Amnesty International confirms it no longer supports women’s human rights

Amnesty International

Amnesty International has formally adopted a policy calling for the legalization of prostitution around the world. The organization’s senior director for law and policy, Tawanda Mutasah, said:

“Sex workers are at heightened risk of a whole host of human rights abuses including rape, violence, extortion and discrimination. Far too often they receive no, or very little, protection from the law or means for redress.”

He fails to mention that, under legalization, these human rights abuses are amplified, nor does he consider how or why the law would address said abuses, once sanctioned under law. Mutasah adds:

“We want laws to be refocused on making sex workers’ lives safer and improving the relationship they have with the police, while addressing the very real issue of exploitation. We want governments to make sure no one is coerced to sell sex, or is unable to leave sex work if they choose to.”

“LOL,” said feminists across the globe.

This neoliberal policy, in the works for some time but now formalized, was developed, in part, by pimps and traffickers. Despite the fact that the system of prostitution exists in direct conflict with the human rights of women and girls, and despite ample evidence to show that legalization only increases abuse and exploitation, Amnesty International pushed forward with this policy, effectively abandoning any semblance of respect for women.

Men’s rights activists around the world can rest easy knowing that organizations like Amnesty International have their penises interests first in mind.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan 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.

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  • sherryann pardee

    How SAD !!! Amnesty for WHO ? Men Only !!! Looks that way !!! 🙁

  • A Non-White Woman

    As a non-White woman, I find the idea that suddenly racial profiling of
    women selling sex
    would disappear under full decriminalization absurd and ridiculous. Ya
    I’m surrrre the police will suddenly leave non-White women working on
    the street alone suddenly once it’s no decriminalized (/sarcasm). Pretty
    sure Germany, New Zealand, and the Netherlands still deport
    undocumented women who sell sex.

    It sounds like there are many
    more safeguards that could be put into the Nordic model to try to prevent women being evicted from their housing but decriminalization wouldn’t prevent stigma either.

    • Sara Marie

      Yes, I agree. Certain aspects of the way the Nordic Model has been implemented in different countries are troubling and not in line with feminist or human rights goals. But that hardly means the whole model needs to be abandoned.

  • Belaribel

    How does what I do with my body, by my choice, on my terms, “exist in direct conflict with the human rights of women and girls”? Or are you lumping all prostitution in to the seedy underbelly that we all want to see abolished, and which will be much harder to force women to stay in without criminalizing their activities and forcing them to operate under those unsafe conditions?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Because women and girls are not commodities to be bought and sold or objects to be used and abused.

      • Avery Bentley Sollmann

        Do you think that men’s are when they go into athletics, mining, construction work, or other form of manual labour? Because if you think that sex work is “selling your body” but the others aren’t, then you’re being sexist.

        For a lot of people, sex work is the difference between eating and poverty. Don’t police what women do with their bodies. Go after the abusers, not after the workers. Criminalising sex works makes it easier to imprison, abuse, torture, rape, and murder sex workers.

        • Meghan Murphy

          We support the Nordic model, which criminalizes the abusers and decriminalizes prostituted women.

        • melissa

          “It is worth exploring further this common refrain that prostitution is work like any other. Feminist arguments against the industry of prostitution hold that there is a difference between selling one’s labour, and selling access to one’s body. Survivors of prostitution often say the same[10]. A builder or plumber labours with his or her body, she sells her labour which is a product of her physicality, including her mind. A journalist or academic labours with their body too, thinking, writing, delivering lectures, travelling to conferences etc. But this is not the same as selling access to one’s body. Goods are produced by labourers through the labouring of their body – their body is not the good itself. Some would then point to dancers, or artists who use their own bodies in their art. But the same argument can apply, as dancers produce dance, and artists produce art with their bodies – their body is not the good in itself.

