decriminalization, much to the dismay of the prohibitionists.

            Most telling are the actions of those who claim to support the Nordic model in the USA. When Donna Hughes and other “abolitionists” managed to pass legislation getting rid of full decriminalization of prostitution in the state of Rhode Island, rather than push through any version of the Nordic model, they opted for full criminalization, including of sex workers. In fact, they specifically convinced politicians not to pass a version of the law that would have been less punitive toward sex workers, and instead pushed through legislation that contained harsh punishments for sex workers and buyers alike.

            If there was ever a case that showed rhetoric about the “Nordic model” is really about, the promotion of further criminalization, what took place in Rhode Island a couple of years ago made that abundantly clear.

      4. MarkH

        “Prostitution is not women’s free choice. It is not men’s right. It is not inevitable.There is a myth, Criminalising the purchase of sex drives prostitution underground. ”

        The first sentence is false, I don’t think women like Ren would agree with you. Some people come to sex work as a choice. Look around on the internets, you can find anything, even feminist dominatrix sex working gaming fanatics. It’s like claiming all pornography is rape. No, some people actually chose this work. It wouldn’t be my first choice, or 100th, but in a free society, people have to be free to make even bad decisions with their lives. And their bodies are their own.

        The second sentence is a straw man, I don’t think anyone thinks prostitution is a men’s right, but a woman’s right to do whatever she likes with her body, even something dangerous or stupid, I’ll defend.

        The third sentence I don’t think is a myth. I think that’s four thousand years of human history. Now, I really like that Sweden example, that sounds interesting, and a novel approach to keeping out the organized criminals. Maybe it has made prostitution better for the women involved. But you didn’t address my question, is Nevada’s legalization a failed experiment? I don’t think it is. Further one can argue that having pockets of legalization is part of the problem as that encourages trafficking and sex tourism.

        Finally, I see this fundamentally differently in terms of human rights. I see a fundamental human right in people to do what they want with their bodies, and the emphasis on sex work as somewhat puritanical. People do terrible things all the time to themselves, sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance, and sometimes when criminals can exploit a massive underground market. I would rather see the focus be on eliminating the criminal profit motive, the trafficking motive, and the exploitative economic racket set up by criminalization, rather than blanket statements about how something is always something. I call bullshit. Not all sex workers are slaves being strung out on drugs by Russian mobsters. Some of them even have blogs. Read some sometime.

        1. Taslima Nasreen

          Some of the major findings of Nevada prostitution and trafficking. http://www.nevadacoalition.org/content/view/27/2/

          1. Andrew G.

            You seriously need to find better sources.

          2. MarkH

            I agree, that’s just a screed. There’s no data there, no methods, no description of a study. Just uncited statistics and claims. Where is all this coming from? Did I miss something? The report was the kind of thing I see from a think tank, all opinion, no real data analysis.

            And what about Ren? Did you go see her site? How about her Manifesto. Her existence, and that of many sex workers like her who want to be part of the conversation rather than just cast as victims, contradicts many of your claims.

            This issue is far more complex than this simplistic “drugs are bad” analysis. There are multiple modes of entry into sex work with a broad spectrum of individuals involved. Criminalization has failed, and it sounds like there are examples of effective legalization if not decriminalization. Even the Swedish example (though criticized by others here as illegitimate) is based on partial decriminalization of the prostitutes themselves rather pursuing the exploiters.

          3. Anthony Kennerson

            Riiight…another Melissa Farley propaganda rag.

            This from the same woman who dropped the “90% of ‘prostituted women’ want out” meme, and who wrote of “mass rapes” in legalized Nevada brothels.

            Are you really sure you are in the right place, Ms. Nasreen??

            Anthony

          4. Tsu Dho Nimh

            Most prostitution in Nevada, including all prostitution in Las Vegas, is illegal. Prostitution is legal only in some of Nevada’s rural counties which are located away from the state’s two major population centers, Reno and Las Vegas.

            How does this study, which focuses on areas where prostitution is widely available but illegal tell us anything about the consequences of legalizing it?

      5. antoniolorusso

        Interfering with a women’s choices if she is not being physically forced (at which point it becomes slavery not prostitution), irrespective of your personal opinion of those choices in her circumstances, is a violation of her “human rights”. You can’t have it both ways.

        The Swedish model (and yours) reduces an adult women to the legal status of a child, not trusted to making her own decisions in her own circumstances.

        Ironically this makes feminism the new patriarchy, deciding for women what they should do with their lives, their bodies, and their time.

  20. 20
    Drewzilla

    I agree with Charles, but I would love to see you and Greta have a discussion about this. You both have very valid but differing points (as far as I can tell). ‘Twould be a very interesting and stimulating topic to get an in-depth discussion on.

    As an aside, I’m totally loving what you’ve put up so far, Taslima =).

  21. 21
    Steve

    The Swedish Law is a failure. Swedish Government has no evidence that it has worked in reducing demand or trafficking in the country.

    Here is a recent review of the Swedish ‘evidence’.

    http://rightswork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Issue-Paper-4.pdf?utm_source=RWI+Contacts&utm_campaign=674f4f7c77-Issue_Paper_44_3_2012&utm_medium=email

    Well meaning abolitionists cause more harm to sex workers in countries like Indian and Thailand. Often with forced rehabilitation. The only effective way to reduce sex work is through reduction in poverty, that though will not remove sex work completely.

  22. 22
    Ryan Moran

    Citation sorely needed on most of these. The idea that all women are forced into prostitution and can not possibly choose it belongs in the distant past and would be a great surprise to many prostitutes. Dr Brooke Magnanti springs to mind as someone who would certainly be surprised by that.

    It is ridiculous to claim to be an arbiter of what “acceptable” jobs are for women. Telling adult women under what conditions they are allowed to spend their sexual labor is another case of controlling women’s sexuality and infantilizing them, which most certainly counts as being part of the problem.

  23. 23
    kraut

    I don’t know how you back up the contention that making prostitution illegal will not drive it underground.

    Prostitution is illegal in many nations. Does that mean that is does not exist? http://chartsbin.com/view/snb

    The arguments as to legality or not is exactly the same argument for or agaoinst legalizing drugs.

    If you make it legal, you can control it. As in Germany, where prostitution has been legal for decades, and then prostitute has legal protection, has to undergo a monthly health check etc.
    And the system seems to work.

  24. 24
    kraut

    Overall to your various claims: where is the proof? Are you encouraging a rattional discussion or do you only try to post your opinions unsupported by any evidence?
    What does such a posting as yours have to do on a supposedly rational site?
    As an opinion piece it might be acceptable, but to state your contentions as truth – laughable.

  25. 25
    Grimalkin

    First off, I have one thing to say to all of your “truths”: Citation needed. Majorly.

    I really can’t agree with your viewpoints. Sex trafficking and sex slavery is definitely bad, yes, but prostitution in itself is not. There are women who do willingly want to be sex workers. As for the problems of sex trafficking and slavery, I would count those much more as symptoms of trying to criminalize and demonize prostitution than of prostitution itself. If we had safe, regulated prostitution, then it wouldn’t be as dangerous for the women working. If a woman is abused while doing sex work, she would have protections. She could go to the police and report crimes against her. If she’s an illegal prostitute though, whether it’s because she enjoys it or because she’s doing survival sex work, she can’t really report crimes against her without also outing herself as a sex worker and endangering herself. Not to mention that I’m sure the idea that sex workers can’t go to the police if someone wrongs them encourages people to commit crimes against them.

    On the topic of survival sex work, that is a problem, but again, if sex work was a regulated business with protections, survival sex workers would not have to face as much danger and exploitation. Is that ideal? No, having to do a job you really don’t want to do just to survive is not ideal. But protections for those who must do it as opposed to criminalizing them would help them greatly. Hell, if prostitution was regulated, there could even be efforts to help those who want to get out of prostitution get different jobs without demonization or stigma. I know that there are groups that provide such things for strippers. Sex workers though? That requires that they be willing to be open about being sex workers, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be if I could be arrested for it.

    Now then, trafficking and slavery. To quote you, “legalizing prostitution benefits sex traffickers”. Again, I’m going to need some proof for this. Why would people selling illegal sex benefit when it is available safely and legally for all people involved? How can you traffick someone in an industry that gives them protections against being sold as slaves and trafficked? If your business is regulated and it is ensured that the women are there on their own accord and treated properly, how could you manage to do the exact opposite of that?

    Yes, you could run an illegal business, but what sane person is going to go to an illegal prostitution service and take major risks, when they could just as easily go to a legal and safe prostitution service?

    As far as children in the sex industry… yeah, regulation would help to end that too. A regulated industry would not allow children to be sex workers, just as businesses now don’t allow child labor.

    And now for a few more points you made…

    The sex of prostitution is not “sex” for women in it

    There are plenty of women who are in prostitution or similar sex work who do see it as sex, whether they simply enjoy it or happen to be exhibitionist.

    Prostitution is not an acceptable job for women. They are forced to enter prostitution.

    Who are you to decide what an acceptable job for women is? Not to mention that plenty of women DO choose to enter it on their own volition, for no reasons other than enjoying it.

    Harmful aspects are rape, beatings, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and other violence from clients and pimps.

    and

    Legal prostitution does not protect women in prostitution from harm.

    How could an industry in which there are regulations and protections put in place to protect the workers not protect the workers? I’m not seeing any logic here.

    Finally, think about factory workers. Factories used to be incredibly dangerous places, where children worked long hours and where people could be maimed brutally without any compensation or care. They were unregulated.

    What you suggest seems akin to suggesting that we shut down factories because they harm the workers inside, because there are children working inside there, because the workers are abused, because nobody could ever really want to work in a factory… etc. ad infinitum.

    And of course, we can’t keep those factories legal. It would only aid them in their quest to employ children and chop peoples’ arms off in dangerous machinery. Regulations wouldn’t do a thing.

    Yet… we did keep them legal. And we did regulate them. And now we don’t let children work there, and we have protection for those who work around dangerous machinery, and all of those things we were lacking before.

    Do we still have sweat shops? Yes. Are those still bad? Yes. Are they legal just like good factories? No.

    Just like we would with human trafficking in a regulated sex industry, we try to ensure that there is not illegal activity (sex slavery/sweat shops) going on. Clearly it’s possible to do that while allowing legal, safe activity to continue.

    Anyways, I’d also like to see Greta debate you on this topic. She’s incredibly knowledgeable on the sex-positive side of sex work.

  26. 26
    Anonymous

    don’t mean to sound rude, but please cite your sources. I’d like to see where you’re coming from here but i just can’t until i get some sort of proof.

  27. 27
    Iamcuriousblue

    Um, Taslima, you do realize that Melissa Farley is not exactly a credible source, don’t you?:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_Farley

    There are good reasons the Canadian Courts have not accepted her testimony as an “expert”:

    http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2010/2010onsc4264/2010onsc4264.html#_Toc270411950 Sections 353-356

    BBC “More or Less” on dubious numbers peddled by abolitionists and UK government:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gdz3t

    And if you can’t question the veracity of fringe scholars like Melissa Farley, then I have to really question just what you’re doing with a blog on Freethoughtblogs. These are primarily rationalist and *skeptic* forums, correct? So if the ideologically-motivated research claims of “creation scientists” and climate change denialists are something to be actively debunked, than why does the similarly shoddy scholarship of Farley and other “abolitionist” academics not receive similar scrutiny? Perhaps because this is a case where “skepticism” stops when you’re in political agreement with the source?

    1. 27.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Free thinkers should believe in women’s human rights. Men and women who treat women as equal human beings do not want anyone to be sex slaves. You are talking like a promoter of sex industries.

      1. Andrew G.

        Your response there, Taslima, is a breathtaking example of dishonest argument.

        Nobody here supports sexual slavery.

        We just don’t agree that sex work is by definition sexual slavery.

        Your insinuations that anyone who is pro-sex-work is therefore pro-slavery and anti-human-rights are therefore not merely personally insulting but also intellectually dishonest.

        You have not argued any basis on which sex work should be considered slavery. You have cited not so much as one single reliable source for any factual claim in the original post or any of your comments. Well, “freethought” also means dealing in facts and not dogma.

        1. Taslima Nasreen

          It’s important to de-sexualize domination — rape and prostitution are about violence and domination, not sexuality.

          1. moulton

            Taslima

            While I think Andrew G. is correct is most of what he wrote I would like to make similar points but in different manner.

            The Freethought movement is helped by analysis and description which are both rigorous and honest. The Freethought movement is harmed by adopting the language and terminology of those who are for political, religious or other reasons are using false and misleading arguments. Tanit, Andrew G. and others have make some excellent points in reply to your post. And Greta has created a very good analysis on her blog and several people have made insightful comments on her blog. Please read and consider them.

            Our humanitarian sensibilities are enhanced by clear, logical and honest analysis but our humanitarian sensibilities can be mislead by an ill-considered adoption of a position riddled with logical fallacies and based on faulty and inaccurate analysis.

            I hope that you will please reconsider your views and that you will please rewrite your post removing the logical fallacies and the inaccuracies.

          2. Taslima Nasreen

            More evidence,citation :
            1. Sweden’s prostitution law a success: report. http://www.thelocal.se/27580/20100703/

            2. The Swedish Law That Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services.
            Best Practices for Prevention of Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings. http://action.web.ca/home/catw/attach/Ekberg.pdf

            3. Approaching to Prostitution. Impact on sex trafficking. http://humantrafficking.unc.edu/files/2011/08/X.-Hughes-Approaches-to-Prostitution.pdf

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            A few screeds by abolitionist organizations are pretty far from evidence.

            The most clear-headed perspective on this comes from Elizabeth Bernstein’s book “Temporarily Yours”, which compared prostitution in Stockholm to similar-size European and American cities. Her conclusion? Regardless of legal regime, in all locales, including Sweden, sex work has largely shifted off the streets and indoors, with street workers only representing 10% of sex workers overall. The mistake the Swedish government has made is that they’ve credited this to the “success” of their legal model rather than a shift away from visible outdoor locations that is true in most other developed countries.

          4. Andrew G.

            I think there’s some basic disconnect here about what constitutes “evidence”.

            When someone makes a claim (such as “this law reduced prostitution by x%”), and that same claim gets repeated by multiple people, that does NOT constitute multiple pieces of evidence.

            Furthermore, to judge whether the original claim is evidence of anything, you have to track down some basic facts: who said it, and how do they know?

            Let’s look at some claims. Firstly, Hughes claims “street prostitution in Sweden dropped by 80%”. This is contradicted by the Swedish government report referenced by the article in thelocal.se, which claims “dropped by half”. Obviously they can’t both be right, and if the government’s figure doesn’t stand up to examination, then neither can Hughes’. And in turn the government report is widely criticized by researchers for having no reliable methodology and no evidence whatsoever to support its claims. (You can’t possibly believe a report which simultaneously states that the number of sex workers is unknown, and that prostitution has fallen.)

            Then there’s the claim (in both the Ekburg article and in thelocal) that street prostitution in Sweden has decreased during a period when street prostitution in Denmark has radically increased. This turns out to be based on vastly inflated figures (now officially corrected) for the total number of prostitutes in Denmark, combined with equally inflated figures for the proportion working on the street. Note that Ekburg’s claim of “5500 to 7800″ for the number of Danish street prostitutes in 2004 is significantly higher than the corrected Danish figure for all prostitutes (under 3500; and nobody seriously believes that more than a small fraction of those work on the street).

            So when compared against the corrected Danish statistics, the Swedish law doesn’t seem very effective at all.

            The above should show that these sources are not good evidence even without considering questions of bias. But obviously all three sources (the government report, Ekburg, and Hughes) have known, obvious biases: the government report starts out from the perspective that the law is the correct approach; Hughes is a well-known anti-prostitution crusader; Ekburg’s report throughout uses the passive phrases “prostituted women” or “being prostituted” as though it were taken for granted that such women have no agency whatsoever.

            Now, your turn. Find a report that disagrees with your position, and tell us why we shouldn’t accept it.

          5. Andrew G.

            It’s important to de-sexualize domination — rape and prostitution are about violence and domination, not sexuality.

            I guess this is as good a point as any to point out the implied assumptions that all sex workers are women and that all sex workers are passive participants. Where do pro-dommes fit into your worldview? Male escorts? Male-male prostitution?

      2. Iamcuriousblue

        Fail! I challenge you on simple facts, and you come back with rhetoric, and the implication that I don’t support women’s rights if I don’t support the “abolitionist” perspective on prostitution.

      3. Stella Marr

        I completely agree with you Taslima.

  28. 28
    brianx

    There are really there different issues here. Sex work in and of itself is not objectionable; consensual sexual activity between two people capable of giving mutual consent should not be criminal, paid or not. The problem is coercion, by customers or employers, the core of what makes human trafficking and slavery (the other two separate but entwined issues) the evils that they are. You can argue otherwise, but you’re not doing any tabors by conflating the three.

  29. 29
    Nepenthe

    We disappear the women who are raped and abused for pay in favor of the privileged few who happen to be exhibitionists having a great time. Even though we all acknowledge the power of sex–rape is not considered simply assault–it is simultaneously just a commodity, wherein having sex one doesn’t want to have for money is morally equivalent to having to work a double shift at Burger King. Sex work is just a job, but prostitutes are not required to follow non-discrimination laws or obey contracts wherein they agree to provide “services”. All fractures wherein the conflict between the understanding that sex is psychologically something apart from operating a spatula and the required insistence that sex is a commodity becomes clear. Such is the state of feminism in the “West”. Such is the backlash against women’s liberation when it began to limit the access of liberal men to “sex” and women’s bodies.

    I’m very glad that so many men have stepped in to let a brave feminist activist know what is and is not degrading and exploitative for women. Ban the burqa, you’ll say, it degrades women but breast implants and bikinis are empowering. (I can only be glad that I live in a place where conformity to men’s desires for my dress and behavior–to be sexy and available at all times, not to be covered and invisible– is only strongly encouraged and not enforced by physical violence.)

    1. 29.1
      Stella Marr

      Nepenthe, thank you so much. Your points are brilliant.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        Because nothing spells “brilliant” like gutter-level man-hating and screaming your ideology in people’s faces.

  30. 30
    Daniel Schealler

    But sane people do not call prostituted women sex workers, because sex is not ‘work’.

    Wait.

    This is interesting.

    Does this mean that Taslima acknowledges that there is such a thing as ‘sex work’?

    It could be that Taslima is using the term ‘prostitution’ in the sense that it is something that is done to women. Note the term prostituted in the quoted sentence.

    If so, the disagreement could all be down to semantics.

    We’re all opposed to sexual slavery and it’s associated evils and channels.

    If ‘prostitution’ is intended to refer to sexual slavery, but ‘sex work’ is intended to refer to voluntary commercial sexual providers, then this could be an argument over semantics.

    I think that this possible usage of ‘prostitution’ is out of sync with the common usage, so there’s still a problem there.

    But it might not be the problem that we all think is there.

  31. 31
    katie

    I appreciate that you have accomplished much, but as it stands, your list is as convincing as a religious screed–full of assertions, but empty of evidence.

  32. 32
    Dianne Post

    As an international lawyer, I agree completely with Taslima. Women the world over have more in common than we have different. Again the UN confirms that most trafficking and slavery is sexual exploitation. Slavery is jus cogens, an international accepted prohibition. Why is it acceptable when it’s women and called prostitution?

    1. 32.1
      Stella Marr

      Beautifully put.

  33. 33
    BrianX

    I should note that human trafficking is not necessarily about prostitution. Quite a lot of it is done with cheap labor as well, and at least in the United States, much like prostitutes, it’s the undocumented workers who get the blame, not the people trafficking them.

  34. 34
    Maggie Mayhem

    As a sex worker activist and active sex worker, what I want to say the most is *please listen to our voices.* We want rights, not rescue. Those speaking for us have trampled our voices for far too long.

    In the United States and around the globe, sex workers are forming collectives and unions to fight for our rights. Mainstream feminism and patronizing anti-trafficking orgs have continually propagated lies about sex work statistics and have actively shut down our organizing efforts. The sex worker led efforts to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, CA were largely opposed by feminist organization and one of the biggest anti-decriminalization donations came from Gloria Steinhem herself.

    Please listen to us. We don’t need to be saved, we need to be supported.

    1. 34.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      House slaves did not want the abolition of slavery because they were treated considerably better than field slaves. Would you say slavery should not have been abolished only because some privileged slaves wanted to remain as slaves?

      1. StealthBadger

        Read that and think about how dehumanizing that is to say to someone; think about how casually you just swept away everything she said as if it was of no value whatsoever.

        If you’re willing to do that, how can anyone be sure whether you’re speaking in support of someone, for them, or over them, especially when you ignore what they have said?

        1. Taslima Nasreen

          ‘We want de-criminalization of prostituted people, and the prosecution of the pimps, traffickers and brothel owners — as do the Scandanavian countries. The problem is that the alternatives are often polarized into legalization versus criminalization — especially by the sex industry that wants to be legalized — without acknowledging the third alternative.’

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            Oh, wow. So sex workers who disagree with you are “house slaves”? Do you have any clue how wrongheaded and frankly immature such rhetoric is?

            And legalization is pushed solely by “the sex industry”, and that the Nordic model is the only alternative to the legalization/criminalization dichotomy? It’s clear you don’t aren’t even familiar with the debate at all. First, the Nordic model is not “decriminalization”, it’s asymmetrical criminalization. Most sex workers who take a political stance on this issue support full decriminalization. Which is different from the kind of “legalization” practiced in Nevada that restricts sex workers freedom of movement and many other rights.

            Please familiarize yourself with the issues before simply spouting off half-cocked. It sounds like the only information you’ve ever read about this issue is a few of the rhetoric-laden screeds of “abolitionist” groups.

          2. StealthBadger

            That completely ignores what I said, and doubles down on the problems with your position.

            Now you are not only asserting that you know the truth to the point where you are free to (by passive-aggressive implication) discard someone’s perspective as comparable to that of a house slave, you (and Farley/McKinnon to a much larger extent) are blaming others for the polarized nature of the debate when they are denied any form of agency as a part of the premises of even the so-called-moderate position of the Swedish Model.

            I’ll ask more clearly: with what justification based on any real-world criteria (as opposed to supposition and thought experiments) do you deny the real experiences of people whose position differs from your own? If, as part of your answer, you categorize your opponents by class, race, or some other condition, I respectfully insist that it would be foolish of me such a claim seriously without independently verified sourcing.

          3. Ace of Sevens

            You claim there’s a false dichotomy between criminalization and decriminalization/legalization. The presence of that slash should tell you that you are also oversimplifying. There are lots of models for legalization. You can just stop arresting people, or you can implement various levels of regulation into how business is conducted with protection for those involved. One form of legalization not working isn’t evidence the idea is inherently flawed.

          4. Stella Marr

            That’s so correct Taslima. The sex industry lobby routinely engages in bullying and misinformation to obscure the facts. It’s pretty standard sociopathic behavior. The problem is that somehow the media and much of the academic community act as if these (so often white, and sometimes female) pimps represent the women in prostitution. They don’t.

            The members of Survivors Connect, the international online network of trafficking/prostitution survivors, recently voted AGAINST the Bedford decision in Canada, which put the law behind the often white, male and female pimps who run escort services, brothels and pose as ‘body guards’ or drivers.
            http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/survivors-connect-network-votes-to-stand-with-our-sisters-in-canada-regarding-the-bedford-prostitution-decision/

            Survivors Connect now has 38 members. We joyously welcome sister survivors and screen via extended phone or skype conversations to make sure Johns/punters and male or female pimps don’t join. We are sisters and survivors. Nothing will break the bonds between us. We are Survivors Connect. Never again will we be silenced.

      2. Leni

        House slaves did not want the abolition of slavery because they were treated considerably better than field slaves. Would you say slavery should not have been abolished only because some privileged slaves wanted to remain as slaves?

        I think you are working under the false assumption that no one would willingly, without coercion or duress or force, choose sex work. (And yes, it is work.)

        That simply isn’t true.

        The Gates foundation did do a great thing in India, I’m familiar with the story. They provided funds to help make it possible for prostitutes to essentially unionize. They didn’t provide funds to help make it “more” illegal or illegal in new ways.

        People fighting human trafficking are doing intensely valuable and important work. But there’s a reason they weren’t doing it in Las Vegas at the Mustang Ranch.

        Not every prostitute is a slave.

      3. Ace of Sevens

        I wrote about this at length (click my name), but a couple quick points:

        Are you aware that four of your blogfellows wrote articles in support of legalized prostitution just last month. There are lots more who’ve wrote about it earlier. Do you really think Natalie, Dan, Mano, Greta, Ian, etc support the sexual exploitation of women? I understand it’s possible that legalization may be a bad idea with good intentions behind it, but you seem to be saying all supporters are liars and rape apologists.

        Points 10 and 11 seem to be contradictory. Pimping and sex trafficking are illegal, even in places where prostitution is legal. You say legalization helps them. The only difference between this and what you endorse in point 11 is that you want johns to be arrested, too. If total legalization is good for traffickers and pimps, how does arresting johns change things for them? It would be bad for johns, but the situation for pimps would be the same, expect they would have a new way of extorting johns by threatening to call the cops.

      4. Bruce Gorton

        Are you so seriously confident in your views that you can comfortably dismiss those from people with actual personal experience?

      5. mynameischeese

        It’s technically not “dehumanising” unless you think that slaves are not people.

        And, whether or not you agree about making prostitution illegal, her point still stands that some women have more privilege than others and are perfectly capable of supporting the patriarchal status quo in order to shore up what privilege they do have.

        It happens every day that people cut down others below them for their own personal gain: Rich, white women support patriarchal religions because they have some status in patriarchal culture. Gay men stay in the closet and speak out against gay marriage so that they can have a political career with the republican party. Rich atheists ridicule poor atheists so that they can retain the respect of the establishment. Black men disrespect black women so they can sell gangsta rap. Poland’s most notorious skin head turned out to be of Jewish desent.

