The Nordic model is the only model that actually works. 'Duh,' says Sweden

An article was published recently in The Independent looking at the Nordic model in Sweden. The journalist, Joan Smith, took a ride in a squad car to see how a model wherein the buyer is criminalized and the prostitute is decriminalized actually worked. What she found will likely be met, by any progressive, intelligent, feminist person, with a resounding “Duh.”

Of course the cries of “uptight!” “freedom!” “choice!” “meandmydick!” will likely continue, regardless of facts, because North Americans have their hearts set on buying into ridiculous and illogical notions of liberty that imagine sex and SUVs to be some kind of human right. But here’s how it actually works:

Smith and the squad car pull up to a car park at the top of a hill where johns tend to go with prostitutes. She writes:

What happens next is a textbook example of the way Sweden’s law banning the purchase of sex works in practice. The driver of the car, who’s brought a prostituted woman to the island to have sex, is arrested on the spot. He’s given a choice: admit the offense and pay a fine, based on income, or go to court and risk publicity. The woman, who hasn’t broken any law, is offered help from social services if she wants to leave prostitution. Otherwise, she’s allowed to go.

So, dude pays a fine and the woman is offered alternatives without pressure. OPPRESSION!

It’s so obvious it makes your head spin. Some of the most progressive, egalitarian countries in the world have adopted this model and it’s working. Meanwhile, those who’ve opted for legalization or those like Canada and the U.S. who continue to treat prostituted women like criminals while offering them few alternatives, flail.

Julie Bindel points out that the only thing the Dutch government’s 12 year experiment with legalization succeeded in doing was to increase the market. The illusory labour-based approach, put forth by confused lefties, wherein prostitution is imagined to be “a job like any other” hasn’t worked either:

Rather than be given rights in the ‘workplace’, the prostitutes have found the pimps are as brutal as ever. The government-funded union set up to protect them has been shunned by the vast majority of prostitutes, who remain too scared to complain.

Under the “labour” model, assault and rape is no longer violence against women, but “an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe,” Bindel writes. There’s simply no reason for police to charge men for doing something they feel they are legally entitled to do. Without reeducation and training, which is a key aspect of the Nordic model, the police are unlikely to change their attitudes towards marginalized women, prostituted women, and, more generally, with regard to women’s human rights.

Those who argue that prostitution is dangerous due to “stigma” turned out to be wrong too, as Bindel reports: “Only 5 per cent of the women registered for taxation, because no one wants to be known as a whore — however legal it may be.” The stigma remains, as does the exploitation.

In 2009, the police had to shut down a large number of brothels in Amsterdam’s red-light districts due to organized crime having taken over.

Under legalization, trafficking increased, organized crime moved in, and women have continued to be abused and degraded. Is this the “liberation” we’re looking for?

Talking about sex work as work doesn’t help women. It doesn’t help women leave the industry, it doesn’t create gender equality, it doesn’t stop the violence, and it doesn’t destigmatize prostitution. Reframing legalization as ending the “stigma” has not only been shown to be untrue, but it distracts us from the reality that violence and inequality doesn’t happen because of stigmatization — it happens because of male power and systemic injustice.

Detective Superintendent Kajsa Wahlberg, Sweden’s national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings, is quoted as saying: “The problem is gender-specific. Men buy women.” Which is why a feminist approach is needed. And, as of yet, the only legislation that is specifically feminist in nature is the Nordic model.

Smith writes that prostituted women who come to Sweden from the Baltic states or Africa, who have sold sex in other countries say “they’re much more likely to be subjected to violence in countries where prostitution has been legalized.”

Men in Sweden, on the other hand, are afraid to commit violence because they know the women they are buying sex from have more power in the situation than they do. They know they will be charged if the woman calls the cops and so they behave better.

Crime statistics show that trafficking has decreased since the Nordic model was enacted in Sweden. Places like Victoria (Australia), where prostitution has been legalized since the 80s, adopted the model in order to “contain the rampant growth of the highly visible brothel and street prostitution trade, eliminate organized crime, to end child prostitution and sex trafficking, and eliminate harmful work practices.” Instead, what’s happened is that “Victoria has created a two-tiered system—a regulated and an unregulated prostitution industry.” There are minimal exit programs for women who want to leave the industry (perhaps a moot point for legalization advocates, as the whole idea of exiting services seems to exist in opposition of the “job like any other” mantra — because what other, just, you know, “jobs” require therapy and exiting services in order to quit? The military, perhaps?), illegal brothels are rampant and trafficking has increased.

These facts fly in the face of the argument that criminalizing buyers will drive the industry underground. It seems that, in fact, legalization encourages the “underground” (illegal) industry. It’s no coincidence that those who wish to operate illegally or as part of a “black market” flock to countries where prostitution is legal.

There is, in fact, zero evidence that shows that criminalizing johns has driven prostitution underground. Under the Nordic model, there’s also absolutely no reason why, if prostitution is “underground” the cops wouldn’t be able to find these industries: “If a sex buyer can find a prostituted woman in a hotel or apartment, the police can do it,” one of the detectives Smith interviews says, “Pimps have to advertise.” Because the police have the resources and a vested interest in charging the exploiters, they have reason (and the support) to look for them.

In South Auckland, NZ, where prostitution has been legal (fully decriminalized, meaning that running a brothel, living off the proceeds of someone else’s prostitution, and street solicitation are all legal — which is what some are advocating for in Canada) since 2003, street prostitution has increased dramatically and recent reports show child prostitution is on the rise. Just like in Victoria and Amsterdam, illegal prostitution has increased.

In contrast, since the Nordic model has been in effect in Sweden since 1999, street prostitution, organized crime, trafficking, and pimping have decreased. The country also has strong social safety nets and exiting programs for women who want to leave the industry.

In a recent debate about the legalization of prostitution, hosted by New Internationalist Magazine, human rights lawyer, Diane Post begins her argument by saying:

Legalized prostitution cannot exist alongside the true equality of women. The idea that one group of women should be available for men’s sexual access is founded on structural inequality by gender, class and race.

As far as equality goes, there’s no argument here and we need to stop pretending there is. Prostitution doesn’t promote the status of women. Societies and countries that have been shown to be progressive, egalitarian, and “sex positive” (like Iceland, a place that has a much more open-minded and “liberal” approach to sex and sexuality than the U.S.) are also societies that have adopted legislation that works towards an eventual end to prostitution, supporting the women who are in it in the meantime, and teaching men that buying sex isn’t acceptable. It’s no strange coincidence that Iceland, which ranked first place in the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, has also banned strip clubs, is considering a ban on hardcore pornography online, and has adopted the Nordic model.

The argument for the legalization of prostitution is largely about individual rights. But we do, sometimes, have to choose between prioritizing the rights of certain individuals and building an equitable society.

The popular position among some American feminists and progressives is to pretend as though prostitution is simply something open-minded people do “on the side” for kicks. This is to pretend gender, race and poverty don’t factor in. But prostitution isn’t merely a “zoning” issue. It isn’t, either, about fashion. To these people, I point you to commentary from Margriet van der Linden, chief editor of the feminist magazine, Opzij, who said, in left-liberal daily De Volkskrant:

The daily practices of prostitution are portrayed as a romantic world full of mistresses with fishnet stockings and jovial laughs who embody the liberal values of the Dutch, and complaints ring out about the spread of narrow-minded bourgeois values. But not a word is said about the current legislation that has been such a disaster and has contributed to the shocking figures according to which approximately seven in ten prostitutes are victims of violence.

Prostitution hurts some individual women and benefits some individual men. But it is also part of, as lawyer, Gunilla Ekberg says, “a structure reflecting and maintaining inequality between men and women.”

Post points out that “the answer to poor jobs, low pay and harsh working conditions for women is not to consign them to a lifetime of abuse.”

“There is no alternative,” is, after all, what conservative British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher said. The response from the left has always been that, indeed, there is an alternative, and we’re going to fight for it.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • Morgan

    Wow, I want to shout this entire article from the rooftops. The quote from Diane Post pretty much says it all for me. (“Legalized prostitution cannot exist alongside the true equality of women. The idea that one group of women should be available for men’s sexual access is founded on structural inequality by gender, class and race.”) How can we even debate that??

    • Meghan Murphy

      She is amazing. You can read more of her arguments here (I also linked to the debate in the post): http://newint.org/features/2013/04/01/should-prostitution-be-legalized-argument/

      Rock solid.

    • lizor

      I agree Morgan. I have been waiting for an updated breakdown on the legacy of the Nordic model and my new favourite blog has delivered the goods.

      You may find this debate interesting (and somewhat hopeful as well, given the outcome of the audience vote).

      http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/past-debates/item/604-its-wrong-to-pay-for-sex

      You can listen, watch on Youtube or read the transcript.

    • helmfk

      I don’t see how telling a woman that she doesn’t have a right to do whatever she wants with her body, including sex work, is equality. By criminalizing her customers, they are infantilizing female sex workers. I know a few female & male sex workers who are proud & happy in their work & all they want is the freedom to do what they love & profit from it. This makes that harder on them. It is an infringement on their freedom that shouldn’t be tolerated.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I don’t see why men should have the right to access women’s bodies simply because those women are poor. Get your priorities straight.

      • Ofresia

        Admitting your friends can currently do what they love all day long if they simply forgo payment doesn’t make them sound unjustly told what to do with their bodies.

      • stephen m

        @helmfk: Please stop whining, the Nordic Model sets you and your _”few”_ friends free to practice prostitution by decriminalizing all prostitutes! It will also help prostitutes who wish to exit prostitution to do so, and yes those _”proud & happy in their work”_ to stay free from those who would take advantage of them by criminalizing anyone or any organization which might be in a position to take advantage of them.

        For more information click on “prostitution” in the Topics section below. Happy reading and learning.

      • Jmill

        Helmfk, as someone who works with sex workers, I can certainly tell you that your friends are not at all the norm. The vast majority of sex workers actually enter the trade through coercion. The average age of entry into prostitution in Canada is 13. Also, if you compare the violence experienced by these workers in countries that have fully legalized prostitution against those that have implemented the Nordic Model, you actually see a DRAMATIC increase in violence and trafficking in the legalized countries, and a DRAMATIC decline in the nordic model countries. The statistics speak for themselves. I understand that the comments are well-meaning and based on the subjective experience of your friends, but I can simply tell you that the numbers don’t lie. Pure legalization models lead to a serious up-tick in the very things we are trying to prevent – exploitation, violence, and trafficking.

    • Max Flynn

      Actually, we can’t debate it, the claim is necessarily false. Prostitution can not be founded on “structural inequality by gender” because prostitution includes the gender roles being reversed, and I would have thought equally as obvious, the same genders.

      Prostitution between people of the same gender, obviously, can’t be based on “structural inequality by gender”. That is, literally, an incoherent statement.

      You’re correct in stating that can’t be debated, but it’s actually not even coherent: it literally can not make sense.

      • Meghan Murphy

        That comment, Max, “literally” didn’t make sense. Prostitution IS gendered. You can’t simply erase that for argument’s sake.

      • Jmill

        Max, over 98% of prostitution is men buying women or, equally often, girls. Yes, men also buy men and boys, but that is less than 2%. Clearly there is a gender dimension to the issue. The fact that there is a 2% outlier isn’t enough to deny the overwhelming statistical reality that we are talking about women being purchased by men, 98% of the time.

        • Dude

          What happens to women buying men? Do they get arrested?

          • Meghan Murphy

            1) Nobody gets arrested, they get fined
            2) That is an incredibly rare situation (women buying men) but yes, they would get fined too, presumably.

    • Dude

      I’m actually against prostitution for reasons such as disease prevention, human trafficking, violence against prostitutes and so on…. But there are women who actually want to be prostitutes… For whatever reason. How is preventing them liberalism? Freedom? All of them cannot be trafficked.
      Also I read somewhere that Swedish pros now go to other countries for work. I don’t know how true that is though.

  • http://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/ antiplondon

    Brilliant post Meghan, thank you!

  • Jack

    Except for the part where:

    1. Sex workers themselves have been complaining that it doesn’t work and their lives are actually _more dangerous_ because of it.
    2. The people who are supposed to be enforcing this model have been caught buying sex themselves.

    Wow. How effective.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Proof or I’m deleting your comment, Jack.

      • Matt

        Meghan, to be more precise, your link that claims that street prostitution in New Zealand has increased dramatically is not factual. To the best of our knowledge, street prostitution is about the same.

