Debating prostitution at the TUC
Posted on March 12, 2009
I’ve spent the last few days at the TUC Women’s Conference in sunny Scarborough as part of the UNISON delegation.
And today was the big day. The day we debated prostitution.
On the agenda were two motions on this issue, motion 39 from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution, and motion 40 from the University and College Union (UCU) calling for the criminalisation of men who purchase sex:
39 Decriminalisation of Prostitution
Conference calls on the Government to decriminalise prostitution. While the activities of women who work as prostitutes are subject to criminal prosecution then they are less able to access support and help from agencies when they need this. The criminalisation of those who work in the sex industry also creates a division between working class women who are all combating poverty and sexism. We believe women who work as prostitutes are entitled to the support of women trade unionists not our collusion in their repression. We support the unionisation of the sex industry.
Conference also strongly agrees that the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and associated agencies must rigorously enforce laws against rape and other violence – including sexual assault, GBH, false imprisonment, extortion, racist sexual assault -regardless of the victim’s status as a sex worker.
Women who have been trafficked must have confidence in the system to report violence without risk of deportation. The Government should consider the reallocation of money currently spent on prosecuting prostitute women, towards resources and services independent of the criminal justice system to ensure that sex workers’ rights are respected and to enable those who want to leave prostitution to do so.
Conference calls on the incoming TUC Women’s Committee to make this issue one of their main priorities and to also prepare and issue a report on any progress made to the next Women’s Conference in 2010.
Communication Workers’ Union
40 The Commodification of Sex
In the last two decades legalisation has been promoted as the solution to the problems that accompany prostitution in many countries. Governments in South East Asia are encouraged, in an important International Labor Organisation report, to officially recognise the “sex sector” and the contribution it makes to gross national income (1998). In Britain the debate continues over ‘decriminalisation’, with some women claiming that legally regulated brothels are the only way to protect trafficked women and street prostitutes. The experience of legalization in other countries has solved none of these problems and has led to many more, including an expansion of an industry in which men who would once have been classified as procurers and pimps are now seen as a newly respectable class of sex ‘businessmen’.
Conference demands that campaigning begins to:
i) expose the social causes of prostitution including women’s poverty;
ii) review the residency status of trafficked women;
iii) criminalise men’s purchase of sex rather than its sale; and
iv) ensure that the commodification of sex and the objectification of women’s bodies is shown to be a contributory factor in violence against women.
University and College Union
I’m pleased to say that UNISON, the UK’s biggest women’s trade union, opposed motion 39 and supported motion 40. I was delegated to speak against motion 39 on UNISON’s behalf.
Here’s the speech I wrote for it, and that I delivered earlier on today:
“Conference, women working in prostitution are among the most abused and vulnerable women in society. In the Government’s 2004 consultation into prostitution, ‘Paying the Price’ for example, they discovered that:
70% of those working in street prostitution began as children or teenagers
85% reported physical abuse in their family
45% reported sexual abuse in their family
and 70% spent time in Local Authority care while children
As the law stands at the moment in the UK, and even with the changes contained in the new Policing and crime bill, women working in prostitution are criminalised for selling sex. But when you take into account the vulnerability and abuse that has forced so many into the sex industry in the first place, it’s clear that criminalising these women serves no effective purpose other than to isolate and stigmatise them even further.
However, while UNISON agrees with the authors of this motion that prosecuting prostitutes is at best unhelpful, and at worst, an extension of the abuse they’ve already suffered, we do not agree that complete, across the board decriminalisation of the sex industry is the answer.
UNISON instead believes that rather than criminalising prostitutes, we should be targeting the pimps and the clients; the men making obscene profits out of the misery and exploitation of the vulnerable; and those who, even now in the 21st century, continue to see women as commodities to be bought and abused purely for their own sexual gratification.
And while we also agree that laws against rape and other forms of violence must be rigorously enforced for all women, regardless of their status as sex workers, we do not agree that such basic human rights should be dependent on the legitimisation of an industry that perpetuates abuses against women, and that promotes and feeds into patriarchal and sexist notions of all women as sex objects, existing solely to service men’s sexual needs.
Conference, all women should have the right to live lives free from violence; we should all have the right to bring the full force of the law down on those who rape and abuse us; we should also have the right to housing, health, sexual health, free contraception, benefits, training, careers advice, all of this regardless of who we are or what we do to earn money. But women should be able to enjoy those rights without society having to legalise a criminal industry that is predicated on the buying and selling of women’s bodies.
Instead of attempting to legitimise this vile industry, we should be looking at ways to eradicate it. Instead of calling for the unionisation of sex workers, a strategy that has been tried and found wanting already, with the IUSW and similar organisations populated as they are with agency owners, pimps and punters, appropriating the voices of those who most need to be heard, and protecting their own interests rather than the interests of those they employ, we should instead recognise that as trade unionists our role is to stand against those who oppress and exploit others, not to defend them and advocate on their behalf.