          The boundaries of the body are enshrined in law, our bodily integrity is universally understood; everywhere but in debates about prostitution it seems. Most of us would understand that there is a difference between being punched in the face and being raped. Our law treats these two violent assaults differently, because the latter is understood to have breached bodily integrity, it is a violation of bodily boundaries. This is partly why labouring with one’s body and making one’s body into a good itself, are two very different things. To put it bluntly, being a builder does not involve making one’s body sexually available to one’s employers; the same is true of journalists, academics, waiters etc.”

          http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/06/24/arguing-against-the-industry-of-prostitution-beyond-the-abolitionist-versus-sex-worker-binary/

          Also, why is it that men cant seem to understand having sex with someone in some of the most vulnerable, coercive situations, when the alternative is the poor person starving, is not “consensual” sex. in any other context liberals would describe this as rape. call it “work” and its suddenly all good. how does one live with this much cognitive dissonance?

          • will

            Men like Avery do not see the female body as having boundaries. Women as property is normal for he and his ilk, so unlikely that he could comprehend the difference between being penetrated by a stranger and digging a ditch.

            I wonder if he had to get up every morning and have a series of men use his throat and anus as a masturbation device if the significance of bodily integrity for female humans might dawn on him.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um. Believe it or not, many women do not “love” being penetrated by men at all, never mind men they don’t find attractive in any way shape or form.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I love how people pretend it’s not, like, 90 per cent men that pay for sex.

    • Xodima

      Even 10% women would surprise the hell outta me. I would think that women would mostly be buying for men or threesomes requested by men. Women just don’t commonly treat women like objects to that extent.

    • Its funny I read so many different percentages all over this comments section.The only thing they have in common is the people “feel” like it must be correct.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I think you would have to be a complete moron not to know that most buyers are men and most who sell sex are women.

        • RoberttheFoul

          Or sexist af to think that. Males are sex workers, too.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Keep trolling and you’ll be blocked. I promise.

          • radwonka

            Buyers are still men. Adios.

    • Anon

      More than that!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Prostitution dictates what women do with their bodies. That’s the whole point.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Can you explain why rape is something we understand to be traumatic whereas, say, being made to write an essay about a topic we don’t find particularly interesting is not?

    Also, Amnesty is perfectly ok with legalization, which you would know, had you done your research.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Whether or not a few individual women feel currently/temporarily ’empowered’ by prostitution does not impact my analysis of the system of prostitution.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed, there are many who say they oppose trafficking but not prostitution. It makes no sense.

  • Meghan Murphy
  • Meghan Murphy

    The vast majority of prostituted people are girls and women. The vast majority of buyers are men. Get it now?

    • Sara Marie

      Yes, while the percentage of males in prostitution varies from place to place, virtually everywhere there are more females in the sex trade. The quarter to a third of all people in the sex trade being boys and men, as said above, only confirms that the large majority of human beings being accessed for sex are females. Not that paying for sexual access to the most marginalized, whatever sex or gender they may be, is in any way okay.

    • Helen Saxby

      However as even you accept, there are male prostitutes so the question of human rights will apply just as much to them as female prostitutes. Your mistake is to say that AIs policy is only against womens human rights.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Prostitution is gendered and would not exist without male demand. That is a fact.

  • Si Llage

    Whereas white men, as we all know, are not privileged as a class and have no interest in making themselves “feel good about themselves” no matter who gets hurt in the process. Lucky for everyone that there are millions of white male johns and only thousands of white feminist abolitionists.

  • Cassandra

    If you think that that prostitution is “adults coming together and deciding what they can and cannot do with their bodies” is the actual reality of the situation, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s funny, Robert.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “dickdickdickdickdickdickdickdickdick?”

  • Xodima

    The difference between the Nordic model and full legalization is that full legalization caters to privileged white women while the Nordic model is built with the underprivileged in mind.

    • Cassandra

      This cannot be emphasized enough!

  • Meghan Murphy

    This idea that somehow women who work together are being targeted by the law is ridiculous and not substantiated. All this mythology surrounding the Nordic model, perpetuated by decrim advocates is ridiculous. The purpose of the law is to decrease demand, not target women in prostitution and law enforcement is on board with this idea.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Prostitution is the opposite of letting women make decisions about their own bodies. Prostitution is about men deciding to what they want with their bodies and with women’s bodies. There is no such thing as ‘sex worker exclusionary feminism.’ Cut the straw man arguments please.