        The source of that link is known to be incredibly biased, and lacking scientific credibility due to repeated ethical, methodological, and data misrepresentation problems.

        You clearly a strong belief in a specific ideological perspective. You harm us all by driving it aggressively forward with unreliable, heavily biased references, and by ignoring the voices of the people most intimately involved.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “Not factual,” my ass. It’s reported to have increased anywhere from 200-400%. Check your stats, bud. If you have different statistics, please feel free to bring them to the table.

          And yes, you’re right, I do have a “strong belief in a specific ideological perspective.” It’s called ‘feminism.’ How’d you figure me out?

          Finally, who is this “us” you speak of, Matt?? Because you certainly aren’t part of any feminist movement and you aren’t a woman. Am I ‘harming’ men with my goals of working towards equality?

      • Galil

        The logic in that is that because buying sex is criminal, the business has now went underground and has a shadow of crime in it. When prostitution was legal, it was even taxed and the prostitutes had protection. Because it is now illegal, the customers can’t be required to call from and identifiable phone number etc. which gave a great deal of protection to the prostitutes.

        I don’t find prostitution to be personally that nice, but I’m not judging consenting adults from practicing it. I have followed the debate especially in Finland where there is an organisation called ‘Pro-tukipiste’ that represents sex workers. The debaters often do not listen to the women actually working in prostitution.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I understand WHY people think this would happen, it just hasn’t happened. And, as I point out, the illegal sex industry has thrived under legalization, not the Nordic model.

          “I’m not judging consenting adults from practicing it” – hey get it right — we only ‘judge’ the johns. And the johns don’t need to ‘consent’ to anything here.

    • Anne R.

      Jack: No they don’t. The PROSTITUTES don’t complain about the Nordic model. The pimps, the board members of strip clubs like Pye Jakobsson from Rose Alliancen, and the Johns are complaining, but the real prostitutes don’t complain.

      Because it is not more dangerous than before. It is a complete lie planted by the sexlobby.

      If anyone wants to read what the prostitutes in Sweden want, and what they say you can read it here: http://www.xn--ntverketpris-gcb.se/start-english.html

      From PRIS: “We have different points of view and opinions on some issues. What joins us together is that we realize that the sex business is an issue that concerns the whole socity. In other words it does not only concern us but also affects gender relations in the rest of society. Therefore we do not promote any legalisation of buying sex or pimping, and of course, neither any criminalisation of the selling of sex.”

      And:

      Higher maximum punishments for the buying of sex

      Today the buying of sex has the same maximum punishment as shoplifting. We advocate a substantial increase in the punishment.”

      And – this is quite interesting, isn’t :-) :

      Export of the law against the buying of sex

      In comparison with Holland, whose sex commerce politics stands opposite to the Swedish, our country invests very little in introducing its model to the rest of Europe. Sweden should therefore increase the effort to get more countries within the EU to adopt a law against the buying of sexual services.”

      • Lara

        The prostitutes support a model that criminalizes their clients and drives them underground??? Are you serious?

        • Meghan Murphy

          Did you actually read the post? It doesn’t drive anything ‘underground’. And what, exactly, do you mean by ‘underground’?

          • Lara

            That the women cannot meet their customers on the streets.

          • Meghan Murphy

            That’s already what’s happening now, Lara. Where do you think prostitution is happening? Except that violent men aren’t being charged.

    • vouchsafer

      If as jack claims, the people who are supposed to be enforcing this model have been caught buying sex themselves, I’d say that is effective since they would then be charged.
      The cops are not above the laws, jack. If a cop gets caught buying drugs he gets charged for that too.

  • Marco

    You say that this model is “working” in a number of countries. I guess my question is, what is your definition of “working?” What is the metric by which you measure success?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Building an equitable society and working towards an eventual end to prostitution and a feminist world.

    • stephen m

      @Meghan: Great work, well written, excellent sources and coverage.

      @Marco:

      Non-troll: Please read more feminist materials before posting again on a feminist blog. You embarrass yourself and me as a man with your current lack of comprehension on the topic at hand.

      Troll: What a TRULY STUPID question to ask on a feminist blog! What metric should I use for your total lack of comprehension. Your comment lacks imagination, even for a dull troll. The other trolls are saying: What a lame question! This guy is a total noob! Looser.

    • lizor

      Read the article Marco. Reduced violence against women is an outcome. Or is that a “non-issue” for you?

  • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

    I’ve come across women who criticize the Nordic model, too. The criticism comes from a worldview in which prostitution is “work” and if we criminalize these women’s customers, they will lose business, and lose money, therefore being “oppressed” by those who caused them to lose their livelihoods. This thought process completely ignores the power imbalance between men and women and the reality of trafficking and forced prostitution. It assumes that prostitution is a legitimate “job” for women, and one that does not need to be abolished. While this worldview is a blatantly patriarchy-denying one, it does contain one valid point: that is, if a woman has no options for making money besides prostitution, and you criminalize the johns, then she has no money whatsoever, and can therefore be described as being worse off. I think the solution, instead of making prostitution legal, is to provide better options for women, by first ending poverty, which we can easily do using legislation to ensure livable wages and affordable housing, among other things, and then by changing society’s view of women’s roles. I think people who carry the belief that the Nordic model is unhelpful for women are assuming that this model does not involve eliminating poverty. If no women were in poverty, there would be no need to promote the idea that women “need” to be able to do “sex work” to get by. I’m not sure why people think that feminists do not advocate for the elimination of poverty- of course we do, it’s a part of the elimination of oppression.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Indeed! And the Nordic model is very much about ending poverty, providing affordable housing, etc. It isn’t simply a change in one law. Social safety nets are key.

      • Xavier

        http://www.petraostergren.com/pages.aspx?r_id=40716

        I don’t think the “nordic model” helps sex workers with regards to housing.

        “Due to the law against procurement, sexworkers are forced to lie in order to rent premises, or alternatively they have to pay exorbitant rent. Either way, they constantly worry about being discovered. They also report often having to move (when discovered) and being treated badly by landlords and “rent pimps”. Some women prefer to make contact with their customers on the street. Other sexworkers find this too humiliating.”

    • Matt

      – No woman ever has independently, without duress, desired to do sex work.
      – Eliminating poverty, and equalising women’s work, career, and social opportunities will eliminate all desire to work as a sex worker.

      Have I understood that right? I’m not sure if my wording is black and white enough. Clearly a solution that has the end goal of outright abolition of a profession must be that clear cut in its premises.

      In this strict vision, is there room for women who have a plain desire to work in the sex industry that isn’t the product of power imbalances or of patriarchy?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Not ‘desire’ – ‘need’. The idea is that women should have other choices. They shouldn’t HAVE to resort to sex work due to poverty and other circumstances.

        • Matt

          But if they do desire to do sex work, you would deny them that right.

          • Meghan Murphy

            If you want to talk about “rights”, why not talk about human rights. The right to life and dignity and equality. For you to turn the conversation of prostitution of women into one of women’s rights is, frankly, sick.

          • Matt

            How about you listen to sex workers and what they say. Because I am not saying anything that has not been said many, many times by sex workers themselves.

            You have a history of completely ignoring the voices of sex workers. You deny their experiences, and reject their calls for the kinds of change they believe are best for them.

            How can you say that you speak for them, or for what is good for them, when you consistently reject what they themselves have to say.

          • Meghan Murphy

            How about you not tell feminists whose voices count and don’t count in this movement?

          • Matt

            So Meghan, you’re saying that the voices of sex workers don’t count in the debate over the laws that govern sex work?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes! That’s EXACTLY what I said. WORD FOR WORD. Go away, troll.

          • MLM

            How representative are the voices of these sex workers and how do you know this, Matt? It is lost on you that some people may be in a far better position to make themselves heard in this debate than others?

            For example this is an article on a French organisation called STRASS which claims it “represents sex workers, regardless of their gender or category of sex work.”

            “The Union claims 200 members [this from a 2009 interview ; today, according to its members, they would number 500], that is 1 per cent of the 20,000 full-time acknowledged sex workers.” Mistress Gilda explains : “I do not include in this guesstimate the mother who prostitutes to make ends meet at the end of the month, nor the women who are exploited, but only the self-defined sex workers who make their living from prostitution.” (15)

            Even if one was to accept as realistic these undocumented membership data, how could 1% or even 3% of a population be deemed representative of persons in conditions as diverse as those permitted by an absence of controls and the very low visibility that characterizes prostitution ?”

            http://sisyphe.org/spip.php?article4402

            How do you know that these sex worker voices aren’t actually silencing many other sex worker voices? And misrepresenting what they want?

            Are you suggesting we should simply ignore the opinions and testimony of exited women? And ignore qualitative research? So, the only voices that matter in this debate belong to the self-appointed spokespeople for sex workers?

            Are you similarly concerned about a woman’s right not to live in poverty, and fear for how she and her children will cope unless she resorts to prostitution?

            Or the right of a sexually abused child to heal and grow up with enough self worth and self belief that they don’t come to frame prostitution as somehow all they are “good for”?

            Or the rights of vulnerable children and teens not to fall through the holes in the social safety net and fall prey to exploitative “friends”?

            Or the right of every girl and women to be able to fully own her humanity, as opposed to having her self image distorted through a cultural lens that shows her over and over again that her worth is invested in how much men want to use her as a fucktoy?

            No?

            Just the right for a women to sell her body to men for sex?

            Gee, aren’t women lucky to have men like you in their corner fighting for their “rights”.

          • marv wheale

            To insist that sex work is an entitlement is much like arguing that people should have a right to handle nuclear waste or other toxic substances because there is money to be made . In fact pimps and johns pose a greater hazard to prostituted women’s health than environmental contaminants do to the general population. The fallacy trivializes and makes a mockery of the whole concept of human rights. What’s next, the right to self-mutilation since some people find it pleasurable? Sex proponents prefer we remain distracted as individuals pursuing our own self-interest rather than aspiring to our collective wellbeing. Think a little deeper. You’re fostering despair among prostitution survivors.

          • Me

            No, Matt, if they desire to get out of prostitution, you would deny them that right.

            It’s entirely disingenuous of you to proclaim to care, yet try to force the arguments into two camps where women ultimately will be the losers, and men who do the pimping and raping go free. That’s not what the Nordic model is about.

          • Matt

            Hi Me,

            How you got to that conclusion from what I said, I can’t fathom. There is nothing in what I said that leads there.

          • stephen m

            @Matt: What a shallow question, I am embarrassed for you as a man. Read Rebecca Mott’s blog http://rmott62.wordpress.com/ along with your whole family and then discuss the DESIRABLE opportunities that lie out there for women to work as prostitutes. Discuss how this is an opportunity that should be available for your female children and their female children. Please tell us what your family feels about your acceptance of their DESIRABLE future employment possibility in prostitution.

        • Tiakarete

          Meghan I am an educated woman. I am currently completing a Masters. I have held various jobs since I was 15 years old. Hospitality, office work, design, support work. I have even worked as a sex worker in four different countries. I didn’t resort to it due to poverty. I wanted to do it. I like sex. I consider myself a feminist. Simply put, your arguments make me angry.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Good for you. I still don’t think men should have the right to buy women and girls.

      • dans tes bras

        Women who desire sex seek it for the sake of sex itself like most people. Women who need work/money is another thing altogether.

      • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

        After the revolution, women will still be able to have whatever sex they want to have (as long as their partners want it too, of course) but they won’t be economically dependent on it.

      • Laur

        Matt–The point is, no one knows what women would desire in equal conditions. What we do know is that, right now desires and behaviors are at least impacted by male supremacy, white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism.

      • lizor

        “women who have a plain desire to work in the sex industry that isn’t the product of power imbalances or of patriarchy?”
        – can you provide an example of this, that is not fictional and does not involve unicorns and flying pigs?

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  • marv

    Eyewitness accounts of prostitution are both hostile and sympathetic to the institution. Both are not lying. Each side sees reality from different perspectives. Each person’s vantage point, beliefs, attitudes and circumstances all affect what they see. The interpretive task is rooted as well in different politics of knowledge. When people uphold prostitution as legitimate work they leave their politics unexamined. They regard the women as associates of pimps and johns in legitimate business transactions. Nothing suits the pimps and johns better than to play into the fiction of free consent which offers them respectful representation of their social positions. Mutual agents bind with one another rendering unequal practices as equal and honourable, even taken for granted, forged out of men’s naked self interest which keeps the women physically naked. The official truth produced by the business partners becomes the definition of acceptable behaviour.