Conference, decriminalisation is a backwards step for women’s rights and for women’s progress towards equality. For as long as we legitimise prostitution, lap dancing, massage parlours and so on, there will always be a trade in trafficking, there will always be sex slavery, and there will always be women working the streets and putting their lives at risk.
Therefore I urge you, please oppose this motion, and vote instead for motion 40, the commodification of sex.”
As you can imagine it was a nail-biting, tense debate, with some impassioned speeches from both sides, but I’m delighted to be able to report that in the end conference voted in favour of motion 40 and against motion 39.
Excellent result Cath, and great speech too!
That’s fantastic Cath. Great that you got in the bit about the IUSW too.
I’d love to hear what the GMB have to say about the people they have allowed to join their union.
Totally brill, and well done.
Result! (understand about the poo and the ventilation device now, it has not happened yet this end, but there’s a reason why my blog is sekrit).
Fantastic – great speech & delighted at result.
Excellent news especially after having listened only the other day to a group of pro-prostitution apologists claiming trafficking of women and girls into prostitution is a feminist myth!! Strangely enough some of these speakers were from IUSW – which supposedly represents prostituted women and yes the moon is indeed made of green cheese!
I don’t get it. Its Ok for women to sell it, but bad for men to buy it. Maybe Cath will now campaign for prossies to be paid by the state – presumably after being presented with a prescription by punters.
You might want to take a look at this Ramiie
I agree that forced prostitution is beyond the pale, and perhaps rape should be redefined to include that crime. But I see absolutely nothing wrong morally in a fourteen or fifteen year old who, with the support and protection of realistic laws and safe regulated conditions, deciding of her own free will to sell her body for sex. Feminists like you and Cath Elliot should be campaigning for stellar working conditions, remuneration and protection for all prostitutes – one would think it’s the sisterly thing to do. I am not going to get all jumpy about the age thing either. The age of consent should be lowered- not at least to destigmatise the thousands of underage mummies and daddies- and feminists should “get real” about the age which, inspite of all moral thundering, young people decide to/feel the urge to fuck each other. It goes without saying that sex education should be placed higher on the school curriculum list of priorities…there is little to fear in doing this. I do not believe that children would be automatically drawn to it at a tender age because that urge comes with sexual maturity alone. Education however will arm them against the dangers of disease, exploitation, and the perversions which are often the natural corollary of sexual awakening.
Problem is, lazy feminism will focus on the male drive for sex, dehumanising us men in the process, but not focussing enough on the cultural stops that keep sex in mire.
What is this “@” stuff?
It seems to mark the user out as an unrepentant misogynist even though I can’t quite see the connection.
The age of consent needs to be kept where it is Ramiie so creepy men like you don’t have the opportunity to prey on girls even younger than it is legal to at the moment.
Ramiie- do some research on what prostitution actually *is* before telling us what to do. There are plenty of good links under ‘resources: anti-prostitution’ on my blog. That you think that it is okay for men to pay to rape a 14 year old so long as she ‘consents’ scares the living shit out of me.
You seem to be more concerned about the poor men not getting what they want than you do about the rape and torture of women. Lazy male thinking leads to such fucked up priorities.
Why on earth phrase this as a choice _between_ motion 39 and motion 40? If “women working in prostitution are among the most abused and vulnerable women in society,” what good does it do to add criminalization to that list? If “rather than criminalising prostitutes, we should be targeting the pimps and the clients,” why support the status quo in which prostitutes are, indeed, criminalized? Motion 40 leads to the targetting of pimps and clients, while motion 39 would lead to prostitutes not being targetted. The two motions are surely complementary.
I see… so the men in the number of foreign countries that have a lower consent age than ours are all *creepy*? Er what do we call this attidude? Racist, xenophobic, arrogant, culture-superiority complex, or as I imagine just your fear, your funk of having to deal with the serious challenge of earlier-onset sexual maturity.
BTW your feminazi slurs that would paint me a paedophile or creepy, simply because of my opinion, doesn’t phase me.
Laurelin….don’t be silly. I am a law abiding individual but I will campaign peacsefully for a change in the law to lower the age of consent. That doesn’t mean that, under the current rules, I condone rape under any definition, or that I would condone it if the law was changed. Get a grip.
I think that there must be a debate about the debilitating fear that clamps down on any discussion of early onset sexual maturity and then how to better deal with that commonplace..because it is common.
READ MY BLOG
So do you think it’s okay for grown men to f*** fourteen year old boy children too? Just so I get where you are coming from.
in the phrases ‘feminazi’, ‘don’t be silly’ and your general attitude you have shown your true face. Belittling me and Delphyne won’t make you a better human being or make our arguments go away.
No I won’t read your blog.
When do the CiF guards get here to round them up and put them back in their pen? Because until then I’m staying indoors and barricading the window.
I’m just waiting for a ‘hysterical’ and I think we have a BINGO!