    • Samantha Jo

      Really? Because keeping sex work illegal is sex worker exclusion. And if you claim to be a feminist, wanting to keep sex work illegal is sex work exclusionary feminism. Simple logic. But considering you think women going into sex work is the opposite of them making their own decisions, simple logic seems to escape you.

      • Meghan Murphy

        No. It isn’t. Prostituted women and ex-prostituted women are very much a part of this movement. Any woman is welcome in this movement, so long as they wish to work towards an end to patriarchy and male violence against women. The problem is that supporting men’s right to buy sex puts you at odds with the goals of feminism. It would be like capitalists wanting to be included by communists. What you are arguing isn’t logical. Like, you want us to support legalization so that you feel included? That doesn’t make sense. The sex industry exists in opposition to women’s liberty.

      • will

        No one is arguing to keep sex work illegal. We want buying to be illegal. You should know what an argument is before diving in.

  • Melanie

    Such simplistic, self serving ‘logic’. These people disgust me. I will never support them ever again.

  • Meghan Murphy

    AI has said they are fine with legalization. https://twitter.com/MeghanEMurphy/status/631276726933303296

  • Meghan Murphy

    London does not have the Nordic model. And law enforcement in Canada has yet to follow the law. I’m talking about places like Sweden, where the Nordic model has been in effect and respected by law enforcement for well over a decade.

    • Azura Rose

      Operation Homeless was in Norway, so directly applicable to the, um, Nordic model. Canadian law enforcement hasn’t been arresting clients, no, thank goodness. But they did threaten to, and my lawyer did walk me through what they were likely to do if they carried through with that and what my rights were. My lawyer disagrees with you, and quite frankly, I’m more likely to trust a Canadian lawyer about Canadian law than a non-Canadian journalist with pretty obvious biases around the issue.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Operation Homeless no longer exists and I don’t understand what your lawyer has to do with anything. When and if Canadian law enforcement are made to start enforcing the law (they are, it seems, in Alberta but not Toronto or Vancouver as of yet) you will not be criminalized, only johns will be. With regard to your pitting lawyers against feminists, there are plenty of feminist lawyers in Canada who supported Bill C-36 and worked alongside survivors, women’s orgs, and front-line workers to push the bill forward.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh yeah? Then why has that never happened anywhere that’s legalized?

  • Melanie

    The virgin/whore dichotomy comes from men. Men want to see women in prostitution because they perceive them as ‘whores’ and it turns them on. Good luck reducing stigma when the stigma is the entire point. Also, if you’re injured, assaulted, raped, contract an STI or serious disease, or develop trauma or mental illness then you no longer have control over your body, you’re no longer empowered. All it takes is one client. That’s the nature of this ‘industry’. The risks to physical and mental health and safety are high, regardless of any law. You could be an ’empowered’ sex worker one day, and devastated the next. Some job.

    • Tangelo

      Right you are: “Stigma is the entire point”.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The exception doesn’t make the rule.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, like, literally. Men pay for sex so that they don’t have to deal with/respect/accommodate women’s desires. They pay for sex so they can have their way.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Women ‘choose’ prostitution because they have no other choice. Women deserve real options.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What do you make of the fact that most women entered the sex trade as girls? What do you make of the fact that men seek out the youngest ‘women’ possible?

  • Meghan Murphy

    This comment is obnoxiously ignorant. You should listen to what survivors of the sex trade have to say about how much they ‘enjoyed it.’

  • Meghan Murphy

    My prejudice against erections dictating human rights policy? Guilty as charged.