    The unveiling of the repressed truth of the exchange can only result when the uneven social conditions between the parties are revealed (as abolitionists do). The existence of high end prostitution makes the denial harder to prove. Because these women can obtain luxury goods it appears they are not being exploited. The worship of riches and conspicuous consumption in society fortifies the facade. So the equitable redistribution of wealth is essential to overcoming prostitution which in the end requires the abolition of capitalism too. The Nordic framework is a monumental step in this direction.

  • missb

    “So, dude pays a fine and the woman is offered alternatives without pressure. ”

    And she *only* loses out on money she was about to make – to buy groceries, pay a bill, buy for her kids some clothes, whatever. Instead, the money goes to the government in the form of a fine.

    [sarcasm] Absolutely brilliant. Really, what a genius idea. [/sarcasm]

    She’s probably not too thrilled about the timing, the fact that law enforcement is who is giving her “alternatives” (Seriously? I bet they’re as good at it as dealing with victims of sexual assault. I’m sure they are comfortable, inspire confidence and empathize with the sex workers.) and in any case, likely isn’t impressed by the “alternatives” she’s given.. She most likely still has to eat or dress her kids however. What it means to her has little to do with success, gender equality – or any to do with her, actually.

    Because in the end, she’s the one who has just essentially had her earnings taken from her, after the time she has wasted negotiating with the client and then travelling to the location, has had more time wasted by the interruption and paternizing lecture from an uninspired, clueless police officer just doing his job. And after all that, not only does she find herself exactly where she started, she has caring feminists cheering that, according to them, this is a success.

    Either your position is that you can’t be bothered about how sex workers are affected, what they think and what they say? Or you care but you’re not listening to what they have to say? Or you care, you’ve listened but you’ve decided you know better and they can’t be trusted to know what’s best for them? Because anyone who is honestly listening and who cares – is not hearing sex workers celebrating or calling this a success.

    Otherwise the only other option is to be even more disingenuous like person who arrogantly claimed that:

    “The PROSTITUTES don’t complain about the Nordic model. The pimps, the board members of strip clubs like Pye Jakobsson from Rose Alliancen, and the Johns are complaining, but the real prostitutes don’t complain.
    Because it is not more dangerous than before. It is a complete lie planted by the sexlobby.”

    Yes, it’s all a conspiracy. And you know all this, well, because there is ONE organization that says so. Aah. I see. There are probably hundreds of organizations that completely contradict your claims of what sex workers themselves say. But somehow you’ve determined that only ONE is legitimate, the ONE that also happens to agree with you and disagree with all of the others.

    Um, yeah.. sorry. Nice try there but no.

    Tell me, how could any rational individual even come to that conclusion? What can appear logical about any sex worker, most of which -for whatever reasons- will reject these “alternatives” and continue to do sex work (despite the “nordic” model).

    Unless you can offer real alternatives where she can earn a decent amount and where all of the things that (whether you like it or not) enjoys now, such as earnings that far exceed whatever minimum wage might be, in fewer hours per week than she would in most “alternatives” most likely presented to her.

    Unless you can offer alternatives where she’ll still be able to spend as much time with her kids and not have to send them to daycare or babysitter, barely spend any time with them, coming home at night after they’re already in bed.

    Unless you can offer those things and a way to be able to spend that money or her kids instead of spending it on a babysitter. Some of these comments are just so divorced with reality.

    How can anyone truly believe that sex workers are going to support laws or a system that takes their income away by arresting and fining her clients? You have to be completely delusional (or think they’re really stupid!) to believe anyone would support something that takes away their ability to make a living!

    Duh. Hello?

    —–

    • Meghan Murphy

      Why would you assume that the prostituted woman “had her earnings taken from her”?

      • Rye

        This is just a guess. But I think missb means that the john never paid her because the transaction never took place.

        However, the conventional practice is to pay up front.

        • Meghan Murphy

          As I implied, the assumption is unfounded and most-likely she was paid.

    • MLM

      “There are probably hundreds of organizations that completely contradict your claims of what sex workers themselves say”.

      Where’s your evidence of this then? Linking to just “ONE organisation” or not, Anne R. actually substantiated her claim.

      • Anne R.

        Missb:
        Well, now we are talking about Sweden, and I show you an Swedish organisation runned by Swedish prostitutes (not strip club owners as Pye Jakobsson, johns and whatever who claims to be sex workers) – so what is the problem? What is the problem, that there actually is a organisation of prostitutes, who supports the Swedish Model?

        Is it a bad thing? Of course if you are a john, it is bad – and if you are a pimp, it is bad or maybee a brothel manager, then it is very bad indeed.

        This is the prostitutes (I simply do not use the frame “sex workers” because it is also brothel managers, strip club owners, pimps, johns, supporters, etc, who also claims to be “sex workers”) own organisation – what you would know if you read what they write at the pages.

        I guess, that you are so negative because for once this is not the usual support (from brothelmanagers, pimps, johns etc claiming to be sexworkers) for a legalisation. This is actually the prostitutes, who LIKES the Swedish model.

        And, by the way – they don’t loose their money because the police waits until the payment has been done.

        If they didn’t earn any money, they wouldn’t be there. Then they would be working in the red light district with the all the other hundreds of women in Copenhagen or 1000’s of prostitutes in Hamburg.

    • Melissa

      What part of “the Nordic Model also involves exit strategies, housing, and job training?” is so hard to understand? It’s funny, most people don’t care about prostitutes at all except when those evil feminists are involved.

    • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

      Missb, you’re absolutely right, we DO need to offer alternatives. Women (and all people) need to have access to good jobs with good wages and affordable housing so no one has to rely on coerced sex for their livelihoods. I think you’ll find that abolitionists advocate for all of these things. I certainly do.

    • copleycat

      “Unless you can offer real alternatives where she can earn a decent amount and where all of the things that (whether you like it or not) enjoys now, such as earnings that far exceed whatever minimum wage might be, in fewer hours per week than she would in most “alternatives” most likely presented to her.

      Unless you can offer alternatives where she’ll still be able to spend as much time with her kids and not have to send them to daycare or babysitter, barely spend any time with them, coming home at night after they’re already in bed.”

      What cloud are you living on? And there’s a hell of a lot of speculation in your post – got any studies? Done any work with prostituted women? Been one yourself?

      I worked as a stripper for two years and met several women during that time who were meeting johns outside the club and what do you know they didn’t make that much money after their pimps took their cut. In the two clubs I worked at everyone had a way to skim money off the women; you could be fined for spending too much time in the dressing room, being late to work, being drunk (although one club did give each woman two free drinks a day), taking a tip with your own hand (instead of waiting for the guy to put it in your garter), dating a co-worker, not covering tattoos … and the list goes on. At one club we were mandated to buy costumes from one maker only who charged $150 for an un-adorned $8 piece of spandex. Anyone could put their hands on you, customers, co-workers, bosses. The managers of one club were partial owners of what would be described as a chop shop – one of those ultra-cheap plastic surgery places and they would pressure the women (their employees) to have procedures done there – at the women’s expense. I saw women very quickly end up indebted to the club owners. This led to working crazy hours, which in turn led to taking more drugs and drinking to cope with dealing with customers and that often then led to more fines or in some cases the women would get fired and have to work at the less supposedly up-scale clubs. Somehow I doubt that in a system where there is legal prostitution any of these parasitic schemes are banished, if anything they have the ability to bleed the women dry – so why wouldn’t they? Can you think of all the fees and fines a legal brothel must be able to impose?

      A few years after leaving stripping (I left after a co-worker was brutally raped and murdered by customers) I went to a group for former “sex workers”. It was a small group, four other young women who had done high end call girl work and me. Now despite that these women had made a lot of money per customer, they didn’t actually keep that much of it between what their agency took and what they found themselves spending on drugs. They all had gotten out and taken jobs doing manual labor, despite that two of them were half way through philosophy degrees and all of them were very intelligent and articulate. None of them wanted to go back to prostitution. Their stories were harrowing. These were the high end girls.

      Remembering this reminds me that there’s a key point that keeps being missed by people who want to believe prostitution is just a job and sex is just a kind of manual labor. That point is this; men buy prostitutes in order to have sex that is mean-spirited and sometimes outright violent and life-threatening or fatal, it’s sex that no sane woman would willingly consent to unless she had immediate economic duress or had been raised to believe that this was what she was meant to do. It is not a fair exchange – it can’t be, it’s an exertion of power – how can it be fair? If it was fair it wouldn’t be fun for the johns. It’s unfair by design. Afterwards you feel horrible and that’s where the drugs come in.

      I have met quite a few women who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse or assault, who have not done any kind of prostitution and yet fully buy into the idea that prostitution is empowering. When I say fully, I mean they are die hard, whole-hearted, fanatical believers who can sometimes get quite unpleasant when you present them with the facts. Not all survivors of sexual abuse have this mis-conception. The ones that do can certainly piss me off but I try to be patient because along time ago I use to be one of them. This delusion of prostitution as empowerment has a lot of appeal for survivors of sexual abuse, but it is just that; a delusion and one with a very sharp snare in it.

  • Missfit

    There will always be a woman who will claim that doing sex work is her free choice, that she had other options but chose to do this work (because of higher pays, flexibility, or even ’empowerment’). But for many, they end up in prostitution because of a lack of options. Because of dire economic circumstances, coercion from boyfriend/pimp, drug/alcohol addiction, mental issues. And the sex industry likes to project an image of ‘glamour’ to lure young disabused women who might think that since society already view them as sex objects, might as well make money out of it (another result of sexual inequality).

    It is of the utmost importance to provide women in prostitution alternatives: financial assistance, training and job finding, psychological help. We all have to find ways in life to pay our bills, feed and dress our kids, etc. And we have to work towards a world where this is accessible to every woman. When we know the consequences of legalizing prostitution, such as increase in trafficking and sexual exploitation (yes, this is proven!), and the reinforcement of sexual inequalities, we have to find other options. People will say ‘trafficking already exists; we should fight this but allow those who choose sex work to do so’. Sex slavery already exist and we are not able to end it; then we would want to increase it? And it is logical that trafficking/exploitation increases: legalizing prostitution is giving the green light to johns and pimps and where the johns have free reign, the pimps will come running. It is putting the burden of proof on the exploited women and children to bring their abusers to justice. Women and children who are messed up, broken, threatened, scared. Pimp paradise!

    Now back to the empowered woman with options who choose to do sex work out of a desire to do so and fears that criminalizing johns will be bad for her business; what about her? Because this is always the one the pro-sex industry will point to. Now why should we give precedence to this woman when we know that the growing of her business will have as a consequence the increase in the sexual exploitation of other women? She is lucky to have other options, then maybe she can turns to them…

    And again: the Nordic model does not criminalize the prostitutes!

    • copleycat

      “And the sex industry likes to project an image of ‘glamour’ to lure young disabused women who might think that since society already view them as sex objects, might as well make money out of it (another result of sexual inequality).”

      Yes, this is very true. It’s also very sad, there’s a surrender to a sexist world view here when young women and girls figure they’re going to be defined as sex objects no matter what so they might as well be compensated for it. That phrase, “Work it girl” rests on that assumption and then advances into victim blaming. If a girl doesn’t “learn how to work it” she’s supposedly wasting the imagined power that comes from being a desired commodity. A commodity doesn’t have power and when a person accepts being viewed as a commodity they’re in a debilitated psycho-emotional state whether they can or will admit to it or not.

  • Pingback: ‘Prostitution Chic’ is a thing now | Feminist Current()

  • Antonia

    “Smith and the squad car pull up to a car park at the top of a hill where johns tend to go with prostitutes.”

    How convenient. A place where johns tend to go with prostitutes, as opposed to dark alleys, empty fields, woods, abandoned houses and warehouses, industrial parks at night … Because real life is all about hey THIS IS WHERE TO HAVE ILLEGAL SEX police-patrolled zones.

    “a prostituted woman”

    Judgement. If she is free, as the article states, to choose to be rescued or not, she is also free to choose to be a sex worker or not. The author — i.e. @Meaghan Murphy — reveals bias right away.

    “So, dude pays a fine and the woman is offered alternatives without pressure. OPPRESSION!”

    Okay, let’s assume, for the moment, that he paid her upfront and she can meet her mortgage payment. Could be this guy is a regular. Could be he sees her once or twice a week or month. Buh-bye a chunk of income which, because the sex workers aren’t criminalized, is LEGALLY gotten gains. Better she should work as a waitress, eh, and forgo her studies or time with her kids or whatever due to longer hours and exhaustion.