“early onset sexual maturity”
Ramiie, it’s very telling that you find “sexual maturity” and piv sex so linked. PIV sex is not on some biological clock.
Not to mention “sexual maturity” is a vague phrase to use here. Whatever the hell that means. And why is it sexually mature men don’t want to *penetrate* (NOT using “sex) others THEIR OWN AGE?
What might be most CREEPY still, is you believing you know how *sexual maturity* manifests for females.
Seriously, who let the menz out? Who, who who who who?
How does arresting punters stop prostitution and protect women? If anything it will drive everything further underground and create more dangerous work conditions for those in the sex industry.The sex industry is not going to just disappear and neither is the objectification of women. At least through legalization and government and union regulation we can work together to stop wrongs committed against those involved. Where do we find the studies mentioned in section 40?
Hejira..you are under the SUN NEWSPAPER HEADLINE illusion that most underage girls who gets penetrated are done so by men substantially older than they are. What rot. They are usually within the same age range.But your reaction is typical of the paranoia that afflicts parents generally. Its probably written in our DNA to be paranoid about the big hulking brute who may be just waiting to pounce on our daughters. As a father of a nineteen year old girl, now at university, I remember my own paranoia about that remote possibility. Frank information about sex is the key to preventing a destructive ignorance, sexual dysfunction and mental trauma in people (young or old) who have sex.
What do I mean by “sexual maturity”? I dont get your question…wouldn’t you agree that a twenty five year old person is sexually mature? And what makes them that – biology or the law?
‘written into our DNA’- that’s gotta be on the Bingo card, hasn’t it! Heheheh!
I don’t see whats so funny.
I have just come from the other thread, where the Humanist Bingo game is going on.
I agree delphyne: who let ’em out of CiF?
Many women/feminists stay away from CiF for the rampant misogyny going on (usually in the disguise of Humanism, but sometimes more directly).
And now I *get* what delphyne meant on the other thread, about Ramiie and the 14yo girls. Yeah. Creepy.
“you are under the SUN NEWSPAPER HEADLINE illusion that most underage girls who gets penetrated are done so by men substantially older than they are.”
Actually, I was responding to the F Word article about the 14 year old escort wherein actual OLDER men (I said nothing about “substantially older” btw) were visiting a 14 year old “escort” (unless you are under the impression teenage guys go to escorts).
My first voiced concern is: why the hell do these men want a 14 year old girl?
Your voiced concern wonders *why the hell can’t these d00des have a wider range of female-aged vulvae to put it in*!!?? Blech.
And speaking of illusions: LOTS of older men DO like 14 year olds girls (were you ever a 14 year old girl?). They may not act on it but they don’t mind checking them out/making passes at them in public, looking for porn more closely resembling them.
…but they are “sexually mature” so I guess it’s just dandy.
By the way, you used “sexually mature” not me. You can’t elaborate on a term rooting your entire point? Biology, law, culture–tis your term. Have at it. And don’t dance.
That’s because I was laughing @ you not w/ you
I was a prostitute when I was a teenager. Most of the girls I worked with began in their early teens, one of them I knew at age 9. All of them grew up with violence and sexual abuse, were abusing drugs and were homeless, myself included. I wasn’t there because I had a wonderful sexual awakening and wanted to explore my sexuality. The men who exploited me were all adult men, not my age. Most were married or in relationships. And the fact that I looked younger than I was was a huge selling point, ie. these men wanted to rape children. There is nothing natural about that. And saying it happens in other cultures doesn’t make it so either, because the circumstances that force female children into sex in other cultures are just as exploitative. Physical maturity doesn’t equal emotional maturity. That’s what men who rape children are counting on. It’s easy to manipulate a child into sex, especially one whose already been raped, abused and exploited for most of their lives. People who want to lower the age of consent under the pretense that it’s ‘natural’ for children to ‘have sex’ are predators as far as I’m concerned.
This is disgusting.
People who have no clue about the sex industry being so self righteous about it. I have been selling sex for 10 years. Yes i started that to pay for my habits and no it wasnt always fun, but i have learned and it is now how i make a living. Like many other people.
You just dont get it that once you will have achieved criminalisation and that we will have to work hidden, fearful of arrest, even more stigmatised, we will be even more likely to be victims of violence. I know the difference , i have worked in several countries and places where sexwork is criminalised mean more stigma, more shame, more violence.
What do you think …how will i make a living once you made me a criminal ? you ll think i ll go flipping burgers at Burger’s King ? you think selling my ass is worst then selling my soul ?
But hey why would you care about real prostitutes when you are saving your idea of what a woman should be, right?
I believe that one day we will put an end to violence. Violence against children, against women, against all human beings. I have also been victim of child abuse, and i survived so dont go all self-righteous when reading my comment. I know that one day we will end violence. But til then there is a real world out there, a world you seem to have no idea of, where human beings make conscious choices about how they live their life, regardless of the puritanical morals of an elit that think they know better.