  • Melanie

    If prostitution is no different to any other job and women freely choose to be in it then they need to accept that they’ve chosen to work in an industry that has significant ethical problems, health and safety issues and legal controversies. They have also chosen to work in an industry that impacts other people, in this case the status of all girls and women. Just like other contentious industries such as tobacco, forestry and mining all people have a right to comment or advocate for legal change, not just the employees or people doing the job. If sex workers can’t accept this they can use their agency to find another job. You can’t have it both ways. You’re either a job like any other job and hence subject to input from stakeholders, legal changes, regulations and restrictions like any other industry, or you’re something else – a practice that’s so harmful and dangerous that sex workers feel they require an exclusive say and the freedom to dictate laws and legislation in order to try and protect themselves.

  • Oh no, I really strongly disagree with this. Amnesty International does support women’s rights – see for example a recent campaign in Norway to bring attention to the problem of rape and to change the law to make rape charges easier – and no, not all feminists around the world consider legalization of prostitution a bad idea. Quite a lot agree with it, instead, and so do I.
    Why keeping prostitutes in the illegality should help them? Why a system of support and protection should harm them? Why prevent those who actually want to be prostitute to exercise their profession legally and safely?

    • Tangelo

      Why is Amnesty International protecting adult men who pay for access to shove their dicks in the mouths of 18 year old girls ? Since when was the desire of adult men to shove their dicks into teenagers’ anuses, mouths and vaginas a “human right”?

    • Anon

      Ah, yes, the debunked “happy hooker” theory.

      • Si Llage

        “For most people, having (consensual) sex is pleasurable, and if it is not so pleasurable it’s at least kind of nice.”

        In other words, “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” – Bob Knight, basketball coach

  • Cassandra

    Nope. The vast majority of women in prostitution worldwide are poor, underaged GIRLS. You still don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. FIXED.

  • Tamarack Verrall

    Thank you Meghan for your continued efforts to keep the realities of the effects of prostitution in focus, and for writing about this piece, on the bizarre and simplistic stand that Amnesty has taken. Can we please get away from the dangerous smokescreen that somehow legalization is the solution (ask some of the “legalized” women in Germany who have no right to say no to increasingly bizarre choices ticked off by multitudes of men “choosing” increasingly bizarre sex acts from “menus” that the women cannot say no to, or lose their jobs). Can we please focus on the millions of women and girls who have been and are being stolen into sexual slavery? My respect goes to the women busting free anyone who is imprisoned. This is real. This is where the focus needs to be.

  • Tangelo

    How’s that baloney going in Germany, the model for legalized prostitution?

  • Tangelo

    Very good points!

    Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted his opinion of women on August 2015:

    “All want to end poverty, but in meantime why deny poor women the option of voluntary sex work? ”

    The men of the left, in a nutshell.

    • Morag999

      Yes, men of the left are sure enjoying the “meantime.” More like: “All want to end poverty, but in the meantime, why deny men the opportunity to sexually exploit desperate women and children?”

  • Tangelo

    Lenny, take this to the bank: No woman ever enjoyed having anything to do with you, and I’m pretty sure that no woman ever will. But you go right on living the dream.

  • Tangelo

    The AI policy report could be useful, to some degree, to provide legitimacy to the arguments that the pro-john “sex work” organizations use to advocate against the Nordic model and for decriminalization in various countries So,yes, AI may serve as useful idiots for the pimps and johns.

  • will

    Hey Liz,

    While you are reducing stigma, could you expend a bit of energy reducing grooming, a.k.a. sexual abuse and rape, recruitment of children, STDs, anal and vaginal tearing, bruising, exploitive working conditions wherein pay is withheld and garnished at an obscene percentage by pimps/brothel owners, PTSD, and burnout, all of which is rampant in countries that have full legalization?

    Oh yeah, and could you increase worker compensation, workplace safety measures, and humane limitations on what John’s can demand in those countries where the dream of decriminalization/legalization has been realized and your sex-trade “empowerment” utopia seems to still be far beyond reach?

    Oh, and while you’re at it, can you reverse the johns’ demand for ever younger and inexperienced girls/children and instil a clearly apparent and measurable demand for older, more experienced prostitutes who have truly mastered their craft and who receive the respect that long-time work experience commands?