        1. StealthBadger

          ‘It’s technically not “dehumanising” unless you think that slaves are not people.’ An interesting stance. To me, infantilizing a person to the point where you can dismiss their views out of hand is dehumanizing, but that’s a matter of opinion. The concept is one of denying agency, which even if you can do so on average, or draw a hypothetical case, is an excellent example of an argument ad hominem that does nothing to advance anyone’s understanding of what is going on, let alone support her stance that prostitution and sex slavery are equivalent.

          I liked your comment below, in its acceptance that these are complex issues that cannot be approached with one-size fits all issues, but find it puzzling that you appear to remove yourself from that appreciation of complexity rather than simplicity when approaching the question I ask her. Again, the question is: exactly what independently verifiable evidence does she have that gives support to her decision to deny agency to that specific person who disagreed with her?

          1. mynameischeese

            There’s a few problems with your response. First, you assume that the slave analogy only likens prostitutes to slaves. Whereas, I think *all* women are like slaves when it comes to patriarchy. Some women have more privilege than others, so these women have the option of supporting a potentially sexist institution in order to shore up their own privilege, much the same way a house slave could have supported slavery because they were at least better off than a field slave.

            Second of all, there is a problem with accusing of Taslima of denying women agency just by making that analogy. The problem is that if the analogy is a good one, women are already denied agency by patriarchy whether or not it’s pointed out by someone; whether or not it’s accepted by some women; and whether or not women chose things that are in their own interest while being harmful other women.

            Lastly, if you read the analogy as being applicable to all women under patriarchy, and not just sex workers, you have to take into account that a woman who has more privilege (in this case, the middle class woman who chooses prostitution) than others (the ones forced into sex work) also has more of a voice/platform. So it is completely possible that a few, rare women who have good experiences with prostitution can erase the voices of women who are forced into sex work.

            It’s much the same as when a few wealthy Muslim women choose to wear burqa and then drone on and on about how great it is and completely erase the voices of women who are forced to wear it and don’t want to.

            I’d be interested if people had figures for the number of happy prostitues vrs. the number of sex slaves in the world, but I have my doubts about the availability of those numbers at the moment, mainly because women’s rights don’t seem to be much of a priority in many places.

          2. Andrew G.

            Patriarchy? Sweden?

        2. StealthBadger

          It won’t let me reply to your post, apparently we’ve hit the max depth.

          You said: “There’s a few problems with your response. First, you assume that the slave analogy only likens prostitutes to slaves. Whereas, I think *all* women are like slaves when it comes to patriarchy.”

          There are exactly two problems with your response, and they make replying to the rest of what you say difficult because of discrepancies between what the two of us are trying to talk about, but I’ll try.

          1. I’m not assuming the slave analogy likens prostitutes to slaves; I suspect it was a very specific way for the author of this post to attempt to rhetorically disarm the criticism of the specific person she was replying to. Read that carefully, as it’s important to understand #2.

          2. You are talking about the general, even as you say that general statistics are unavailable. You are talking about the patriarchy and societal oppression are both conditions that appear to be general, but are actually emergent properties of the collective actions we as human beings take each day (I apologize for telling you what you already know, it’s only to establish context so we’re not talking past each other).

          Because of this, here on this blog post I am not talking about the big picture (or whatever you want to call it), I’m focusing on specific people and actions. Why? Because without an understanding of those things, over-broad sweeping generalizations about oppression (no matter how noble) will most likely be deeply flawed, and the lack of understanding will make the unintended consequences harder to deal with.

          Now to respond.

          In another comment of yours, you criticized the drug war analogy. If you are living somewhere directly impacted by the trade in illegal drugs, then you will be familiar with the externalities – the side effects not only of the drug trade itself, but the costs imposed (directly and indirectly) on the human lives and lifestyles of the people at its periphery.

          With burquas, the introduction of a police mechanism to ban them in Western countries is a shockingly high opportunity cost for what is probably net harm to society (I still don’t see how a ban would be helpful), but it’s nowhere near the cost to Iranian society imposed by Iran’s morality police. In this case, I suspect it’s the punitive enforcement of wearing/not wearing the garment that is the problem, rather than even its cultural significance (which would drift absent state enforcement).

          I suspect prostitution is similar; we have violence from pimps, violence from the police (even incarceration is a kind of violence), coercive economic pressures against women (made worse by problems of race and class) and men (especially if they’re gay prostitutes) and (possibly less than you might think, but almost certainly more where a sex worker can’t call on the police for assistance), violence from johns. Neither the sex nor the exchange of money is itself violent.

      6. Daniel Schealler

        I am very probably a very poor feminist, Taslima.

        I do not claim to have the expertise to reliably self-evaluate how good or poor a feminist I am.

        I am after all very new to these issues. I’ve only really been paying attention to them for a few years. And I am no activist. And I am poorly travelled, and unfamiliar with life abroad in other countries.

        So there is likely much of which I am ignorant. I am confronted with a new case of my own ignorance every day, it seems. This very well be just one more such case.

        So educate me: How is denying a Maggie’s demand that her voice be heard and respected consistent with feminist principles and goals?

      7. Anthony Kennerson

        Ahhh, ma’am???

        I really hate to burst your bubble, but Black house slaves weren’t treated any different than the field slaves, because there was really no distinction between them. ALL Blacks in the Antebellum South were treated as third-class citizens.

        Your analogy between consensual sex work legally sought and slavery is the most outrageous nonsense…and trivializes actual slavery and real exonomic exploitation that actually exists.

        And…your trite and flippant dismissal of women like Maggie Mayhem reveals far more about your innate hatred of women who don’t sing in perfect tune to your sexual fascism.

        Would you like to try for calling your opponents “house n—gers” next???

        Anthony

      8. Stella Marr

        Brava Taslima!

      9. MsLilithe

        THAT is the must ludicrous thing I have read thus far. Forget the fact that you just completely erased my sense of agency as a sex worker and that of sex workers who choose their occupation worldwide, you diminished the reality of slavery by comparing it to us. First, I find this comparison very unfeminist (ie, not celebrating the agency and strength and choices of women) second and more importantly, dismissing of the reality of true slavery that has existed and still exists.

        There IS a difference between sex work and forced sex trafficking.

    2. 34.2
      Stella Marr

      Maggie, one of the women in the blog you link to is Maggie McNeill — an admitted madam. http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/author/maggiemcneill/page/2/

      It’s a huge conflict of interest to profit from (or have profited from) women in prostitution while you say you are speaking for them.

      As such, the group you link to cannot represent women in and survivors of prostitution — and any woman who’s been abused by the pimps (male and female, often affiliated with organized crime) who profited from her would not feel safe there.

      It’s nothing personal, it’s just a huge conflict of interest. It’s impossible for such an organization to fairly represent women in and/or survivors of prostitution.

      No university, government, publication or NGO should participate with or give a platform to any organization purporting to speak for women in prostitution that includes people who have been convicted of pimping, being a madam, pandering, conspiracy to promote prostitution, or running a brothel or escort service. Additionally these institutions should never work with or give platform to organizations claiming to speak for women in prostitution that include admitted pimps, madams, brothel owners, escort service owners or ‘dungeon’ owners. An exception to this rule would be a prostitute entrapped in a trafficking gang who acted like a ‘madam’ briefly as a means of escape.

      No university, reputable newspaper or NGO would allow a plantation owner to claim to be a migrant farm worker. It’s completely unacceptable that we make an exception for the sex industry.

  35. 35
    Tanit

    I am actually quite horrified to read this. I found this piece through the link on Greta’s response to it. And I agree with her that sex slavery, exploitation, etc are terrible and must be stopped.

    However, you simply cannot generalise about prostitution like that. I am a young woman (24) in New Zealand, working as a sex worker. A prostitute. In New Zealand prostitution is legal. There are safeguards written into law. (It is by no means perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than it used to be. If you are interested look up the ‘Prostitution Reform Act’ on legislation.govt.nz).

    1) I chose this work, I am not being oppressed. I go to work 2-5 days a week (whenever I want to, actually, since I am self-employed).

    2) I am not being exploited, nor have I had any client being violent towards me (actually, I have once been bitten, and I threw that client out immediately). The sex has never been violent and it most certainly is sex.

    3) I have never encountered sex traffickers or pimps.

    4) At work, I have sex. It is sex to me, even though it is not the same as the sex I have outside of work. And yes, most of my clients have sex with people who are not sex workers too. I do not see why this is a problem.

    5) As I said, I chose this work, I was not forced into it by anyone, I have never been abused and I am not poor. How much money I make depends entirely on how much time I wish to spend at work. It is not a human rights abuse. What would be a human rights abuse would be for me to not be allowed to do with my life as I wish, if I am not harming anyone else. I wish to work in this industry, I am happy with my work, and I am certainly not harming anyone.

    6) Actually, legalising prostitution has helped protect women a lot. Certainly not all women are protected, but there are resources available to women who need it. There are free, anonymous STI checks, sex workers wishing to leave the industry can go on a benefit with no wait time to help them get on their feet until they find other work. Safe sex practices are required by law, and clients who do not use protective barriers for any forms of penetrative sex can be faced with up to $2000 fines. And I have not been harmed by prostitution.

    7) When prostition is working as it ought to (as a profession like any other) then the social stigma is one of the most harmful aspects. It is harmful because I have to lie to my parents about my work (because they believe it to be sinful), and I can never put it on my CV, even though I have learned a lot through my years working that I could easily apply to other work (customer service skills, for example).

    8) I have no idea where you get this from, but please back it up with evidence. I could imagine that legal, consensual sex work would be a deterrent, but I haven’t seen any data either way.

    9) This is not a lie. Human trafficking is a terrible thing, which people the world over ought to work to stop. Legal, consensual sex work has nothing whatsoever to do with prostitution.

    10) Yes, legalising prostitution has expanded the sex industry (to the financial detriment of sex workers since it is no longer possible to make as much money as they used to, since there are so many more sex workers working now than there used to be). The main reason is because people are much happier engaging in legal work than having to break the law by working.
    But prostitution being legal means government organisations can work together with the sex industry much more freely. For example, immigration services can come into brothels to ensure that no one without citizenship or permanent residency is working.

    11) When prostitution was illegal, prostitutes were arrested. That is a fact, not a lie. My clients are not predators. And I am not poor (nor am I helpless, which you appear to imply).

    All in all I am disgusted that you utterly ignore the experience of thousands of people who are happy in their work as sex workers. Who chose this work of their own free will. That you practically say that we have no voice, or that our voice is irrelevant to a discussion that affects us greatly. I am horrified by this attitude in a woman who calls herself a feminist.
    I am not denying that sex slavery, human trafficking and forced prostitution are wrong or harmful, nor am I denying that they exist or that they can come hand-in-hand with prostitution. But that you would equate prostitution with these harms in all cases appears ignorant. Quite literally, you are ignoring the experiences and the voices of men and women around the world.

    1. 35.1
      Daniel Schealler

      *cheers for Tanit*

      That was a kick-ass comment. Loved it top to bottom.

    2. 35.2
      Ann

      Good for you Tanit.
      I know actually more than 100 ex-prostitutes from most of the world who all tells another and very different story, a story about longterm harm, violence and destroyed lives eventhough they were working in the well organised and “safe” part of the industry.

      By the way, I am in contact with a person, who actually knows a great deal about the sit. in New Zealand. The person don’t agree with you. Unsafe sex is only a matter of the prize and you have forgotten to tell about what is going on in the Parliament right now about the new prostitution ban.

      1. Stella Marr

        Ann, the violence and brutality of prostitution that you describe is certainly consistent with my experience, as well as the experience of so many survivors.

        This is what it feels like to be a prostitute in New York City
        http://secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/an-ex-hookers-letter-to-her-younger-self/

      2. Tanit

        If you’re talking about the legislation regarding street workers, I am aware of it, and I have written to my local MP about it, however it does not directly affect me since I work from a brothel.
        I am also aware that not all sex workers practice safe sex, and that some will take extra money to leave off the condom. They can however press charges against clients who insist on unsafe sex (where they are unable to insist on safe sex).
        I should have clarified (my apologies that I didn’t) – of course I do not speak for all sex workers in New Zealand, we all have very different experiences of our work, and I am aware that there is sex trafficking in NZ, and that some workers are forced into the work. However, I believe, from my own experience and from a lot of people I have spoken to (both current and former workers and people working with New Zealand Prostitutes Collective for many years who have seen the changes that legalisation brought with it and who are familiar with all areas and kinds of sex work) that legalisation has improved the working lives of sex workers.

  36. 36
    Steve Caldwell

    I would recommend checking out the following book:

    Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women
    http://www.amazon.com/Brothel-Mustang-Ranch-Its-Women/dp/0449006581/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334022122&sr=1-3

    Here’s the summary from Amazon’s web site:

    When Harvard medical student Alexa Albert conducted a public-health study as the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada, the only state in the union where prostitution is legal, neither she nor the brothel could have predicted the end result. Having worked with homeless prostitutes in Times Square, Albert was intimate with human devastation cause by the sex trade, and curious to see if Nevada’s brothels offered a less harmful model for a business that will always be with us. The Mustang Ranch has never before given an outsider such access, but fear of AIDS was hurting the business, and the Ranch was eager to get publicity for its rigorous standards of sexual hygiene. Albert was drawn into the lives of the women of the Mustang Ranch, and what began as a public-health project evolved into something more intimate and ambitious, a six-year study of the brothel ecosystem, its lessons and significance.

    The women of the Mustang Ranch poured their stories out to Albert: how they came to be there, their surprisingly deep sense of craft and vocation, how they reconciled their profession with life on the outside. Dr. Albert went as far into this world as it is possible to go — some will say too far — including sitting in on sessions with customers, and the result is a book that puts an unforgettable face on America’s maligned and caricatured subculture.

    FYI – the “sitting in” mentioned above wasn’t the author engaging in physical contact with a client.

    It was a single incident where a sex worker invited the public health researcher and author to watch her with a male client who wanted to be treated in a degraded and submissive way by the female sex worker who was “pegging” him (“pegging” is using a dildo and strap-on harness to anally penetrate the other partner — in this case the sex worker was wearing the dildo/harness and the male client was being anally penetrated).

    The author was standing in the room writing and writing her observations in a notebook. The sex worker used the presence of the observer to heighten the emotional content of the scene for the client (even though all the author did was stand there and observe).

    1. 36.1
      stellamarr

      As a woman who was in prostitution for ten years, I fell off my chair laughing at your phrase “deep sense of vocation.” Puh-leeze. You have got to be kidding me.

      Here’s some more reliable info on Nevada brothels

      http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2011/11/selling-sex-in-nevada-is-like-selling-burgers-in-mcdonalds/

      1. Steve Caldwell

        stellamarr wrote:

        As a woman who was in prostitution for ten years, I fell off my chair laughing at your phrase “deep sense of vocation.”

        I’m sorry that you fell off your chair with those words.

        However, the words you were objecting to were not mine. I quoted them from the book blurb on the Amazon.com web site.

        I do recommend that you check out Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Dr. Alexa Albert. Dr. Albert does report on the problems with the brothel business in her book but she also provides a balanced report by also documenting the positive aspects of the brothel business.

        Dr. Albert’s book makes a good case for legalization and regulation of prostitution. Many of the problems cited in her book and the article that you’ve cited are due to how communities treat sex workers negatively.

        The regulations encourage brothel owners to locate in remote areas and have the women live in the brothel in part due to community and governmental pressure to keep the businesses away from communities. This suggests to me that some of problems with the brothel business are due to prevailing sexuality-negative attitudes that marginalize sex workers even when their work is legal.

        The freelance journalist Julie Bindel wrote an article on the topic.

        Keep in mind that Dr. Albert lived at the Mustang Ranch for six years doing research for her book that was part public health study and part anthropology.

  37. 37
    Rilian

    Anyone can be forced into anything, really. Maybe I don’t want to work at mcdonalds, but my abusive parents have brainwashed me and I feel as if I have no choice but to do what they say and work there, and maybe they take all the money I make and only spend a little of it on me. That would be just as horrible, wouldn’t it? I guess if the job you are forced into is sex, it has different risks, and I don’t know, maybe it feels worse to most people. I don’t know though, I don’t know how other people feel. But maybe having sex for a hundred dollars is better than being treated like a robot at a fastfood place for 5 hours just to get thirty dollars. I guess it depends on the person.

  38. 38
    NathanDST

    I see there are already sex workers commenting, which is good. Here’s one more voice you need to listen to, Taslima.

    http://becauseimawhore.com/

    For all I know, the author of that blog might actually be one of the commenters, I suppose. But seriously, listen to the workers! For crying out loud, do you think they’re lying?? Deluded? What? That’s like a theist telling me that I really do know God exists, I just want to keep living a life of sin. It’s nonsense on the face of it.

    You made an analogy to house slaves wanting to keep slavery legal in the USA pre-Civil War, but that analogy fails on a very key point: the sex workers talking to you, telling you they chose the work, and want to continue with it, have a choice. That’s something the house slaves didn’t have.

    Where slavery, actual slavery, exists -of any kind- it should be eliminated. That’s clearly true. But you’re claiming slavery for women who actually have a choice!

    Truly, you need to rethink this. All assertion, no argument, no evidence (in the main post, and little even in the comments): in other words, no reason to agree with you.

  39. 39
    Mikey

    What’s your opinion on male sex workers? Ones that provide services to men, women, both, etc?

  40. 40
    Chris Madsen

    Why are any of you surprised by Taslima Nasreen view on sex-work? There are quotes from Andrea Dworkin on the front page of her website.

    Taslima Nasreen has lived in Sweden for years. Sweden is a nation being build on the most extreme radical feminism imaginable, we’re talking Valerie Solanas, Andrea Dworkin, Melissa Farley like theories here, and they are not tongue-in-cheek about it, they are deadly serious.

    Why are any of you even trying to debate with Taslia Nasreen on this subject? She starts of her ‘rant’ with – ”Finally! some sane people!” and ”But sane people do not call prostituted women sex workers” – she’s saying that, if you don’t share her views on sex-work and the Swedish model, you’re insane. With that stance, why would she listen to any of you – to any of us? We’re insane according to her and her peers, and she’s not going to listen too insane people.

    Taslia Nasreen doesn’t want debate, dialog – she has the truth, the one-and-only-truth, don’t you dare question it! Don’t you dare try to tell her that the Swedish model is a utter complete failure as a social engineering experiment (which it is) http://rightswork.org/2012/04/issue-paper-4-the-swedish-law-to-criminalize-clients-a-failed-experiment-in-social-engineering/ Now Taslima isn’t gonna read this, she doesn’t care about it. Because she has the truth, just like many fundamentalist religious leaders within Islam and Christianity has.

    Sweden has been spreading lies and propaganda since 1999 which is when they came up with this head-shaking idea of a law and definition of sex-work. But where did this idea and definition actually come from? Well, it came from these people: The award winning Swedish documentary -The Gender Wars (Könskriget)- explains what sort of cult like mentality we’re dealing with here, what kind of Taliban like feminism this is (watch all 12 episodes here with English subtitles by pressing CC http://www.youtube.com/user/figaropravda/videos).

    Scandinavia as a collective does not subscribe to the Swedish model; Sweden, Norway and Iceland does (Iceland has even gone further and banned strip-clubs/strip-shows). Finland has a modified version of the Swedish model, that targets clients to foreign trafficking/sex-slavery victims.

    Denmark does not have any Swedish model law in place!

    I’m danish, I live in Denmark. And we are many people here, who for several years now have been fighting the Swedish model – we are women, men, transgender, gay, straight, bi, sex-workers, non-sex-workers, queers, people from the left, from the right and more. We are all standing side-by-side too fight the lies and propaganda, that is being spread about the success of the Swedish model by radical feminist lobby groups and politicians from Sweden. The large majority of the Danish people do not want the Swedish model, we oppose it – and so far we’ve gotten through to the politicians here that would like to implement it in Denmark.

    In my many, many battles with men and women who subscribe to the same views and solutions to sex-work as Taslima Nasreen, I’ve come to the conclusion – that there is no debating with them, there is absolutely no common group to be found what-so-ever! You might as well be debating evolution with a fundamentalist creationist, or debating the benefits of democracy with a hardcore hardliner from the communist party in North Korea – there’s no way of getting through to them. Because it’s not about logic, pragmatism or even reality. It’s about their twisted ideology and even more twisted views on reality, they do not live in the same world/ reality as the rest of us.

    Spare your time, words and energy – don’t waste them on people like Taslima Nasreen, because they won’t make sense to her or any anybody else who shares her views.

    1. 40.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Even though I do not agree with what you said, I have approved your comment on my blog. I let people read your views because I believe in freedom of expression. I hope you also believe in freedom of expression for people you despise

      1. Phillip Helbig

        Why do you even think it is necessary to say this? Are you implying that it is something special to allow dissenting opinion?

        Have you understood Rosa Luxemburg?

      2. Chris Madsen

        Thank you for approving my comment, I honestly did not expected it to be approved – since this has been my experience so far, when debating with abolitionists who are in favor of the Swedish model.

        Yes, I approve of and support the freedom of speech, even when is pertains to people who I very much disagree with, in fact – that’s when I support it the most.

        No, I do not despise you. However I am strongly offended by your views on sex-work and sex-workers, and I highly object to the way you choose to express these views.

        I object to you insinuating that people who are in favor of decriminalization or legalization of sex-work are insane.

        I object to you claiming ‘the truth’, when you don’t offer any reliable objective proof of your ‘truth’.

        I object to you not asking any questions, but instead having all the answers. Answers that are clearly not founded on objective scientific fact, but rather on radical feminist ideology.

        I object to you replying to a sex-worker with calling her a ”house slave” how dare you? How dare you try to put her voice down, when this subject is about her – about her work and her life – why doesn’t she get to have a voice in this matter? Why is she dismissed as someone with a ”house slave” mentality.

        I object to you pointing the finger at people who speak out against the Swedish model, who speak out against your ‘truths’ about sex-work. And you saying ”you are talking like a promoter of sex industries”. Yes – all of us are either pimps, clients, insane, a bunch of misogynists or have a ”house slave” mentality – if we don’t agree with you.

        1. stellamarr

          Strange that Dane spells their name “Chris” as it’s usually Kris. There are prostitution survivors in Denmark speaking out in favor of the Nordic model. Your vitriol reminds me of a pimp’s. I’m not saying you are one, mind you. But it does remind me of that. As a woman who was in prostitution for ten years I’ve had a lot of experience.

          1. stellamarr

            Above — I meant as a woman in prostitution I’ve had a lot of experience with that vitriol.

            And as a survivor, I’d like to say that it’s not useful for academics and activists who care about the issue to give people like Chris a platform or engage in debate with them.

            Quite often these people are those profiting from prostitution, or those who buy women in prostitution. There’s never any center to their argument.

            A man tried to rape me in broad daylight in the lobby of my apartment building. I screamed for help, and people came and stopped it. These good people went to get the police and while they were gone the man who nearly raped me started telling people I was his girlfriend (a lie) and that we’d just had a disagreement. He kept this up, and then ran away.

            A lot of these commments by pimps are quite similar in their tactics. Just make a big noise, deny the harm you’ve caused, and create a secondary scene to draw attention away from your criminal acts. We need to start demanding authenticity and calling out conflict of interest when it’s there. There are many pimps who pose as ‘sex worker activists.’ We should not allow these people to assume the identity of women in prostitution. They are using their ‘activism’ for marketing and recruitment while protecting their financial interests. For example, the head of the International Union of Sex Workers Douglas Fox is a pimp who owns one of the largest escort services in London. He calls himself a ‘sex worker.’ Very few call him on this, and even the Guardian allows him an extremely unclear and evasive biography: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/douglas-fox. Robyn Few, he founder of the US chapter of the Sex Worker’s outreach project was convicted of conspiracy of to promote prostitution prior to founding SWOP http://www.swopusa.org/old_site/few.php. Norma Jean Almodovar, who was convicted of pandering, has been the head of COYOTE LA. This is a huge conflict of interest. Academia needs to call people and groups out for what they are. The vast majority of women in prostitution have experienced violence at the hand of Johns as well as male and female pimps.

          2. Ann

            Well spoken Stella. You are absolutely right.

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            StellaMarr:

            Again with the slander against Robyn Few? I’m not going to argue one way or the other with the experiences of “survivors”, but it is very telling that no matter what forum you’re in, no matter how tenuous the connection and no matter how little Robyn Few has to do with the actual topic (has anybody even indirectly quoted or related anything about Few here? I don’t think so), you’ll bring up how she’s a “pimp” in an ongoing campaign against her. It really makes me wonder exactly who’s agenda you’re acting on behalf of.

            Your argument against Few, as has been pointed out, is a massive exercise in bad faith. You rely on confusion of the multiple meanings of the word “pimp”. When most people think of a “pimp”, they think of a detestable (usually) male who violently controls female prostitutes and takes all of their earnings. Yet, the term is also used loosely for anybody from someone in an employer role in the sex industry to someone who merely has some financial relationship with a prostitute, such as a bodyguard or spouse. Or even somebody who has been convicted of the crime of “pandering”, regardless of the circumstances. And, as you may or may not know, the legal definition of “pandering” is very broad, and is one that is often used by law enforcement as a workaround to direct solicitation or prostitution convictions when those are difficult to obtain.

            Your case against Few rests on three dubious premises, namely, that a pandering conviction actually means one is an employer of prostitutes rather than a prostitute oneself, and that even if one does employ other prostitutes, that you cannot also be a sex worker (simple definition: if you’re still selling your own sexual services, your a sex worker, *even if* you also employ others), and that anybody in a position of authority or financial relationship with a sex worker is exactly the same as a violent pimp. And of course, anybody with any knowledge of Robyn Few knows that she has a long history as a working sex worker, and that whatever her business relationship with other sex workers, she was not engaging in the kind of exploitative practices that people commonly associate with the label of “pimp”. But of course, you don’t make any argument toward the actually details of the situation, you just let negative insinuations and “poisoning the well” do the work for you.

