Last week, in a ground-breaking win, the UK High Court ruled that forcing sex trade survivors to reveal past convictions was unlawful.
The ruling was handed down after a claim brought by three sex trade survivors who argued that the legislative scheme requiring them to disclose their convictions for prostitution discriminates against women and is contrary to the UK’s legal obligations regarding the trafficking of women.
All three of the claimants had been forced into the sex industry as teenagers, and as a result had multiple criminal convictions of soliciting and loitering. Claimant Fiona Broadfoot, who waived anonymity, recalled:
“I met a pimp aged 15 and two weeks later I was thrown into the violent and abusive world of prostitution. Rape became an occupational hazard but I was arrested, charged and criminalised for loitering for the purposes of being a common prostitute. After more than twenty years out of prostitution, I am still having to explain my criminal record to any prospective employer. It feels like explaining my history of abuse.”
Another survivor reflected on how the criminal convictions had impacted her life:
“It doesn’t matter what it is – trying to help out at my kids’ school or the local brownies’ coffee morning, trying to be a governor or a councillor, applying to education or training or employment – even volunteering in so many fields – with children, with the elderly, in care, with vulnerable people, with youth work, with social work – all need a DBS and then you get treated like some sort of pariah or sex offender! But it’s not fair – I never chose that life and I fought hard to get out of it but I’m always being pulled back to it as though that’s who I am but it’s not who I am.”
While the women forced into prostitution had spent their lives enduring the consequences of being sexually exploited, including the indignity of having to explain their convictions, the men involved were never arrested, Broadfoot pointed out.
“When I was arrested, the police referred to my pimp by his first name. Well, why didn’t they arrest him?” she said.
“Not one of those men who bought and used and abused me – even the ones who knew fine well I was a child when first put on the streets – has ever had to face the consequences of his actions.”
Karen Ingala Smith, the CEO of women’s charity nia, said,
“We feel strongly that these women should never have been convicted in the first place. Prostitution is symptomatic of women’s continued inequality and discrimination and a form of violence against women. These women were exploited and coerced and yet it is their lives, not those of their buyers and pimps, that were blighted with convictions. They should not have had to take up this fight, but they did and it is to the benefit of all those exploited in prostitution”.
It’s hard to think of anything more sexist and demeaning than a pub promoting semi-naked women wrestling in a pool of jelly to entertain men. But the Imperial Hotel Singleton thought jelly-wrestling, along with decorative bikini “girls” for men to look at, was an appropriate way to celebrate Australia Day. This is the same venue that threw a ‘Playboy Party’ to commemorate pimp Hugh Hefner, with free bunny.
“It’s just not good enough anymore.”
Local woman Lily Munroe couldn’t stand by and accept this objectification and humiliation of women under the guise of men’s entertainment. So she decided to act.
Lily contacted the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, whose volunteers had been fundraising at the Singleton pub since 2010. She emailed the WRH CEO, the fundraising and marketing manager, the mayor, ten councillors and the local MP, and made an appointment with a representative at the WRH office.
Lily was initially met with resistance, with one representative from WRH dismissing her concerns and directing her back to the pub, claiming that the WRH fundraising at the Singleton pub was not “official” as the fundraisers were volunteers. When the representative called the volunteers on Lily’s insistence, they were shocked to learn of the event and decided to cancel their fundraising that evening and withdraw from the pub entirely.
Next, Lily then received a phone call from the WRH fundraising and marketing manager who called to confirm not only their withdrawal, but that the sexist event had also been cancelled due to WRH’s decision to withdraw. When the pub learned WRH were planning on withdrawing from all present and future association (a big drawcard for the pub on Friday nights) they said they would cancel the jelly-wrestling and not hold similar events in the future if WRH would stay.
The Imperial Hotel Singleton confirmed on their Facebook page the event had been cancelled: “Please note we have regretfully cancelled tonight’s jelly wrestling thanks to the do-gooder PC brigade. Good work ladies.” And good work it was!
If Lily hadn’t challenged the venue hosting this sexist and degrading event, it would still be going ahead. But she did.
If we speak out, we can affect real change.