You are making me sick. “Empower” in Thailand represents thousands of sexworkers, their open school taught more than 30 000 people, but you will dismiss their voice the same way you dismiss ANY voices of sexworkers. Because you just can not imagine that for some of us it is OK to do what we do. Maybe we haven’t got much choice, maybe we’d rather do something else, but it is OUR life and we dont need no priviliged woman to tell us how she would make a living.
You know you are lying about IUSW. But you dont mind. Any trick is good to dis-empower sexworkers who stand up. I am a member of IUSW. Yes it s open to anyone to become a member but the very few people who are active in it are all sexworkers, strippers, escorts and one brothel owner who is also a sexworker. Does that make the IUSW abosultely non-legitimate ? You know it does’nt.
But yeah , once more, who cares about the truth , when you will do all that is possible to push your agenda and save us all ….
When more women and men will be killed in the streets because of the new law, i hope your sleep is not disturbed. You will sure have eradicated sexwork. Or maybe not..maybe just push it further away from the clean center of our towns… to dark parkings and industrial zone.
I always read all those articles and comments online but never felt so sick of the self-righteousness of an elitist bunch.
So to finish :
i was at the conference Jennifer Drew talk about
No one said trafficking was a myth. You are shamelessly lying. Evryone agreed it was a crucial problem and everything should be done to bring help to anyone abused. But they all also agreed criminalisation will do nothing to prevent or stop it.
And laurelin, if you get offended by someone saying “dont be silly” ( wow, so much testosterone in the air ! a man said “dont be silly ” to a woman! ) and that helps you make a point against this person, it is just plain sad.
Btw i m a migrant sexworker, ex-victim of child abuse and ex-addict and my point of view on my life, my job and the politics of the country i live in is, as much, if not more, valid than anyone else.
How do you know that no-one here knows about the sex trade? You don’t know us here from Eve…
Also, no-one here advocates criminalising prostitutes.
Sex-worker, like Laurelin said no-one here advocates criminalising prostitutes. The TUC motion that got passed today advocates criminalising those who purchase sex, not those who sell it.
Also having agency and brothel owners as members of the IUSW with its tiny 100-200 membership does delegitimise it, particularly as the agency owner is the one writing IUSW policy. Trade unions represent workers, not owners. It’s a complete conflict of interest.
Yeah, and rather ironic when she comments directly after “A…. Says:”
How do i know ? Because if you knew anything about the sex industry, you wouldnt try to make us all pass for coerced, powerless victims of men. Plenty of people working in the sex industry do so because they choose to. It may be hard to believe for you but thats just how it is.
I know that many do so for survival, specially younger people, but this not the majority. Like many i started in the streets, then bars and moved on to be independant. I did cheap tricks in train stations and high class escort in luxury hotels, i did porn movies, porn model for cam shows, sex-phone etc, i did domination , beating up and pissing on guys for cash as well as erotic massage …. in more than 10 countries in europe, middle east and north america,
So i have seen lots of different aspects of sexowrk.
I ve seen places where sexwork is criminalised and everyone from the cops to the neighbours, the families to the church are hunting us down. I ve seen other countries where sexwork isnt criminalised, where i can actually talk about how my day went to my friends, report an abusive client to a cop and be “out” as a prostitute at a public meeting.
Violence come hand in hand with stigmatisation. As long as being a whore will be associatted with something shameful, it will be the logical recipient of violence. The same way gays, lesbians or trans were and are victims of violence. Criminalisation = stigma = violence.
Do not, one more time , you or any other, start spreading lies about what sexwork is, if you actually know only about it from TV shows and “Paying the price” fake statistics.
‘lazy feminism’ Ramiie? I’m just like that. But this lazy feminist prefers to campaign for an end to abuse of women.
All the lazy dykes, they pity how you live…..
Also ‘the perversions that are often the natural corollary of sexual awaking’. ?????????????
Are you homophobic Ramiie, in addition to being an advocate of paedophilia?
Thank you A…. for telling your story.
Physically maturity (puberty) certainly does NOT equal emotional (/life experience) maturity.
The hypocrisy of ” criminalising clients” but not “sexworkers” is unbelievable. You criminalise our trade and in some ways we should be thankful ?
You are so disconnected with social realities it is embarassing.
A. thanks for sharing your story. The same way, my story about sexwork doesnt represent all sexworkers, yours doesnt either.
“How do i know ? Because if you knew anything about the sex industry, you wouldnt try to make us all pass for coerced, powerless victims of men.”
How do you ‘sex worker’ know that I don’t know anything about the sex industry? You are assuming a lot here.
I assume I am the famous IUSW pimp/agency owner sex worker lOL
Just to once again point out a little fact (Sorry I know the truth has little relevance to a good ideology of hate). My civil partner owns and manages an agency and I have sometimes spoken publicly for the agency. He is a member of the IUSW/GMB branch and to my knowledge is the only agency owner who is also a member at present. He does not take part in any decision making but remains a supporter only. I am a male sex worker and have been for ten years. I love my job and will fight for my rights and the rights of fellow sex workers to be free to follow their chosen career safely and free from fear of persecution by bigots.
