Collective Shout quoted in Herald Sun and Daily MailRead more
The panel considered that the relevant audience for this advertisement would be broad and include children.
However, the best interests of children were disregarded because the sex trade has a right to promote its business, sexually objectifying and exploiting women.Read more
Ad Standards have upheld complaints against a strip club, Goldfingers Mens Club over an “unavoidable” poster on the corner of King Street and Lonsdale Street featuring a highly sexualised image of a woman with a guitar between her legs.Read more
Most people recognise sex trafficking as a serious human rights violation, but what about prostitution?
There is sometimes a perception of sex trafficking and prostitution as two separate and unrelated issues, with trafficking being viewed as forced, and prostitution as freely chosen. However, the two are intrinsically connected- the demand for prostitution fuels sex trafficking.
A study of 150 countries found that legalised prostitution leads to an expansion of the prostitution market, increasing human trafficking, and that on average, countries where prostitution is legal experience larger human trafficking inflows. Essentially, legitimising and normalising the sex industry leads to a rise in trafficking, as women must be brought in to meet increased demand.
German Detective Superintendent Helmut Sporer described the devastating impacts of legalising the sex industry in Germany, including worsened conditions for women, greater power to pimps and organised crime gangs and a significant increase in trafficking:
“What is very important here is the awareness of the fact that prostitution and trafficking are a joint phenomenon. There is no such thing as clean, good prostitution on the one hand and quite separate from this the bad trafficking with pimping on the other.”
One prostitution survivor highlighted some of the commonalities between supposedly ‘forced’ and ‘free’ sexual exploitation:
“Prostitution and sex trafficking are intrinsically linked: you have one because of the other. For the last 18 months of my time on the Burlington Road, I stood alongside a trafficked woman. She became my closest friend, and I have never seen a human being so broken down. The conditions in which she lived were inhumane, and, although we had arrived at the same place through different means, we were connected because we were bought, used, exploited, humiliated and raped by the same offenders. One night I would be bought, and, a few nights later, the same man would buy her. On a couple of occasions, we were bought together. That connection can never be broken by anyone at any time in any country.”
In 2003 Dorchen Leidholdt, Co-Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International summed up the connection between prostitution and trafficking as follows:
“Prostitution and sex trafficking are the same human rights catastrophe, whether in local or global guise. Both are part of a system of gender-based domination that makes violence against women and girls profitable to a mind-boggling extreme. Both prey on women and girls made vulnerable by poverty, discrimination and violence and leave them traumatised, sick and impoverished. Both reward predators sexually and financially, strengthening both the demand for criminal operations that ensure the supply.
“The concerted effort by some NGOs and governments to disconnect trafficking from prostitution- to treat them as a distinct and unrelated phenomena- is nothing less than a deliberate political strategy aimed at legitimizing the sex industry and protecting its growth and profitability.”
Pic: Dorchen Leidholdt
Sweden’s solution to prostitution and trafficking, the ‘Nordic model’
The Nordic model was implemented in Sweden in 1999 after extensive research, and it is based on the view of prostitution as a form of men’s violence against women.
The Nordic model criminalises the demand for sexual exploitation, decriminalises those exploited, and provides exit pathways for individuals in prostitution who wish to leave the industry. As Swedish lawyer Gunilla Ekberg explains:
“One of the cornerstones of Swedish policies against prostitution and trafficking in human beings is the focus on the root cause, the recognition that without men’s demand for and use of women and girls for sexual exploitation, the global prostitution industry would not be able to flourish and expand.”
Various human rights organisations, academics and prostitution survivors advocate for the implementation of the Nordic model, which has been adopted in a growing number of countries around the world, including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France and Ireland.
Progress under the Nordic model
Since Sweden's legislation criminalising the buying of sex, considerable progress has been made. According to research out of the Nordic Gender Institute, the number of men buying sex has decreased from 13.6% in 1996 to 7.9% in 2008. Street prostitution in Sweden has halved while in neighbouring countries such as Norway and Denmark it is estimated to be three times higher. Police have intercepted phone correspondence between pimps and traffickers who now regard Sweden as an unattractive market and suggest Denmark, Germany or Holland (where prostitution is legal) as more profitable alternatives. Reportedly, there has been a cultural shift in Sweden where it is no longer considered acceptable to purchase another person.
As proponents of the Nordic model attest, we cannot oppose sex trafficking of women and children and simultaneously support the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children in prostitution. Sex trafficking would cease to exist if men stopped buying women. There can never be gender equality while women are commodities to be bought and sold.
"Images are inappropriate for viewing by children"Read more
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”.
“bordering on pornographic…the women were being objectified”Read more
Considering the abundance of platforms that are available for campaigning against the exploitation of women and children, it stands to reason that the mission of one campaign may not always correspond with another. Particularly in the age of social media, conflicting messages between campaigns are often overshadowed by the resounding chorus of advocates and protestors who, on a surface level, are united in saying ‘no’ against the exploitation of women and children.Read more
Another sexploitation event: Women treated as objects of sexual recreation at Adelaide Victory venue
[*Update: FFSA have replied. Their response is posted at the bottom of the article.]
A few weeks ago we wrote an article on SBS about a local South Australian soccer club hosting a men's night complete with strippers down at the club. The event sparked a lot of discussion on our Facebook page and in response we wrote this piece highlighting some of the main issues with a men's sporting club participating in the purchase of sexual services.
Only a matter of weeks later, we have learned about yet another South Australian club venue hosting a similar event - and they may have gotten away with it if the so-called 'Adult Entertainment' agency had not posted a photo from the night on Instagram, complete with the club's logo in the background.Read more
AUSTRALIAN MEN TAKE THE PLEDGE AGAINST SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
- PROSTITUTION - I DON'T BUY IT -
Join men from across Australia who are coming together to take a stand against sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children worldwide.
Stand for the promotion of human dignity and the prevention of the commodification of women and children through prostitution.
Sign the Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC) pledge - Prostitution - I Don't Buy It.
In Ireland earlier this year, Tom Meagher, husband to murdered journalist Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne in 2012, spoke at a similar Irish campaign launch.
Jill Meagher’s killer, Adrian Bayley, had a long history of raping and abusing prostitutes.
Adrian Bayley is on public record as stating that he had a ‘right’ to rape prostitutes, because he ‘paid for it’.
At Ireland’s campaign launch Tom Meagher spoke about men's role in prostitution –
‘This dehumanisation [of women] comes from knowing that what they are doing is not right. If you pay for sex, the money is not buying consent, it is paying for the temporary suspension of the woman’s right not to consent’.
Mr Meagher spoke of the lies of ‘consensual transactions’ and the ‘pernicious lie of the male libido being beyond the control of the man who owns that libido. That feeds into a lie that we can’t help ourselves’.
He said there was a ‘need to end the lie that this is about sexual liberation. It isn’t, it is about sexual exploitation. The circumstances are usually coercive, but even if they are not, the buyer has no way of knowing.
Ultimately, the only person making the choice is the buyer and the choices we make absolutely matter’.
In signing the NorMAC pledge - Prostitution - I Don't Buy It - men commit to:
Understanding that the commodification of women's bodies for sexual purposes is harmful and undermines women's human rights, dignity and gender equality.
Actively raising public awareness with other men the myths surrounding prostitution and sexual exploitation and trafficking, especially in Australia.
Assisting the curb for the demand for sexual services by supporting the introduction in Australia of Nordic model laws on prostitution, in recognition of the urgent need to provide peace and security for all women.
I agree to make the above pledge for the Prostitution - I Don't Buy It campaign
I agree to have my name listed on the pledge webpage at normac.org.au
Please forward your signature and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.