    And, if he didn’t pay her upfront, or if the cops confiscated her cash (and probably her condoms as has been known to happen in Sweden), well, tough titties.

    “Julie Bindel points out that the only thing the Dutch government’s 12 year experiment with legalization succeeded in doing was to increase the market.”

    No question that the Dutch made big mistakes but nobody is pushing for such a model here in Canada. Besides, what does Amsterdam’s system have to do with Sweden’s? NOTHING> Not relevant. Digression. False logic. Red herring.

    “Under the “labour” model, assault and rape is no longer violence against women, but “an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe,” Bindel writes. There’s simply no reason for police to charge men for doing something they feel they are legally entitled to do. Without reeducation and training, which is a key aspect of the Nordic model, the police are unlikely to change their attitudes towards marginalized women, prostituted women, and, more generally, with regard to women’s human rights.”

    UM, NO. Under a labour model, it’s the exact opposite. The way the system is set up now, violence against sex workers is an occupational hazard. She asked for it. Yada yada. This is alarmist and indefensible bullshit. Assault and rape are illegal in Canada. Prostitution is not. The way this presents the situation intimates that ensuring the safety and security of sex workers under the constitution will put them in greater harm’s way. That makes no sense whatsoever.

    “Those who argue that prostitution is dangerous due to “stigma” turned out to be wrong too, as Bindel reports: “Only 5 per cent of the women registered for taxation, because no one wants to be known as a whore — however legal it may be.” The stigma remains, as does the exploitation.”

    Stigma is only part of the problem and guess what? You aren’t helping. A generation ago, women who “had babies out of wedlock” (“bastards”) were stigmatized. Two generations ago, girls who “slept around” were stigmatized. Etc. What are you doing to help eliminate the stigma against, as you seem to have no problem with the term, “whores?”

    “Talking about sex work as work doesn’t help women. It doesn’t help women leave the industry, it doesn’t create gender equality, it doesn’t stop the violence, and it doesn’t destigmatize prostitution.”

    You’re correct about that. But abolitionism talks about nothing but and yet sees no way to decrease the harms against women except by shoving women back in dark alleys — or virtual ones in the Internet age.

    “And, as of yet, the only legislation that is specifically feminist in nature is the Nordic model.”

    So all us feminists who see it differently are not feminist enough for you. I guess, to quote you, we have to see men more as “meandmydick” to count.

    “Men in Sweden, on the other hand, are afraid to commit violence because they know the women they are buying sex from have more power in the situation than they do. They know they will be charged if the woman calls the cops and so they behave better.”

    Uh, DateCheck? SP411? LinkedIn profiles? All kinds of ways to pre-screen clients who must be willing to give up their names and coordinates before they see a sex worker. Why on earth would a John reveal personal info if he can’t be sure the sex worker isn’t a cop? Do you even see how illogical this is?? If a John in Sweden commits violence, he will be miles away before a sex worker can call the cops and then what can she tell them? He had a freckle on his dick? Or that he works at x company, his cell number is y and his Visa account is z? The only way he can do the latter is with prescreening, which won’t happen if clients are criminalized.

    All your trafficking and organized crime statistics from NZ and elsewhere have been challenged. Since I do not devote myself fulltime to abolitionism as you seem to, I don’t keep all these things bookmarked. But a quick Google turned up:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10512446
    http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/commercial-property-and-regulatory/prostitution/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/plrc-report/8-street-based-sex-workers#821
    If the NZ government can’t manage to accurately count the street workers, how can YOU be so sure of their numbers?

    “As far as equality goes, there’s no argument here and we need to stop pretending there is.”

    Straw woman. Who pretends that sex work will smash the patriarchy? Nobody. But one thing for sure: When it comes to the exchange of cash, it’s one way. If women did not have power in this regard, there would be NO DEMAND for sex workers. And, short of cutting off all the penises in the world, you’ll never be assured of ending demand. Do we need social changes in Canada? Absolutely. But it would be far more productive, and achieve far more, for you to concentrate your energies towards getting universal daycare and other parental supports which, BTW, is where the Swedes started almost a century ago. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

    Be careful. Your moralism is showing.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hi Antonia,

      “How convenient. A place where johns tend to go with prostitutes, as opposed to dark alleys, empty fields, woods, abandoned houses and warehouses, industrial parks at night … Because real life is all about hey THIS IS WHERE TO HAVE ILLEGAL SEX police-patrolled zones.”

      I’m willing to be the cops check the alleys too. Just like they do in Vancouver.

      “‘a prostituted woman’ Judgement. If she is free, as the article states, to choose to be rescued or not, she is also free to choose to be a sex worker or not. The author — i.e. @Meaghan Murphy — reveals bias right away.”

      I use the term prostituted woman because a) that was the language taught to me by exited women, indigenous women, and feminists, and b) because it provides a context — i.e. it is not a neutral, degendered, decontextualized term like ‘sex worker’. You’ll notice that, generally, I alternate between those two terms in order to avoid getting caught up in the language argument to much and because I realize that some women in the industry prefer the term ‘sex worker’. That doesn’t constitute a bias.

      “No question that the Dutch made big mistakes but nobody is pushing for such a model here in Canada. Besides, what does Amsterdam’s system have to do with Sweden’s? NOTHING> Not relevant. Digression. False logic. Red herring.”

      I’m comparing models. That’s the whole point of the argument. Stop throwing around irrelevant terms as though you are making an argument. Your lack of reading comprehension skills and ability to use logic to form arguments is showing.

      “Stigma is only part of the problem and guess what? You aren’t helping. A generation ago, women who “had babies out of wedlock” (“bastards”) were stigmatized. Two generations ago, girls who “slept around” were stigmatized. Etc. What are you doing to help eliminate the stigma against, as you seem to have no problem with the term, “whores?”

      I was able to provide evidence to back up the argument that legalization and/or full decriminalization did nothing to remove the stigma of being a prostitute. Can you provide evidence that I am wrong? And yes, you’re right, I would never call a woman a ‘whore’. It’s insulting and sexist.

      ““As far as equality goes, there’s no argument here and we need to stop pretending there is.” Straw woman. Who pretends that sex work will smash the patriarchy? Nobody. But one thing for sure: When it comes to the exchange of cash, it’s one way. If women did not have power in this regard, there would be NO DEMAND for sex workers. And, short of cutting off all the penises in the world, you’ll never be assured of ending demand. Do we need social changes in Canada? Absolutely. But it would be far more productive, and achieve far more, for you to concentrate your energies towards getting universal daycare and other parental supports which, BTW, is where the Swedes started almost a century ago. Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

      My argument is that, if the goal is equality, then the only model that works towards that is the Nordic model.

      You are making the same argument Margaret Thatcher made: ie. nothing will ever change, this is how men are, etc.

      I advocate for universal daycare with my words, ideology, and my vote. It is a HUGE priority for feminists in Canada.

      “Be careful. Your moralism is showing.”

      By “moralism” do you mean, ethics, politics, and ideology? Then yes, you are right. I make my position quite clear.

    • dans tes bras

      I don’t mind snark in a post, but there has to be factual substance in between the snark and Antonia left out that part.

    • copleycat

      “But one thing for sure: When it comes to the exchange of cash, it’s one way. If women did not have power in this regard, there would be NO DEMAND for sex workers.”

      What are you trying to say here? If women didn’t have power men would not want to use them as sex objects? Really? Let’s just go back over what you said here,

      “If women did not have power in this regard,”

      here do you mean economic power because of the cash exchange you mention immediately before this?

      “there would be NO DEMAND for sex workers.”

      So the demand depends on women’s economic power? Is that what you’re saying? Would you elaborate? Because that doesn’t seem to make much sense, but maybe it’s just my lack of perception – do please explain.

    • Anne R.

      Antonia:
      maybe you should just read this before you refer to more from New Zealand.

      I guess, that I don’t have to tell you who Georgina Beyer is
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10875922

      “Beyer: We were naive liberalising prostitution”

      when you refer to something, use some newer sources – right? There are plenty of news from New Zealand – for instance a lot of articles and hearings in the Parlament about the big problems they do have with their sex industry, the illegal prostitutes from China, the illegal brothels, the enormous problem with the street prostitution and child prostitution.

  • sporenda

    “And, short of cutting off all the penises in the world, you’ll never be assured of ending demand.”

    Tired old argument: people who pass laws against johns are not deluded to the point of thinking that prostitution can be completely erased: nearly 2 centuries after its abolition in European countries, slavery still exists in some parts of the world.
    Laws that punish murder don’t supress murders, they just aim at making it hard for murderers, and thus curtail their numbers.
    Same for anti-johns laws.

  • Rye

    I believe that the Nordic model is unfair and hypocritical. If it’s acceptable to legally punish a benign sex buyer (who maintains good behavior and only frequents women with sufficient privilege to give real consent) because prostitution conflicts with gender equality, then lets be consistent. Marriage conflicts with gender equality too, so lets legally punish married men too.

    Secondly, not all prostitution is paid rape. If prostitution is paid rape when prostitutes aren’t capable of giving real consent due to a lack of acceptable employment options, coercion by pimps, or drug addiction, then I don’t find it so controversial. But what about cases where she has acceptable employment options and keeps all the money for herself? I think it’s absurd to call that rape.

    On the other hand, it’s true that at least 90% of prostitutes do not meet the conditions necessary for making a real choice, and that a large percentage of buyers are interested in sadistic thrills. So I agree with offering these women better futures, punishing the men who buy them (especially street walkers), and tipping the balance of power in the favor of prostitutes.

    However, there are women who have made a real choice to be a prostitute. That said, I don’t think it’s possible to legalize prostitution without the market needing unwilling women to meet demand, so allow me to suggest a compromise that slightly revises the Swedish model.

    How about leaving privileged prostitutes alone? Although buying sex from a privileged prostitute would be illegal, the law would tolerate it unless she filed a complaint with the police. So, the police would be allowed to arrest men with street walkers at popular destinations. However, they would not be allowed to shut down a high-end escort’s webpage or use any activity on it as evidence without her permission, shut down services used to screen clients, intercept her communications, follow her around to catch suspected customers, or connect listening devices to her hotel room or customer’s residence etc.

    Thus, prostitution would not become socially acceptable, the exploitation of women in prostitution would be reduced, and benign sex buyers would not be unfairly punished. That said, I can understand aggressively enforcing the law against benign sex buyers eventually, but only after marriage and the romance industry are also abolished.

    • sporenda

      “So, the police would be allowed to arrest men with street walkers at popular destinations. However, they would not be allowed to shut down a high-end escort’s webpage or use any activity ”

      So, in your view, prostitution would continue to be available for well off punters, the ones who can afford escorts or call girls, and only the low income guys who can only afford street prostitutes would be fined or prosecuted?

      And only the few privileged prostitutes who chose this activity and have other options could ply their trade, as their johns would be left alone.
      But those women who didn’t chose this “job”, who have no other options, and are brutally traficked and exploited by pimps, they would not be able to sell sex, since their johns would be harrassed?.

      Perfect double standard, perfect capitalist thinking: f…ck the poor, only the privileged can buy or sell sex.

    • stephen m

      @Rye: I cannot help but be reminded of Douglas Adams’s cow that wants to be eaten in _The Restaurant at the End of the Universe_ which fortunately is excerpted in the link below. Maybe your idea might work in “five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years”, and we will review it again then, OK?

      http://remotestorage.blogspot.ca/2010/07/douglas-adamss-cow-that-wants-to-be.html

    • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

      So, these sex workers who are voluntarily choosing to do sex work, could you answer a question about them? If a woman truly desires to have sex with a man, then why is he paying her? This I would really like to know.

      • copleycat

        Yes Bushfire exactly! There’s a flip side to this fact too, namely that there’s no such thing as a “benign” john. If you’re paying someone for sex then you know they don’t really want to have sex with you – and there are plenty of johns who know this fact and at once revel in it and resent it and that’s why they’re so volatile and prone to violence. Either way if you truly are a benign guy you wouldn’t try to have sex by any means with anyone who didn’t truly want to have it with you.

      • Tiakarete

        Because I can make money from it. I like sex, I like money. I like to be able to do what I want.

    • MLM

      This is a post from a blog by a former London call girl that you might want to read Rye. (I’ve quoted just some, but the link is below)

      “No, I do not believe all punters are abusers. However, contradictory to that, I believe all prostitution is abuse. Many clients of women working as prostitutes are what I would term oblivious abusers. They are inflicting abuse, but they are unaware of the fact. I have been asked to write this post by a feminist magazine and I think I might disappoint some of the people who follow this blog and support me in my writing by publishing this post.