            Now of course, I don’t expect you to actually engage with these points at all. Your pattern when confronted with the bad-faith nature of your arguments against Few is to simply repeat *over and over* that Robyn Few is a “pimp” because she was convicted of pandering, end of discussion. It is the equivalent of pounding your fist on the table and shouting to “advance” your argument.

            This is all, of course, stuff you’ve been called out for on other forums by those who have become familiar with your style and rather tendentious line of argumentation.

          4. Stella Marr

            Iamcuriousblue’s comments below are strikingly similar to the behavior of my would-be rapist above, as well as to the behavior of many pimps. The tactics, misinformation and hate speech are routine when survivors speak out.

            I am not ‘slandering Robyn Few’ since I am saying something true. Robyn was convicted of conspiracy to promote prostitution prior to founding the sex workers’ outreach project. Robyn has posted this info on her personal webpage. So there’s a huge conflict of interest — in having someone convicted of a crime like this founding an organization that supposedly speaks on behalf of women in prostitution. This conflict of interest would never be accepted if Robyn owned a coal mine and claimed to speak on behalf of the coal-miners she employed. Why is this acceptable for prostitution?

            What I am saying is in no way a personal attack. Such conflicts of interest are unacceptable. No university or organization that supposedly cares about the interests of women in prostitution should have anything to do with any organization that is associated with someone who has been convicted of pandering, pimping, conspiracy to promote prostitution, or running a brothel/bawdy house. In addition, no university, government or organization that supposedly cares about the interests of women in prostitution should have anything to do with or give any kind of platform to any man or woman who is an admitted pimp or madam — this means someone who owns an escort service or brothel, as well as someone who sells women in the streets.

          5. Kristjan Wager

            As a Dane, and a “Kris”, I would point out that Chris is more common than Kris (Christian rather than Kristian, Christopher as often as Kristoffer, Christina rather than Kristina, Christine as often as Kristine).

          6. Ace of Sevens

            Are you saying that sex workers have a conflict of interest if they support legalization seeing as it affects them personally? This sounds a lot like saying a rumored-to-be-gay judge can’t rule on the constitutionality of banning gay marriage because he has a personal stake.

          7. Ann

            @Ace of Sevens most prostitutes don’t want to be legalized because they then have to be registered and pay taxes. This is why it has been such a tremendous fiasco with the Unions for sex workers in Netherland and Germany. No one joined them because they didn’t want to be registered as prostitutes.
            They just wants to be able to go to the police if someone is violent or rapes them and that is basicly human rights, not special prostitution rights.

            The ones who are talking so eager for legalization are the people who really earns the money in the sex trade, and that is NOT the prostitutes we are talking about, it is the brotheowners and of course those who wants free and unproblematic access to women of all sizes, colours and boobs sizes. So as Stella writes, the most aggressive writers here are probably escortservice owners, brothelowners and punters/Johns.

            Not the prostitutes in the streets or all the foreign women imported for prostitution in the streets, Brothels or Escort , and who actually dominates the whole sex industry. They (the foreign women) are not those people you see here defending legalized prostitution.

          8. Ace of Sevens

            Let’s assume all that’s true and all the sex workers here are part of an elite minority that’s way more privileged than the other sex workers in their area. It still doesn’t make any sense to say they are only acting out of self interest. Wouldn’t they want to stamp out sex trafficking to get rid of competition, if for no other reason. It doesn’t make any sense to insinuate they are indifferent to trafficking without really hard evidence.

          9. Iamcuriousblue

            Ann – thanks for obscuring the issue. Most prostitutes who are active around the issue support *decriminalization* rather than a *legalization* model that requires them to “register” like a hazardous product. That does not mean, as you seem to imply, that the support *illegalization*, or a quasi-criminalization model like the Nordic model. Please get your facts straight.

          10. Ann

            @ Iamcuriousblue
            “Most prostitutes who are active around the issue support *decriminalization* rather than a *legalization* model that requires them to “register” like a hazardous product. That does not mean, as you seem to imply, that the support *illegalization*, or a quasi-criminalization model like the Nordic model. Please get your facts straight.”

            It certainly depends on, who you are talking about. Obviously you don’t think that exprostitutes count in that matter.

            I don’t think that I have been talking about illegalization prostitution – rather illegalization of the demandside. I have no intention about hunting prostitutes but I do have intentions about hunting the organized gang controlled part (which is most of the industry) and the demand side.

            So of course it’s a decriminalization of the prostitutes we are talking about – but not brothel owners, pimps and customers.

            if there are a few women left who think they wants to sell sex as a part of their sexuality they are free to go for it. But it should never ever be at the expense of others’ lives and health.

            We know as a fact, that the natural supply can not compare to the demand of new women and you know that too.
            Why do traffickers bring women from all parts of the world to work at Brothels, Massage Parlours, Saunas and whatever you call it, illegal imported women of course – they can disappear when they no longer has a value at the marked OR if they suddenly become to difficult. Why are they doing this? because the demand are so huge, that the normal supply can’t cope with it.
            And of course because foreign women don’t have the ability to say no to customers, who wants to buy unprotected sex. You said earlier that they do have the ability to say no to such a customer but that is nonsens and you now that. They owe the traffickers a lot of money so they are not allowed to say no to a customer.

            By the way, you said also somewhere in all the posts, that I was cherry picking. Where do I do cherry picking?
            Is it because I frame the fact, that violence still is a problem despite nearly 10 years of legalised prostitution in New Zealand or is it the cases of illegal brothels, organised crime, childprostitution and the popular resistance to the huge impact of the sexindustry in their neighbourhood.

            Or is it the mention of the countries which now treats bill against buying sex.

          11. Iamcuriousblue

            Ann:

            So many flawed arguments, I don’t even know where to begin.

            First, I think it’s utter nonsense to speak of the “Nordic model” as any kind of “decriminalization”. Treating sex workers as “crime victims” rather than criminals is still very much a criminalization model. It simply shifts the burden of criminalization, but it still makes the activity and everything around it illegal. That has negative consequences for sex workers themselves, which is why Canada has just struck down some unfair laws that very much resembles aspects of the Nordic model.

            You follow that up with this bit of nonsense:

            “if there are a few women left who think they wants to sell sex as a part of their sexuality they are free to go for it.”

            How are they “free to do so” if it is criminal for somebody to buy sex from them? And if you acknowledge that somebody is free to sell sex in that situation, then how can you remotely justify prosecuting that person for a crime? That is nothing short of coercive use of state power to impose your sexual morality. Maybe you’re OK with that, but that’s precisely why so many oppose you.

            Speaking of people supporting or opposing you, where is your evidence that anywhere close to majority of sex workers supporting your approach? A few recovery movement-oriented ex-prostitutes support you? Don’t claim a majority based on that. BTW, one can find ex drug users in recovery that now support draconian penalties for the drugs they used to use. That still doesn’t mean that’s good social policy.

            And “cherry picking”. The report also named clear gains made via their decrim policy. You fail to mention that, and I think your assessment of New Zealand’s policy is hardly disinterested either.

            BTW, do you work for the Swedish or Norwegian government? A lot of your rhetoric and mention of conferences you’ve been attending suggests that you do.

          12. Ann

            @ Iamcuriousblue No I don’t work for either the Swedish nor the Norwegian Government – actually I have been working for the police but that is another talk. But that is why I am focused on the criminal aspects in the sex trade, the criminal aspect you can’t explain away. I know that the criminal activity behind the legal frontpage are a fact. The organised crime and control of the sex trade in all its levels are without any discussion and it has expanded or remains in all countries with legalised prostitution.
            Also in New Zealand. The Chinese gangs control massage parlours, SOOBs, Brothels and whatever you call it. And the street prostitutes mainly minors are controlled by gangs as Mongrels.

            Legalisation has not removed the criminal organised gang control over the sex trade and it has not removed violence, trafficking, coercing, childprostitution, street prostitution and the stigma.

            I didn’t expect you to understand the intentions with the Swedish model (or Nordic as most of us calls it) and I see that it is correct. I don’t either expect you to want to understand it so I don’t want to spend a lot of words and time to explain it to you.

          13. Iamcuriousblue

            “And of course because foreign women don’t have the ability to say no to customers, who wants to buy unprotected sex. You said earlier that they do have the ability to say no to such a customer but that is nonsens and you now that. They owe the traffickers a lot of money so they are not allowed to say no to a customer.”

            And this statement is so telling. You don’t even say “trafficked women” or “sexual slaves”, you simply say “foreign women”. Like that *in and of itself* means that a woman is coerced. That statement says everything about the arrogance and xenophobia behind the “Nordic model”.

            I’m sure all those poor “foreign women” are thanking you for your efforts to save them from degeneracy, Special White Lady.

          14. Ann

            @Iamcuriousblue
            “And this statement is so telling. You don’t even say “trafficked women” or “sexual slaves”, you simply say “foreign women”. Like that *in and of itself* means that a woman is coerced. That statement says everything about the arrogance and xenophobia behind the “Nordic model”. I’m sure all those poor “foreign women” are thanking you for your efforts to save them from degeneracy, Special White Lady.”

            I don’t see any denial from you about the facts I mentioned – only a lot of nonsens. I use the term foreign women because not all of them are from the beginning trafficked women or sexual slaves. But they are all foreigners. I presume that we are talking about New Zealand.

            Some of them are students from China but are unable to earn enough money to pay for their travel and needs. Therefore they end up working in the brothels. SOOBs or another part of the sex trade. Others are, as you pointed out in fact trafficked women and sexual slaves.

            But whatever reason they end up in the sex industry they don’t have the ability to say no (or don’t want to say no) to customers who want unprotected sex becuase the payment is better.

            “I’m sure all those poor “foreign women” are thanking you for your efforts to save them from degeneracy, Special White Lady.”
            So we are getting a bit personal now – aren’t we. :-) I don’t mind, but maybe the moderator does.

          15. Iamcuriousblue

            Ann @ 12:

            “actually I have been working for the police but that is another talk.”

            That certainly explains a lot about where you’re coming from, and how credible I should consider you. I’ll listen to the “so-called” sex workers on the subject of sex work, not law enforcement, thank you very much.

          16. Ann

            @Iamcuriousblue
            “That certainly explains a lot about where you’re coming from, and how credible I should consider you. I’ll listen to the “so-called” sex workers on the subject of sex work, not law enforcement, thank you very much.”

            Actually, No it doesn’t explain anything but my angle to why the criminal aspect is important to me. I ‘m also fond of animals, music, dark chokolate and chicken – not necessarily together – if you think that it can explain anything about me.

            I don’t care what you think or not think about my credibility. As Stella points out it is another example of the tactics used by the sex industry lobby. Personal attacks is the usual tactic when arguments run out. I’m used to it and expect it.

            The links I have posted hasn’t been answered by you. I am still waiting for your answer about the illegal brothels, massage parlours, SOOBs, childprostitution, street prostitution, criminal organised gangs running brothels, the buying of unprotected sex, the violence etc. in New Zealand. And Netherland, Germany and so on.

          17. Iamcuriousblue

            Actually, I have addressed your critique of the New Zealand model several times. I’m not convinced that decrim created the problem with organized crime, and I’m not convinced criminalizing customers is what will solve it. In fact, I think the latter is a poor substitute for attacking organized crime directly. And as a strategy, it resembles more than a little, the failed “War on Drugs”, with the idea that organized crime and other problems with the drug trade could be addressed with harsher penalties toward those who consume drugs. That’s strategy has been demonstrably one that’s created more problems than it solved.

            (Oh, and don’t feed me the “women are not a substance” misdirect, either. I and everyone else in this debate know that. The point is, the legal strategies and justification are identical to the earlier failed policy.)

            It’s funny that Stella can point out that being a sex business owner is a conflict of interest (even, she claims, when the business owner is also a working sex worker who sells their services directly), but to point to the conflict of interest inherent with being part of law enforcement is an unfair ad-hom. I just love the double-standards you people shamelessly trot out.

            As for “Special White Lady”, that’s a social justice blogging term for middle to upper class activist who boasts loudly about their work with the downtrodden black and brown people of the world and arrogantly claims to speak for them. You can take that personally or not. I could really care less.

            As for the rest, please do go on painting yourself as some kind of righteous Joan of Arc being attacked by the agents of the eeeeevillll sex industry. That kind of self-righteousness is par for the course when debating “abolitionist” types, and *I’m quite used to* that.

          18. Ann

            @Iamcuriousblue

            You are not convinced.. no of course you are not convinced. You don’t want to read anything of what I have linked to and what I am saying, I say – again – that the goals for legalizing the sex industry in New Zealand was to remove the Street Prostitution and Child Prostitution. None of them has been fulfiled. As I have showed.

            And the violence is still there as showed.

            The same with the criminal gangs control of the sex trade – they are still there. As showed.
            The only difference between before and now is that now the prostitutes can go to the police if they has been threatened, robbed or raped by a customer. As I have already told some one here (maybe you), is a basic human right and it has nothing to do with legalised prostitution.
            But the prostitutes in New Zealand are still being threatened, robbed or raped. And killed by pimps or customers.

            The legalisation can not prevent the ugly mugs and the organised crime gangs. They are there whenever prostitution is legalised or not. And they are there as long as the customers pay the money. And the customers will be there as long as they are not in danger of being arrested or named and shamed or have to go to the John schools.

            You don’t like the facts – I don’t care. I have represented my informations to other people so that they can read it and see, that the “truth” you and the sex industry lobby represent isn’t exactly the whole true. People can read and I have given them something to read. Official reports and articles, which unlike you, don’t have two legs solid planted in the sex industry and therefore isn’t exactly biased by money.

          19. Stella Marr

            AceofSevens wrote: Are you saying that sex workers have a conflict of interest if they support legalization seeing as it affects them personally?

            This is another splendid example of techniques used by the sex industry lobby to try to intimidate and discredit survivors who speak out.

            Acofsevens what you have done here is accused me of saying something I didn’t say. You’re putting words in my mouth, which is a yucky way of trying to silence me.

            I never said sex workers have a conflict of interest did I? No, I said those who profit from the prostitution of women besides themselves have a conflict of interest. I was very clear about it. I was referring male and female pimps who either own brothels, escort services, or take earnings from prostitutes working the streets. It’s not rocket science — I’m sure you understood what I meant.

            We all understand the term conflict of interest, don’t we? There is no conflict of interest if women in prostitution represent themselves. The conflict of interest happens when those who profit off these women claim to represent them.

            If anti-trafficking organizations, NGOs, the media, and academia want to have any credibility, they must stop allowing those who have profited off of women in prostitution to pose as prostitutes, and speak for us.

            Speaking very frankly, I don’t understand why this isn’t already a given in any discussion about prostitution or trafficking. We must correct this situation pronto.

          20. Ace of Sevens

            Quite often these people are those profiting from prostitution, or those who buy women in prostitution.

            You didn’t say “besides themselves.”

            I never said sex workers have a conflict of interest did I? No, I said those who profit from the prostitution of women besides themselves have a conflict of interest. I was very clear about it. I was referring male and female pimps who either own brothels, escort services, or take earnings from prostitutes working the streets. It’s not rocket science — I’m sure you understood what I meant.

            Perhaps it would have been clear if there weren’t plenty of women in this thread and elsewhere who have only profited from their own sex work who have spoken out in support of prostitution. Do they not count for some reason?

            Besides, if a woman is a prostitute and later becomes a madam, I don’t think this really discredits what they have to say about prostitution. Do we ignore everything Penny Marshall says about acting now that she’s a director and tells actors what to do? If owners and managers were the sole voice of the sex industry, or at least the sole voices of legalization, that would be a problem, but this clearly isn’t the case.

          21. Ann

            @ Ace of Sevens
            ” If owners and managers were the sole voice of the sex industry, or at least the sole voices of legalization, that would be a problem, but this clearly isn’t the case.”

            Just curious, how do you know that?

          22. Iamcuriousblue

            Ann:

            “You don’t like the facts – I don’t care. I have represented my informations to other people so that they can read it and see, that the “truth” you and the sex industry lobby represent isn’t exactly the whole true. People can read and I have given them something to read. Official reports and articles, which unlike you, don’t have two legs solid planted in the sex industry and therefore isn’t exactly biased by money.”

            Let’s start with this untruth. I don’t receive a *dime* for my advocacy (unlike somebody, say, professionally “working with law enforcement”). You don’t know anything about me, and you just made that up to smear me. Speaks volumes about what a contemptible liar you are. Don’t let truth get in the way of demonizing your opponent, after all. Smearing is what you people do.

            You people and all your bullshit about a massive “sex industry”/”happy hooker” lobby. Nice conspiracy theory you’ve got going on there. And a nice way to deflect just how well-funded “abolitionist” NGOs actually are, far in excess of anything the pro-decriminalization/sex worker rights side could ever muster. Sorry, but were not the ones getting the largess of backers like the Hunt Foundation, or getting our people in high positions in the Swedish or US governments.

            BTW, I’m just fine with facts. It’s the dishonest *spin* on facts, accompanied by outright lies like you just told above, that I don’t like one little bit.

            “The legalisation can not prevent the ugly mugs and the organised crime gangs. They are there whenever prostitution is legalised or not.”

            I support full decriminalization, not “legalization”, actually. Not that you can be bothered to be accurate about anything you’re arguing against.

            Now more to the point, criminalization, including “Nordic model” style asymmetrical criminalization, doesn’t automatically fix these things either, and I think you know this. You denounce legalization and decriminalization because that doesn’t provide a quick fix, which is an impossible standard for any legal regime, including the one you advocate. Obviously, it needs to be accompanied by other social measures. Full decriminalization and destigmatization of sex work is necessary but not sufficient to improve the condition of sex workers. Again, while not sufficient, absolutely *necessary*. Decriminalization is the beginning, not the end of the solution.

            “And they are there as long as the customers pay the money. And the customers will be there as long as they are not in danger of being arrested or named and shamed or have to go ton the John schools.”

            And of course, you simply repeat yourself rather than address any point I’ve made. Shifting the burden of criminalization onto “demand” has not worked in the “drug war”, it just puts more people into the criminal justice system and allows the government to claim it’s “doing something”.

            Customers aren’t a problem unless they’re violent or otherwise coercive, and fully bringing the transaction above board makes it much easier for sex workers to report such ugly mugs. The “need” for customers to be “named and shamed” and attend John’s Schools to be indoctrinated in the “correct” attitude toward sexuality only exists in the framework of your ideology, something I think you have no right to legislate. If a buyer is not violent or coercive, they have nothing to be ashamed of. And I could really care less what pseudo-egalitarian ideologues agree with me or not on that point.

          23. Ann

            @Iamcuriousblue
            May I suggest, that you read a little bit about the results they do have in counties in USA with John schools, before you completely freak out. It’s acctually working.

            The very old and completely useless argument about buying drug don’t fit in in the context about buying sex. Because the drugbuyers are addicts, most dont have anything to loose and mostly they are at the bottom of the society. Others don’t care if they are arrested, because the use of drugs are partly accepted in our society.

            But the buying of sex is something completely different.

            The buyers are normally men in partnership, family men – with a wife/partner and children. If they are caught while buying sex, they loose their family and that prize is to high for them.

            They don’t tell anything about their use of prostitutes especially not to the family because they don’t want to loose family and social status and this is why it works, the Nordic model/John schools/name and shame. People don’t accept sex buyers, contrary to drug users, and the sex buyers has to much to loose.

            And please don’t tell me anything about my motives.
            By the way, I might be mistaken here and if I do I apologize for that, but as I understand it you are living in New Zealand. Don’t you read the news papers since you don’t know anything about the news, I have linked here.

            It also seems to me, that you don’t really read what I am writing. Maybe it is my bad english.

          24. Ace of Sevens

            Just curious, how do you know that?

            Just look around the thread, for one. Is Maggie Mayhem a pimp? Does she only participate in panels about how to improve the lives of sex workers to give herself a veneer of respectability so her website can keep operating? How about Feminist Whore? How about Godless Strumpet, or any of the others? (Both advocate in their own blogs and on YouTube, not just in comments here and there.) Were all the sex workers contributed to Greta Christina’s book Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients just ringers? Unless you want to ignore all their voices, it’s pretty clear plenty of sex workers who are not brothel owners and the like are participating in the public conversation.

            Besides, I’m a former sex worker (though I was a male stripper, which I am aware is a different experience) and know lots of former or current sex workers, a few of them quite well. I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and lollipops. Like most jobs, some people have good experiences, some have bad and most have a mix. Even people with bad experiences don’t necessarily want to be rescued.

            On the occasions people did need assistance (drug addiction, medical problems, legal problems, abusive boyfriends and the like), I never saw the “rescuers” do shit except try to make people feel bad about what they did for a living and otherwise slut-shame them. This group also includes people like government benefits reps who couldn’t mind their own business.

            When people needed help they got it from relatives, other strippers, bouncers, DJs, and occasionally customers and other strippers’ boyfriends. A lot of these people were also assholes who did the opposite of helping. Cops had a tendency to be both helpful and condescending jerks at the same time. They’d go through the motions to prosecute an assault, for instance, but look down on the victim while doing so.

            I’m not saying this is everyone’s experience. I haven’t known any prostitutes who worked out of a brothel or worked the streets, just strippers who sometimes agreed to meet a customer at a hotel after work and a few call girls who operated on Craigslist. From the stories on stripperweb, a lot of clubs are far worse than the handful I’m familiar with, and those aren’t great. (Common complaint, owner’s girlfriend gets away with treating other strippers like shit and trying to jack their customers.)

            What I’m saying is there are lots of real people with real opinions that don’t fit the narrative that you or Taslima have presented and they matter.

        2. Iamcuriousblue

          Stellamarr @ 4

          Oh, wow. Disagreeing with you make me *like a rapist*? You have really outdone yourself with your intellectual dishonesty and claims of victization here.

          And, as I predicted, you have simply failed to engage with the points I’ve established. Yes, Robyn Few “admits” to the pandering conviction. My point, which you do not address, is that a pandering conviction does not mean what you imply it means. I have also made it quite clear that somebody can be a working sex worker and have a business relationship with or employ other sex workers at the same time. Being in this position and advocating for sex worker rights is a contradiction how?

          1. Stella Marr

            IamCuriousBlue wrote: Oh, wow. Disagreeing with you make me *like a rapist*? You have really outdone yourself with your intellectual dishonesty and claims of victization here.

            Actually Iamcurious, I never said you were like a rapist did I? So once again you are engaging in just the behavior I was calling you on.

            You are saying I sad something I did not, and attacking me for this thing I never said.

            I never said you were like a rapist. I told the story of a man who tried to rape me, and how after I screamed and someone came to helpthe would-be rapist told everyone I was his girlfriend, and we were having a fight. He spewed accusations,creating a confusion which allowed him to run away. This is standard sociopathic behavior. I used this story as an example of the tactics of the sex industry lobby. I said your behavior was a good example of these tactics. In no way did I claim you were like a rapist.

            You misrepresented what I said in an attempt to discredit me and silence me.

            It’s not going to work.

          2. Ace of Sevens

            Iamcuriousblue’s comments below are strikingly similar to the behavior of my would-be rapist above, as well as to the behavior of many pimps.

            How is this not saying he is “like a rapist”?

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            Stella, what you said is quite clear to anybody who can read. If you can’t take responsibility for what you say, then you’re better off not saying it.

            Just sayin’!

          4. Stella Marr

            Saying A’s tactics are an example of B’s behavior is in no way saying that A is like B.

            But you already know that.

            If I say a toddler growls like a dog, I am not saying that toddler is like a dog am I?

            Quite trying to silence me and discredit me by accusing me of saying something I didn’t.

            It’s not going to work.

          5. Ace of Sevens

            Saying A’s tactics are an example of B’s behavior is in no way saying that A is like B…

            If I say a toddler growls like a dog, I am not saying that toddler is like a dog am I?

            You actually are, but this is a bad analogy anyway. Unlike the difference between toddlers and dogs the difference between rapists and non-rapists is defined solely by behavior so comparing someone to a rapist based on their behavior is going to be taken far more literally than comparing someone to a dog.

          6. Stella Marr

            Acifsevens, I repeat,

            If I say a toddler growls like a dog, I am not saying the toddler is like a dog.

            Quit trying to misrepresent me and discredit me.

            You are being dishonest about what I said.
            I said A’s behavior was similar to a technique used by B.

            Here are some more examples:

            If I say a car sounds like thunder, I am not saying the car is like thunder.

            If I say apples are shaped like oranges, it doesn’t mean apples are like oranges.

            If I say a 5-month old baby smiles like Chico Marx, I am not saying the baby is like Chico Marx. Chico Marx plays the piano and harp beautifully, while the baby likely can’t. Additionally, Chico Marx can walk, while a 5-month old baby can’t. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

          7. Iamcuriousblue

            Stellamarr sez:

            “Quit trying to misrepresent me and discredit me.”

            Why don’t you stop trying to misrepresent and discredit others?? In fact, that’s what most of your comments consist of. You engage in the very behavior you accuse others of, and you’re not even subtle about it.

            Just sayin’!

      3. Daniel Schealler

        I have a comment from yesterday that is still pending in moderation that you may not have noticed.

        I expect it is pending because it carries a link to the source for the NZ Legislation that I quote in the comment.

    2. 40.2
      stellamarr

      Chris,

      Let me tell you a secret. Most women in prostitution don’t give a sh-t about feminist theory. We are grateful to the radical feminists because they actually see the hell we’re experiencing. But we do not see our situation as an ideological debate. We are human beings in terrible circumstances. Our pain is augmented by the fact that most societies (but not Sweden, Norway or Iceland) acquiesce to our suffering and marginalization. We are trapped in an underground gulag — a gulag in plain sight.

      I was a prostitute in Manhattan for ten years. Two of my friends were murdered, one committed suicide — but she’d asked our madam to send help. The madam did not, because she was afraid if she was linked to a suicide attempt it might scare away her Johns.

      We are human beings. We are not consumable substances. We are not rag dolls to be torn apart in ideological arguments.