Now you antis can go back to slandering sex workers and telling lies.
lots of love
Because it makes total sense for a boss to be a union member *rolls eyes*
not much love,
Oh well, no point in arguing with sisth form feministas. A little education, says Pope, is a dangerous thing. Contact me when you’ve turned forty, and we will laugh at how stoopid you really were. Meantime enjoy those lilly allen albums lol….
BTW laurelin I am a boss and I am in a union.
Ramiie- I pity your employees.
Sixth form, eh? Woah, that’s a long time ago! Heheh!
“Now you antis can go back to slandering sex workers and telling lies.”
LOL @ Douglas. Must be so upsetting to have your deceit revealed, so upsetting it turns out that you have to pretend that everybody else is a deceiver. The thing is it’s just you pal. Either you were lying in the Northern Echo and on the Channel 4 documentary or you’re lying now, and I’m going to pick…… NOW!
Ramiee is totally obsessed with young women isn’t he? Oh so creepy. Stay away from the youngsters Ramiie, you just know you make their flesh crawl.
Ramiie. A lot of us have turned forty. Quite a while ago in my case sadly. And it’s even MORE pervy for someone who’s turned forty to be extolling the joys of illegal sex with fourteen year olds.
Sisth form? What’s that?
Ok Douglas. On the TV programme you were taking part in running the agency your partner owns. Right or wrong?
And unfortunately you can’t see my blog at the moment for my opinion of Lily Allen…..
Sex worker obviously attended a different talk than the one I attended. As regards debate this ‘talk’ was nothing more than another exercise in prostitution apologist propaganda. But the central reason why prostitution propaganda is everywhere is because feminists are intent on ending men’s pseudo belief it is their inalienable right to have sexual access to any woman or child. Ramiee provides an excellent example of belief in male sex right to underage girls because a female’s sole role irrespective of age is to be men’s sexual masturbatory aids.
I wondered when Douglas would ‘appear.’ Good to see Douglas engages in work as a prostitute because this is what he claims. Not the reality he is one of the prostitutors.
I attended the conference at ICA.
I am curious of what you thought of the cop and social worker’s view.
We listened to someone who’s job is to work with and help ( when they want ) sexworkers, and who also thinks criminalisation will cause more violence.
Facts of sexwork :
A lots of sexworkers ( male and female ) are paid to spank, beat up, piss on , humiliate their male clients. It is still “prostitution” though obviously not the same power dynamic.
How does this fit in your view of sexworkers as victims and men perpetrators?
Lots of sexworkers are male. Either top, getting payed to fucked guys. Or bottom, being paid to get penetrated anally.
Why do we never talk about them ?
And when we do, why dont we use the same emotionnal – victimising tone ?
When a guy fucks me ( usually around 10 / 15 minutes of the whole hour ), and that i get £150 / £ 200 , i can tell you i smile at your idea that i am the victim.
Sexwork gives me economical independance and freedom.
People wanting prohibition are stuck in a fantasy world, where all women are victims, when it is so much more complex than that.
I can imagine how you feel about yourself, so dignified and posing for ALL women’s benefit, when you are actually only representing the middle class white post-colonial feminist who know whats best for everyone and how all women should live their lives
You are so simliar to evangelial christains spreading the Gospel to “culturally inferior” countries.
You are going to tell me that i am a privileged escort and that my reality doesnt represent the majority of prostitutes. To you, the majority of prostitutes are desperate street-crack-whores, defenseless against male power. Street prostitution is probably 15 / 20 % of prostitution.
Everyone agrees that the statistics used are not verifiable.
However, another survey shows that %8 of students are doing or have done sexwork, that make several thousands of people ..do you really think they are working in the streets ? pimped and beaten up? hooked on crack ?
No. They work through internet, make enough money to pay their studies and stop when they dont need to do it anymore.
You are fighting for an idea. End violence against women ( unconscioulsy participating in the hetero-sexistst invisibilisation of homosexuals and their cultures by their way).
But to make your idea a reality, you are ready to use tactics that will costs women’s lives. Specially women of colours, migrants and queers lives.
Open your eyes.
( btw , when i say ” you” i mean any abolitionsit, not specifically one commentator or writer. )
Well done Cath, good result.
Yeah, sex-worker posting just after A, the irony…
And thanks for sharing your story, A.
Douglas – I made no reference to you in my speech as you can see, but funnily enough your name did crop up in the debate. Looks like word’s got around.
What I found particularly interesting, was that the Unite delegation voted against decriminalisation. That’s Unite, the union that Teresa Mackay works for, who some of you may remember was the ECP-friendly trade unionist whose removal from the speaker’s list at last year’s Million Women Rise rally sparked a bit of trouble from certain quarters.
If statistics used on prostitution are not verifiable sex worker – which I agree is true – why are yours right?