      I can’t write what will please other people. I have to write what is my truth. I also must stress that I worked at the high end of prostitution, as a call girl in London…

      “As I have said in previous posts, I did not enjoy, in fact, I was repulsed, at sexual
      contact with nearly all of my clients. Does that make them abusers though? Prostitution in my mind is without doubt abuse, but in my case, I think I was the one allowing men to abuse me. That doesn’t make it right. But I have a part in that. Most of my clients were oblivious abusers. Does that still make them abusers? I am not so sure, but by reading through to the end of this post, any man who still chooses to pay for sex will not be an oblivious abuser, because he will know the truth and be aware of the damage caused to a woman by paying for sex”.

      http://xlondoncallgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/punters-johns-clients-whatever-you-call.html

      There is no such thing as a “benign” john. At the very least, they help uphold the status quo of blatant sexual inequality and demand for buying sex, which causes so many women absolute misery.

      Haggstrom says in Joan Smith’s article (for the Independent) : “Having sex is not a human right.”

      He’s right.

    • Laur

      “How about leaving privileged prostitutes alone? ”

      And who decides who a privileged prostitute (oxymoron if I ever heard one) is? Some of the most abused women I have ever met worked for so-called high end escort agencies. Judging by the amount of money they had thrown at them, they would be privileged, certainly to other women. None of this takes away from the amount of abuse they endured or the level of PTSD they live with and continue to live with day and night.

      “That said, I can understand aggressively enforcing the law against benign sex buyers eventually, but only after marriage and the romance industry are also abolished. ”

      And who gets to define what is a “benign sex buyer?” The context of prostitution is SEX INEQUALITY!!

      Sounds to me like you’re a john, aka sex predator, Rye.

  • Rye

    @Sporenda

    I’m confused why you would imply that poor women would be harmed? I don’t believe their lives would be affected any differently whether the Nordic model was implemented with or without my proposal.

    Secondly, I thought a main goal of the Nordic model was to help poor women transition out of prostitution and reduce sex trafficking? My proposal only acknowledges that a) some small percentage of women voluntarily sell sex and some small percentage of punters, as you call them, maintain good behavior and only do business with women who voluntarily sell sex, and b) I think they should be left alone, at least until marriage is also abolished. When marriage reduces women to chattel, it’s unfair to punish benign punters and not married men.

    If you instead prefer that the law is only enforced when a punter gives a prostitute woman a reason to report him, then that works for me too.

    @stephen m,

    I’m sorry, I do not see the connection? A cow that has been genetically engineered to understand human language and consent to being consumed is just disturbing. And there’s a big difference between the cow and a prostitute that I think is being overlooked. A prostitute woman’s bodily integrity is not necessarily violated like it is for the cow.

    @Bushfire,

    I think it’s very rare for a prostitute woman to truly desire having sex with the men paying her, even if she is a prostitute voluntarily.

    But if you are trying to say that a woman must genuinely desire to have sex with a man in order to give real consent, then I disagree. I think a woman can give real consent to a bribe. When it’s not real consent, for example, is when she can’t say “no” because she would be evicted for failing to pay her rent. But if, for example, she only sacrifices additional disposable income by saying “no” to the bribe, then it’s real consent.

    For example, this would not be rape, in my opinion.

    1. Man and Woman both net $75,000 a year as engineers.
    2. Woman tells Man she isn’t interested in dating or having sex with him.
    3. Man offers Woman $50,000 a year in exchange for sex 2 times a month.
    4. Woman agrees, provided Man respects her boundaries and satisfies her safety and hygiene conditions.
    5. Man agrees and fully complies with her conditions, and Woman’s net annual income rose to $125,000, while Man’s income fell to $25,000

    @MLM

    To be clear, yes, a man who has sex with a prostitute who is doped up on drugs, looking away, and/or insists he leave before the full hour is up, is inflicting abuse. And not only was it abuse, but the men who insisted she watch porn and let them do sexual things with her dog were downright despicable. But, I disagree with her that every prostitute uses drugs to cope, or that it’s always abuse.

    I’m not saying abuse doesn’t occur in high-end escort and call-girl prostitution, and I have nothing against them having the power to scare a client in to good behavior by merely threatening to call the police.

    Agreed, sex is not a human right. If it were, then women would have an obligation to “gift” their bodies to men. But since women have a right to bodily autonomy, so much for men having a right to sex.

    • copleycat

      “But if you are trying to say that a woman must genuinely desire to have sex with a man in order to give real consent, then I disagree. I think a woman can give real consent to a bribe. When it’s not real consent, for example, is when she can’t say “no” because she would be evicted for failing to pay her rent. But if, for example, she only sacrifices additional disposable income by saying “no” to the bribe, then it’s real consent.
      For example, this would not be rape, in my opinion.
      1. Man and Woman both net $75,000 a year as engineers.
      2. Woman tells Man she isn’t interested in dating or having sex with him.
      3. Man offers Woman $50,000 a year in exchange for sex 2 times a month.
      4. Woman agrees, provided Man respects her boundaries and satisfies her safety and hygiene conditions.
      5. Man agrees and fully complies with her conditions, and Woman’s net annual income rose to $125,000, while Man’s income fell to $25,000”

      Well Rye let’s see here so if a man can tempt a woman into betraying herself for financial gain (accepting a bribe to have sex) then there’s no problem? Never mind that women are continuously rewarded by this culture for betraying themselves and I am assuming here we aren’t going to have to have a debate about whether or not misogyny is the dominant ideology on the planet right now but perhaps you’ll disagree.
      Never mind the profound psychological damage done whenever a person betrays themselves, not the least of which is that it sets them up to keep on betraying themselves as well as to be riddled with shame that warps their abilities to make and sustain connections with people who really care about them.
      Never mind that most women don’t make as much money as men do and that your example is actually an instance of sexual harassment in the work-place. And if the woman in your example says no, then by your logic the man should just offer a bigger bribe? Wouldn’t that be nice to have a co-worker continuously soliciting you for prostitution?

      Lastly what about this john? What about you? Why part with so much money, and you make a point of explicitly tallying the financial losses and gains for each party, in order to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you? What could possibly be enjoyable about this? What makes it so much more pleasurable than masturbating? If you do that you can at least imagine that someone wants to be with you but with your scheme here you are literally faced with the knowledge that this person had to be bribed (as you put it) just to touch you and somehow in spite of this knowledge you’re going to be able to have an orgasm? Is the orgasm in spite of this knowledge or because of it?

      This notion of bribery makes the inherent violation seem justified – let’s guess any ire roused by the fact that the woman didn’t want to sex in the first place can be indulged fully under the rationalization that she’s corrupt – if she wasn’t she wouldn’t take the bribe, right? So, because she’s corruptible and corrupted, it’s OK to touch her when in fact she doesn’t really want to be touched. That’s the thrill of this isn’t? In this scenario you’ve managed to get someone to betray themselves and that’s demoralizing. Nice, benign people don’t get orgasmic pleasure out of deliberately setting people up to be demoralized.

    • sweet redemption

      We would play hide and go seek
      territory would be the whole block
      sometimes the older boys when they’d find you
      they wouldn’t want to tag you, they’d just want to talk
      they’d say, “What would you do for a quarter? Come on, we don’t have that much time.”
      and I’d think a minute and I’d say
      “Okay. Give me the quarter first. Fine.”

      This time you win
      here we go again
      and I would feel dirty and I would feel ashamed
      but I wouldn’t let it stop my game

      Ani Difranco “Hide and Seek”

    • MLM

      Rye, at the end of the day, your position that it is “not always abuse” is a self-serving one. And yours is still the same kind of regressive cultural belief about “what women are for” that lies at heart of far more serious abuses.
      As much as you might like to see yourself as a “nice” or “good” john who deserves special treatment, you are still supporting the same destructive and inherently problematic idea that a woman’s body is merely a commodity that you should be able to buy/consume for your own pleasure. That idea is at the root of why so many women are treated inhumanely.

      • Melissa

        This was a beautiful response, MLM. It makes me sick how many times I’ve seen, on feminist blogs from female commenters, about how “prostitution is the oldest profession” and isn’t going away so we should make the best out of it. No, I refuse to believe we women are born whores, and that it’s our intrinsic nature to be the providers of sex.

        • MLM

          Thanks, Melissa. The “oldest profession” it may or may not be, but that’s certainly the oldest excuse given for settling for it. I don’t understand the “make the best of it” argument, either. Especially when people try and sell it as empowerment. It always reminds me of that saying that ” you can’t polish a turd, only roll it in glitter”. You don’t bother trying to “fix up” a turd, you realise it’s a turd and flush it away!

          And I honestly don’t think we’ll get to know the intrinsic sexual nature of women until such attitudes are firmly in the dustbin of history, where they belong, and everybody realises that women – like men – are born human. We become everything else.

    • MLM

      Actually, Rye, this blogger – another exited woman – makes a far better argument about why there’s really no such thing as a “good” punter than I ever could. Please read what she has to say about it. (Link below)

      “Let me tell you who you are: you are the ‘good’ punter. You’re the man who has a laugh with the woman you’re buying. You’re the man who strokes her hair. You ask her how her day’s been. How she’s feeling. Why she’s doing this. Did you ever think to ask that of yourself?

      You are the ‘good’ punter. If you see a bruise on her you’ll ask if she’s okay. Is anybody treating her violently? Yes. Many men are. Go in the bathroom. You’ll find one above the sink.

      The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit. I would know; I doled out that currency many times, and we both were that, we both doled out currency in different ways, you and me.

      You came along because you wanted to spend what you had to spend, your load, which also meant your money; and you looked at me and you touched me and you fucked me and then you held me. That was always the worst part. I want you to know that. That was always the worst part.

      I didn’t want to be held by you. I didn’t want to be cuddled. I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me… And you bought that lie; believe me it was a lie you bought. I know, because I sold it”.

      http://theprostitutionexperience.com/?p=193#.UVni0td9Xi0.twitter

    • pisaquari

      Rye, I’ve deconstructed – with EMPHASIS – the highly problematic scenario you posit.

      “1. Man and Woman both net $75,000 a year as engineers.
      2. WOMAN TELLS MAN SHE ISN’T INTERESTED IN dating or HAVING SEX WITH HIM.”

      *This means she isn’t interested in having sex with him for sex’s sake. Penetrating her for ANY other reason would thus involve COERCION. You and every other man on this planet need to get this through your thick skulls.*

      “3. Man offers Woman $50,000 a year in exchange for sex 2 times a month.”

      *This man cannot take “no” a first time so he offers a coercive element: money. A man who cannot take NO and a man who offers COERCIVE components is a RAPIST*

      “4. Woman agrees,”

      *Whoa, stop right there. Woman “agrees” to what? She is agreeing to being paid to do something she does NOT want to do. Her DISINTEREST in the SEX has not changed (otherwise she would want that for free). A feminist model of SEX would NEVER want a woman to be physically subjected to penetration SHE DOES NOT WANT.*

      “provided Man respects her boundaries and satisfies her safety and hygiene conditions.”

      *Respecting “boundaries” is not longer part of this scenario. As soon as he did not take her initial “no,” any chance of respect was lost.*

      “5. Man agrees and fully complies with her conditions, and Woman’s net annual income rose to $125,000, while Man’s income fell to $25,000”

      *Ah! Nice sterilization tactic: “agrees and fully complies with her conditions”–Oh, hahaha, you JEST. Because if FULLY COMPLYING with HER CONDITIONS was important to this douche-fuck, he would HAVE TAKEN NO. Are you following me??? And, of course, we all must assume – which would be terribly naive and feminists aren’t stupid tho nice try – that a man who only wants COERCED penetration at the outset will have NO ADDITIONAL problems “complying” with her wants?!?!*

      As all women know, coerced penetration causes several short-term and lifelong physical, psychosomatic, gynecological and psychological health problems. So go ahead and tell us now, rye, how much you’re paying women on average to put your dick near their highly complex and vulnerable reproductive systems and, as health professional, I’ll tell you how much additional you should be forking over to pay for the consequences you are causing. Never mind the social costs–you cannot afford them. No one can.

  • sporenda

    “My proposal only acknowledges that a) some small percentage of women voluntarily sell sex and some small percentage of punters, as you call them, maintain good behavior and only do business with women who voluntarily sell sex,”

    Your proposal is not realistic.