    Can you ensure that every single woman working in prostitution is doing so because another equally-well paying job that does not involve penetration or dissociation just does not appeal to her – that she has made an actual un-coerced choice – that they are never there for fear of losing basic acceptable standards of living for themselves and their dependents?

    Can you ensure that the work itself never ever requires dissociation or drugs or alcohol – in other words, that it is something that the worker is present for and engaged with?

    Let me know when all of you “stigma” crusaders have that sorted and I’ll support your side.

  • will

    That’s a very good article.

  • will

    Read the article calabasa has linked and also the one above that Lucy Wainwright has linked.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are mistaken, sir(?). Prostitution is traumatic for an enormous number of women and girls. Even the so-called “consensual” kind (a term that is unhelpful when we take into context how and why women get into prostitution in the first place).

    Legalization has resulted in the further abuse, exploitation, murder, rape of women in prostitution, not the Nordic model. Check your facts.

  • will

    Yup. 50/50. And you are also a decent human being.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s not “51%,” Helen…. It’s like 90%. You are in full on denial if you think the sex industry isn’t enormously gendered. It is obvious to anyone with eyes, never mind whose read the data.

    • Anon

      Probably closer to 97-99% of sex buyers are men.

    • Helen Saxby

      I didn’t say it was 51%. I said you seem to ignore something that accounts for less than half, in this case male prostitutes. (Maybe you don’t know much about it but male prostitutes make up around 25% to 33% of all prostitutes in many countries) In the UK one study gives a figure of 42%. Does AI’s policy deny male prostitutes their human rights or not?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Oh my god what is your poooooooooooint. Some men sell sex too, yes. To other men. This does not negate the fact that most prostituted people are women and children (mostly girls) and that most buyers are men. Either way it is Not A Good Thing for the marginalized.

        • RoberttheFoul

          They also sell to women. Some exclusively so. Why should they not be protected, too?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Prostitution legislation is applied equally to men and women. Under the Nordic model, all people in prostitution are decriminalized and all men who pay for sex are criminalized, no matter who they pay for sex.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It exists because of a combination of poverty (which is feminized, for the record) and systemic oppression/marginalization, AND male demand. Men take full advantage of marginalized women who have no other options in prostitution. You cannot separate the issues of poverty and patriarchy here because these systems operate in congruence.

    • Helen Saxby

      As I said, if male demand played a part, then levels of prostitution would be the same in all countries, all cities and all towns, because in all countries the male population is constant at around 50%. But as you may or may not know, the levels of prostitution differ widely from country to country.

  • Anon

    They sure didn’t do “good work” here and they allowed notorious pimps and traffickers to write their position paper.

  • Anon

    Again, if women had opportunities equal to the opportunities men have, prostitution wouldn’t exist. You are decontextualizing the situation. There is no “agency” coexisting with an underclass.

  • Anon

    “Financial” and you missed the point. Please educate yourself before trying to formulate arguments. There are already numerous sources refuting your arguments. Seek them out and learn. Prostituted women who escaped have already debunked your false ideas.

  • Anon

    First, you can not remove agency from people who don’t have any. 2nd, YOU are the one who needs to fact check. AI recommends decriminalization, but also states that they are fine with legalization. That quote was already posted.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If you are paying someone to have sex with you, that constitutes coercion.

    • Oh dear, why? Coercion as far as I know is when you oblige someone to do something, by using force, violence, threats or extortion. Sure, if the prostitute is being forced to be a sex worker than it is indeed coercion, but why would it be coercion if she decides to be paid for her sexual work? She decide to have sex with this or that person (consent) and she gets some money for it. This is not coercion.
      Yeah, I know that the situation of the prostitution now is different than this, but I do believe it could get nearer to this if it was legalized. It is very different than this also because it is not legalized. No legalization, no protection, no freedom of deciding if you actually want to be a prostitute or not.