"It's the parents' responsibility": Porn industry blames parents for children's exposure to hard core porn
Three teenagers have a conversation about how online pornography has impacted on their lives in a new video from ABC. The seven-minute video explores the ways in which unrestricted access to pornography shapes young people’s sexuality, their intimate relationships and view of themselves and their bodies.
In a digital age with unrestricted access to hard core pornography, children are being exposed at unprecedented rates and from younger ages. Children are viewing increasingly violent and degrading pornography, typically before they’ve experienced real life sexual encounters. Pornography has become the primary means of sex education for young people, but what does it teach?
“[Porn] is creating an expectation”
Kiki, 19, told ABC she had experienced pressure from male sexual partners to replicate sex acts they had seen in pornography:
“My boyfriend at the time would just nag me and nag me and nag me at the time to do anal. I ended up having to turn around and stop and say, ‘No, I’m not going to do that’ before he retreated… it’s not kind of like ‘Hey, I’m curious about this.’ It’s like, ‘You should do this, I want you to do this.’ They push and push and push.”
Kiki’s sentiments have been expressed by many young women who have similarly described experiences of coercion and unwanted porn-inspired sex acts instigated by male partners. (Read more here).
Porn industry blames parents for children’s exposure to porn
Throughout the short video, various spokespeople for the pornography industry shrugged off responsibility for the harms to children who were exposed to hard core pornography, arguing it was up to parents to monitor their child’s internet access.
Ron Jeremy, one of the most famous male porn performers of all time, argued it was not the porn industry’s responsibility to depict healthy sexual relationships. Jeremy, who was a special guest at Sexpo, was last week barred from the industry’s own Adult Video News awards after multiple rape allegations. “Watch your goddamn kids,” he said.
But when the teens featured in the video were asked if they felt their parents could control everything they looked at on the internet, their response was a resounding no. “No, there’s no way you could. To a 13-year-old, parents say ‘No more internet’ so he takes his smartphone down to public wi-fi.”
It’s near impossible for parents to compete with the multi-billion-dollar global sex industry, one that aggressively markets and has successfully mainstreamed its product, and opposes any measures that may curtail its profits- such as age verification on pornographic websites.
Parents need to be educated, but at best, all we can really do is prepare our children for the inevitable.
Content Warning: Some content including in this post may be distressing, but it is content the ASB is promoting to your children.
If an adult gave your child a Hustler magazine, what would you do? Perhaps contacting the police might be an appropriate response.
But what if the adult was the Advertising Standards Board, and the pornographic magazine was the address for a hardcore porn website, complete with prostitution services featuring young women engaging in live sex shows, including being penetrated with objects?Read more
Last year Western Australian Tavern The Sixty30 made an application to vary existing trading conditions to allow topless waitresses. Along with other members of the community and the Commissioner of Police, we lodged an objection on the basis that:Read more
Online classifieds website Backpage have this week shut down their adult advertising section of their site after being accused of facilitating child trafficking.
As reported by the Washington Post "The decision came shortly after a Senate panel released a report alleging Backpage concealed criminal activity by removing words from ads that would have exposed child sex trafficking and prostitution."
Backpage.com’s CEO, Carl Ferrer, has been arrested booked on felony pimping charges.Read more
The final decision came down to whether a finger hooked in the side of a g-string was “part of the woman’s pose” or intended to look like she's pulling them downRead more
It has come to our attention that Merriwa Tavern The Sixty 30 has made an application to vary existing trading conditions to allow topless waitresses or ‘skimpies’.
As an organisation that fights against commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls, Collective Shout strongly opposes this application on the grounds that:
- The use of women’s bodies in sexual entertainment and services is a form of prostitution
- Sexual trade in women’s bodies both causes and contributes to gender inequality by reducing women to mere objects for men’s use and enjoyment, with adverse impacts on women who are directly involved as well as women as a whole
- A significant body of research links sexual objectification of women with violence against women
- Sexploitation venues pose a threat to women, with women reporting increased incidents of sexual harassment, abuse and violence in areas in close proximity to strip clubs
Take Action against sexist promotions
Via Yahoo7 News
A Sydney pub has been slammed for its "sexist" promotion offering free meals for "hot" women.
The former family-friendly pub, Petersham Inn, in Sydney's inner west, has recently transformed into an American-style sports bar, including an adult entertainment venue featuring strip shows.