      1. stellamarr

        Above, I should clarify that my madam told my darling friend she was sending help, and then she did nothing. My darling friend died.

    3. 40.3
      Ann

      @Chris Madsen you are refering to a page written by Ann Jordan, who in her paper is using sources as Don Kulic and Swedish prostitution industry, both of which hardly can be refered as objective about prostitution, as Kulic strongly advocate of legal prostitution and the Swedish prostitution industry has a strong financial interest in making brothel operation and pimping ​​legal.

      Ann Jordan:
      “As a result, the Swedish government did not bother to consult with sex workers when it developed the law. It did not get any first-hand information from sex workers or immigrants about their views on the law, their needs or concerns or their ideas on how to improve the situation of sex workers. Instead, the government and feminist leaders intentionally excluded and marginalized their voices. In this way, the establishment elite were able to avoid hearing different points of view.”

      That is absolute nonsense. The Swedish sexbuyer ban has been built on the results of a survey – the first of its kind in the world – where they actually asked the prostitutes themselves. The survey made by Arne Borg et al, is called ‘Prostitution : beskrivning, analys, förslag till åtgärder’ and it contains more than 140 pages with the prostitutes own words and experiences. The survey contains 650 pages and covers all aspects of the sex trade in Sweden.
      And this survey is the reason why the Swedish goverment – not the rad.feminists – across the political parties adopted the Swedish model.

      I know perfectly well that the story about the mighty powerfull man-hating rad.feminists are still alive and are spread by people, who, very friendly speaking, has a very big interest in keeping prostitution as legal as possible. Very friendly speaking.

      I have not seen any lies against prostitution. I have seen a lot of studies, articles and people with personal experiences in prostitution talking about how prostitution and the buying of sex has a devastating effect of persons involved in the trade.
      I have seen the sexworkerorganisation and their supporters trying to oppress former prostitutes right to tell their story and I have seen buyers hate-posts against these former prostitues.

      Is it that kind of lies you are talking about.

      Fact is that Sweden has a very low incidence of trafficked persons including persons for the sex business, which can be seen in the official report released last year by the Swedish police, which are likely to be more neutral in their use of sources.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        “I have not seen any lies against prostitution. I have seen a lot of studies, articles and people with personal experiences in prostitution talking about how prostitution and the buying of sex has a devastating effect of persons involved in the trade.
        I have seen the sexworkerorganisation and their supporters trying to oppress former prostitutes right to tell their story and I have seen buyers hate-posts against these former prostitues.”

        You see what you want to see. That does not mean your viewpoint is in any sense more inherently objective nor less prone to conformation bias or outright distortions than anybody else involved in this conversation. From where I sit, I’ve certainly seen my share of “hate posts” by feminist ideologues, and if you take the larger debate into account, not just this conversation on this blog, many of those “hate posts” are in fact quite vicious, and unfortunately, that viciousness seems to seep even into the official rhetoric of the “abolitionist” and radical feminist movements. The level of demonization of opponents by these people is amazing, and reminds me more than a bit of the level of hate speech coming from the anti-abortion movement.

        “Fact is that Sweden has a very low incidence of trafficked persons including persons for the sex business, which can be seen in the official report released last year by the Swedish police, which are likely to be more neutral in their use of sources.”

        That’s the problem. Practically *everything* stated statistically in terms of support of the “Nordic model” comes from the very Swedish and Norwegian governments who have a vested interest in pushing that legal model. It is the equivalent of somebody arguing for a continuation of the War on Drugs and only citing US government sources.

        BTW, Sweden and Norway were never major destination countries for migrant sex workers even when they had full decriminalization. There are a lot of very unique aspects to Scandinavian societies that make many of the things they are not readily exportable. If that were the case, and the “Nordic model” for all things (not just sex work policy) were so self-evident, the entire developed world would be probably already be made up of stable and prosperous (albeit authoritarian) social democracies.

        1. Ann

          @Iamcuriousblue I met Kajsa Wahlberg for a couple of weeks ago at a conference so my informations about Sweden are quite updated. And frankly I think that she knows quite a lot more about the situation in Sweden than a lot of other persons. She will release a new report about trafficking in Sweden in a short time.

          At the same conference there was a French politician, Guy Geoffroy who said that the French Parliament were quite agree about the new bill against the demand side of prostitution. Last year The Parliament sent a committee to several countries to study their legislations and results regarding prostitution and trafficking. France do have a lot of trafficking.
          The results they found, has been represented to the Parliament and the conclusion was that the best solution is the Nordic Model. They will vote for or against it just after the election in may this year so we must wait and see.

          Israel 2/15/2012. Bill passes first reading in Knesset plenum, to be forwarded to parliamentary c’tee for adjustments before becoming law.
          http://lailamickelwait.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/israel-to-ban-the-purchase-of-sexual-services-combat-sex-trafficking/

          Irish Government News Service 14.Feb. 2012
          Shatter Review of Legislation on Prostitution

          http://www.merrionstreet.ie/index.php/2012/02/shatter-review-of-legislation-on-prostitution/

          I don’t know what you have heard about Denmark. I would suggest that you don’t believe in everything that you hear from your sources. Mine says that the Government is waiting and that the bad cases with trafficking Denmark has not made argumentations for legal prostitution better.

          You want sources about New Zealand.
          First of all the society in New zealand are sick and tired of prostitution in their neighbourhood and the support for prostitution is in fact very low because the sextrade don’t take any account of any kind when they sell sex on the streets or when they are placing a new brothel in the middle of a residential area.

          “Out of 1000 people polled last month, 66 per cent thought the law should be amended to ban brothels in residential areas.

          Twenty-six per cent did not think the law should change, and 8 per cent were unsure.

          Respondents were also asked whether the law should be amended to ban street prostitution. Fifty per cent said yes, 33 per cent said no, and 17 per cent were unsure.”
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10717312&ref=rss

          so it seems that nearly 10 years of legalisation didn’t bring any acceptance among the citizens in New Zealand. People still don’t like the law and it is only tolerated but by no means accepted as one bad solution out of a even worse situation and there are more politicians in New Zealand who is now talking loud about the Nordic Model. Right now the Parliament is discussing a bill that allowing Auckland City to remove street prostitution and maybe brothels from residential areas.

          As I wrote earlier, the violence has not disappeared in New Zealand.

          This has been pickedup from Ministry of Justice PRA committee, 4 Welfare, health and safety:
          http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/commercial-property-and-regulatory/prostitution/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/key-informant-interviews/4-welfare-health-and-safety#44

          “There was a sense among some informants that things had been made worse early on by the increased attention paid to sex workers by the media and the general public following the PRA:

          Violence may not be common in parlours, but it exists nonetheless. NZPC were aware of a few incidents of sex workers being raped in parlours.
          Street workers were generally seen as being at most risk of violence. There was considerable concern among many informants over the two street-based sex workers murdered in Christchurch since the PRA. The violence was very visible:

          The violence is there, even in daylight. We were setting up at 10am for an event and a girl was getting thumped by a client. Workers are still putting their necks on the block every time they get into a car. (NGO)
          It’s worse. There are more rapes. The other night there was a girl running up saying she’d just been raped. I’d say it’s happening every night, but they don’t report it. Rape is either up, or I’m just hearing more about it now. (NGO – youth)
          (…..)

          A bad consequence of the law change has been more attention on sex workers. There are more people shouting out ‘filthy whores’, and more risks of being battered. (BOP)
          It’s still out there. Maybe there is more. This would be a slap in the face to the intention of the Act. People don’t like prostitutes. Now there is more attention on them, and more exposure. It can lead to more problems. (SOOB)”

          Furtcher from the same page.

          barriers to adopting safer sex practices

          “One sexual health nurse expressed concern about some foreign workers who came to her clinic. She spoke of Asian girls who appeared not to understand the importance of safer sex practices:

          What I hear from foreign women makes me think they are not good about using safe sex. They say they don’t care. It’s funny; it’s a different culture. I try and explain about infections if they don’t use a condom. They say ‘no problem, it’s good money. It doesn’t matter if I get an infection’. (Sexual health nurse)

          It was said that it had always been difficult for health professionals to access workers with poor English. But several informants felt that things were worse now that the PRA expressly made it illegal for non-residents to be sex workers. One felt it was unfortunate, especially because of the lack of sex education in the countries from where they came.

          10/12/2011
          “Black market brothels thriving in Hamilton
          Waikato Times investigation has uncovered Hamilton’s thriving illicit sex trade, with at least four black market brothels allegedly offering sex for money outside the law.

          Revelations that men are also paying for unprotected sex in unregulated brothels in the city have appalled public and sexual health experts, who are “hugely concerned”.

          Commercial sex industry sources say city and immigration authorities have failed to stop the sex trade, which they say includes women working here illegally.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/6118887/Black-market-brothels-thriving-in-Hamilton

          Feb.14. 2012
          “Illegal brothels shut in crackdown

          A number of brothels in residential areas have been raided and closed in a crackdown on law-breaking sex workers in Auckland.

          Authorities are understood to have searched, among other premises, a central city apartment and an address in Mt Albert.

          Details of the raids come weeks after the raid on an unlicensed brothel with more than 30 sex workers operating from a first-floor Brown St apartment, next to the Richmond Rd Primary School in Ponsonby.”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10785397

          20/01/2011
          Manukau Street Prostitution – TX 9 Sep 2010~ Since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed back in 2003, business owners and local residents have reported an increase in crime and violence on their streets, and they also have to cleanup the unhygienic mess which is left behind. We talk to some of the people who live and work in Manurewa and find out how they’ve been affected.”
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAtFtLLPkAc&feature=related

          June 12. 2010
          Police target child prostitutes in Auckland.

          http://www.3news.co.nz/Police-target-child-prostitutes-in-Auckland-City/tabid/309/articleID/160528/Default.aspx

          Jan 24. 2008
          “25 arrested over underage prostitution
          Police say it is unacceptable that so many under-age girls are involved in prostitution in South Auckland, with some as young as 13 being removed from the streets for their own safety.

          Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Pizzini, officer in charge of Counties Manukau child abuse team, said 25 people were arrested this month in Operation Capio focused on under-aged prostitution in South Auckland”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/prostitution/news/article.cfm?c_id=612&objectid=10488619

          May 12. 2006
          “Chinese students take on sex for cash
          The number of foreign prostitutes in Auckland has jumped in the last three years, as young Chinese students look for a fast way to make money.

          A study shows a 25 per cent increase in foreign sex workers since prostitution was decriminalised by the Prostitution Reform Act in 2003.

          One of the authors, nurse specialist Bronwyn Schofield, said that “probably two-thirds” of the 38 non-resident sex workers she had interviewed over two years after the act were Chinese women.

          (…)
          “The trade has been thrown into focus on the North Shore, where the number of commercial unlicensed brothels – those with more than four workers – “has increased dramatically in the last 12 months”, according to Warwick Robertson, North Shore City Council’s environmental team leader and a former policeman.

          He knew of “about nine or 10″ large illegal brothels, most of them run and staffed by Chinese people. Irate neighbours of one in suburban Albany have threatened to publish clients’ plate numbers on a website called Where Is Your Husband? ”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/prostitution/news/print.cfm?c_id=612&objectid=10381389&pnum=0

          Unsafe sex sparks increase in HIV
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/prostitution/news/article.cfm?c_id=612&objectid=10545882

          Organised Crime in New Zealand 2010
          “Organised crime groups in New Zealand have also been noted
          for their involvement in kidnapping for gain. In a recent
          example, a brothel client was kidnapped, threatened with
          violence and had a large amount of money withdrawn from
          their account. The brothel is believed to be one of several in
          the wider Auckland region run by an Asian organised crime
          syndicate.”

          http://www.ofcanz.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Organised-Crime-in-NZ-2010-Public-Version.pdf

          Understanding Organised Crime – Part 3
          “Other gangs have invested drug wealth in vice businesses such as strip clubs and escort agencies.

          Legalisation of prostitution has seen at least one major gang in New Zealand recently move to gain strategic control of the high-end industry, as a ‘riskfree’ cash cow and money laundering front.”

          http://www.nzpa.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/understanding-organised-crime-part-3

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            My information on the Danish situation is quite solid, thank you very much. I will look for the newspaper articles on this, but the reason the Danish government has not moved forward on this is because they lack support for such a move, even within the Social Democratic Party. Once again, you translate “a few politicians in country X support the Nordic model” into “Country X is on the verge of adopting the Nordic model”. This is common rhetoric among “Nordic model” evangelists, and I’ve seen it for a long time.

            Thanks for the data on New Zealand. Frankly, it looks to me like we’re looking at the same report, but that you’re simply cherry picking through it for the negatives. You ignore the fact that decriminalzation has led to real improvements for working sex workers, and that the solution for remaining problems with decriminalization (and, guess what, nobody is saying that all problems go away immediately upon decriminalization) is to refine the model further, address concerns with zoning, have law enforcement target *organized crime* (something I don’t see addressed by going after *customers* any more than the same tactics have “worked” in the drug war). The solution is *not* to adopt a quasi-criminalzation model like the “Nordic” one.

          2. Stella Marr

            Re the likelihood for unsafe sex:

            The reality of the situation is that men are physically stronger than women. If they don’t want to wear a condom, they won’t — there’s not a lot you can do about it. Traffickers/pimps want the customer to be happy — they don’t care whether or not there’s safe sex.

            It’s important for a trafficker/pimp’s business to give the ‘appearance’ of required safe sex — so that the customers who are concerned about health risks think that’s the norm.

            But in my experience there’s at least one or two clients a night/day that will force their way into you without protection, even if you ask. That’s just the way it is. If you physically try to fight them off, they’ll respond in kind — and they are stronger than you. So unsafe sex is the course of least resistance.

            When you’re a prostitute, you really can’t imagine that you’ll be alive for very long. You think of your lifespan as day by day. So the consequences of a sexually transmitted disease seem a lot less dire than making your John/punter or traffickers/madams/pimps angry and dealing with the physical violence and threats that creates.

      2. XinXin

        Ann, Ms. Marr,

        You cannot argue with these people. As Ann aptly said:

        Personal attacks is the usual tactic when arguments run out. I’m used to it and expect it.

        This is all you’re going to get from these folks. If you resemble a radical feminist it’s the end of the world for them. If you are a former prostitute you are instantly the ‘wrong woman for the job’ since you’re talking about its very real darkness.

        I am also a former prostitute and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. When I talk about this and the darkness of being a whore for men to use these people come out to discredit EVERYONE who dares speak up.

        Usually these people will start with some argument and when you out argue them they personally try to break you down. They are vicious and don’t give a shit about themselves or others. They need therapy to stop hating themselves so much and passing on that hatred to others who speak about keeping your sexual dignity and not having to give that up for poverty, mental illness, drug addiction, molestation as a child etc.

        I think they live in a constant state of sexual problems. Why would anyone deny the seriousness of the problems that prostitution has? Why would these people constantly go out of their way to shut you up and NEVER recognize even a tiny amount of the harm in this?

        If you talk to crazy you’ll start to feel crazy. I recommend you give sources, which will never be enough, and former prostitutes continue to share the problems and harm and just ignore these people.

  41. 41
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    Let’s just take one of these so-called lies:

    Lie7. Social Stigma is most harmful aspect of prostitution

    Truth7. Not social stigma, Harmful aspects are rape, beatings, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and other violence from clients and pimps./I>

    If consensual sex sales (as opposed to sex slavery/trafficking) were legal, the workers could call the police and file charges for rape, beating, and other violent acts. But they can’t get the same legal help and police protection as a masseuse or physical therapist or waitress because of the illegality of the transaction. The pimps and johns know this!

    If it were legal, pimps would be out of a job, because their main claim to collecting the earnings is that they protect their string from the clients (and other pimps). And abusive clients would be in jail for assault.

  42. 42
    Amy

    As a current sex worker of 15 years & activist for the rights of sex workers, I’m sickened, yet not surprised, by your blog post. I’ve heard many like you, even those like you who claim to be ‘human rights’ activists, yet conveniently forget those of us working in the sex industry as human beings deserving of rights and equal protection under the law, just like everyone else.

    You seek to criminalize our clients with the “Swedish Model”, which does nothing for the safety of sex workers. In fact, if you knew anything about how we operate (either working on the street or indoors) you would know just how detrimental a law, which targets our clients, has on the very sex workers you so seemingly seek to “save”.

    There have been many sex workers from Sweden (& around the world) who are the ones who know what works best & how to keep ourselves safe. Yet people like you, want to tell us how we should feel about our job, about ourselves and what is “best for us”.

    Clients are criminalized in Sweden, & for sex workers to continue to conduct business, it is done just as secretive and covert as when the laws criminalized both the client & the sex worker. Working under this kind of environment does nothing for our safety nor does it give us autonomy over our bodies & making a living.

    The Swedish Model is detrimental to sex workers & supporting such a model is wrong & dangerous. If you are actually at all interested in educating yourself on the Swedish Model which I gathered from your comments you support, I suggest you begin by reading some things I have provided here. This is by no means all there is out there on the Swedish Model, but certainly a good start.

    Many sex workers & sex worker lead organizations all around the world are calling for the decriminalization of sex work (like they have in two places, New Zealand, and New South Wales, AU).

    As a member of the demographic you so brazenly seem to have taken up the cause to speak for, I ask you to stop & listen to us.

    We are human beings & your obvious contempt & your complete disregard toward sex workers in your blog & in this comment section, is shameful.

    ~Amy

    ——————————-
    Links
    —–
    “Swedish model a failure: Yet another law targeting street-based sex workers.”
    http://www.firstadvocates.org/sites/firstadvocates.org/files/Swedish-model-a-failure_0.pdf

    “THE SWEDISH LAW TO CRIMINALIZE CLIENTS: A FAILED EXPERIMENT IN SOCIAL ENGINEERING.”
    http://rightswork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Issue-Paper-4.pdf

    {Part 1} “The mistaken logic of ‘asymmetrical criminalization’ –a.k.a. the Nordic model of prostitution”
    http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/02/crazy-logic-asymmetrical-criminalization-aka-nordic-model-prostitution

    {Part 2} “How prostitution abolitionists substitute ideologies for facts.”
    http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/03/how-prostitution-abolitionists-substitute-ideologies-facts#comment-1323292

    “Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution policy”
    http://www.petraostergren.com/pages.aspx?r_id=40716

    “The Other Swedish Model”
    http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/theotherswedishmodel/

    “Why anti-john laws don’t work”
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1072845–why-anti-john-laws-don-t-work

    “A Swedish sexworker on the criminalization of clients” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D7nOh57-I8

  43. 43
    ed

    This really doesn’t belong on a skeptical website. You need to justify your assertions that you call “truths”.

  44. 44
    Phillip Helbig

    I see that many comments address your broad-brush description of the problem. So, I don’t have to. In your own interest, you should at least have objectively verifiable numbers. Also, blanket, absolute statements would, in any other context, be seen as a mark of prejudice, repeating half-truths without checking them and trying to use emotional arguments to force a discussion to go in a certain direction.

    Please check out feminists (see below) who have found that the Swedish laws don’t help prostitutes but actually make their situation worse. While criminalizing the victim is obviously not a good thing to do (and places where both prostitutes and Johns are illegal raise the question of who the victim is), consider what happens when legal prostitution is not available: the only available prostitution is illegal prostitution. Even in totalitarian states where prostitution is illegal it nevertheless exists, so there is no realistic possibility to prevent illegal prostitution without a completely controlled police-state dictatorship, and even there it would be difficult. What does illegal prostitution mean? It means that a customer cannot point out problems to the police without himself being arrested. The lack of a legal option will mean much more business for the illegal option. And if prostitution itself is illegal, then there is less distinction between prostitution and forced prostitution (which is illegal almost everywhere, as is forced labour in general), so pimps might say “if we’re criminals anyway, we might as well use sex slaves as well”.

    In particular, you need to distinguish between forced prostitution and prostitution in general. Your diatribe is like saying that since organ trafficking exists in many parts of the world (just today I read about someone in China who sold a kidney to buy an iPad), voluntary organ donation should be made illegal. Yes, probably most prostitutes wouldn’t do this work if they were rich enough not to work at all, but that applies to 99% of the population in almost any line of work. At least in countries where one doesn’t have to make the choice between extreme poverty and prostitution, you should respect people’s freedom to decide. (And even where there is only this choice, you should still respect the choice if it is her choice and work to make other choices possible.) If a woman would rather make ten thousand a month as a prostitute than 1000 as an office worker or whatever, that should be her decision. For that matter, if she would rather make the same amount but in prostitution because she prefers that (and, believe it or not, although they are a minority, such women exist), then that should be her choice and hers alone.

    The prostitution-is-oppression argument doesn’t cut it either. Yes, women are oppressed in many societies, but there is little correlation with the amount of prostitution or whether it is legal (if anything, except for Norway, Sweden and Iceland, the general trend is that the more equality there is, the more prostitution is accepted and the fewer problems there are with it—whether or not there is more or less prostitution depends on many other factors). Also, note that oppressors normally don’t pay the oppressed. Of course, you can define prostitution as oppression and then say that all prostitutes are oppressed, but this is playing word games and is a disservice to those who are truly oppressed.

    All this is not to say that there are no problems with prostitution anywhere. There are many, and many involve trafficking, slavery etc which any reasonable person opposes. However, when the baby is thrown out with the bathwater, the baby usually dies. Any objective analysis shows that it is easier, not harder, to solve these problems when prostitution itself is legal.

    Of course, if you believe that prostitution is somehow immoral, then arguments won’t convince you, just like people who are convinced that, say, homosexuality is immoral are rarely convinced by objective arguments. Any free society should say that what two sane adults agree to is legal as long as no-one else is impacted. Anything else is a step in the direction of state-defined morality.

    Have you ever been to a country where prostitution is legal? I am not exaggerating when I say that in some cases there are brothels directly next to police stations. Prostitutes can advertize, can be insured by public health insurance, can organize themselves in labour unions etc. The local authorities make unannounced spot checks, similar to ones made in restaurants. It is impossible to force someone to work in a legal establishment. The idea that the women who work as prostitutes in such conditions are forced into doing it is patently absurd. Yes, this is a situation different to the slums of Calcutta, but the problems in the slums of Calcutta have other causes and one should combat those, not prostitution per se.

    The argument “if she really enjoyed it she wouldn’t charge for it” is also bogus. It is better for all concerned if people enjoy the work they get paid for. A salary is not mainly compensation for something, but rather enables the person who receives it to make a living. This is better for the person concerned but also better for those buying the service. Why should an author be paid to write a book? Surely if he enjoys it he shouldn’t charge for it? The answer is that if he didn’t he would have to make money doing something else, something he doesn’t enjoy, which is not only worse for him but also worse for those who would otherwise read his books.

    The fact that most prostitutes are women who service men also doesn’t show any oppression per se. Whatever the reasons for it, no-one can debate the fact that if a man wants to have casual sex he usually has to pay for it (in one way or another) while if a woman does she just has to ask someone. Why is this? As long as fewer women are interested in casual sex (again, for whatever reasons—probably mainly biological, but that doesn’t matter for the argument), they have a seller’s market and have the chance to charge money. As noted above, this is an advantage for both sides. By the same token, in such a market women don’t have to pay if they don’t want to since there are more than enough men to give them what they want and even pay for the privilege.

    Another myth is that prostitution is not about sex but about oppression. Similar arguments have been advanced for rape, which Pinker has thoroughly discredited. The less voluntary the prostitute works, the less attractive she is for customers. No mentally healthy customer desires a sex slave as a prostitute. A “normal” prostitute is much more desirable, and the most desirable is a woman who enjoys the encounter just as much, or even more, than the customer.

    Unless you have been to a country where prostitution is legal and have some idea how it works there, then your opinions on the subject might be coloured by the fact that the only prostitution you know about is illegal prostitution. Of course, one rarely hears about legal prostitution in the news since there is nothing newsworthy to report. Please take this into account in your analysis.

    See http://www.bayswan.org/swed/swed_index.html for more information.

  45. 45
    mynameischeese

    It’s a little bit strange to see the difference in the comments between this post and the one on burqas. The comments on the burqa post tend to be in agreement with Taslima, while the comments this one tend to be against her side.

    Which is strange to me as both issues seem to be similar to me. Wearing a burqa and becoming a prostitute can both be things that a woman chooses to do or not to do, but are also both things that a woman is forced into. So it seems like people tend to be of the opinion that things that tend to be bad for women should be banned, but only if we don’t like them.

    I don’t have a vested interest in prostitution as I’m not a man and I’m not one of the few women who benefits from it. Therefore, I view it as being on par with burqa-wearing. Many people here are quick to point out that some women choose to become prostitutes, so therefore banning prostitution as a way to end sex slavery cannot even be considered. Well, thinking about it, I’m able to consider that legislation for or against prostitution could possibly affect poor prostitutes and middle class prostitutes differenly and we might have to ask ourselves which is more important–the right to live for women forced into sex slavery, or the right to choose a profession for middle class women.

    And there is the assumption that cracking down on sex slavery hinges on whether prostitution is made legal or illegal. People bring up the War on Drugs as an illustration of this (the assumption being that if you just legalise drugs, the War on Drugs would be over), which I think is problematic. Legalising or not legalising drugs misses the crux of the issue, which is that the USA’s problem with drug abuse is probably related to income inequality (like other social problems); that South American drug dealers are motivated to sell drugs to finance gorilla campeigns because of US foreign policy; that South American farmers are motivated to produce drugs because Americans are willing to pay a fair price for coke, but not for fresh fruit and veg; and that there are plenty of people willing to run drugs into the USA for a chance at a better life.

    As far as my ideals, I think the best case scenario for these issues wouldn’t involve mere legalisation or illegalisation at all. Women would not be forced to wear burqa, but it also wouldn’t be banned. Women wouldn’t be forced into sex slavery, but they could opt to become prostitutes if they really enjoyed sex.