Do you have some magic research method unavailable to others? Other figures are estimates, but the method for how they’re estimated is usually available.
And sex-worker – claiming feminists do not care about non-white, immigrant and lesbian women – LOL. Of course. This is an eeeevil plot by white middle-class women wringing their hands….yeah, whatever.
And sorry, ‘women of colours’? Did you really just say that? Sounds suspiciously like ‘coloured’. Which is not accepted terminology if you claim to be anti-racist.
I suspect you don’t care about said non-white women at all, but are using them to bash feminists.
This may seem a bit OT, but the bit that stunned me in ramies remark was this: “But I see absolutely nothing wrong morally in a fourteen or fifteen year old who, with the support and protection of realistic laws and safe regulated conditions, deciding of her own free will to sell her body for sex.”
We have been unable as a society to provide “the support and protection of realistic laws and safe regulated conditions…” for a fourteen year old girl to walk to the store alone. Where do you imagine these utopian conditions would exist? In a brothel? History teaches us, if we are willing to learn.
” you know nothing about sex industry ” was meant to the author of the text not A.
I was saying statistics can not be verified, the one i used or others.
Sorry i m using the wrong terminology. English isnt my first language, and i m not an academic.
Sigh. What was i saying again about middle class elitism?
You will take the piss of me because i use the wrong terminology, and my english is i think pretty good.
No wonder why people with less communication skills can not even enter the debate.
I least i tried.
When some of us will be killed in the streets because our brothels get raid and we are forced in the streets, when some of us will get raped and unable to report to the cops because we fear arrest…do remember, in the confort of your warm posh flats, that you help create this law. And that are you responsible.
This comment section, this whole debate , for you is an ideology game. For me it puts my life in danger.
You profoundly make me sick.
You lightly make me sick sex worker. And retreating into “that’s just middle class elitism” when someone puts a (non academic) argument you haven’t got a reply to is the last refuge of a scoundrel (or was that patriotism).
And how do you know what class I, or anybody else contributing here is? I’m officially in poverty in the country I live in.
And how did you find this blog? Randomly?
I really am sooooo sick to DEATH of the ridiculous idea that none of us feminists know anything about the “sex industry.” Yes, not ONE of us have been an escort, been in porn, been paid for sex. Not a one!!!! None of us have ever had friends or relatives or ever known one single person in real life in the “sex industry.” We are just crazy angry bitches who watch too much TV. BLAH!!!!!!!! Seriously, get a new line, cause this one is OLD and TIRED and is an outright lie.
People need to think things through a bit more before they post these huge generalizations, and at a new blog that they’ve never been to! You don’t know who the audience is, you are just making assumptions. ASSumptions.
I also think it is hilarious (by that I mean sick and wrong) that a boss would be in the same union and his employees. Uh, say what? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose?
Ramiie is a sick fuck, which we can all clearly see. Obviously a pedophile. Why would we listen to anything a child-raper says?
I have no interest in ever punishing a “sex worker.” EVER EVER EVER. I think it is insane and evil that a prostituted woman could ever be arrested or serve time. Sick and wrong. This should never ever happen. I’m not sure why people think that feminists want to punish women for men’s crimes.
Sex-worker, if your comment was addressed to me: you may be right about the ‘coloured’ thing, fwiw. I apologise if English is not your first language.
This is a UK blog. ‘Coloured’ is offensive here.
Some US bloggers say ‘people of colour’ – I personally don’t like the term, and certainly wish Brit bloggers wouldn’t use it (cultural imperialism).
I agree with Polly Styrene though, you don’t know anything about anyone who contributes here. Posh flat, LOL. I wish.
And the assumption that feminists who are against prostitution etc. are middle-class and playing some ideological game is seriously unfair. As others have said, many people here do have experience or know people who have of the sex industry, and we all care, precisely because the work puts women’s lives in danger.
The way to address that is debatable, and I’m a fence-sitter on the issue, but you know, all I see here is people who care and are unfoundedly accused of wanting to punish the women involved. I absolutely don’t, either.
First of all : apologies. It s quite easy to get angry online and ASSume. I never wrote comments before this column , and i can see how easy it is to get offensive.
Here are my thoughts about some that was dicussed before … ( if anyone can still be bothered !)
I think many many jobs put people in danger,
For example, nurses face huge amount of violence. And they are absolutely not stigmatised. It s quite the contrary, they are valued and resepcted, but still… they face violence. What if sexwork was valued and respected?
For my personnal experience of having worked in many countries, the level of violence i would face was directly linked to the legal status of prostitution.
In one contry : It is illegal, it means the state doesnt consider my job worth protection, the mentality of the population follows closely the law. I have no recourse if i get abuses. And lots of abuse come from the state itself, for example cops confiscating my condoms as evidence, or the general public feeling they wont risk anything insulting me or throwing me stones ( france for example ).
Another country : not illegal ( but still in this grey area of the law ). If i get abuse i can go to the cops, and fight back.