    First, the laws on prostitution do not have to be written for the small privileged minority who voluntarily sell sex but to protect the vast majority who are coerced into selling sex.

    Second, about the johns that only do business with women who voluntarily sell sex: how do they know? Do you think the coerced prostitutes are willing to lose customers or to endanger themselves by revealing to their johns that they have a pimp?

    I have heard men using the same dishonnest argument: I don’t do business with traficked prostitutes, I don’t do business with minors.
    How can they tell the difference? Since prostitutes lose business if they tell the truth.

  • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

    “I think it’s very rare for a prostitute woman to truly desire having sex with the men paying her, even if she is a prostitute voluntarily.

    But if you are trying to say that a woman must genuinely desire to have sex with a man in order to give real consent, then I disagree. I think a woman can give real consent to a bribe”

    I want more for women than this. I want sex to only happen out of genuine desire. I don’t want men to think that sex is something they can “buy” from women, as if women are the providers of sex. Perhaps if he was a better lover, more interesting, more attentive, she would desire him naturally? Why is he entitled to someone else’s body just because he has money?

    Your situation is perhaps “less worse” than other situations, but I still don’t think it’s ideal.

  • marv

    Dear Abolitionists,

    Rye’s meandering doesn’t warrant the dignified and informed response you gave him. His idea of a fair resolution to prostitution is to abolish only what doesn’t block his cock. His self indulgent illusions are beneath contempt. I am perplexed why he keeps dumping his man shit here. It is not as if any abolitionist would ever take a john like him earnestly. Perhaps he is a sexual vampire who feeds off the attention he is receiving like he feeds off his prostituted woman.

    • Me

      I could not agree with you more, marv, even though I am also grateful for having been able to read such dignified and informed responses. I think this just goes to show that men should not have a say in this debate.

  • marv

    Yes Me, you are right. I too am “grateful” to read those feminist views. It is verbal political art.

    I will take your words – “I think this just goes to show that men should not have a say in this debate” – to mean that men don’t have the right to oppose the Nordic solution, but they do have the obligation to advocate it. Men must publicly take a stand on behalf of abolition.

    You are real treasure to me on this site. As a perceptive person you are a diamond in the sky, as a profeminist there are none better. Or maybe there are more outstanding males out there than I realize:)

  • Me

    “I will take your words to mean that men don’t have the right to oppose the Nordic solution, but they do have the obligation to advocate it. Men must publicly take a stand on behalf of abolition.”

    Yes, absolutely! Again I couldn’t agree with you more :)

  • Lara

    Some people claim that the Swedish model has made life more difficult and dangerous for women in prostitution.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Might you be interested in providing some evidence for this speculation?

    • stephen m

      @Lara: Those people’s claim would be the willfully ignorant or deliberately misleading.

    • stephen m

      @Lara: You wish to discuss the problems in Sweden and their effect on prostitutes, maybe in an attempt to discredit the Swedish approach to prostitution?

      To answer your question might we better ask what is better for women and girls by comparing and contrasting the problems that have been encountered in New Zealand vs Sweden. We also know New Zealand has admitted that it has serious problems and things have not worked out the way they hoped.

      The most interesting difference and what we must keep in mind is that they both have very different end points. Prostitution laws in New Zealand are attempting to normalize this type of sex-work, to be just another employment opportunity. Whereas Sweden REJECTS the idea that women and children, mostly girls are commodities to be exploited sexually by men, and therefor Sweden has adopted its laws for ALL women and girls.

      • Lara

        We should listen to prostitutes themselves – they hate the Swedish law because it takes away their income and increases stigma, and they support the laws in New Zealand that protect their rights.

        • Meghan Murphy

          But there are so many exited women who advocate for the Nordic model? And WHICH prostitutes are you talking about listening to? Who has a voice here and why? How does the who-is-listened-to hierarchy work? On what basis?

        • stephen m

          @Lara: Obviously I favour the elimination of prostitution because I don’t think it is healthy on many levels for anyone, particularly women and girls. However I did look through Petra Östergren’s site, her links and I read much of the content.

          Initially her view is interesting and I did not dismiss it out of hand. From what I read I would interpret that much of the current unhappiness for Swedish prostitutes stems from the total reduction of clients and that the remaining clients tend to be the abusive hard cases. Yes, working fewer hours for less money per hour and having a much much higher likelihood of dangerous clients would piss me off. Just remember this is a transition period and hopefully there are far fewer women and girls even considering prostitution as an occupation.

          The question I ask you is. Why would anyone want their daughters or anyone else’s daughters becoming prostitutes at all? Why in the world would you want to encourage/legalize it? Very counter intuitive.

          ps According to pro-legalization researchers legalizing prostitution does not seem to mitigate the psychological damage caused to the women who are working in prostitution.

        • Laur

          Yeah, and we should listen to pimps and punters (johns), too!! They’re against it, so why not do what they say?

  • Rye

    @Sporenda,

    You have a valid point about the law.

    However, from another perspective, effectively enforcing laws against higher-end prostitution, for example, would require violating civil liberties. So, as long as a law banning prostitution doesn’t also include violations of privacy rights and legal process, or mean regulating the internet to intercept prostitute-john communications or prevent prostitutes from owning a web page, then I think the law is just enough. Men buying sex from privileged women generally won’t be arrested unless they give her a reason to call the police, women who want to leave prostitution will be able to leave, and it will make life very difficult for pimps and sex-traffickers.

    As for avoiding women who are underage, that’s easy. My standards are that she must look no younger than 25, is independent/not affiliated with a third party, has a paper trail going back for at least 3 years, has generally advertised in the same relative location, has the mannerisms and speech that a local, middle-class person in their area would have, and she screens new “customers.”

    @copleycat

    I realize I didn’t put a lot of context in the situation, but to clarify, in no way do I think it’s acceptable to sexually harrass a woman. They could have been good friends from college who were talking over dinner, for example. Secondly, I think it’s normal to negotiate after an initial offer has been rejected. It becomes harassment after the person either states or indicates that they are not interested in negotiating.

    I can see your point about the woman possibly feeling as though she betrayed herself, or that the man’s behavior is irrational, but I think the issue is more nuanced than that. I can understand why someone might feel they betrayed themselves by exchanging sex for money with someone they find repulsive for, but I don’t think that has to be so if the proposal is made by someone they find attractive but have better options. For example, lets suppose a woman would consider either a, b, c or d as sexual partners, but she likes a the most, then b, then c, and then d. So if d suggests having sex or a relationship before the other men do, she might reject him because she desires a the most. But if d makes the same offer as the man in my scenario, I have a hard time understanding why accepting it would make her feel like she betrayed herself.

    As for the rationality of a man making such an offer, it’s an offer I can see myself making. Although the situation isn’t the same, I am okay with spending over half of my disposable income on the woman I frequent. To me, it is a rational decision because sex is a powerful want, and I can not have sex otherwise. True, it would be preferable to masturbate rather than pay a woman who isn’t interested, but it’s different when she enjoys and is engaged in the sex, as the woman I frequent is. While it may seem bizarre that I continue paying her for sex when she enjoys it, I know she wouldn’t have sex with me for free because I’m far from her first choice, in part, because I am socially incompetent.

    So, it seems reasonable to me that some men might want to sacrifice a large percentage of their disposable income to compensate a woman to have sex with them, if they are socially incompetent for example. And, it seems reasonable to me that a woman accepting the offer might even enjoy the sex if she finds him adequately attractive and he doesn’t neglect her pleasure.

    @MLM

    1. True, my position is self-serving, although I make an effort to practice it as ideally as possible. I also agree that prostitution supports patriarchy, but I don’t find that to be a compelling reason to stop satisfying my sexual wants by buying sex. I’m positive marriage supports patriarchy too.

    What would compel me to stop buying sex would be if I couldn’t avoid violating a woman’s rights to bodily autonomy, bodily integrity, or dignity. My list isn’t exhaustive, of course, but I would never knowingly violate a woman’s right to them. And as far as I can tell, I am not doing anything more ethically controversial with the woman I buy sex from than what the average married man does with his wife. In fact, I think I am having less ethically controversial sex with her than most married men have with their wives.

    2. Since it’s likely that prostitutes are far more likely to be coerced and exploited than wives, I can understand why feminists might consider abolishing prostitution to be more compelling than marriage. And in the interest of protecting women from this abuse, the Nordic model makes sense. At the same time, I could continue buying sex with little legal risk because the woman I frequent has no reason to report me.

    That is, unless a Nordic model includes new laws that tighten internet regulations and expand police power. For example, laws prohibiting a prostitute from running a web page to advertise herself as an escort, or allowing the police to easily monitor her movement and communications to catch her “clients.” And, I worry because there seems to be a common perception that every male individual who buys sex should be regarded as sadistic rapist and ought to receive the same punishment handed out to men guilty of aggravated sexual assault. Of course, I may be overreacting, so please correct me if I am.

    So, while I don’t believe I deserve to be punished any more than married men, I’m willing to live with some legal risk in order to protect and empower vulnerable and underprivileged women from abuse. However, I think I have every right to protest being regarded as a sadistic rapist, sentencing sex-buyers to prison terms appropriate for felony/indictable offenses merely for purchasing sex, and expanding police powers to support a witch-hunt to catch all the johns. Not that anyone said these things, but I’ve seen sentiments that worry me.

    3. I don’t believe the survivor testimonies you mentioned are applicable to me. Clearly, it is wrong to buy sex from a woman who needs drugs to cope or is “working” for a pimp. Secondly, the woman I frequent has the privilege to exit prostitution any time she wishes, and she has not publicly advertised her “services” since 2012. Moreover, as I previously stated, she is intimate with me and allows me to stimulate her clitoris until she orgasms. So, I think it’s fair to say that her experience with prostitution is more positive than the survivors you mentioned.

    @pisaquari

    In my opinion, the use of money in my scenario looks like an incentive rather than coercion. I believe it would only be coercion if a woman potentially sacrificed her safety or basic needs by refusing consent. The woman in my scenario, however, earned $75,000 (and lets suppose he’s a long-time acquaintance who works for a different company) and could therefore easily refuse consent without consequence.

    Also, I am not harming the woman I buy sex from. Although I don’t think I hurt her before, feminist criticism of piv sex compelled me, in part, to delay piv sex until she orgasms. And, incidentally, this change has lead to better sex.

    • Me

      You’re making a strong case for jailing yourself, Rye, I’ll give you that.

      Pathological lying
      Cunning/manipulative
      Lack of remorse or guilt
      Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
      Callousness; lack of empathy
      Failure to accept responsibility for his or her own actions

      Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
      Parasitic lifestyle
      Lack of realistic long-term goals

      It’s all woman hating.

      • marv wheale

        Irrefutably true, Me.

    • MLM

      When I say your position is self-serving, I also think your self interest skews your analysis. You don’t want to see yourself in the same camp as the “sadistic rapist”, but the reality is that you are part of the same problem because you actively endorse the same system that enables the sadistic rapist and hands him a steady supply of “unrapable’ victims. Nobody is going to give you a cookie for not being ostensibly abusive to the woman you pay for sex.

      You say you don’t believe the testimonies are applicable to you, but the reason I linked to them was because both women made the point that they sold sex to some “nice” non-violent men who held the same kind of belief about the benign (or even “good”) nature of their personal sexual transitions with these women, but the women’s side of the story was very different.

      But even if we assume you are correct, and your relationship with this woman *is* different, and she is really operating with “the privilege to exit prostitution any time she wishes”, by your own acknowledgement the law is an attempt to “protect and empower vulnerable and underprivileged women from abuse”. The pretty obvious argument is that if she can choose to do something else, and you can choose not to buy sex, your “freedom to” do this must necessarily be less of a priority than “freedom from” oppression for those who have come to the situation from a profound lack of choice. And for this reason abolitionists focus on the big picture, and the situations that give rise to abuse, not the more fortunate exceptions.

      You keep comparing marriage to prostitution, even though even you acknowledge that it’s “likely that prostitutes are far more likely to be coerced and exploited than wives”. Many married men actually go to prostitutes precisely so they can treat these women in a way they would not contemplate or get away with treating their wives. “Wives” don’t have the same kind of vulnerability to abuse from multiple clients and, as unfortunately common as domestic abuse is, it is still not nearly as acceptable for men to abuse them as it is to abuse prostituted women (who are murdered at a rate many times higher than married women from the general population).