    But I’m also aware of the fact that in certain situations, government’s limit rights. For instance, I bet none of us live in a country where you can wear anything you want. Nudity is banned in public in many countries. In many countries, foreign military uniforms are banned. In some countries, paraphenilia of certain hate groups is banned. Where I am, the burqa has no political connotation, only a religious one, so I could not advocate for it to be banned. But if a country that had problems with the taliban or other political groups banned it, I guess I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

    I haven’t quite sorted out my thinking about these issues, but it’s always good to read a thought/dialogue-inspiring post.

    And one last thing for people who think that legalisation is a quick fix for the problem of sex slavery. The Netherlands had a really tolerant attitude toward prostitution and made it legal so as to regulate it. Now they are one of the top destinations for trafficked women: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_Netherlands#Human_trafficking

    1. 45.1
      Andrew G.

      The burqa post ended in this:

      What should women do? They should proclaim a war against the ill-treatment meted out to them. They should snatch back from the men their freedom and their rights; they should throw their head-scarves out. They should take off their burqas and burn them.

      That looks to me like an encouragement for women to act; to resist an attempt to deny their freedom; to exercise their own agency. Why would anyone want to disagree with that, other than for reasons of religious ideology?

      In this thread, on the other hand, we have encouragement to ban conduct that Taslima disapproves of; to constrain certain actions even when they are freely chosen; to deny the agency of women who engage in those actions. In the absence of clear evidence (which has not been forthcoming) that such action would be beneficial, what reason is there to agree with it, other than ideology, whether religious or feminist?

      1. Dianne

        In this thread, on the other hand, we have encouragement to ban conduct that Taslima disapproves of; to constrain certain actions even when they are freely chosen; to deny the agency of women who engage in those actions.

        I’m not entirely convinced. There are women who will say that they like wearing a burqa for one reason or another. Nasreen is saying (if I understand correctly) that they are making this decision under coercion or threat of violence, that the burqa is inherently oppressive, and that there is no situation under which wearing it makes sense or can be described as a freely made choice. In parallel, she also seems to me to be arguing that prostitution and related arrangements are inherently oppressive and that there is no situation in which one can truly freely chose prostitution (i.e. her point #5.) Thus, the parallel: both the burqa and prostitution exploit women and should be banned.

        You can not agree that one or both exploit women, but I don’t think the arguments are dissimilar or inconsistent. And as most of the readers of FTB are “westerners”, i.e. Europeans, North Americans, or Australians, we really do have to consider the possibility that the difference in reaction is more about the prejudices and assumptions of the average “westerner”.

      2. Nepenthe

        Why do we automatically assume that women who wear the burqa are brainwashed, while women who sell access to their bodies are autonomous individuals making a free choice uncoerced by a patriarchal society in which women are valued primarily by their usefulness to men (whether as madonna or whore)? Why do we say that the “lived experiences” of middle class prostitutes are reason to ignore or downplay the harms of prostitution to the vast majority who are not middle class and empowerful, but when viewing Christian Patriarchy families we dismiss the empowered feelings of the few women who genuinely enjoy being perpetually subject and focus on the vast majority who are, by nature of their local norms and culture, coerced into such a situation and must rationalize it as following god? The Christian who has a real personal relationship with Jesus is deluded; the prostitute who feels empowered by being used as a masturbation aid is not.

      3. mynameischeese

        You missed the comments on the burqa article where people applauded the bans in Turkey and France.

        1. StealthBadger

          Why are you confusing the blogger and the commenters?

  46. 46
    theresapotymak

    Taslima, please hang in there. I am so proud of you. Men have so much to lose if women could support themselves with decent wages in their home country. It is telling how many men defend buying people. How many men do you think are on this thread? What does it say about men, their values, their morals? Why are they defending this inhumane practice? Does porn and prostitution harm the man? If a man is able to have an intimate satisfying relationship with a woman why would they use pornography and prostituted women and children? Who profits the most from the sale of human beings? Men. Its a very big business. Who actually sells the women? How would anyone know if a woman or child ‘consented’. Many babies and children grow up being sold from a very young age, in families that pimp, that have terrible drug abuse problems. Many prostituted humans are forced to use drugs so they become pliable. When they reach the magic age of ‘consent’ they know nothing else. They are hooked on drugs, have little if any sense of self worth, have no education, the list goes on. And now, one is to believe that they willingly ‘consent’?

    Some women find it beneficial to write about how wonderful it is to be prostituted without concern for the many who suffer. I have seen the videos were they proudly talk of the life, their life. And I have seen the investigation of their life journeys uncover the sadness of their experiences. I know of a woman who proudly defends bondage and sexual slavery. She seems so normal and attractive. It is only when you talk to her for short period of time that you find out her mother kicked her out into the streets because she found out her father had been raping her since she was eight. The mother blamed her daughter. Some prostituted women claim they are in control and enjoy what they are doing until they are harmed and experience the violence of men who lose control. Paying is a license to harm.

    Many of us do support prostituted women in the best ways we can. And what of the men…they need education and help to learn to enjoy an equal relationship. I recommend reading the book “Getting Off… Pornography and the End of Masculinity” by Robert Jensen to begin.

    The idea that prostitution is ‘work’ is a typical spin tactic of those who promote human slavery, not for the human being desperate to live a life of happiness and joy.

    1. 46.1
      Avicenna

      There are a tonne of fallacies in this argument ranging from “It’s Men’s Fault For Wanting Sex So Much!” to “Here Read this Book By A Radical Christian” to “I know what’s Best” and “Bondage is Bad”.

      Here is the thing.

      You have no qualms about two or more individuals who are adults having sex out of their own accord with no compulsion. What is the issue with two or more individuals who are adults having sex out of their own accord with no compulsion with money involved?

      Because what I wrote about? You are pretty much hitting all the points when I discuss how well meaning people treat prostitutes and put them in a worse situation. It’s also the very thing most prostitutes hate.

    2. 46.2
      Anthony Kennerson

      Ahhh, yes….the old pivot to porn as prostitution’s template for oppressing women and children. So typical of the abolitionist radicalfeminist playbook.

      Of course, the idea that so called “prostituted women” might just happen to come from traditionally conservative families where abuse was practiced, and brought that abusive relationship into their sex work activities simply doesn’t register with folk like theresapotymack or Ann.

      And heaven forbid, we allow for the idea that WOMEN can have sexual desires and feelings and the ability to make choices and have them respected….especially if those choices happen to clash with cultural feminist/antiporn/anti sex work theology.

      Also…reducing all men to their erections and guilttripping them as innate rapists, as Bob Jensen does in his screeds, does more damage to men AND women than simply acknowledging that consensual sex is a human need, and safe outlets for such needs and desires are far better than remaking men in the Dworkin/MacKinnon/Daly template.

      Anthony

  47. 47
    Dianne

    People all over the world believe in some lies about prostitution but they should know the truth. After research on prostitution for years, we now know the truth.

    I know shamefully little about this issue. What research has been done on the causes and effects of prostitution? How does the research support your assertions? I’d love to see you expand on your points, possibly in a series of posts on each lie/truth couplet, if you have time and interest. (Warning: I haven’t read the comment thread yet and this comment may be redundant.)

  48. 48
    Kate S

    You haven’t offered a single piece of evidence for any of your claims. Are we just supposed to take your word for it?

  49. 49
    Daniel Schealler

    What is sexual slavery?

    A minimal and therefore insufficient definition would be something like:

    1) Taking away someone’s right of freedom to withhold or withdraw consent to sexual activity for any reason or no reason.
    2) Taking away someone’s right of freedom from coercion regarding their consent to sexual activity.

    There is obviously much more to be said regarding sexual slavery than this trite definition. But nonetheless, if these two items are not present it is not entirely clear to me that whatever is going on is sexual slavery.

    That’s not to mean anything that doesn’t meet these criteria is automatically okay, either. Something could fail to meet these criteria and still be oppressive and exploitative or any number of deplorable things… It just wouldn’t be sexual slavery.

    What is prostitution?

    A minimal and therefore insufficient definition would be something like:

    3) The provision of sexual activity for money.

    What is sex work?

    A minimal and therefore insufficient definition would be something like:

    4) Legalized prostitution.

    SO, from these very simple definitions it would seem as if it is possible to envisage a scenario that is prostitution but not slavery:

    If a woman or man retains their freedom to withhold or withdraw consent to sexual activity for any reason or no reason, and are not coerced in any way into providing sexual activity, then it follows that if this woman or man accepts money in exchange for sexual activity, then they are prostitutes but not a sexual slaves.

    Additionally, if this man or woman is plying their trade in a context that is legalized, then they are sex workers.

    But sane people do not call prostituted women sex workers, because sex is not ‘work’.

    Do you think that I am insane?

  50. 50
    Ann

    Why does the demand side always disappear when we speak about prostitution. It is their money and their demand that keeps it alive incl. trafficking.

    1. 50.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      “Demand” is what it is. As long as those who are willing to sell sex to make a living, there will be those who are more than happy to partake. And I don’t think prohibitionist guilt-tripping (either the religious or ideological feminist versions) will ever change that. It may make people more furtive and hypocritical about seeking it out, and make the whole enterprise more dangerous, but it will not stop demand.

      And like other demands for moral reform, it ultimately does not get to root causes. If you want people out of prostitution, prostitution chosen as a last resort at least, then you’re looking at dealing with issues like poverty and lack of opportunity that are so much at the root of many other social problems. And that is a decidedly long-term program that isn’t going to happen overnight.

      In the meantime, you can’t criminalize, stigmatize, and shame prostitution or the “demand” for it out of existence, though of course you can create a great deal of collateral damage via such tactics.

      1. Stella Marr

        Prohibition refers to consumable substances like drugs or alcohol. I was a prostitute for ten years. I am a human being. I am not a consumable substance.

        There is great sexual freedom in Scandinavia. The nordic model is not about morals — it is about the dignity and worth of every human being.

        1. Iamcuriousblue

          Your point is? Banning prostitution on the buying or selling end is a form of *prohibition*. It is prohibiting an *activity* that many people engage in consensually. Calling this “prohibitionism” is hardly calling sex workers “a controlled substance”, for fuck sake.

          Try responding in a way that doesn’t rely on rhetoric and cliches sometime, Stella.

      2. Stella Marr

        “Pimps dominate the sex trade industry. Where there’s high track prostitutes, escorts, strippers and masseuses; there’s pimp violence.” — Natasha Falle

        Prostitution survivor and founder of Sex Trade 101
        http://www.sextrade101.com/speaker_natasha.php

        1. Iamcuriousblue

          Right, all prostitutes are pimped. And I guess the ones that say they aren’t are just lying, right?

          1. Stella Marr

            This is a splendid example of the tactics the sex industry lobby uses to silence and discredit survivors who speak out.

            Nowhere did Natasha Falle say that one million out of one million women in the sex industry are pimped. Nowhere did I say that.

            But Iamcuriousblue writes a comment that would make readers assume both Natasha and I have there is no prostitute anywhere on earth that isn’t pimped.

            This is what was actually posted:

            “Pimps dominate the sex trade industry. Where there’s high track prostitutes, escorts, strippers and masseuses; there’s pimp violence.” — Natasha Falle

            Prostitution survivor and founder of Sex Trade 101
            http://www.sextrade101.com/speaker_natasha.php

            Iamcuriousblue is engaging in deliberate misinformation to try to discredit and silence us.

          2. Iamcuriousblue

            Iamcuriousblue is engaging in deliberate misinformation to try to discredit and silence us.

            There’s something very self-reassuring about playing the martyr, I’m sure.

  51. 51
    Peter B.

    Greetings Taslima!

    Firstly, a warm welcome to FreeThoughtBlogs. It is a truly wonderful phenomenon that so many clever, educated, independent minded and brave women are collected here in one place to promote the necessary discussions about the issues which need to be urgently addressed – particularly those issues affecting the rights, freedoms and equality of women.

    Secondly, I completely respect your position on sexual slavery, and unconditionally agree with the absolutely unacceptable situation of women being coerced or driven by economic circumstances into exchanging sexual services for their keep. It is an utterly abhorrent condition for any human being, and much of what you say about it is self evident to any thinking person, and yet it still exists.

    However, I can’t help thinking that to condemn the exchange of sex for money, and lay 100% of the blame for its existence on just the men who consume it, is to take a naively idealist and absolutist position. I’m tempted to think that doing so fails to recognise some complex realities about the sex-for-money paradigm.

    Take, for instance, the likes of Sonya JF Barnett of Slutwalk, and Furry Girl of Feminisnt as examples of a substantial number of women who PROUDLY CHOOSE the lifestyle they lead, and would very likely take you to task for trying to dictate their circumstances from the isolation of your particular mind-set. Also consider male sex workers catering for liberated women who are becoming sex consumers in ever larger numbers thanks to more effective and discreet communications channels available to them, and of course, let’s not forget the men who consume sold sex from other men, and women who sell sex to women. Clearly even Greta Christina strongly disagrees with your absolutist position for considerations not unlike these.

    Your arguments are both persuasive and stark, and I am glad you have expressed your strong case so provocatively, but I also believe that for you to say these things in the terms you do, manifestly does not fit all women everywhere. Agreed, you have certainly described the significant majority of women in the sex trade, and that certainly MUST be addressed, but to shoehorn every woman who sells sex into that space does not do them, or you, justice.

    In an ideal world there would most likely be no need for sold sex, but in that same ideal world there would probably be no need for religion either. As much as I would like to live in that world, I realise that I don’t, and I can’t honestly hold every member of every church accountable for every crime against humanity (of the many) that religion is responsible for – including prostitution.

    Sex is not evil, and neither is the fair exchange of it between consenting adults – even if that includes a monetary consideration. Attempting to dictate the terms by which ALL other people must live though is the much greater wrong, and I think you are going to be given that message loud and clear.

    You have kicked the hornet’s nest well and truly though, and good for you. Expect a very hard road to sell what you obviously so strongly believe, but while you’re going about it, please be accepting, tolerant and respectful of others – most particularly the women, who disagree with you, and who disagree for very sound and well considered reasons.

  52. 52
    Amy

    As a current sex worker of 15 years & activist for the rights of sex workers, I’m sickened, yet not surprised, by your blog post. I’ve heard many like you, even those like you who claim to be ‘human rights’ activists, yet conveniently forget those of us working in the sex industry as human beings deserving of rights and equal protection under the law, just like everyone else.

    You seek to criminalize our clients with the “Swedish Model”, which does nothing for the safety of sex workers. In fact, if you knew anything about how we operate (either working on the street or indoors) you would know just how detrimental a law, which targets our clients, has on the very sex workers you so seemingly seek to “save”.

    There have been many sex workers from Sweden (& around the world) who are the ones who know what works best & how to keep ourselves safe. Yet people like you, want to tell us how we should feel about our job, about ourselves and what is “best for us”.

    Clients are criminalized in Sweden, & for sex workers to continue to conduct business, it is done just as secretive and covert as when the laws criminalized both the client & the sex worker. Working under this kind of environment does nothing for our safety nor does it give us autonomy over our bodies & making a living.

    The Swedish Model is detrimental to sex workers & supporting such a model is wrong & dangerous. If you are actually at all interested in educating yourself on the Swedish Model which I gathered from your comments you support, I suggest you begin by reading some things I have provided here. This is by no means all there is out there on the Swedish Model, but certainly a good start.

    Many sex workers & sex worker lead organizations all around the world are calling for the decriminalization of sex work (like they have in two places, New Zealand, and New South Wales, AU).

    As a member of the demographic you so brazenly seem to have taken up the cause to speak for, I ask you to stop & listen to us.

    We are human beings & your obvious contempt & your complete disregard toward sex workers in your blog & in this comment section, is shameful.

    ~Amy

    ——————————-
    Links
    —–
    “Swedish model a failure: Yet another law targeting street-based sex workers.”
    http://www.firstadvocates.org/sites/firstadvocates.org/files/Swedish-model-a-failure_0.pdf

    “THE SWEDISH LAW TO CRIMINALIZE CLIENTS: A FAILED EXPERIMENT IN SOCIAL ENGINEERING.”
    http://rightswork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Issue-Paper-4.pdf

    {Part 1} “The mistaken logic of ‘asymmetrical criminalization’ –a.k.a. the Nordic model of prostitution”
    http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/02/crazy-logic-asymmetrical-criminalization-aka-nordic-model-prostitution

    {Part 2} “How prostitution abolitionists substitute ideologies for facts.”
    http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/03/how-prostitution-abolitionists-substitute-ideologies-facts#comment-1323292

    “Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution policy”
    http://www.petraostergren.com/pages.aspx?r_id=40716

    “The Other Swedish Model”
    http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/theotherswedishmodel/

    “Why anti-john laws don’t work”
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1072845–why-anti-john-laws-don-t-work

    “A Swedish sexworker on the criminalization of clients” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D7nOh57-I8

  53. 53
    Destiny

    I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  54. 54
    Chris Madsen

    @stellamarr
    ”Strange that Dane spells their name “Chris” as it’s usually Kris” No, it’s not. Chris is short for Christian.

    ”Your vitriol reminds me of a pimp’s. I’m not saying you are one, mind you” But you are comparing me too one, and thereby insinuating I am one to the audience. Which I’m not by the way.

    ”Quite often these people are those profiting from prostitution, or those who buy women in prostitution” and “There are many pimps who pose as ‘sex worker activists.” Once again you’re trying to insinuate that I making some kind of profit from sex-work, which I am not.

    Like I’ve said earlier “Yes – all of us are either pimps, clients, insane, a bunch of misogynists or have a ”house slave” mentality – if we don’t agree with you” You prove my point.

    ”We are grateful to the radical feminists because they actually see the hell we’re experiencing” You do not speak for all sex-workers (neither do I). Most sex-workers (current and past) that I’ve encountered through organizations working for the legalization of sex-work – are not grateful for anything radical feminists have do too them.

    “But we do not see our situation as an ideological debate” You might not, but most people (men and women) who support and praise the Swedish model are looking at this as ideological debate, and that’s the problem.

    @Ann
    And so far we’ve seen studies conducted by Melissa Farley who have several times come under attack from academics that find her studies highly questionable. We’ve seen studies from the Swedish government, who has strong ties to radical feminist lobby groups like ROKS – none of which hardly can be referred as objective about prostitution.

    Yes, I’m well aware of Arne Borgs rapport ”Prostitution: beskrivning, analys, förslag till åtgärder” and I’m well aware of the criticism it has been subjected too as well.

    ”Fact is that Sweden has a very low incidence of trafficked persons including persons for the sex business, which can be seen in the official report released last year by the Swedish police, which are likely to be more neutral in their use of sources.” – The Norwegian Pro-Center can now report, that the number of sex-workers on the street, most of them immigrants, has risen with 70 % since Norway adopted the Swedish model (Source: NRK Norwegian Television).

    1. 54.1
      Stella Marr

      Actually Chris – your name, Christian, confirms what I already knew — that you are a man. It’s hard to understand why men feel entitled to join a discussion about prostitution without respecting and listening to the women who’ve actually experienced it.

      So when you say you’ve ‘encountered’ ‘sex workers’ in the past, I feel a bit ill.

      You see the idea of a man who bullies women on the internet going around ‘encountering’ ‘sex workers’ in ’organizations working for the legalization of sex-work’ is a serious nausea situation.

      Your behavior here is quite an indictment against ‘organizations working for the legalization of sex work.’

      It’s important to mention that these organizations are almost always funded by the sex industry.

      1. xxxild61

        Stella Marr: Your behavior here is quite an indictment against ‘organizations working for the legalization of sex work.’

        It’s important to mention that these organizations are almost always funded by the sex industry.

        What organizations are funded by the “sex industry.” Please remember we are talking about prostitution. Please cite your sources or gtfo, really.

        As for you attempting to derail the discussion by discounting the opinions of people who weren’t or aren’t sex workers, or whom you think may be clients of sex workers, it would be lovely if you would stop doing this. Your opinion on your former clients is noted. This is not a comment section limited to sex workers and former sex workers.

        In addition, high priced sex workers is simply a niche in the market. Nobody invented it. It wasn’t and isn’t a conspiracy.

        1. Stella Marr

          xxxild61′s response is another example of the tactics used by the sex industry lobby. Notice I am not saying xxxild61 is actually part of the sex industry lobby — just that xxxild61′s tactics are the same.

          Nowhere did I say that the ‘high class call girl’ idea is a ‘conspiracy’, yet I am accused of conspiracy theorizing.

          This is an attempt to discredit me — a survivor speaking out — and intimidate me into silence. It’s so predictable -

          Brothel and outcall prostitution is usually controlled by organized crime. “Organized” means the (often white and sometimes female) pimps work together in one way or another. They also copy each other. The high class call girl myth is a very effective way of charging high prices. It doesn’t mean the women are treated differently, or their experiences vary much from other women in prostitution. I should know, as I was in prostitution in NYC for ten years — and often sold by my pimps as a ‘high class’ call girl.

          I was sold

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            xxxild61′s response is another example of the tactics used by the sex industry lobby. Notice I am not saying xxxild61 is actually part of the sex industry lobby

            No, you just strongly implied it. Big difference, I guess.

          2. XinXin

            Whenever a survivor speaks out they come to harm you into silence with their vitriol. I am also a survivor. Just remember that we have our authentic sexuality back. They don’t. We are sexy, sexual beings without being coerced or narrowed into this diseased world of prostitution. Let’s focus on the women and girls who want out and not the one’s who continue to say it’s a great life. I think we all know that there are more women and girls in prostitution that DO NOT want to be there than there are that do.

            That alone is enough to understand why it’s wrong to sex your sexuality and to stand up for the women and girls who are about to. To turn them around and get them healthy so they can lead their lives with sexual dignity

            Glad you got out. Let’s lead very happy lives!

    2. 54.2
      Ann

      @Chris Madsen
      “We’ve seen studies from the Swedish government, who has strong ties to radical feminist lobby groups like ROKS – none of which hardly can be referred as objective about prostitution.”

      The Swedish Government has been changed politically since 1999 and still they agree across the political floor to keep the sexbuyer ban. I don’t think that ROKS is in such a political power that they can do mind control at the entire Swedish Parliament in more than 10 years.

      So I think, that your fear of the mighty rad.feminists are a bit overestimated. Maybe the Swedisg Parliament just knows for a fact that they do have a good law that acctually works.

      “Yes, I’m well aware of Arne Borgs rapport ”Prostitution: beskrivning, analys, förslag till åtgärder” and I’m well aware of the criticism it has been subjected too as well.”

      Who is criticizing ”Prostitution: beskrivning, analys, förslag till åtgärder”? It can’t be the prostitutes because they have been heard in the report. So who is criticizing?

      The Norwegian Pro Senter and its leader Liv Jessen has been criticised for the close contact with prostitution organisations and for keeping the prostitutes in prostitution and not as supposed, supporting their exit from the sex trade.

      1. Stella Marr

        Brava Ann! Mange tusa takk

  55. 55
    Amy

    Is there a reason my comment is still “awaiting moderation” (i posted it about a day & a half ago) dispite other comments getting posted? Should i try reposting it again?

    1. 55.1
      amy

      looks like you just approved it.

  56. 56
    Stella Marr

    A group of us trafficking/prostitution survivors got together for friendship, support and activism. We now have 38 members.

    One of our brilliant writers, prostitution survivor FreeIrishWoman, has written a series of articles addressing exactly the sorts of things we’re seeing in the comments in this blog.

    http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/where-were-all-the-happy-hookers-when-i-was-on-the-game/

    http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/traffickingprostitution-the-evil-of-enforced-silence/

    Many other survivors have written on similar themes
    http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/when-survivors-speak-out-johnspunters-and-pimps-strike-back-online/

    http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/427/

  57. 57
    uncephalized

    Taslima:

    If we find that people are being trafficked to work on farms illegally, do we outlaw agriculture?

    If we find human trafficking in the restaurant dishwashing industry, do we outlaw detergent or scrub brushes?

    If I enslave a person to clean my house against his or her will, would you argue that the existence of an industry based around cleaning other people’s homes is inherently exploitative?

    I would assume your answer in all these cases would be “no”. And yet, when the product/service in question is sexual in nature, a magical switch is flipped and all of a sudden no individual circumstances can be examined, no allowance made for individual preference, no respect for personal autonomy or the actual wishes of the people involved. The behavior must simply be banned, because it is sometimes exploitative, or sometimes harmful, or sometimes outright slavery.

    You can deny the voices of the women (and men!) who participate in the sex industry willingly and freely all you want, but they clearly exist. What possible right do you claim to dictate what they may or may not find acceptable to do with their own lives and their own bodies? Why do you insist on treating these people like children who are not capable of evaluating their own preferences and values, or learning from the consequences of their own actions? It is the worst kind of insult to a person’s autonomy to tell them they are incapable of deciding the course of their own life; in fact it’s tantamount to the kind of dehumanization you (rightly) oppose in the very real cases of actual sexual slavery. But you do your own cause a huge disservice by conflating the act of willingly trading in the services of one’s own body with being forced into anything against one’s will, including sex. And in fact, you are guilty of the mirror image of what you rail against–you are trying to take away the freedom of women to live as they choose, which is what feminism is supposed to be about as far as I know, in the name of “liberating” them.

  58. 58
    slc1

    I think that a distinction has to be made between the run of the mill prostitutes, who are very often involuntarily in the trade to support drug habits and, are indeed, as Ms. Nasreen says, sex slaves to their pimps, and high priced call girls who cater to customers such as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

    As I stated, the former are, all too often, correctly characterized as sex slaves. The latter are entrepreneurs who are making a fine living off their “clients”.

    1. 58.1
      Mikey

      Why is clients in quotes?

    2. 58.2
      Stella Marr

      There’s very little difference between what a girl working the street and a ‘high class call girl’ experiences — from the Johns/punters as well as the people who profit off of her.

      The whole idea of a ‘high priced call girl’ is a ruse invented by the sex industry.

      I know many trafficking/prostitution survivors who have worked the track (street) and also been considered ‘high class call girls.’ Many actually preferred the track to being trapped in a brothel or a punter or John’s apartment.