I really feel the parallel can be drawn with LGBT populations. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, those minorities face exclusion, violence, murders ..and that happens because the state is complicit in this system of violence.
Who could have thought 30 years ago that such a hated minority group would achieve recognition? Not only, violence against LGBTs is illegal , but their culture is respected and celebrated.
I feel the same way about sexwork.
There is the dark side of prostitution, linked to domestic violence, drug addiction, poverty, absence of equality in wages between men and women. People who do prostitution as survival.
In an utopian world, which i am fighting for, nobody who doesnt want to, would “sell sex”.
So the state should be fighting for the causes of this non-chosen prostitution. Not criminalise and make it more dangerous for the most vulnerable people.
In this utopian world, people who choose to sell sexual services would be not only respected but celebrated.
We are billions years from there but i think this is the only way forward.
Our society is based on domination and violence, fascination for death and fear of sex and life.
We worship our military force and spit on our sexworkers. We are like toddlers on the path of sexual freedom, it has only been a few years since some countries legalised sodomy for example, BDSM is slowly getting there … consensual exchange of sexual services for money is the next step.
I am a whore. I had sex with thousands of men. Litteraly. Quite a few assholes, but mostly guys who are looking for some intimacy or some sort of connection. You might not believe it but sex is not even the biggest part of my job ( even when i was giving cheap bjs in train stations ). Lots of the time, paying for sex hides a much deeper need.
But what the guy was after wasnt so much the sexual relief. It was a connection with another human being.
Because most men are lonely, and sad, and afraid. And find refuge in sex rather than questionning the whole system that make them this way.
I am a whore. And i am a feminist. Men are not my ennemies. I dont want to use the tools of capitalism and patriarchy to create a new world. In another post, lots of comments were about putting any violent men in jails. I dont believe in that. Prisons are getting bigger and bigger. And society isnt getting fairer because of that.
i think i said it before, criminalisation ( of sexowkers or clients ) is not the way forward.
Sexworker’s rights and recognigtion are.
You can’t make another human being change. A human has to change him/herself; the most profound and lasting change comes from within. If you require someone else to change, you require them to lie to you.
Studies have shown that harm-reduction models work best to bring about positive change in any population. The problem with harm reduction is that too many people want to control other peoples’ lives for their own ideologies. So harm reduction is usually only taken on by more enlightened groups of people, thus positive change is slow and halting.
Empowered people make wiser decisions for themselves. When someone has self esteem and is empowered, they will not allow themselves to be treated badly, and will make choices that put them less in harm’s way. Victim consciousness creates more victimization.
I know many empowered sex workers, and they are the most honest, strong, and amazing people. They think outside the box and march to their own beat, and cannot be made to do anything they don’t want to do.
On the other hand I have also known a few unempowered sex workers, and they are different. They have internalized society’s hatred for hem, and have become self-loathing as a result. They feel shame and guilt for what they do, they abuse substances, and they make unwise choices.
There is nothing that love cannot heal. Unconditional love, that is. Love that says no matter what you do, you are worthy of being safe from harm, worthy of all the protections and rights that any other human is worthy of. Even if you choose to do something that I do not believe is in your best interest. Because love doesn’t condone an action- it only purifies that at which it is directed.
Many of us on this planet, given all the love and rights we want, will still make the choice to sell sexual services because that is what we want to do. I was a stripper for 15 years, also around the world. I only wish I had discovered escorting in those days, because that is what I would have done.
Some of us are mathematically inclined, some of us have musical talents, some of us are excellent analysts. Some of us are great at sex and seduction.
Forced sexual labor is abhorrent. But don’t presume that all sexual laborers are forced.
Also understand that in more cases than not, a victim of trafficking is rescued by a client who suspects they are trafficked. Criminalizing the client will mean that many victims will remain unfound.
It is an extremely rare fetish for someone to wish to engage in transactional sex with someone who is a victim, forced, scared, etc.
Most clients are men who simply want to have consensual sex with someone who won’t judge them. And believe me, there are women clients, too, who want the affections and attentions of a nonjudgmental person (woman, man, or transgender). There are a lot of lonely people out there.
And also remember that the biggest reason people get into forced situations is because they have an economic need. If people really want to stop trafficking, people will work towards creating better economic opportunities for people who might be at risk of being trafficked (typically economically disadvantaged women).
But also, as Laura Agustin illustrates in her work, often people leave home to find a different life for themselves. I did. I left home to become a stripper around the world.
Oh- Sex-worker and A…, you go ladies! Thank you both for having the courage to come here and speak your truths.
Instead of every sex worker having to suffer the terror of state sponsored persecution and the real victims of trafficking further isolated because government will not listen to the voices who know best ie sex workers on how to properly run our businesses and our lives we could join the civilised world and liberate sex workers and recognise their legitimate choices.
This article from New Zealand illustrates how things could be.