      I think I’m disinclined to engage with you on this topic much more as this is becoming a somewhat circular argument. And the comments by Marv and Me, two commenters here whose opinions I very much respect, suggest that it’s probably an exercise in futility anyway.

    • Laur

      Rebecca Mott has written how the punters who induced a sexual response in her are some of the ones she hates the most. The truth is, you are making a ton of justifications on why your behavior is okay, and *it’s not*. Men always think women are getting sexual pleasure, no matter what you’re doing to us. It sounds to me like your stimulation of her clit is a way to justify to yourself your sexual use of this woman.

      And then you go into the “special snowflake” thing…”ohhh, I’m different than OTHER punters.” As if every dude doesn’t think he’s different and special. Thinking we’re different than certain groups we may belong to is a way of coping.

      “Privileged” women in prostitution?? How the fuck are you defining “privileged”?

      I’m really fucking pissed now…and at a “nice” john, too!! But there are so many men like you, who think they’re special, “not-rapists”, who are all the fucking same. Women know this from experience.

    • C

      “1. True, my position is self-serving, although I make an effort to practice it as ideally as possible. I also agree that prostitution supports patriarchy, but I don’t find that to be a compelling reason to stop satisfying my sexual wants by buying sex. I’m positive marriage supports patriarchy too.”

      There any good reason you can’t just go out and find a woman who WANTS to have sex with you, rather than one who does not “truly desire having sex with the men paying her”?

  • marv wheale

    Remarkable statements MLM and Laur. Frequently men try to minimize and neutralize their exploitive conduct by pointing to more serious crimes than their own – subterfuge out of egotistic bigotry. Seen within the context of the Worldwide War Against Women and Girls I think they should be indicted as war criminals. Fanciful thinking I know, at least for now. Anyway I love the rhetorical and rational powers of abolitionists like yourselves. It makes men’s defensive arguments fracture and collapse.

    I came across a striking quote the other day from Iranian feminist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani that reminded me of the radical feminists in this blog:

    “For me the struggle for women’s rights is life itself. So, like many other women’s rights activists, abstaining from such endeavours is basically impossible for me. While my fellow countrywomen suffer from discrimination and prejudice, my fight against such inequality is among the pillars of my life. But I know that any fight to change inequality and any campaign strategy must take into account the political and social condition of society.” http://newint.org/features/2013/03/01/noushin-ahamdi-khorasani/

    The inner yearning and outer struggle for equality is both an intolerable burden and a priceless gift. Heartfelt thanks to all of you who faithfully carry this paradox in yourselves. Your devotion has not gone unnoticed by many. If only more of us men would show brotherly unity with you instead of being engrossed with who they can or can’t legitimately fuck.

    • lizor

      “If only more of us men would show brotherly unity with you instead of being engrossed with who they can or can’t legitimately fuck.”

      Yes. This. Thank you.

  • obmon

    I am curious as to what feminists think about situations like the one presented in the movie The Sessions? Also, I saw an interesting documentary from Australia called “Scarlet Road – A Sex Workers Journey” (SBS)..

    I’m interested to hear thoughts on this.

    • MLM

      I think this article gives a very good response to that

      “Due to Key’s past of pushing for legalisation of the sex industry, it is questionable whether she is using people with disabilities to further her pro-sex industry agenda and whether the reframing of this debate is an attempt to evoke sensibilities of political correctness by portraying access to prostitutes as a disability rights issue.

      Vincent promotes the benefits of allowing access to sex workers stating it will improve the mental and physical wellbeing of those with a disability. What Ms Vincent has failed to concern herself with is the negative mental and physical impact sex work has on a prostituted person

      Equally people with disabilities are being further stigmatised and fed the notion that they are incapable of forming intimate relationships. This reinforces a notion that they are incomplete human beings, incapable of having sexual relations through any means other than a financial transaction.”

      http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=33284

      People often try and defend sex work by “other”ing the disabled and effectively suggesting that they couldn’t possibly achieve mutually desirous sexual interactions, which is actually a fairly offensive suggestion. Why not seek and facilitate ways for them to be involved in mutually desirous situations, instead of resigning them to pay for pseudo intimacy?

      And, as stated earlier, sex is not a “human right” anyway.

  • Matt

    http://rightswork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Issue-Paper-4.pdf

    Some facts and science for you. Research continues to show that the Nordic model has failed, just as sex workers have always predicted.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Matt. I’ve seen this paper. It contains NO evidence that shows the Nordic model has failed.

      • Lara

        ? The paper clearly demonstrates that the Swedish model has made things worse for prostitutes and harms them.

        • Meghan Murphy

          It doesn’t “clearly” demonstrate anything of the sort. It’s speculative and largely opinion-based.

    • stephen m

      @Matt: I would like to recommend a more comprehensive paper for you and others to read. It sees things differently from the link you supplied. It might help you understand that there is also much more to the issue than how you currently seem to view it.

      Synopsis: “In 1999, Sweden passed a law criminalizing the purchase of sex and decriminalizing the
      prostituted person. The law was part of an omnibus bill against violence against women,
      recognizing prostitution as related to such violence. This article analyzes the reasons for the
      Swedish law and documents the law’s impact, concluding that the law has significantly
      reduced the occurrence of prostitution in Sweden compared to neighboring countries. In
      addition, it addresses some important remaining obstacles to the law’s effective implementation and responds to various common critiques of (and misinformation about) the law and its
      effects. Finally, this article argues that, in order to realize the law’s full potential to support
      escape from prostitution, the civil rights of prostituted persons under current law should be
      strengthened to enable them to claim damages directly from the tricks/johns for the harm to which they have contributed.”

      “Conclusions : The Swedish law against purchase of sex which criminalized tricks and decriminalized prostituted people was founded on the recognition of prostitution as overwhelmingly unequal, exploitative, and harmful to prostituted persons. This law has had a significant impact on the demand for prostitution, as well as on the size of the population of prostituted persons. It is evident in the significantly lower population of prostituted persons in Sweden compared, interalia, with Sweden’s Nordic neighbors. Furthermore, a lower percentage of men in Sweden purchase sex than before the introduction of the law. Additionally, there is now a palpable reluctance among traffickers to pimp prostituted persons in Sweden since the law’s passage. …”

      Sweden’s prohibition of purchase of sex: The law’s reasons, impact,and potential

      Max Waltman
      Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden

      http://projectrespect.org.au/system/files/Sweden%27s+prohibition+of+sex.pdf

      • Meghan Murphy

        Thanks for sharing this paper, Stephen! Max does excellent work.

    • stephen m

      @Matt: There is one other consideration that we should bear in mind when reading the articles we have sited. They are biased by the author’s county’s political climate. Max Waltman is writing from Department of Political Science, Stockholm and Ann Jordan is writing from Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor, American University Washington College of Law, USA.

      The politics of Sweden are: “In Sweden, it is understood any society that claims to defend principles of legal, political, economic, and social equality for women and girls must reject the idea that women and children, mostly girls, are commodities that can be bought, sold, and sexually exploited by men” (Ekberg)

      Whereas the politics of the USA are: Ayn Rand, libertarian and where for example the health rights of women are being swept back as fast as possible. There could never be Swedish prostitution laws adopted in the USA. Who would have guessed that Margaret Atwood would be so right.

      I hope that the small “p” political climate in Canada is nearer to Sweden than the USA and this will be reflected in this upcoming decision on prostitution.

      • marv

        I finally managed to plough through Max Waltmans essay Stephen. What a superb resource – so comprehensive and balanced in its approach. It is a strong antidote to the poisoning of the social well by liberals. Many thanks for bringing his works to our attention. You are a real asset to our group conversations.

        • stephen m

          @marv: Thank you

  • helmfk

    You begin your article by saying that in order to be a progressive feminist, one must be against the rights of sex workers, yet I know a few progressive feminist sex workers who enjoy their work & want it to be legally protected. A true feminist believes that a woman should be allowed to do whatever she wants with her own body, & is an adult capable of deciding for herself what that is. Illegal prostitution is what creates exploitation through pimps and other horrors. Legal sex workers enjoy security guards, unions, & regulation. You may as well be arguing for alcohol prohibition here, just because drunk driving is still a problem.
    Shouldn’t equality for women include the right for her to do whatever she wants with her body? How is criminalizing her customers respectful of her right to do business as she pleases? It is infantilizing her. I know a few female & male sex workers who are proud & happy in their work & all they want is the freedom to do what they love & profit from it. This makes that harder on them.

    You can be progressive & feminist & support the rights of sex workers to control “meandmyvagina” themselves, & that isn’t a conclusion that people arrived at “regardless of fact” but because of facts. I know I grew up thinking prostitution was wrong & awful, until I met prostitutes & studied the issue seriously. There are alternatives, & Thatches isn’t exactly a progressive role model in my mind btw.

    The crime stats cited in the original article don’t really make much of a case. It merely says there have been more convictions in Sweden. How can you compare that to places where the same behavior is legal & protected? That’s like saying that marijuana arrests have increased in Chicago, therefore it shouldn’t be legal in Amsterdam. There isn’t even comparison of data relating to Amsterdam at all.
    Amsterdam has had its problems with the mob & attracting increased illegal activity, apparently. Some of the links don’t look very credible, but let’s assume for now that’s all true; how does making prostitution illegal solve those problems? As long as it’s legal, sex workers have a right to go to court, to appeal to the law to reform regulations. Make it illegal, they lose that ability.
    Prostitutes in places where it is legal have unions, security guards, etc. I doubt Swedish sex workers have that. Why not look at other stats, like the number of assaults against sex workers?
    This really doesn’t present a very good argument against legalizing prostitution at all.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “You begin your article by saying that in order to be a progressive feminist, one must be against the rights of sex workers”

      OH REALLY? DID I REALLY SAY THAT? THAT’S SO INTERESTING THAT I SAID THAT. IT’S ALWAYS SO INTERESTING TO LEARN ABOUT THE THINGS THAT I SAY.

      I’m giving you a a rule-number-five-based warning — keep it up and you won’t be allowed to comment here anymore. K?

    • stephen m

      @helmfk: Please supply some reputable sources for the things you contend in you comment(s). That would be useful so you and others can discover if you are dealing in reality or fantasy.

      I also suggest you also include reading the paper sited a couple of comments above which would also help you have a correct and accurate understanding the Nordic Model. It is here:

      http://feministcurrent.com/7401/the-nordic-model-is-the-only-model-that-actually-works-duh-says-sweden/#comment-69103

      Prohibition: I suggest you read the following so you can learn the reality about prohibition too.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470475/

      • stephen m

        I should have included the following for the last link: “Did Prohibition Really Work? Alcohol Prohibition as a Public Health Innovation”

    • MLM

      “A true feminist believes that a woman should be allowed to do whatever she wants with her own body, & is an adult capable of deciding for herself what that is”.

      Actually, that is only YOUR definition of a “true feminist”. A true feminist by my definition would recognise that all our choices exist in a larger context, and also that there are social dynamics at work which leave some women are far more vulnerable to abusive, oppressive and exploitative situations, giving them far less genuine “agency” in the situations they have supposedly “chosen”. And it is not “infantilising” anyone to be aware of this because these are usually also the same women who will probably find it hardest to make their voices heard in these conversations. Changing those situations would matter most to a “true feminist”. Because, in spite of what a few neoliberal narcissists would like to keep telling us “feminism” is, it did actually start out as the “Women’s Liberation” movement, not the “Me and My Choices” movement. And frankly if you genuinely had “studied the issue seriously” you would be more than aware that there is a far bigger picture which impacts a far greater number than just the “few female & male sex workers who are proud & happy in their work” that you happen to know. Their experience is pretty far from universal. As Anne R pointed out in her comment response to Jack (March 28, 2013 at 3:33 am) Swedish prostitutes support the Nordic model (and her claim is even supported by a link to an organisation called PRIS outlining what they stand for).

  • helmfk

    Might as well say, “well, people are still drunk driving, let’s go back to Prohibition.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      OR you might say, “well, people are still drunk driving, let’s make drunk driving illegal.” #logicismagic

      • Natasha Petrova

        Criminalizing consensual sex for money is just wrong. I know escorts who love their work. I’ve also visited a prostitute before. What I did was entirely peaceful and consensual. The use of physical force by government to prevnt it is rancid.