  59. 59
    Julian Maestre

    tnx for your infos, i really appreciate your blog!

  60. 60
    Lisa Blair

    Frankly, I found this post to be naive at best, and at worst, completely without thought.

    The reasons that the conditions are so terrible and violent in the sex trade for women AND MEN who work as prostitutes is because prostitution is illegal and there are no adequate protections for these people under the law. Just like coal mining was horrifically dangerous before modern OSHA and union standards effected working conditions, so too are the conditions of unregulated sex trade workers horrific and dangerous. There are a lot of people who would not choose to perform sex acts for pay, and the problem is, in an unregulated industry, they don’t have a means of opting out. Still, to imply that every instance of paid sex is rape devalues the term and those who do willingly engage in the industry.

    Criminalizing the patrons of the sex industry isn’t going to stop sex trade, any more than criminalizing pedophiles has stopped child molestation and rape. Does that mean pedophilia should be legal? Of course not. Children are, under the laws of our society, unable to CONSENT. Women are able to consent. To assume that you can “know better” than the woman herself whether or not she consents is patronizing and paternalistic at best.

    Put protections for her into the law, make clients compensate her fairly and allow her to practice her chosen means of earning a living in a safe environment. Do not assume that just because you wouldn’t choose that work means that anyone who does is mentally ill or incompetent to make their own choices. There is nothing sacred about a vagina, people. It’s part of a woman’s body, just like her mind and her hands, and if she choose to make her living with it, then who are you to tell her she is being raped?

    1. 60.1
      Sal Bro

      There is nothing sacred about a vagina, people. It’s part of a woman’s body, just like her mind and her hands, and if she choose to make her living with it, then who are you to tell her she is being raped?

      Thank you. My head has been spinning with trying to consider all of the comments posted here, but you’re absolutely right. Before a claim can be made that prostitution constitutes something that women cannot ever consent to, it has to be established that mouths, breasts, vaginas, and anuses are somehow different from other body parts, like hands, that might be used in non-sexual ways to care for people. (And what of hands that are used for both sex and non-sexual acts?) Is our agency limited when it comes to certain body parts, and who dictates which of our body parts limit agency?

      There is also the assumption here that sex cannot be a component of humane treatment that people might be entitled to receive. Underlying this is the claim that all people are capable of finding sex without purchasing it, or they can be self-reliant, or else they should remain abstinent. This assertion clearly ignores single people who are unable to masturbate themselves, for example*, and it flatly denies that sex can ever be used therapeutically.

      ** e.g., people who have quadriplegia as a result of war, gang activity, or accidents.

  61. 61
    Peter B.

    Greetings Taslima!

    Firstly, a warm welcome to FreeThoughtBlogs. It is a truly wonderful phenomenon that so many clever, educated, independent minded and brave women are collected here in one place to promote the necessary discussions about the issues which need to be urgently addressed – particularly those issues affecting the rights, freedoms and equality of women.

    Secondly, I completely respect your position on sexual slavery, and unconditionally agree with the absolutely unacceptable situation of women being coerced or driven by economic circumstances into exchanging sexual services for their keep. It is an utterly abhorrent condition for any human being, and much of what you say about it is self evident to any thinking person, and yet it still exists.

    However, I can’t help thinking that to condemn the exchange of sex for money, and lay 100% of the blame for its existence on just the men who consume it, is to take a naively idealist and absolutist position. I’m tempted to think that doing so fails to recognise some complex realities about the sex-for-money paradigm.

    Take, for instance, the likes of Sonya JF Barnett of Slutwalk, and Furry Girl of Feminisnt as examples of a substantial number of women who PROUDLY CHOOSE the lifestyle they lead, and would very likely take you to task for trying to dictate their circumstances from the isolation of your particular mind-set. Also consider male sex workers catering for liberated women who are becoming sex consumers in ever larger numbers thanks to more effective and discreet communications channels available to them, and of course, let’s not forget the men who consume sold sex from other men, and women who sell sex to women. Clearly even Greta Christina strongly disagrees with your absolutist position for considerations not unlike these.

    Your arguments are both persuasive and stark, and I am glad you have expressed your strong case so provocatively, but I also believe that for you to say these things in the terms you do, manifestly does not fit all women everywhere. Agreed, you have certainly described the significant majority of women in the sex trade, and that certainly MUST be addressed, but to shoehorn every woman who sells sex into that space does not do them, or you, justice.

    In an ideal world there would most likely be no need for sold sex, but in that same ideal world there would probably be no need for religion either. As much as I would like to live in that world, I realise that I don’t, and I can’t honestly hold every member of every church accountable for every crime against humanity (of the many) that religion is responsible for – including prostitution.

    Sex is not evil, and neither is the fair exchange of it between consenting adults – even if that includes a monetary consideration. Attempting to dictate the terms by which ALL other people must live though is the much greater wrong, and I think you are going to be given that message loud and clear.

    You have kicked the hornet’s nest well and truly though, and good for you. Expect a very hard road to sell what you obviously so strongly believe, but while you’re going about it, please be accepting, tolerant and respectful of others – most particularly the women, who disagree with you, and who disagree with you for very sound and well considered reasons.

    1. 61.1
      slc1

      I am old enough to remember a book entitled, “The Happy Hooker,” by one Xaviera Hollander, a former call girl and later madam. From my recollection of this tome, she would fit the bill as a high priced call girl, and hence entrepreneur. As I recall, her remembrances seem to indicate that she found the “work” enjoyable. Of course, we never heard about the times when a John beat the s*it out of her, which I am willing to bet happened more then once. That’s one of the risks of this sort of activity, one never knows whether the, apparently well dressed and clean cut looking John is really a sociopath who likes beating up women.

      1. Stella Marr

        Thank you for mentioning that Xaviera Hollander was a madam. Most of the women claiming to be ‘happy hookers’ are actually madams who have a financial interest in perpetuating this myth.

        1. XinXin

          Yes, most of these women and men who try shouting you down and won’t recognize a single bad thing about prostitution are madams looking to exploit other women. Sickening.

  62. 62
    Ann

    It seems that the negative consequenses of the legalisation in Netherland, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand (yes they do actually have a huge number of negative consequenses of their legalisations which I have posted links to in my reply April 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm) don’t seems to bother anyone. Or they just ignore it.

    It has been brought forward as a negative fact that Sweden isn’t able to say exactly how many prostitutes they can represent on a piece of paper. Well neither can New Zealand, Germany, Netherland etc. No country with legal prostitution has an exact number of how many prostitutes working in the sex trade.

    Because the illegal sextrade has grown and women, children and men has been trafficked to the countries to work in the sex industry. Hidden in some cases behind the legal brothels. Netherlands had their cases with trafficking victims forced to work under exstreme circumstances. Even New Zealand has had cases with minors working at brothels. And A fact that you all are ignoring very elegant. So the conclusion must be – according to the same logic used against Sweden – that the legalisation has failed.

    The German Bundesministerium für familie, senioren, frauen und jugend says in 2010 “Prostitution ist kein Beruf wie jeder andere. Empirische Befunde zeigen, dass die in diesem Bereich Tätigen erheblichen psychischen und physischen Gefährdungen ausgesetzt sind. Es ist darüber hinaus bekannt, dass viele Prostituierte sich in einer sozialen und psychischen Situation befinden, in der es fraglich ist, ob sie sich wirklich frei und autonom für oder gegen diese Tätigkeit entscheiden können.”

    I think that you all understand the meaning of the words.
    What they say are that they have failed. Prostitution is not a normal work. Netherland says the same, they have failed.

    In 2011 the Germans made this little study”Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?” The answer is Yes, legalized Prostitution does increase Human Trafficking.
    http://www2.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/courant-papers/CRC-PEG_DP_96.pdf

    By the way, one of the main goals for the Kiwis PRA law was to remove the Street Prostitution and Child Prostitution. None of them has been fulfiled. And the violence is still there.

    1. 62.1
      Wendy Lyon

      It has been brought forward as a negative fact that Sweden isn’t able to say exactly how many prostitutes they can represent on a piece of paper.

      If you’re referring to my post, you’re misrepresenting it. The issue is not that Sweden cannot point to an exact figure. It’s that the bold claims being made by advocates of the law are being contradicted by Swedish authorities themselves. It cannot be claimed that the law has reduced prostitution when the amount of prostitution is unknown. (I don’t see the German or Dutch authorities making this claim themselves, so your analogy fails.) It certainly cannot be claimed that the amount of prostitution is going down when the head of the anti-trafficking police says it is beginning to look as though there is a brothel on every corner.

      The Swedish law obviously hasn’t stopped trafficking, either:
      http://www.thelocal.se/39786/20120320
      http://www.thelocal.se/40096/20120404/

      Also see this analysis of the German study you refer to.

      1. Ann

        @Wendy Lyon Yes the Dutch and Germans do say, that they don’t have any idea how many prostitutes are working in the sex trade.

        They estimate that Netherland has approx. 25000-30000 and Germany approx. 400000-1 mill. Both are main destinations for trafficking mainly for the sexindustry. Both have a sexindustry completely controleld by organised gangs, who imports women mainly from Easteurope, Africa, Asia and Southamerica.
        And both has street prostitution, childprostitution, violence, women controlled by pimps, bad working conditions, and a completely failed experiment.
        The only winners of the legalization has been Brothel Owners, traffickers and of course the customers. The prostitutes don’t earn more money than before the legalization, they are still abused, beaten, pimped, suffering of physical and mental problems because of the prostitution work.

        It was one of their goals to stop trafficking in Human Beings – it failed.
        Netherland with 18 mil citizens and approx 25000 prostitutes low estimated (compared with Sweden 9,5 mil citizens and approx 2500 high estimated) in 2010 799 reported trafficking victims for the sex trade.The very interesting part is, that also Dutch citizens has been reported as trafficking victims for the sex industry.

        Sweden reported in Trafficking in human beings
        for sexual and other purposes from 2010, Trafficking in human beings (for sexual purposes) 34 cases.

        (European Commision Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings. http://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/showNIPsection.action?sectionId=c295cd9a-f47e-4ccd-8601-3c453ed13965

        http://www.swedenabroad.com/SelectImageX/230131/SituationReportSweden.pdf

        Quoting The Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings in her 8.report 2010 “Since human trafficking is often hidden and victims are often unwilling or afraid to speak out15 (or do not realise that they are victims16), there are probably a large number of unknown cases of human trafficking (a large ‘dark number’).”

        http://english.bnrm.nl/reports/eighth/index.aspx

        So they don’t know how many trafficking victims hidden in Brothels and escort services.
        How will you compare that to the Swedish lack of informations? A failure?

        Read the report.

        You have linket to a comment written by Dona Carmen a socalled sexworker organisation – not the report I was refering to. A comment written by a sexworker organisation can hardly be seen as a impartial comment therefor I will quote the original report and link directly to it again.
        “This paper has investigated the impact of legalized prostitution on inflows of human trafficking. According to economic theory, there are two effects of unknown magnitude. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution leads to an expansion of the prostitution market and thus an increase in human trafficking, while the substitution effect reduces demand for trafficked prostitutes by favoring prostitutes who have legal residence in a country. Our quantitative empirical analysis for a cross-section of up to 150 countries shows that the scale effect dominates the substitution effect. On average, countries with legalized prostitution experience
        a larger degree of human trafficking inflows.”

        http://www2.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/courant-papers/CRC-PEG_DP_96.pdf

        “Legalizing prostitution was infused with the idea of the articulate prostitute, who should get rights and better working conditions. But that image is incorrect…Two thirds of prostitutes are foreign, most often illegal and nobody is registering. The Amsterdam police has a portfolio with 76 violent pimps operating on de Wallen [Amsterdam’s red light district]. Often they stand at the corner, counting the customers of ‘his’ woman, to subsequently collect the money. It is very difficult for
        the police to get a case. Pimping is allowed, but exploitation and violence of course are not. But the women do not file reports or retrieve them later on.

        — Karina Schaapman, Councilwoman and Former Prostitute Amsterdam”

        “Almost five years after the lifting of the brothel ban, we have to acknowledge that the aims of the law have not been reached. Lately, we’ve received more and more signals that abuse still continues. The police admit we are in the midst of modern slavery.192

        — Mayor Job Cohen, Amsterdam, January 2006 ”

        Die Volkskrankt 02/11/11
        ‘De legalisering van prostitutie is een dekmantel voor seksuele slavernij’

        “De legalisering van prostitutie is een flop. De vrouwenhandel is gestegen en de legalisering hielp bij verdere pervertering van de seksuele moraal, schrijft Volkskrant-columniste Evelien Tonkens. ”
        I don’t think that I have to translate the word FLOP.
        (…)
        “Maar het tegendeel gebeurde. Terwijl vrouwenhandel prioriteit van de politie was, verviervoudigde tussen 2003 en 2010 het aantal geregistreerde slachtoffers van vrouwenhandel. Tussen de 50 en 90 procent van de raamprostituees werkt onder dwang. Alleen al op de Wallen zijn dat tussen de 4.000 en 7.200 vrouwen. Slechts 2 procent van de hoeren heeft plezier in haar werk.”

        http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/6268/Evelien-Tonkens/article/detail/3009848/2011/11/02/De-legalisering-van-prostitutie-is-een-dekmantel-voor-seksuele-slavernij.dhtml

        1. Wendy Lyon

          I didn’t say the Dutch and Germans claim to know how many sex workers they have! I said that they don’t claim that their laws reduce prostitution. Supporters of the Swedish law DO make that claim – so they have an obligation to provide evidence for it. The links that I posted show the Swedish and Norwegian authorities acknowledging that that they don’t have evidence to back up that claim.

          The Dona Carmen piece points up flaws in the study you linked to, including the use of inaccurate data. Why not address the points it actually makes?

          On your comparison of Dutch v Swedish numbers I addressed that issue here.

        2. Iamcuriousblue

          “You have linket to a comment written by Dona Carmen a socalled sexworker organisation – not the report I was refering to. A comment written by a sexworker organisation can hardly be seen as a impartial comment therefor I will quote the original report and link directly to it again.”

          “Socalled” sex worker organization? Wow, Ann, way to be very arrogant and deceitful with just a few words. I guess any sex worker organizations that don’t agree with you aren’t really sex workers at all.

          And in any event, a comment by a sex worker organization is “hardly impartial”, but were supposed to take reports by the Swedish government or “abolitionist” NGOs at face value. Nice double standard.

          1. Stella Marr

            The reason Ann used the term “so called sex worker organization” is that many of these organizations are led, run and funded by male and female pimps.

            If I am a plantation owner and I start an organization called “the union of cotton pickers” — and this ‘union of cotton pickers” is funded by plantation owners and led by plantation owners, it would be a “so-called cotton pickers union” because in fact the name was a lie.

          2. Iamcuriousblue

            Of course, as I predicted above in post 2.1.3, you would simply repeat the same point over and over rather than answer the counterarguments I and many other people have made. Notably, that most sex worker orgs are not lead by people who are business owners in any way, and even the leaders that are, are both owners *and* workers. You willfully ignore the fact that such people exist and make cheap, emotionally-loaded comparisons to plantation slavery. But this is pretty characteristic of the extreme intellectual dishonesty I’ve seen you bring to every conversation you’ve engaged in.

            Oh, and feel free to call me a “rapist” again. You know you want to.

          3. Ann

            @ Iamcuriousblue

            “Notably, that most sex worker orgs are not lead by people who are business owners in any way,”
            Oh yes they are lead by people, who claims to represent the prostitutes but are in fact pimps, brothel/escort owners or just supporters. IUSW, ICRSE, SIO, Les Putes/STRASS, Ambit Dona, you name it.

            IUSW are runned by Douglas Fox, who own an escortbureau, pimps, brothel owners and customers. If the real prostitutes are questioning that, they are kicked out.

            IRCSE are runned by supporters of prostitution, but no prostitutes.

            SIO are runned by brothel owners and supporters.

            Les Putes/STRASS by a man, a transvestit, and a elderly woman. They represent no other persons but themselves.

            Ambit Dona are runned by social workers, not prostitutes.

        3. Wendy Lyon

          I posted a reply to this earlier, but it hasn’t appeared and doesn’t show as being still in moderation, so I guess I’ll try again.

          Yes the Dutch and Germans do say, that they don’t have any idea how many prostitutes are working in the sex trade.

          I didn’t say they claim to know how many sex workers they have. I said they don’t justify their laws on the basis of having reduced the amount of prostitution. Advocates of the Swedish model DO justify their law on that basis, so they have an obligation to produce evidence that it has reduced the amount of prostitution. The links I posted show the Swedish and Norwegian authorities admitting that there is no such evidence.

          You have linket to a comment written by Dona Carmen a socalled sexworker organisation – not the report I was refering to. A comment written by a sexworker organisation can hardly be seen as a impartial comment therefor I will quote the original report and link directly to it again.

          The Dona Carmen piece points out flaws in that report – such as that it uses inaccurate data. Re-posting the link to the report doesn’t actually address that criticism, believe it or not.

          As for the Dutch Rapporteur report and your comparison to Sweden, I wrote about that extensively here.

        4. dorthejensen

          Ann: “You have linket to a comment written by Dona Carmen a socalled sexworker organisation – not the report I was refering to. A comment written by a sexworker organisation can hardly be seen as a impartial”

          Very sad how this argument again and again is used, to try to keep sexworkers out of the discussion. Of course they are not impartial. Its their life we are discussing.

  63. 63
    Lee-Anne Raymond

    The comments here are a great read. I’ve come in quite late and other commentators have argued well and convincingly not all sex work is slavery. Which does not mean the conclusion some have made that prostitution is supported by these critics of aspects of Talisma’s posting. Not everything you state is wrong but some of the arguments posited and ‘proofs’ supplied and are emotionally biased though well intended. All slavery is wrong; it is illegal, immoral and criminal. Human trafficking – slavery – might be the real issue? If we apply the same argument, to criminalise prostitution, to drug abuse/use/supply what are the conclusions? That this sector has remained criminalised and bunching drug abuse/use with supply really hasn’t worked to reduce or minimise criminal activity surrounding it. The harm and exploitation within it remain. Separation of the criminal supply from the user/use is a better tactic. Sadly I don’t really have a simple answer to either. It isn’t an equivalent category though just approximate example I posit. Criminalising prostitution where choice exists and a sex worker freely chooses that line of work is not the answer in my view. You need to split out the activities which clearly are criminal from those that are not (I’m not advocating addition as the reason for a sex worker choosing that work that is possible but not at all valid as a black and white answer to why one “chooses” a line of work).
    On sexual violence enlightenment (including gender and racial equality), education and stable open government does not fully protect a woman (or a child or a man) from potential sexual assault but chances are, in a society where these qualities exist the potential for sexual violence is reduced. Legalising prostitution is not a salve to any of this but it allows for an “industry” to openly operate which means regulation and open advocacy for workers within it and significantly self-advocacy by the workers within it. I have no rose coloured view of prostitution but harm minimisation needs to inform legislation on risky work/activity.
    It is arguably the case with Dworkin that personal experiences, some real nasty ones too, have coloured the thesis she presents. I’m not suggesting she has not seen harm and exploitation of others and intends only good outcomes from her advocacy but it is one that can’t work in reality. Criminalising prostitution will not correct the ugliness of human trafficking and slavery.

  64. 64
    Stretchycheese

    From:
    Christian group says time to copy Sweden’s prostitution laws

    The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is lobbying the Canadian government to revise the Criminal Code of Canada along the lines of what has become known in Europe as “the Nordic model of law,” in which prostitution is legalized but the purchase of sex by johns is not.

    To the pro-Nordic model people here — aren’t you just a little bit embarrassed by this? :-) Don’t you find it rather strange that you can achieve your policy objectives by allying yourselves with religious conservatives?

  65. 65
    Stella Marr

    For those of you who are affiliated with the UN:

    I hope you realize how important it is that women in prostitution not be represented by the people who profit from them. This serious conflict of interest will contaminate any work the UN does around the issue of prostitution.

    We would not allow the owner of a coal miner to claim to be a coal miner and represent their workers. Prostitution should be no different.

    Its quite egregious that the UN, universities, NGOs and governments have given groups led by admitted pimps, madams, brothel owners & escort service owners a platform. For this silences women in prostitution.

    1. 65.1
      Stella Marr

      Above, I meant:

      We would not allow the owner of a coal mine to claim to be a coal miner and represent coal miners. Prostitution should be no different.

  66. 66
    Thierry Schaffauser

    STRASS doesn’t accept non-sex workers to be elected on the board. And the board is made of 8 people including 4 cis women, 3 transwomen and one transvestite. There is no cis-man on the board. I am a founder of STRASS but I never took a leading role within the board. Morgane Merteuil is STRASS General Secretary and she has always been a woman. She is the leader of the group. Anyway, I don’t understand this idea that only women would be real sex workers or real representants of sex workers. Especially if it is to imply that men are pimps since many pimps are in fact women…

    1. 66.1
      Ann

      @Thierry I saw your battle with IUSW – you were not treated very kind. We don’t agree in most of it but I respect you for your fight and honesty.

      I know a person who has been in contact with Les Putes. Les Putes
      consisted of three persons, as described. They claimed, that they were Les Putes. Later they (the same persons) started STRASS.

      In their manifesto, Les Putes claim that the prostitutes battle are every womens battle. Not every persons battle but every womens battle.
      They also claim that they don’t have a pimp. As the Frence prostitutes (man or woman) are some of the most pimp controled prostitutes in Europe, Les Putes can’t really claim to be representing anyone but themselves.

    2. 66.2
      Stella Marr

      Thierry it is true that many pimps are women. I appreciate you took a stand about pimps involved in what are supposed to be unions for prostitutes. One of the most important people in my life was a hustler (a male prostitute) — and brilliant poet who believed in me and changed me. He died of AIDS at age 24. I still think I see him sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, beneath a shivering linden or in a distant vacant lot. Every day I miss him.

      “First Bunny died, then John LaTouche, then Jackson Pollack. But is the earth as full as life was full, of them?”
      – Frank O’Hara

      “And so it was I entered the broken world
      To trace the visionary company of love”
      – Hart Crane

  67. 67
    Ann

    @ xxxild

    Not the pimps/madames I know of and have informations about. They are working hand in hand with the organised crime gangs. Some of them lives together with those nice fellas and do have a nice little money laundry business beside the brothel business. Some of them are importing women from other parts of the world to work 24 hours a day at their brothels.
    The women are transported from brothel to brothel every week/14 days, they are completely confused where they are (some of them don’t even know what country they are working in. The women work, sleep and stay 24 hours a day at the brothel. They have to be available when the customers arrive. They have to pay for food, condoms, laundry, rent, electricity, and of course the transport. So they never get rid of their debt.

    It is not these women from the foreign countries you hear in the debates like this one, even though they are completely supernumerary in prostitution industries everywhere in almost all European countries, Australian and New Zealand in their prostitution industries. These women are silent.

    It is the right to import and earn money on the imported women and the vulnerable ” ordinary (not meant patronizing)” prostitutes the Madames/Pimps/managers want.

    They are not kindhearted people but indeed very cynical and unscrupulous people.

    1. 67.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      And now I’m told by private message from xxxild that her posts are routinely being blocked. So far, she’s been nothing but extremely civil. I guess an actual former sex worker who doesn’t agree with Ann and Stella is just too much for this conversation.

      Good grief! And some wonder why there’s such animosity toward “abolitionists”. This is all too typical of the way they engage in debate.

  68. 68
    amy

    This is not a direct reply to the blog post, I’ve made my direct reply way above, but after reading through the comments here, I felt I wanted to say something else.

    I’ve always found it troubling that those of us who are current sex workers (or former) who support full decriminalization (which they have in two places New South Wales, AU & New Zealand) tend to be painted as just “happy hookers”. What that tells me is that we are only allowed to choose from two identities; Survivor or Happy Hooker. That we are not human beings working, and living our lives.

    I’ve worked as a sex worker for the last 15 years. I’ve experienced violence & stigma. Every day the laws which criminalize my work create an environment where I fear for my safety or struggle to remain as anonymous as I can to not attack the attention of the police.

    I began in sex work to survive. I stayed, because it worked for me. Those who paint me as just one of those “happy hookers” for speaking truth about my job and my experiences are silencing my voice and my colleague’s voices who speak their truth as well. The same tactic they claim we are doing. I have never once said they are just survivors & we should not listen to them. That is what they say about me though (& those like me). That I am not important, that my experiences are not valid, that I am blinded by false consciousness, etc. etc. etc. That I’m just one of those “happy hookers”. Also, I’ve been called some pretty nasty things, specifically from those who claim to want to “save” me & those like me. When they find out I am not interested in having someone else tell me how I should feel about my experiences within sex work, they can be quite cruel.

    For a long time I thought I was alone. I thought that there must be something wrong with me. It took me some time to come to the realization that I was not wrong for wanting my rights; the right to work safely, with dignity and the right to work free of violence for myself and my colleagues.

    1. 68.1
      Ace of Sevens

      Thank you. I think this goes to the false dichotomy that’s been present in a lot of the comments. There’s this idea that if you don’t think support a crackdown on the sex industry, you must think everything’s hunky dory. Most people have actually been arguing there are plenty of problems, though it’s not all bad and a crackdown would make things worse.

  69. 69
    Liandra Dahl

    The language of this blog is too reductive and is backed by absolutely no reference to the factual claims it is trying to pass as universal for all prostitution. I believe, when suffering vicarious trauma from witnessing heinous exploitation of women it is very understandable to become prejudice as this article is against issues that require a vastly more complex approach to have any true hope of resolving the original cause of trauma.

    I feel that lumping ALL prostitution together is just as toxic as lumping Sex Slavery and trafficking with prostitution. Doing this alienates ethical consensual sex workers who have no association with the exploitative industry. This alienation is divisive and distracts from a shared goal… to end the exploitation of women by pimps and traffickers via sex work.