Fucking late capitalism – unbelievable. Excellent speech Cath. Great result.
why is the govt & it seems the tuc encouraging men to commit rape? the conviction rate for rape is 6%, criminalising consenting indoor paid sex will be strict liability offence so men who rape get away with it while men who pay for consenting indoor paid sex face are convicted.what a message to send out to men
Peter – are you saying that men who would normally pay a prostitute would go out and rape a woman if this was not available?
Men who use prostitutes are rapists in waiting?
i am contrasting the two different groups of men,to say that men who pay for consenting indoor sex are rapists in waiting is somewhat oxymoronic,why would a rapist pay for sex
Peter – Govts and the TUC do not ’cause’ rape – men who rape do.
That is what I was pointing out.
i did’nt say the govt &tuc caused rape,but it seems to inadvertently encourage it by the message its sending out.
pity the govt and tuc don’t listen to the most important people in the debate around prostitution,
the women who work as prostitutes
Not only that, but then those agencies who are specifically taxed with the purpose of going after rapists will now have to decide which group to go after: men having consensual sex with adult women behind closed doors on the very off-chance that the woman *may* be trafficked (and the numbers aren’t on the side of practicality here), or those men who are raping and assaulting people.
More silly laws means more wasted time. Isn’t slavery already an offence? Why isn’t this law enforced better rather than creating new, profoundly difficult-to-enforce laws that will take authorities away from real crimes?
Not to mention the fact that if one is afraid her boyfriend will get done in for pimping/aka trafficking, one will hardly go to the police if she has a problem with a client.
In 2008, there were over 5000 prostitution arrests in Las Vegas on the strip. In 1987, the average prostitution arrest cost the city $2000, adjusted for inflation today, that would be $3605.33 per arrest. So, presumably the city of Las Vegas spent $18,025,000.00 of taxpayers’ money to arrest adult women having private consensual sex. Meanwhile, here are the other crime stats for Las Vegas and Nevada:
2007 Crimes known to police in Las Vegas : There were 119 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters, 723 forcible rapes, 5,251 robberies, 7,548 aggravated assaults, 15,296 burglaries, 27,156 larcenies, 16,445 stolen motor vehicles.
2007 Total Arrests Statewide : 151 murders, 186 forcible rapes, 1,739 robberies, 3,519 aggravated assaults, 2,889 burglaries, 10,747 larcenies, 1,831 stolen motor vehicles.
So, there were presumably 537 unaddressed rapes, 3,512 unsolved robberies, 4,029 unresolved aggravated assaults, 12,407 unresolved burglaries, 16,409 unresolved larcenies and theft, 14,614 unresolved stolen motor vehicles.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I would prefer that police chase real criminals and leave consenting adults having private sex alone. Their sex has no bearing on my life, but a burglary of my home certainly would.
Does anyone have such crime statistics for the UK?
Pearl, J. Highest Paying Customers – America’s Cities and the Costs of Prostitution Control, Hastings Law Journal Volume:38 Issue:4 Dated:(April 1987) Pages:769-800
Polly Styrene has turned forty…
(But she still feels and thinks like a fifteen year old)
Ahh the joys of perpetual pre-maturity and adolescent angst
So now you are just making personal attacks on Polly? Nice…
Ramiie – please stop. While I’m hardly Polly’s biggest fan, I would happily read a hundred of her posts in preference to one of your slightly creepy ones.
the great big sextrafficking con,
how it started:
daily mirror “investigation” claims 25,000 sexslaves working in uk.
dennis mcshane repeats claim in parliament
religious groups get involved in the con,repeating claim
govts propaganda unit organises media to observe high profile raids on suspected parlours to rescue sexslaves
govt orders newspaper industry to stop advertising adult services as their a front for sexslaves
govt thinks public is sufficiently indoctrinated to accept criminalisation of paid sex even though a huge police operation found only 255 “victims” of sextrafficking,most of those,migrant sexworkers
opinion polls(to the govts anger) show most people support decrim/legalisation
media begins to question & scrutinize claims of the sextrafficking con
as the con starts to fall apart,govt decides to shut down the anti-trafficking unit and uses a different tactic to justify criminalising paid sex
the excuse this time is drug dealers and pimps under the wide ranging term
“control for another persons gain”. will this latest con work?
It looks as though the Johns’ days are numbered in Iceland too.
yes,it seems that iceland also is more interested in prosecuting men for consenting indoor paid sex than chasing rapists.
Well, let’s just start with John’s – it’s all just a continuum you see 🙂
I know I closed more brothels in the British Isles in 2002 than all the force area police agencies combined.
(that’s really true)
I also helped organize the largest anti-trafficking operation & raids in the EU (at the time).
Where we failed, was with Leeds & Sheffield & etc.
The police were friends of the pimps and nu-labor were entirely consumed in getting the PR and then moving on to the next gimmick.
The first step, is to stay out of photos and meetings with Jacqui Smith, Vera Baird, and Fioma MacTaggart.
That’s my advice based on the last 7 years. And avoid Amnesty, don’t use their premises.
Back to basics.