        • Natasha Petrova

          Furthermore,

          Child prostitution and trafficking in the sense of forced sex work is totally separate from commercial sexual relations between consenting adults. Feminism means choice. That includes the freedom to engage in sex work. You also don’t answer Stephen’s arguments about people who love their work and want to be free to engage in it with customers. If someone is engaged in it out of poverty and not genuine desire; the solution is greater socio-economic equality. The granting of options for women but not the criminalization of johns who engage in peaceful consensual sex with escorts who really want to be doing that kind of work.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Feminism doesn’t mean choice. Feminism means ending patriarchy and male violence against women. Sex work has nothing to do with ‘freedom’. And yes, you are right that part of the solution is greater socio-economic equality — the Nordic model and socialism are the models that address this, unlike your individualistic, libertarian understanding of ‘freedom’. The Nordic model is the only model that provides women with other options.

          • stephen m

            @Natasha Petrova: I am confused by your comment (quoted below) where you use my name? A mistake on your part I assume as I have not addressed any questions to Meghan in this thread.

            Natasha’s comment snippet addressed to Meghan that is in error: “You also don’t answer Stephen’s arguments about people who love their work and want to be free to engage in it with customers.”

          • MLM

            “john who engage in peaceful and consensual sex with escorts”…

            I quoted this earlier for Rye, but I’ll post it again.

            “The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit. I would know; I doled out that currency many times, and we both were that, we both doled out currency in different ways, you and me.

            You came along because you wanted to spend what you had to spend, your load, which also meant your money; and you looked at me and you touched me and you fucked me and then you held me. That was always the worst part. I want you to know that. That was always the worst part.

            I didn’t want to be held by you. I didn’t want to be cuddled. I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me… And you bought that lie; believe me it was a lie you bought. I know, because I sold it”.

            http://theprostitutionexperience.com/?p=193#.UVni0td9Xi0.twitter

            There is much harm caused even by johns who are not openly abusive, although so many johns are …

            “When I was prostituted, men found out about that I “like” sadist sex, that I could be treated as they want without consequences – through speaking with other punters.

            The language used in Punternet is the very ordinary language of the normal punter – it is not extreme, it is not the most violent punters, and it is not even rare.

            The most important thing about Punternet is it can be exposed to the light as a small example of the ordinary callousness of the punters to all the prostituted.”

            http://rmott62.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/the-invisible-men-2/

            “Just over 100 London men who buy sex from prostitutes/sex workers have been interviewed, as part of an international study the Guardian reports. You can also read the full report here…

            The notion that prostitutes are “un-rape-able” was a common belief among the men in this sample. Twenty-five per cent told us that the very concept of raping a prostitute or call girl was “ridiculous.”

            http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2010/01/interviewing_me

            You are seeing what you want to see and hearing what you want to hear. And you are ignoring the reality of harm and injustice. Plenty of women paint a very different picture of prostitution to the one you are trying to depict.

            “The first man to take Rachel Moran into his car for £10 hand relief in 1987 didn’t care that the 15-year- old was homeless after being thrown out by her mother, who had schizophrenia and was addicted to prescription medication. He didn’t care that her mentally ill, gambling-addicted father had taken his own life. He didn’t care that the social care system had failed her.

            He didn’t ask why a child was selling sex on Benburb Street in Dublin 7, or why she had been so utterly abandoned that the homeless 21-year-old pimping her was all she had to hang on to, her only friend in the world, even though she’d known him only a few days. “Take it easy on her, it’s her first time,” the pimp said – rather hypocritically, considering he knew her age was an asset.”

            http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-happy-hooker-myth-is-a-far-cry-from-reality-26636266.html

            “We are six women who have been in prostitution. In many ways we are similar to the women Politiken described in the series of articles ‘The Brothel – A Workplace in Denmark’. Their words were our words when we were in prostitution.

            Five of us told ourselves and the world around us that we were choosing to do it. That we enjoyed sex, earned good money and received lots of recognition. That we were completely in control of what we did.

            The media often describes women in prostitution as strong and free and as having a healthy, hungry relation with sex, most recently so in ‘The Brothel’. The story of the sex-loving woman who liberates her sexuality in prostitution is also the story most people want to hear. Especially men who buy sex.

            Those like us are the complete opposite. When we take part in the public debate about prostitution and point out the destructive forces and consequences of prostitution, we are told that something else must be wrong with us.

            For it cannot be the years in prostitution that have given us insomnia, depression, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, self-hate, pain, arthritis, anxiety, problems with intimacy and so on.”

            https://passtheflamingsword.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/exited-women-prostitution-is-violent-and-unfree/

            There are plenty of other links I could put on here to make this point. But instead I’ll direct you to this site http://www.scoop.it/u/fee-ministe which has hundreds of articles and studies on this very subject, some in French, some in English. Maybe you try and should broaden your understanding of this issue beyond your immediate personal situation or that of your friends.

          • stephen m

            @Natasha Petrova: I am confused by your comment (quoted below) where you use my name? A mistake on your part I assume as I have not addressed any questions to Meghan in this thread.

            Natasha’s comment snippet addressed to Meghan that is in error: “You also don’t answer Stephen’s arguments about people who love their work and want to be free to engage in it with customers.”

        • Meghan Murphy

          You paint an awfully rosy picture of prostitution that simply isn’t the reality for thousands and thousands of girls and women. Your personal desires don’t trump the human rights and well-being of all other women.

  • stephen m

    I just reread Megan’s main piece above and it is truly excellent and should probably be reread by everyone like myself who have been commenting since it was initially posted.

    Instead of citing more papers and articles as usual it might make for more interesting reading to summarize why I think the Nordic Model is superior to total decriminalization of prostitution.

    A country’s laws reflect its citizen’s (our) attitude toward the people who are there, both living and yet to be born in the future. Should a country choose to totally decriminalize prostitution it is telling its citizens that prostitution is acceptable for and by all who live there. Acceptable, a sub-class of sexually abused women and girls now and long into the future. Prostitution, which would primarily victimize women and girls who could be bought and/or sold by the men who believe it is their legal right to sexually abuse women and girls.

    In the shadow of the decriminalization of prostitution we also have to accept the responsibility for the fallout from this acceptance of sexual abuse of women and girls. This acceptance of sexual abuse would in turn condone men’s abusive sexual attitude toward *all women everywhere* and continue to break down women’s positive attitudes about themselves.

    Personally I find it repugnant that we would consider it acceptable to subject any woman or girl to the abusive message that complete decriminalization delivers, now and into the *many future generations* of women and girls.

    Rant over.

    • MLM

      Excellent comment, stephen m.

  • Xavier

    So this woman took a ride in a car around the streets then declared the law is a success?

    Just one thing- most sex work takes place indoors! Driving around the streets isn’t going to tell you a thing about what happens indoors.

    The “Nordic model” can actually put the poorer sex workers at greater risk of STIs. For example when sex work was legal outright charities were allowed to give out free condoms to sex workers and their clients. That isn’t allowed anymore and is now classed as “facilitating prostitution”. Now there are cases of workers shoplifting condoms.

    It is also illegal in Sweden to give clean needles to drug users. So drug users end up reusing needles or sharing them.

    In 2009 a Swedish police officer refused to take a statement from a sex worker who had been raped because in his words “you get money, you’re a prostitute so you can’t be raped”.

    It isn’t as liberal a country as some make it out to be.

    Source:
    http://cybersolidaires.typepad.com/files/jaylevy-impacts-of-swedish-criminalisation-on-sexworkers.pdf

    • Meghan Murphy

      The police obviously arrest johns who buy sex from women indoors, too. It’s really not that difficult to track and fine these guys…

      • Xavier

        According to The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, July 2012 report. It is very difficult to find and convict clients. The report has a section on prostitution laws including the Swedish law.

        Page 38:

        “Sweden’s Alliance of Counties says that resources for social work are scarce, as the money has been siphoned to policing. In spite of over 2,000 arrests, only 59 clients have been reported suspected of buying occasional sex. Only two have been convicted, after pleading guilty. No one has been jailed, and only low fines have been imposed, as per the law. Evidence to prove a crime is nearly unattainable. Workers do not consider themselves to be victims and are almost always unwilling to testify against their clients.”

        http://www.hivlawcommission.org/resources/report/FinalReport-Risks,Rights&Health-EN.pdf

        Take money away from social services so the police can go hunting down consenting adults participating in prostitution, then spend more money trying (and failing) to convict them? Great idea! (not)

        • Meghan Murphy

          It really isn’t that hard. If the cops can convict prostituted women (which they do in many places, unfortunately), then they can fine or arrest johns.

          Also, what’s the logic behind this “Take money away from social services so the police can go hunting down consenting adults participating in prostitution”? Sweden has excellent social services. Far, far better than in the US and even in Canada? The Nordic model is about putting money INTO social services — not taking away. That’s the whole idea.

          • Xavier

            Did you even read my last post? It is practically impossible to convict clients and that’s because the sex worker has to testify against them which most of them refuse to do.

            It turns out most sex workers don’t see themselves as victims and don’t want to lose their cient base.

            If Sweden’s social services is as good as you say then that’s great. But it would be even better if police left consenting adults alone then there would be even more funding.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Did you even read the post? Most of these men are just fined. If they don’t want to pay the fine, they can go to court and risk public humiliation. The law functions as a deterrent and as a way to change public perceptions about prostitution and human rights. Stop making boring, irrelevant, arguments.

          • Xavier

            So The Global Commission on HIV and the Law report is boring and irrelevant? I’ll believe them over you.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Nooooo — YOUR arguments are boring and irrelevant. You seem to miss both the point of the law and ignore all the ways in which it has succeeded.

          • Xavier

            “all the ways in which it has succeeded”

            The only “proof” of success is there are a lot less street walkers now than there was 10-15 years ago. But that’s because it has mostly moved indoors (which can also be attributed to other factors like most people having internet access now).

            How many indoor sex workers are there? Oh yeah Sweden doesn’t have a clue because all they do is drive around the streets and monitor the street trade.

            Advertising sex services is also illegal in Sweden, yet after all these years contact details for plenty of escorts can still easily be found on Google. The law is a failure and a waste of money and police resources.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Xavier — you can’t just make up facts and then post them as though they are true. Please provide evidence for your claims or GTFO.

            And there is ‘proof’, actually, that trafficking is down, yes, that there is less street prostitution, less men are buying sex, and also, most of all, that people’s minds have changed about women’s rights and prostitution in Sweden — so people don’t believe that men have the right to access girls and women simply because they have the financial means.

          • Pat

            What is the income % of the fine in Sweden? Also, what kind of jail sentences would they get? How does that compare to the punishments in Canada?

            As a man, I admit you may be right about this. But it seems extremely rich to demand political equality to men, but accept no responsibility when something goes wrong. That is sort of how I see feminism these days, sorry. Not sure I could support this for that reason.

          • Norne

            Prostituted women do not have to testify against prostitute-users in order for police to arrest, fine or jail johns.

            Pro-john advocates flip flop their arguments depending on the day. Some days the boogeyman of thousands of nice family guys getting arrested is cited as a reason to scuttle the law, and some days the low number of men actually arrested is held up as proof the Nordic law doesn’t work. The deterrence aspects of the Nordic model are dismissed despite common acknowledgement that men’s demand for prostitution has decreased in Sweden.

            The deterrent factors of the Nordic model have also resulted in prostituted women not needing emergency medical care and social services as much because not only are there less johns overall but the ones remaining can’t get away with being as violent as they want anymore.

            http://feministcurrent.com/7038/new-research-shows-violence-decreases-under-nordic-model-why-the-radio-silence/

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  • Sammy Carvajal

    What is the difference between a prostitute and a porn actress? should porn actresses be banned too?

    • Meghan Murphy

      No one’s ‘banning’ prostitutes or ‘porn actresses’ — how on earth did you get that from this post??

  • Kim B

    I have to say, I wish johns were not given the option of secretly paying a fine. They should just be prosecuted, end of story.

    • Pat

      Apparently that would mean 10% of the male population in prison! according to a UK study. Doesn’t seem very wise to me when they all get out. They will be twice as strong from working out and have diminished career and travel options, due to criminal record.

      I hope you don’t mind your taxes going up to pay for all the extra prisons too.

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  • Camille

    Not sure what the answer is but ther are still a huge amount of escort ads on backpage in Sweden more so than the number of ads in Victoria, Australia where it is legal.. so obviously there must be some demand still..

  • Thomas

    “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead.”
    Professor Hector, The History Boys.
    That exact thing happened quite recently. We were given a task to write a speech with an aim to change something, and so I wrote a speech against the criminalization of prostitutes in California. I proposed a solution practically identical to the Swedish solution. I feel immensely happy to see it put in practise and working!