    The laws around prostitution need to reflect the diversity whilst also preventing the trafficking of women and forced prostitution. Primarily the traffickers and those in the industry in association with them must remain be criminalised and be the primary target of criminal proceedings. The sex workers should not be criminalised at all. The john’s of illegal brothels or other organisations that have forced prostitution and illegal trafficking should be criminalised just as the pimps and traffickers are but not the sex workers. This would discourage johns who frequent illegal establishments from doing so and push them towards the ethical consensual industry.

  70. 70
    Liandra Dahl

    Rape doesn’t make all sex bad. Violent marriages don’t make all marriages bad. Slavery and forced prostitution doesn’t make all consensual prostitution bad.

    Rape exists but criminalising all sex will not be the means to stop it. Domestic violence exists in marriages but criminalising all marriages will not be the logical means to stop it. Sex slavery and forced prostitution exist but criminalising all prostitution is not the logical means to stop it.

    To lash out irrationally at all prostitution detracts from your real cause, the abolition of slavery, that we are all in favour of and so your method and language divides us where we should be united because we share the common goal.

  71. 71
    amy

    @Ann

    Iamcuriousblue said: “Notably, that most sex worker orgs are not lead by people who are business owners in any way..”

    Then:

    Ann you said: “Oh yes they are lead by people, who claims to represent the prostitutes but are in fact pimps, brothel/escort owners or just supporters. IUSW, ICRSE, SIO, Les Putes/STRASS, Ambit Dona, you name it.”

    ~ ~

    Ok Ann, not sure why that is a bad thing, however there are TONS & TONS & TONS of current & former sex worker lead and run organizations/groups etc which fight for full decriminalization of sex work. here are just a few:

    {Thailand} Empower
    {NZ} The New Zealand Prostitutes Collec.
    {AU} Scarlet Alliance
    {India} Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee
    {USA} Desiree Alliance
    {USA} St.James Infirmary
    {Canada} Sex Professional of Canada
    {USA} Sex Work Awareness
    {Canada} Maggies
    {Canada} West Coast Coop. of Sex Ind. Prof.
    {Canada} Stella
    {Canada} POWER
    {Latin America & Caribbean} RedTraSex
    {USA} The Desiree Alliance

    …need i go on all night? & those are just the ones off the top of my head.

    ~amy

    1. 71.1
      Ann

      @Amy
      Why didn’t you mentioned AWAN, Canada. You mention a lot of Canadian lobby groups but not the one who contains the most vulnerable prostitutes in Canada The Aboriginal Women Action Network. AWAN supports the Nordic model.
      http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/racism/000153.html

      Empower Foundation, Thailand has been started and run by Chantawipa Apisuk, who is educating prostituted women in English and other educations, so that they have a possibility to seek another life outside prostitution.

      Scarlet Alliance, Australia is runned by prostitutes..

      Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is a part of The Asian Pacific Network of Sex Workers. It is not clear who is actally running DMSC.

      NZPC is run and founded by prostitutes. It is not clear, whose interest they really support, as they don’t want any police interference at the brothels. They absolutely don’t cooperate with society. The PRA law directed by NZPC, means that brothel owners has been able to in more cases to use underage prostitutes, because the police in New Zealand has limited possibilities to control the brothels.

      St. James Infirmary, Canada run by prostitutes.

      Desiree Alliance, USA is a unclear mix of different groups containing prostitutes, non-prostitutes and the diffuse supporting networks – which mostly cover customers.

      Sex Professional of Canada. Members of SPOK, Terry-Jean Bedford escort service owner. SPOK is a mix of interest groups. SPOK is directly in conflict with AWAN.

      Sex Work Awareness. It don’t seems to exists anymore.

      Prostitutes of Ottawa-Gatineau, Work, Educate and Resist (POWER) an unclear mix of allies, phonesex, dancers (are they prostitutes?)

      I have probably forgotten some of them.

      It seems that a lot of them are driven by others and the prostitutes are just members.

      As said, you didn’t mention AWAN neither did you mention Silver Braid, Dignity House, Angels Project Power, Dreamcatcher Foundation all runned by former prostitutes.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        So let’s get this straight, Ann. Your measure of whether an organization is actually controlled by prostitutes or not is determined by whether or not you agree with their politics????

        Are you bloody KIDDING me? Your arguments become less logical with every response you make.

        And while we’re on the subject of whose interests are being served, there are a great many sex workers (I’d even venture to guess a majority) who would say their interests are not exactly those law enforcement. But I guess your position in that regard doesn’t bother you one bit

        1. Ann

          @ Iamcuriousblue
          guessed that you would react to it. You happen to be a member of NZPC? Just guessing.

          NZPC has a serious problem with the cooperation and understanding for the rest of New Zealand society. If NZPC was just a bit more cooperative with the citizens of Auckland and Christchurch, people wouldn’t be so angry at the prostitutes. Loosers in this fight between NZPC and the rest of the society are the prostitutes, but NZPC is only interested in showing its power and distribute condoms and leaflets to the gadeprostituterede.

          No Curious, but as I’ve allready said, a lot of socalled sexworker organisations who claims to be speaking and acting on behalf of the prostitutes are in fact runned by managers, brothel owners, customers and people, who actually don’t have anything to do with prostitution than a weird and strange idea that all problems come from society’s stigma of prostitutes. They call themself sexworkers and claims to speak on behalf of prostitutes but they are not prostitutes. And they wouldn’t dream of being a prostitute.

          And not a word about the customers and the pimps, who is some of the main problems. It is not society that beats the prostitutes and it is not society that is trying again and again to exceed the limits of what the prostitutes will go along with. It is not society, that removes the condom, no matter rules for condom use or not.
          It is not society that causes this: “It is not uncommon for many sex workers to develop a hygiene obsession, involving excessive rubbing and scrubbing with often harsh soaps. This can lead to many unwanted, unfavourable skin conditions which make working difficult and unpleasant.”

          I think it is called OCD.

          http://www.respectqld.org.au/sqwisi/resources/Physical%20wellbeing%20for%20sex%20workers.pdf

          I guess that this is familiar to you. It is picked up from Fact sheet for sex workers.

          There are a lot of other very interesting readings in these Fact Sheets for Sex workers. Dealing with difficult clients.
          Another one from the Fact Sheet “Sometimes, clients will try to ‘save’ the
          worker or they will try to have a personal relationship with them. They could do this by trying to contact the worker at home or continually asking them to go out with them or asking for their personal information (real name, home phone number, where they live, etc.) even after the worker has made it clear that they do not want any of this attention.”

          http://www.respectqld.org.au/sqwisi/resources/Dealing%20with%20difficult%20clients.pdf

          Or from the OHS (OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN
          THE AUSTRALIAN SEX INDUSTRY)

          Page 25 and 26 Security and safety from violence
          It is just to much to copypaste here so open the link.

          http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/library/bestpractise

          Or this little chapter “Unwanted pregnancy 24
          The sex industry stands apart from other industries in that it is the only industry where unwanted pregnancy could be an occupational hazard. There are guidelines specific to possible unwanted pregnancy in the Condom Breakage and Slippage fact sheet 6,
          which is attached to this document.”

          Or this one “10.1 Condom breakage or slippage
          Employers should not only require condom use, but should also identify condom use and other safe sex practices clearly to employees and clients as the standard, expected practice of the establishment (see section 11).
          Most sex workers are skilled at using condoms, which have been proven to be a very effective barrier to pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and other STIs. However condom breakage or slippage will still occur from time to time.
          Unfortunately, incidents occur where workers are forced by clients to have sex without a condom against their will (i.e. rape). Sex without a condom can result where the client removes or breaks the condom during the service without the worker’s knowledge.
          In these situations the employee must have information and support on taking appropriate action, such as post exposure prophylaxis (see fact sheet 6).
          Condom breakage is most likely to occur for the following reasons:
          · The condom is of inferior standard. Only condoms with indication on the packaging that they meet Australian Standards should be used.
          · The condom has passed its expiry date, or has been stored incorrectly (See section 11.1) If a bulk supply of condoms is kept where service is being provided ensure that condoms at the bottom of the supply are rotated to the top of the pile when stocks are replenished.
          · The condom is torn or damaged by a fingernail or jewellery during application or use.
          · Insufficient lubricant has been used (particularly in anal sex or just after menstruation when the vagina can be drier than usual).
          · Oil based lubricant has been used, resulting in a breakdown of the Latex the condom is made from. Only water-based lubricant should be used with condoms and dams.
          · If the sexual act is of particularly long duration.
          Condom slippage may occur: · If the insertive partner does not have the condom rolled on all the way to the base of his penis.
          · If the insertive partner fails to hold on to the end of the condom at the base of his penis while withdrawing.
          · If the insertive partner’s penis is only semi erect or flaccid.
          · If the insertive partner’s penis is small and/or thin, or flared.
          · During sexual acts of particularly long duration.”

          So condoms can break of a lots of reasons. So of course you can’t work as a prostitute if you are carrying a serious disease – it speaks for it self, common sense and safety for customers and safety for the prostitute.

          We hear from al these good people, who want’s a clean and healthy sex business so that the customers don’t get any diseases back home to his wife, that prostitutes are getting tested for all kind of diseases and therefore don’t infect their clients. Well, I presume that you have read the lines with breakable condoms, so….. I bring you chapter 10.3. “Sex work and lifetime sexually transmissible conditions

          Some sex workers (and indeed their clients) have lifelong conditions such as HIV infection, Hepatitis and Herpes. There is no reason for excluding sex workers with these conditions from working in the sex industry.”

          No of course not, there is absolutely no reason for excluding sex workers with these condititons. Especially not when the condom break.

          This is not a normal work with normal customers.

          It is not society that is on the Ugly Mug lists, a standard list at every brothel and escort service.

          It is not the society the prostitutes are hiding for.
          It is not society that makes the prostitutes sick mentally and physically.

          It is the customers.

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            “No Curious, but as I’ve allready said, a lot of socalled sexworker organisations who claims to be speaking and acting on behalf of the prostitutes are in fact runned by managers, brothel owners, customers and people, who actually don’t have anything to do with prostitution than a weird and strange idea that all problems come from society’s stigma of prostitutes. They call themself sexworkers and claims to speak on behalf of prostitutes but they are not prostitutes. And they wouldn’t dream of being a prostitute.

            You have no evidence to back up such a sweeping statement and you know it. It is pretty clear at this point, Ann, that you are a straight-up and shameless LIAR who will make up anything to discredit organizations and activists who’s aims you don’t happen to agree with. It is clear that your interest is in maintaining the power of law enforcement and the state over sex workers, under the delusion that this is in some way helpful. You are the very definition of “paternalist”, something I think is utterly despicable and I hope others see through as well.

          2. Ann

            @ Curious

            Don’t you ever call me a liar. You haven’t the faintest idea what I know, who I am, and what contacts I’ve got in the sex industry and people who are working with prostitutes. THEY DON’T LIE, my dear. They are people who knows the sex industri from it’s absolutely inner in its most dirty ways. They have seen it, some of them has tried it on their own body. More of them has been attacked, three of them were close to be murdered by their customers.

            And YES, I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE CLAIMING TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF PROSTITUTES BUT THEY WERE CERTAINLY NOT PROSTITUTES.

            So just because my knowlegde of the industry don’t fit in to your pretty picture that you want to convince the rest of the world is the ultimate truth about prostitution does not make me a liar – my dear little confused and deluded friend.

            I guess that your angry outburst is because I have hit the spot with NZPC. Both Catherine Healy and Anna Reed do have a problem in understanding the rest of the community and the problems community has got with prostitution going on in their backyard, in front of their gardens, streets, schools, shops, you name it, drunken customers, noise, waste, used syringes, human waste, urine, used condoms, vomit.

            You never answered as to whether you are a member of NZPC.

          3. xxxild

            Back up your assertions about sex worker rights groups. I’m not sure what your point is in copy/pasting the rest of this stuff. These are the same type of practices anyone having sex with multiple partners should be familiar with.

            Get a life. You are pointing to everything you read about sex work as if you’re making a point. It’s failing.

          4. Iamcuriousblue

            Ann – I’ll call you a liar when you lie, LIAR. And I don’t trust your sources, either, which are probably just other people in law enforcement, and it’s pretty damn clear where they stand.

            You know, I’m simply amazed that somebody who is an admitted *police agent* can sit here and act as if they are the final arbiter of who is and isn’t a real sex worker and who’s interest they serve. As if law enforcement and the top-down government policies decided at the conferences you attend actually represented sex worker interests. The level of sheer arrogance behind your mentality is absolutely staggering, but such arrogance is endemic in law enforcement and “abolitionist” circles.

            And once again, I ask you for PROOF that *most* sex worker organizations are run by non-sexworkers. So far your only so-called “proof” is that several well-known sex worker activists have either had pandering convictions (which means precisely *nothing* other than they’ve had a business relationship with another sex worker) or in the case of Douglas Fox that he’s been both a sex worker and escort agency owner at the same time. And even if you were correct about the few individuals you’ve named, that’s a few individuals out of *many* pro-decriminalization sex worker activists. Where is your evidence that most are not sex workers or are under the control of non-sex workers. Because you don’t agree with the politics of their organizations? Sorry, but that’s not evidence.

            Also, I think you have a hell of a lot of nerve dragging Theirry Scaffhauser into this conversation as evidence of your position, when you just finished trashing his organization STRASS as being inauthentic because it is run by “a man”. As if men can’t be sex workers.

            You’ve made a very damning accusation against pro-decriminalization sex workers across the board. The burden of proof is *on you* to support that with *actual* evidence. Not just “poisoning the well” and not just speculation. *Actual evidence*. You can beat your chest about your “insider knowledge” and call me “deluded” all you want, but that doesn’t constitute evidence.

            One more point to cover:

            “I guess that your angry outburst is because I have hit the spot with NZPC. Both Catherine Healy and Anna Reed do have a problem in understanding the rest of the community and the problems community has got with prostitution going on in their backyard, in front of their gardens, streets, schools, shops, you name it,”

            Saying that Healy and Read have might have a problem in dealing with the surrounding community’s perspective might be a valid point, if true (though I have very little reason to trust the veracity of anything you say, actually). But that’s a very different argument from saying they aren’t sex workers or don’t represent sex worker interests. And also, pretty far from an argument for throwing out decriminalization altogether.

            And to answer your question, I am not with NZPC (I’m in the USA) or any of the other sex worker orgs, though I’m quite familiar with many sex worker activists and know you misrepresent them in an almost criminal way.

          5. Ann

            @Curios

            It is now quite clear that you don’t really read what I am writing. Furthermore you are using the same way of argumentation as other aggressive persons in the sex industry.
            You are very busy yelling liar to everybody that don’t agree with you but you don’t bring any evidence to underline your own arguments. We just have to believe your allegations. Sorry but I know just to much and just too many people, who knows better and who no longer has a economical interest in keeping the trade alive and who no longer has a interest in hiding the truth.

            And even furthermore you don’t want to let women like Stella, who has bad experiences from the industry, speak. They are not allowed to speak, because they are representing the bad side of the industry and bad experiences that are publiced could mean another attitude in the public and the politicians.

            But you see, Stella and all her colleagues are not quite anymore. And they are many.

            What I said about Le Putes (STRASS was formed later by some of the same persons) was “In their manifesto, Les Putes claim that the prostitutes battle are every womens battle. Not every persons battle but every womens battle.” Now tell me Curios, how can a man claim to be representing every womens battle.

            And tell me one thing more – if a person, who is owner of a brothel/escort, like mr. Douglas Fox and also claims to be a sex worker, wants to negotiate wages and working conditions at the work place which is owned by him / herself – who is he then going to negotiate with?

            Who is the union going to negotiate with, him or who?
            And what on earth are customers and supporters doing in a union?

            I think that Stella also mentioned it. The owners of the coalmines are not coalminers.

            A union don’t represent both employer and employee and brothel owners are employers, whatever they call themself. They are NOT one of the “girls on the floor” – they are employers. It is common union knowledge, but not for everybody, I can see.

            And this is exactly why someone, who claims to be a sex worker cannot be a member of a organisation, which also claims to be a union for sex workers. So I think that it is about time, that you all make a good clean up in the organisations. I am extrem sceptical when a organisation claims to be representing the prostitutes and when you look closer at the members, they are a mix up of brothel owners, escort owners customers, dancers, strippers and prostitutes. Especially because I know who some of the brothel and escort owners are cooperating with.

          6. Iamcuriousblue

            Oh wow. So *I’m* the one being “aggressive”? *I’m* the one trying to silence other people? *I’m* the one not backing up my arguments? For fuck’s sake, Ann, projecting much??? Do ever even read your own words? The scary thing is, you probably believe your own lies.

            First, I will note that for all your bluster, that you’ve *still* provided zero proof that anywhere near most sex worker advocates are in positions of authority in the sex industry. Oh, and keep on shouting “Douglas Fox!” at the top of your lungs, but doesn’t change a damn thing. He’s just one person, and not even a particularly important figure at this point.

            Don’t play the pity card in regards to Stella. I don’t argue that her experiences weren’t a living hell, and she has every right to tell it like it is. But that’s no what she’s doing her and you know it. She pretty much spends all her effort smearing people who she’s had not direct dealings with and shouting down those she doesn’t agree with. I don’t care what somebody has experienced, they do not have the right to silence and slander other people because of it.

            Your gender rhetoric around STRASS is so much bullshit. Sex worker rights *are* women’s rights issues; you can’t deal with the issue of slut-shaming without dealing with stigmatization of sex workers. Saying that sex worker unions can’t include men is an utter red herring. If you had any decency, you’d keep your feminist separatist bullshit out of this issue, but like your transphobia, you just can’t help it.

            Now as to the issue of unions, don’t fucking lecture me. I know a thing or two about unions, and they vary on how far one can be in management before you can no longer be considered a worker. It is definitely *not* the case that when somebody becomes, for example, a shop foreman, they lose their right to represent the union, though this is precisely the standard you wish to impose on sex worker organizations. You harp on Douglas Fox like he’s typical of sex worker organizations, in any event. You know this is bullshit. You clearly have no regard for someone like Theirry Shaffauser or Maxine Doogan’s right to organize on their own behalf, and yet you invoke them shamelessly when it suits your purposes.

            Sex worker orgs should “clean up their act”? And what, get rid of anybody who doesn’t agree with *police agents* like yourself? That’s rich, and I don’t see where you get off acting like the interests of law enforcement are in the best interest of sex workers.

            One more thing – try as you might, you don’t have a gag big enough to shut me up. And for a confirmed authoritarian such as yourself, that’s probably the most frustrating thing imaginable.

          7. Ann

            @Curious Exactly aggressive. And you really don’t read anything – do you. And now came the transphobia cart. And the “she is not representative for the industry” card. But yoy forget, that she isn’t the only one.

            You say “You clearly have no regard for someone like Theirry Shaffauser or Maxine Doogan’s right to organize on their own behalf, and yet you invoke them shamelessly when it suits your purposes.”

            What did I say about Thierry and Maxine?

            I used them as an example, to show that they were NOT interested in having brothel and escort owners, supporters and customers in their union. And therefor I say, clean up your mess in the organisations, then maybe others do believe you when you state that you are talking on behalf of the sex workers. Figuratively speaking of course.

            And now came the transphobia cart.I know transpeople, that don’t agree with you. And the “she is not representative for the industry” card. But you still forget, that stella isn’t the only one.

            By the way, if you knew anything about unions, then you shouldn’t be doubting about wether brothel owners should be members or not. They should NOT be members, neither should escort service owners or customers.

            I ask you again, who is the brothel owner or escort owner, whatever he or she is calling him/herself going to negotiate with about salary and vacations.

            I really don’t know what you mean by this “Sex worker rights *are* women’s rights issues; you can’t deal with the issue of slut-shaming without dealing with stigmatization of sex workers. Saying that sex worker unions can’t include men is an utter red herring.”

            Did I say, that men couldn’t be a member of a sex worker union? No I don’t think so. I think that I said – again”In their manifesto, Les Putes claims that the prostitutes battle are every womens battle. Not every persons battle but every womens battle.” Now tell me Curios, how can a man claim to be representing every womens battle.”

            It is Les Putes that claims that prostitutes are women and Les Putes battle is every womens battle. Not men or trans not anything else but women. THAT is my point.
            But I didn’t say, that he couldn’t be a member.

          8. Iamcuriousblue

            I’m just going to point out once again that you have utterly failed to provide evidence for the sweeping accusations you’ve made against sex worker rights activists. Even if you were correct about in your case toward Douglas Fox, most sex worker rights activists are not escort agency owners. It’s an argument you have failed to establish and you need to give it a rest. The sex worker rights movement doesn’t need to “clean up their act” as there is nothing dirty to “clean up”. If anybody needs to clean up their act, it is the so-called “abolitionist” movement with their aggressive and dishonest tactics, and need to slander or otherwise silence everyone who doesn’t agree with them.

            “Sex worker rights are women’s rights” is a saying analogous to “Women’s rights are human rights”. I think that’s pretty simple. I’ll post a video about that very topic for those that need elaboration. Your claim that an organization that says this can’t include men in any way is just your own gender separatist BS.

          9. Taslima Nasreen

            If sex is work, then why don’t men start a career as sex workers! How come there is no men’s brothels where women can go and fuck them whenever and however they want!

          10. Ann

            @Taslima
            Oh but there are male prostitutes – their customers are mostly other men.
            Pure male brothels do not exist as far as I know. Most male prostitutes sell sex at the internet. But the majority in prostitution also among trafficking victims for the sex trade is women and children.

          11. Ace of Sevens

            There are. Your own stats on your follow-up say that about 20% of prostitutes are men. I used to be a male stripper and getting offers to go home with customers for money was not uncommon.

            Shady Lady Ranch has one male prostitute, and it’s not uncommon for brothels to have a few. There aren’t nearly as many largely because of supply and demand issues when women can get sex with strangers free by jumping on Craigslist, but there are plenty of male sex workers out there, including ones that serve women.

          12. Iamcuriousblue

            Funny how this stays stuck in moderation:

            “If sex is work, then why don’t men start a career as sex workers! How come there is no men’s brothels where women can go and fuck them whenever and however they want!”

            It would probably do you some good to study something about the issue before you go off on a rant like that. It doesn’t exactly speak well of your knowledge of the complexities of sex work.

            Male sex workers may not be as common as female sex workers, but they do exist and there are a lot of them. Male prostitutes for men and gay pornography exists in the same proportion that their female counterparts exist in the straight population. Part of the myopia of the abolitionist movement is that they see prostitution and pornography as something “men do to women”, failing to recognize that male-attracted men are just as likely to be consumers of sexual services. I will also note that one of the comments in this very thread was from a male sex worker, Thierry Schaffauser.

            Now it is true that *buying* sex does tend to be gendered, with men seeking out transactional sex a lot more often than women do. Nevertheless, there most certainly are male sex workers who service women, and there’s an entire subculture of it in some parts of the world. There is even a such thing as female sex tourism to this end. Read up on the subject and learn:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_prostitution
            http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/14/world/kenya-cracking-down-on-beach-boys-gigolos-serving-tourists.html
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/26/us-sextourism-idUSN2638979720071126
            http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/story.html?id=2bdb148d-66df-4f8a-918f-ffe59d617b90
            http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/general/100421/sex-tourism-jamaica-prostitution
            http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/jordan/100225/jordan-sex-tourism

      2. xxxild

        It seems you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you’re saying any of these organizations are run by exploitative interests, you need to put up proof of that.

      3. amy

        @Ann

        Firstly it was in no way a comprehensive list. I was listing organizations that I am intimately aware of (off the top of my head) that fight for the decriminalization of prostitution and that are ALL LEAD AND RUN by sex workers. I am not familiar with every single person that makes up their membership, but that was not the point of this reply to you. You had made the claim that there were few organizations run by and led by sex workers, and that is why I listed those because you are incorrect.

        You say:

        “It seems that a lot of them are driven by others and the prostitutes are just members”

        I have to wonder how much you know about these organizations. I’m not going to get into this long reply, detailing every little thing about these organizations but you are quite mistaken with the majority of them.

        Firstly, St James Infirmary, as I had mentioned in my original post is in the US and not Canada as you had said in your reply.
        Secondly Desiree Alliance is run by sex workers; I’m not sure where you get your information.

        POWER is run by and lead by current and former sex workers from all parts of the industry.

        SPOC (Sex Professionals of Canada) is not a mix of interest groups. It was founded by current sex workers and its executive membership is made up only of current and former sex workers. Terri Jean is an honorary member of the group but to be a member of the organization you must have been either a current or former sex workers. They fight for decrim. Read their mandate on their website.

        Again, my main point was to point out that unlike your assertion in your original posting, there are TONS of sex worker led and run organizations all across the globe.

        And lastly, you mentioned other organizations I had not mentioned. I told you I was listing organizations off the top of my head and it was in no way a complete list.

        Also I was only listening organizations that fight for full decrim, because your original post was saying that there are few organizations that fight for sex worker rights that are led and run by sex workers…

        Lastly, i’m not even going to get into your little comments next to most of the organizations, like NZPC claiming ‘i’m not even really sure who’s’ “interest they really support.”

        ~amy

        1. Ann

          @Amy

          You mention a lot of interestgroups, that most certainly is runned by prostitutes and former prostitutes. But it is a fact, that some of the most loud yelling organisations as IUSW are in fact controlled by managers and customers.

          https://thierryschaffauser.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/iusw-fired-me/

          I think that you should ask Thierry about what he means about brothel and escort service owners and customers who call themself for sex workers and are members of prostitution organisations. he was very bad treated by the IUSW, when he complained about it.

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            As I’ve mentioned above, I think you have a lot of nerve invoking Thierry Schaffauser when, just a few comments ago (somewhere under comment #65 – I hate the numbering system on FTB!) you said STRASS was not legitimate because it was led by “a man”, which could only be referring to Thierry, since he’s the only man even close to the leadership of that group. (Though he clarifies that he’s not actually on the board of STRASS in comment #70.) So which is it? You’ve implied Thierry can’t be a real sex worker because he’s male, yet invoke him to make your case against Douglas Fox.

            (And this is not even getting into the transphobia of trashing the legitimacy of another of STRASS’ leadership because she’s “a transvestite”. Just why is the ugly transphobia never far from the surface with you old-school feminists, anyway?)

            You also invoke Maxine Doogan’s comment to make your case. And you are partly correct; she makes some clear distinctions between sex business owners and sex workers. She also co-leads the Erotic Service Providers Union with Robyn Few, somebody you and Stella have attacked as a “pimp”, yet in spite of such slanders is clearly recognized as a sex worker by her fellow activists. And I’ll note that Melissa Farley has attacked Maxine Doogan herself as a “pimp” based on precisely nothing at all, other than Doogan disagreeing with the great Farley.

            So which is it? You invoke these people out of one side of your mouth and attack them out of the other. I think that this underscores the fact that your position doesn’t even begin to make sense, and is in fact based on some outright lies. It is clearly just a “divide and rule” strategy to pit one sex worker activist against the other, with law enforcement, big NGOs, and paternalistic government agencies the ultimate winner. It is very easy to see right through what you’re doing, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is doing so.

        2. Ann

          And please read the whole link down to the last comment. The one from Maxine Doogan, Erotic Service Providers Union is quite interesting too.

      4. Iamcuriousblue

        “If sex is work, then why don’t men start a career as sex workers! How come there is no men’s brothels where women can go and fuck them whenever and however they want!”

        It would probably do you some good to study something about the issue before you go off on a rant like that. It doesn’t exactly speak well of your knowledge of the complexities of sex work.

        Male sex workers may not be as common as female sex workers, but they do exist and there are a lot of them. Male prostitutes for men and gay pornography exists in the same proportion that their female counterparts exist in the straight population. Part of the myopia of the abolitionist movement is that they see prostitution and pornography as something “men do to women”, failing to recognize that male-attracted men are just as likely to be consumers of sexual services. I will also note that one of the comments in this very thread was from a male sex worker, Thierry Schaffauser.

        Now it is true that *buying* sex does tend to be gendered, with men seeking out transactional sex a lot more often than women do. Nevertheless, there most certainly are male sex workers who service women, and there’s an entire subculture of it in some parts of the world. There is even a such thing as female sex tourism to this end. Read up on the subject and learn:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_prostitution
        http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/14/world/kenya-cracking-down-on-beach-boys-gigolos-serving-tourists.html
        http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/26/us-sextourism-idUSN2638979720071126
        http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/story.html?id=2bdb148d-66df-4f8a-918f-ffe59d617b90
        http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/general/100421/sex-tourism-jamaica-prostitution
        http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/jordan/100225/jordan-sex-tourism

  72. 72
    Ann

    @Curious
    Robyn Few, Maxine Doogan, Norma Jean Almodovar and Margo St. James has been arrested for pimping.

    1. 72.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      So I suppose this is the point in the where the “abolitionists” simply try to establish their claims as fact by simply repeating their refuted claims over again. Once again, as a bluff for the fact that epople like Ann here simply have no argument.

      As I’ve stated above, Robyn Few, Maxine Doogan, Norma Jean Almodovar and Margo St. James have not been arrested for “pimping”, but for pandering. All that is means is that they had some financial transaction with another sex worker and were caught up under extremely broad “pandering” laws. And extremely common way to bust sex workers, I might add, but ultimately not meaning what Ann here thinks it means.

      All the more comical, because if you read the comment by Ann above this one, she approvingly quotes Maxine Doogan as a sex worker pointing to the leader of another organization as a supposed pimp. So which is it, Ann? Is Maxine Doogan fighting pimps or is she a “pimp”?

      Ann – once again, do you have actual proof for your accusations? If not, give it a rest, because you’re fooling no one, and your just cementing the reputation of the “abolitionist” movement as building their case on all manner of untruths.

      1. Stella Marr

        Maxine Doogan is a convicted pimp.
        http://www.sfexaminer.com/node/131846

        As such, she should not be part of an organization that is supposed to represent people in prostitution.

        Robyn Few was convicted of conspiracy to promote prostitution, Norma Jean Almodovar was convicted of pandering, and Margo St.James was arrested for pandering. As such they should not be part of any organization that represents prostitutes.

        It’s nothing personal. It’s a huge conflict of interest. Academia, NGOS, and the media have a responsibility to address this conflict of interest whenever they feature organizations associated with people who have been convicted of pimping, pandering or conspiracy to promote prostitution, as well as organizations associated with people who are admitted pimps and madams working the street or owning escort services, dungeons, or brothels.

        To say someone has a conflict of interest is not a personal attack. It’s a statement of conditions.

        1. Ace of Sevens

          Do these charges really equate to pimping, though?

          1. MsLilithe

            @Ace – no it doesn’t, and it is seriously disingenuous at least to bring up Norma Jean Almodovar’s name repeatedly – I need to look deeper into the other ladies to speak about them, but I do know that Norma Jean had ONE act of pandering – and it was the one the cops used to set her up, so it is utter BS to trot that out as “evidence” that she is benefiting off of the prostituting of others. Her “friend” wanted to fulfill the fantasy of being an escort for a night – that “friend” was wired, and landed Ms. Almodovar in prison – solitary confinement in fact. There’s law enforcement’s honesty for you.

            You can go to her website to read what happened.

            http://www.normajeanalmodovar.com/mybio.html

            Stella, I would hope you could be a little more professional than that. It is a lie.

          2. Iamcuriousblue

            You are correct, a pandering conviction does not even necessarily put one in a business-owner position in the sex industry, much less make one a “pimp”, as I’ve said numerous times previously. Not that Stella even will respond to this point. I predict Stella will just once again state “Norma Jean Almodovar is a pimp. She’s been convicted.” And simply repeat that point endlessly no matter what factual counterargument is brought up. This is what she does, in every debate I’ve ever seen her participate in. She doesn’t even have to make a valid argument. “Poisoning the well” is sufficient.

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            Looks like this didn’t go through:

            You are correct, a pandering conviction does not even necessarily put one in a business-owner position in the sex industry, much less make one a “pimp”, as I’ve said numerous times previously. Not that Stella even will respond to this point. I predict Stella will just once again state “Norma Jean Almodovar is a pimp. She’s been convicted.” And simply repeat that point endlessly no matter what factual counterargument is brought up. This is what she does, in every debate I’ve ever seen her participate in. She doesn’t even have to make a valid argument. “Poisoning the well” is sufficient.

  73. 73
    xxxild

    Stella Marr:

    Academia, NGOS, and the media have a responsibility to address this conflict of interest whenever they feature organizations associated with people who have been convicted of pimping, pandering or conspiracy to promote prostitution, as well as organizations associated with people who are admitted pimps and madams working the street or owning escort services, dungeons, or brothels.

    I will remember this BS tactic from you, and it doesn’t inspire any kind of trust. Using the big strong arm of the law to smear people. I like Norma Jean. She’s a good person who cares about sex workers.

  74. 74
    JesseW, the Juggling Janitor

    For the benefit of later bystanders, and as an encouragement for Taslima to respond, I’m linking to Greta Christina’s thread: “Sex Workers – An Invitation to Tell Your Stories“. As of this posting, there are 91 comments there, most of which are answers to Greta’s suggested questions.

  75. 75
    Gorbachev

    Stella Mar sounds like a victorian prude telling everyone that X or Y is unacceptable because it’s against the Moral and Correct Social Convention. She presents no evidence that her much-vaunted Swedish model works, counters none of the other writers who claim only to wish to speak about their own experiences, and credits nothing but the worst possible stories.

    I’m going to suggest that lots of work is trafficked and forced. It’s a common theme in human history, remains common today, and is in no way restricted to sex.

    She explicitly claims that women (or men) who claim they chose sex work as one of many options and chose it freely are madams with a financial interest.

    Any proof? Just another moralizing, sanctimonious assertion.

    Unlike the majority of commenters making very polite and intelligent comments on the article, Stella Mar sounds much more like an ignorant grandmother TskTsking on the sidelines and refusing to hear the logic or credit the response of anyone else. More to the point, she takes disagreement as personal insult in almost all of her commentary, and seems to be easily offended.

    She sounds in tone and manner much like a religious zealot.

    As far as the author goes, I detect no bitterness, just complete ignorance of the world outside of forced sex.

    Sex is absolutely the same as any other activity. Sex and all of its forms are not patriarchal or oppressive.

    Being enslaved or forced to do anything by others is oppressive. Being forced to mine iron or work a sugar cane field is also oppressive.

    Sex is the same as any human activity. If some people make money as “hand models”, and some make money as wage laborers on farms, and some make money fixing cars–

    Then there’s no shame in making money from sex. How is it different from making food in a restaurant or delivering pizza?

    Stop shaming and give up the shaming language. Stop making personal attacks on everyone who disagrees with you. Stop making assumptions about the people who disagree with you. I’ve never paid for sex, for example. Just because I disagree with you, doesn’t mean I hate women or rape women via prostitution. Please.

    Give women some agency. Treat them like fully consenting, intelligent adults.

    Have some respect for women.

    Fight slavery, sure. But don’t fight sex.

    1. 75.1
      Ann

      And of course you have your own bulletproof evidence from reliable and independent sources (who is not economical dependent of the sex industry) to underline your statements with.

      Of course Stella is a religious fanatic prude (like all the other survivors) nobody wants to listen to – why? Why is it, that her and all of the others I know of, is bullied as soon as they say: Prostitution is bad for your soul and bad for your body.
      And why is it, that she, as soon as she tells another story than the happy hooker story, she is appointed to be a prude. She and her collegues really must be a threat to the sexinudstry. Bad for you and bad for the industry, she and survivors in most of the world are joining together – they don’t want to be silent anymore.

      Gorbachev Read some of the news papers in New Zealand and the discussions in the Parliament, Contact the street reach in Auckland. Contact the police on street patrol. Then you will realise that things aren’t exactly as merry as some would like the rest of the world to see it as.

      Read police reports (like the Sneep and Ablak cases), official evaulations, news papers, statements by politicians, former prostitutes, NGO’s, from Holland, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Australia ….. then you will realise, that Stella and her collegues are not the only ones, who are religious prude or whatever you call people who don’t see legalised prostitution as an offer that are acceptabel.
      Because it has been proven, that prostitution everywhere it has been legalised, has not been able to remove the organised crime, has not been able to make it “normal” job, has not been able to remove stigma, has not been able to remove street prostitution, has not been able to remove violence (the customers are still the same “good old customers”, murder, has not been able to remove the illegal trade (on the contrary), childprostitution, trafficking, money laundry.

      It has been necessary to make exit programmes again because it is not a normal job and it wil never be a normal job. No other work require an exit programme. No other job require that the customers penetrate your body. No other job require that you are completely naked placed in a vulnerable and defenseless position with a total stranger person. That is why it is recommanded that prostitutes always has a stiletto shoe they can hit with or as one told once, always have a can with petrol or lightergass she could spray on a violent customer or peperspray. This is escort and brothelprostitution.

      A normal job?

      When you have read all that, then maybe you will realise, that it has absolutely nothing to do with being a fanatic prude or whatever you call it, but simply a question about stopping or at least decrease a destroying industry, where the only winners are managers and customers.

  76. 76
    Plants and Animals

    Hi Taslima,

    I noticed you needed some stats!

    Here’s a new report on the sex industry in Australia:

    http://nothing-about-us-without-us.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/LASH_NSW-Sex-Industry-Report_2012.pdf

    That’s 20 years of data to disagree with you.

    Please have a look. People respect you so it’s actually kind of dangerous for you to be wrong on this.

    1. 76.1
      Ann

      I Think that you should read this article before you say anything more.

      http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/sydney-is-sinking-into-sin/story-e6freuzi-1225952354770

      “The statistics show 150 illegal brothels operate in the state, with hundreds more are believed to be going unreported. Several industry figures estimate that there are at least 10,000 sex workers in NSW alone – Putting the state on a par with Amsterdam.

      The European sex capital is now winding back its legal brothel numbers due to major problems with organised crime and people trafficking.

      It has long been suspected Sydney is the sex capital of Australia, but the figures have shocked industry insiders.

      The new statistics have alarmed industry experts. A former ICAC and National Crime Authority organised crime investigator – who has raided more than 200 brothels across Sydney – said the figures were the first ever gathered by a NSW government.

      “The proliferation of brothels has resulted from dysfunctional planning laws and legislation governing sex premises in NSW,” he said.

      “There’s no control. The approval process, which only looks at development issues, has no provision for any criminal links with owners or operators, unlike liquor licensing laws.”

      Chris Seage, a former high-level consultant to the legal brothel industry in NSW, said of the figures: “I’m staggered. I only thought there were about 150 legal brothels in NSW. Now it turns out there’s double, and that’s only in a third of the councils.”

      Read the whole article – I don’t think that your report mentioned anything about this. I think that your report said something like: “In brief, the LASH team determined that:
      n Sydney has a diverse and open sex industry.
      Compared to other Australian cities Sydney’s
      sex industry is commensurate with the size of its
      population. NSW men are infrequent consumers
      of commercial sexual services, with only 2.3%
      purchasing sexual services in any one year, similar
      to the Australian average. The number of sex workers
      in Sydney brothels was similar to estimates from
      20 years ago. These data confirm that the removal of
      most criminal sanctions did not increase the incidence
      of commercial sex in NSW.”

      Under “Brothel owners, managers, and receptionists” in the report you link to, the Conclusion says: “Conclusions
      There is nothing in the comments by sex workers and
      owner managers in the brothel industry in NSW to indicate
      any systematic misconduct or corruption by officials, or any
      serious crime involvement.
      Invited unstructured comments show that some people
      are still rather vague about some aspects of the law and
      Council regulation. There is still considerable concern
      about the stigma attached to sex work.
      Overall these comments confirm the picture of an industry
      operating predominantly through small-scale local
      businesses, offering uniformly moderately priced services
      to their clientele. It suggests competition is fairly high and
      profit margins are small for most brothels in Sydney.”

      In the Telegraph: “Chris Seage, a former high-level consultant to the legal brothel industry in NSW, said of the figures: “I’m staggered. I only thought there were about 150 legal brothels in NSW. Now it turns out there’s double, and that’s only in a third of the councils.”

      Mr Seage said the key reason for the huge growth in legal brothels in NSW was “laissez faire” regulation.

      “We’ve left everything in the hands of councils, who are toothless in clamping down,” he said.

      “There’s no probity checks done in NSW. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can own a brothel, irrespective of their criminal background. You can be a murderer or a crime boss and legally own a brothel authorised by council.”

      Acting Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Mike McDermott, agreed councils did not have the ability to stop the spread of brothels: “We’ve been powerless to stop brothels starting up in our area.”

      Mr McDermott has been unable to limit the 20 brothels in his area alone.”

      So……

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        Right, Ann. Because some panicky article in the Conservative Daily Telegraph trumps a careful summary of studies, put together by sex workers themselves. Oh, wait a second, that’s right – the only *real* sex workers are those that agree with you and your law enforcement buddies.

        1. Ann

          Let me guess, curious, you haven’t read the article. I will quote the start of the article: “A confidential NSW Government document reveals Sydney alone has more than double the number of legal brothels than in the whole of Victoria and Queensland combined.”

          …A confidential NSW Government document reveals …….

          Why is it confidential?

          Another one, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8. nov. 2011.
          “Human trafficking prompts raids on brothels.
          Of the 148 women in a federal government support program for those trafficked into the sex industry in Australia since 2004, 119 (80 per cent) have been discovered in this state.

          However, those numbers are believed to be only the tip of an iceberg, with most women being kept as sex slaves or in debt bondage – a practice where women are forced to work as prostitutes until a large sum is paid off – going unreported. Other victims identified by police choose to leave Australia immediately.

          The federal Minister for Women, Kate Ellis, who oversees the government’s program for victims, admitted trafficking was ”a crime that goes unreported, undetected far too often”.

          She told the Herald this week: ”We don’t know whether the problem is growing or we are just being more effective in finding victims, but we do know we are coming across more and more women that are being trafficked into the sex industry. ”The majority of the Australian population would be shocked if they knew that human trafficking was occurring not just in our nation, but often in our neighbourhoods.

          (…)

          “An Australian Federal Police commander, Chris McDevitt, who spoke to the ABC’s Four Corners as part of a joint investigation with the Herald, said trafficking was an issue his force was trying to address.

          ”The more that we look, the more that we find,” he said.

          ”Since we’ve started out in 2003 we’ve now had 305 investigations or assessments of human trafficking in Australia, and out of that we’ve had 184 victims – and that’s 184 victims way too many. So it’s very important that we address this, and the AFP are right onto it.”

          He said that most people trafficked to Australia are sent to work in brothels.

          ”About 70 per cent of those victims are women for sexual exploitation, sexual servitude and the other 30 per cent for labour trafficking,” Mr McDevitt said.”

          http://www.smh.com.au/national/human-trafficking-prompts-raids-on-brothels-20111007-1ldmz.html

          And here a little update report from NSW. The confidential report is mentioned in it, but it is still confidential. Rather interesting, isn’t it. Why is it confidential.
          http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/Regulationofbrothels:anupdate/$File/E-brief.regulation+of+brothels.pdf

          1. Plants and Animals

            Ann,

            I gave you real data and you gave me the Daily Telegraph.

          2. Ann

            and the confidential report is just a puff in the air? Why do you think that it is confidential? Maybe because it show people, that the legalisation was a very very big mistake.

  77. 77
    JesseW, the Juggling Janitor

    Another post on Greta’s blog, this one a guest post by Sarah van-Brussel of international women’s fund Mama Cash. Just FYI.

  78. 78
    skeptifem

    You are awesome Taslima. Thank you for bringing this issue up on FTB. Most people here think of privileged white women when they think of prostitution, not the typical prostitute (introduced young, pimped/trafficked, economically disadvantaged, etc).

    1. 78.1
      Phillip Helbig

      Even if that is true, it is no excuse for failing to distinguish between voluntary prostitution and forced prostitution. That’s like failing to distinguish between sex and rape. (Of course, there are radical feminists who don’t make that distinction.) Or between donating organs after death and kidnapping people to harvest their organs.

  79. 79
    Urmila Mathondkar

    Am I born and existing in this world just to satisfy the men who wield their penis like a sword? Am I born just to endure pain for the pleasure of men? Am I considered just a hole and not a whole? Am I to bear the life time of pain – say menstrual pain, sexual pain, child birth pain etc because I have a different anatomy. I wish I had a penis because:

    (1) you can pee standing up
    (2) you don’t bleed once a month
    (3) don’t have to go the gynecologist get pap tests and deal with other female problems
    (4) you don’t have to give birth
    (5) you get more pleasure out of sex
    (6) you don’t get raped
    (7) you don’t get the fishy/unpleasant odour/yeast infections,etc
    (8) I know I would have a big erection haha
    (9) I could know what if feels like to get head
    (10) I would play with myself everyday couple times a day
    (11) I could brag about it being big like all guys do!!
    (12) I wouldn’t get lectured about telling to suck penis and how it is that is not ladylike not to suck it. Disgusting !!
    (13) I can pee on people/off of buildings

  80. 80
    lisalaine

    Very good post. I find it telling that once you admit these fundamental truths about prostitution, those who appear to be for human rights through the name ‘sex positives’ are the first ones to gaslight you and tell you it ain’t so when we know it IS so.

    They are like an angry pack, rabidly going from one blog to the next, in complete denial that this is the experience of the majority, not the minority.

    I commend you for your bravery in this subject matter as I’m sure you will be talked about for at least the next year as the ANTI who ruined everyone’s parade.

    Cheers,

    Lisa

  81. 81
    wild bdsmchat

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    Doveb Staali

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    click here

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  84. 84
    Lajuana Lehman

    UK attractions also come in natural form – there are a surprising number of areas of outstanding beauty for such a small island. England’s Lake District in Cumbria, the Cairngorms in Scotland and Snowdonia in Wales all provide inspiring environments that have sharpened the minds and pencils of poets and subsequently defined the psyche of the nations that make up the United Kingdom.

  1. 85
    Prostitution Is Not Sex Slavery | Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] has written a post titled “Sex Slavery must be abolished.” Hard to argue with. Except that throughout the piece, she equates all forms of prostitution with [...]

  2. 86
    What I’ve Been Reading: April 9 (aka I’m too lazy to write a real post) | amandatheatheist

    [...] seems to be a popular topic today. Taslima Nasreen wrote a post speaking out against sex slavery and prostitution. Greta Christina replied both saying [...]

  3. 87
    Prostitution is not synonymous with sex slavery « The Hypothetical Bus Stop

    [...] deeply embedded in the atheist movement. This morning, I was perusing new articles of FTB and found this article about how all prostitution is sex slavery . I don’t entirely know where she’s coming [...]

  4. 88
    This is why I don’t listen to most people. | StealthBadger.net

    [...] the original link to the comment (and you can scroll up to see the [...]

  5. 89
    The Hypothetical Bus Stop

    [...] to slut-shaming them. She also has cited some sources which are a bit suspect. I recommend you head over there and read the comments for the full story. I have placed a list of her sources and discussion of her [...]

  6. 90
    But Seriously, Prostitution Is Not Sex Slavery « escorts are for women too

    [...] The post in question is misleadingly entitled “Sex Slavery Must Be Abolished”. Misleading in that the subject of the post is not really sex slavery, it’s the equation of all forms of sex work with sex slavery. This rhetorical slight of hand puts us in the starting position of outrage, of anger at the obvious immorality of slavery (sexual or otherwise), and through that outrage leads us into far less self-evident claims that deserve considerably more critical thought, and demand considerably more evidence, than the assertion in the title. Evidence Taslima does not provide. [...]

  7. 91
    I almost ruined my monitor. | StealthBadger.net

    [...] We’ll get to that in a second. The comments at Taslima’s two posts have been even more edifying than the posts [...]

  8. 92
    Oh but IS prostitution “sex slavery”? | AGodlessStrumpet

    [...] Lately on the Freethoughtblogs there has been in engaging back and forth between Taslima Nasreen and some of the other blogger.  Nasreen made the typical blanket statement assertions and conflations between sex trafficking and prostitution in her post Sex Slavery must be abolished. [...]

  9. 93
    Anticlimax | IdioPrag

    [...] her stand against prostitution Taslima paints with a very broad brush, so broad, in fact, that it seems impossible to engage her [...]

  10. 94
    Sharing the love « The Lady Garden

    [...] at FreeThoughtBlogs, Taslima Nasrin argued for the abolition of sex slavery. It’s an interesting piece, but along the way she makes some claims about prostitution like [...]

  11. 95
    Sex Work Debate Epic Moments « xxxild

    [...] any event, you all reading this probably know that the first three posts by Taslima were about as lame as they come. Many bloggers and commenters were very kind and others [...]

  12. 96
    St. Steinem & Mr. Sincerity Take On India | AGodlessStrumpet

    [...] Divinity33372. These two men seem very open to a more balanced view of sex work then displayed by Taslima Nasreen until someone had the irreverence to criticize St. Gloria [...]

  13. 97
    Week Of The Anti-Porn Crazaa, Part 3: Taslima Nasreen Puts The “Taz” In Anti-Sex Work/Anti-Porn Hysteria | Red Garter Club Blog (Version 3.2)

    [...] and total denial of the “abolitionists”, it is this comment reaction Nasreen to a comment by Maggie Mayhem, an active [...]

  14. 98
    A Study In AntiPorn/AntiSexWork Paternalistic Idiocy: A Response To “Nikolay” | Red Garter Club Blog (Version 3.2)

    [...] It all started when “abolitionist” activist and writer Taslima Nasreen decided to post some blog blasts decrying what she called “sex slavery’ and endorsing the “Swedish [...]

  15. 99
    Sex Workers – An Invitation to Tell Your Stories | Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] regular readers of this blog know, my fellow blogger in the Freethought Blogs, Taslima Nasrin, wrote a post a few weeks ago positing that all prostitution is always patriarchal oppression, always sexual [...]

  16. 100
    A Response to Greta Christina | AGodlessStrumpet

    [...] As regular readers of this blog know, my fellow blogger in the Freethought Blogs, Taslima Nasreen, wrote a post a few weeks ago positing that all prostitution is always patriarchal oppression, always sexual [...]

  17. 101
    My Experience of Sex Work | Miss Kitty Stryker

    [...] As regular readers of this blog know, my fellow blogger in the Freethought Blogs, Taslima Nasreen, wrote a post a few weeks ago positing that all prostitution is always patriarchal oppression, always sexual [...]

  18. 102
    Amelia Knerr

    Amelia Knerr…

    [...]Sex Slavery must be abolished. | No Country for Women[...]…

  19. 103
    Prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual slavery and personal autonomy » AamJanata

    [...] Taslima Nasreen recently wrote an article calling for the abolishment of prostitution: Sex Slavery Must be Abolished [...]

  20. 104
    What Sex-Positivity Can Offer The Sex Workers' Rights Movement |Charlie Glickman

    [...] is especially important in light of the ways that many people equate sex slavery with prostitution. There are people who are enslaved in agricultural work, domestic work, food processing and [...]

  21. 105
    Conversation with Joseph Zhang | Atheism, Music, and More…

    [...] completely ignored the voices of sex workers to maintain their anti-sex work positions. Hell… look at Taslima Nasreen on FTB. She’s a prime example. But just because I disagree with those specific feminists does not mean I [...]

  22. 106
    tumblr backups

    [...] Author response:  [...]

  23. 107
    Literate Perversions | To Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasrin: No, You Are Not Whores

    [...] and without stigma. Taslima in particular has an extremely bad history on the topic, having equated prostitution with slavery and insulted actual sex work activists like Maggie Mayhem in the process. To my knowledge, she’s [...]

  24. 108
    Swedish sex models!!! | Crommunist

    […] Greta Christina and newly-minted FTBorg Taslima Nasreen. Ms. Nasreen wrote a piece essentially equating all sex work with exploitative slavery. Greta, a long-time sex work advocate, disagrees with a great deal of Taslima’s piece. So do […]

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