      • Cassandra

        You are male, and you are naive and/or suffering from an obnoxious case of male privilege. If prostitution is so great, why aren’t women who are economically able to do other things not choosing it in droves? The vast majority of women don’t enjoy having sex with strangers for money. That is a male fantasy. You’re acting as if enjoying intercourse is a thing in and of itself that can you can drop into any situation like a battery into a remote control.

        Women DO NOT have the same full menu of choices, in general, that men do, in general. It’s not like poor girls who suck dick for $5 went to the career fair and thought “Oh, I could be a doctor? I could be a lawyer? I could be a business man? Or, I could get fucked by 20 repulsive men every day, most of which are paying to abuse me because I’m young and that abuse is the entire point? Gosh, what a dream come true! I get to have sex with men who hit me and hurt me and call me names and want to destroy me! Pinch me now! What other choice could I possibly make? I LOVE IT!!!

        Barf.

    • Cassandra

      I smell dudebro. Reading his comments makes my skin crawl.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think it make sense to assume that most women enjoy penetrative sex with men. It’s simply not accurate.

  • Cassandra

    I bet you a million dollars you are male. No female would ever write such nonsense.

  • Meghan Murphy

    How many lesbians do you know? Also, I highly recommend you read Thea Chacchioni’s paper, Labour of Love, and her new book: http://www.utppublishing.com/Big-Pharma-Women-and-the-Labour-of-Love.html

  • corvid

    Re: some of the commentary below….Isn’t it interesting how men always speak with “authority” about “sex work” without being asked whether they are “sex workers”, or indeed without demonstrating any functional awareness of what they are talking about?

    Maybe the operative phrase here is “the customer is always right.”

  • Fanny

    “Prostitutes are always enjoying themselves in the movies, and prostitutes smile to me when I give them money, so I KNOW they’re happy !!!!”

    • Alienigena

      What`s so perversely amusing is that there is actually a sign barring women from entering the Reeperbahn in Hamburg though the road is actually a public street so open to everyone, The sign has been posted since the 1970s. Yeah, women are so often the clientele being serviced by prostitution (and so rowdy) they had to be barred from the red light district. Strange that the prohibition didn`t include prostituted women. You are truly delusional Leonard.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reeperbahn

  • Meghan Murphy

    I believe legalization is bad for ALL prostituted people (AND society AT LARGE — like, men, women, children, EVERYONE. The system of prostitution is a Bad Thing. Period.), but women and girls are impacted particularly. Move on please. This trolling is really fucking boring.

  • Azura Rose

    Um, well, I’m a disabled woman doing sex work so deal with it? And there’s lots of us because we also face employment discrimination so having a high paying, self-employed job is a definite option. I know many many disabled people who work as escorts, strippers, porn performers, and cam performers. Yes, I know we face extremely high risk for sexual assault. I’m, uh, disabled and have been sexually assaulted. But no, sex work is not more likely to give a woman a disability, no, it won’t effect physical and mental health (police violence related to it will, but that’s not the job) any more than any other job will (providing it’s a job that works for you. I would face more mental health risk at a call centre than escorting, others I’m sure have the reverse needs).

    I’ve also looked at the statistics in Canada re: violence and disabled people as part of my disability rights activism. Over 80% of disabled women experience sexual assault. But guess what? The risk increases for those who are institutionalized, and most of their abusers are health care providers or carers. We also make up around half of the people killed by police. Disabled people of all genders are 4 to 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime. But sure, criminalize disabled men who seek my services. Send police to my door who are more likely to see my autistic behaviours as aggression and then hurt me than actually help me. Yep, that’s how you help disabled people. Take away our income and send ACTUAL abusers to our doors.

    • Si Llage

      You really just said violence (including rapes) from men who purchase sex doesn’t effect a prostitute’s physical or mental health, because only police violence causes harm.

  • Azura Rose

    What is sexist and racist about service work? Uh, the general public that treat service workers like shit, racist and sexist dress codes, employment discrimination in hiring and promotion, systemic issues around access… The usual?

    Canadian support systems are run by the provinces. In my province, Ontario, we have Ontario Works, which is welfare, and ODSP or the Ontario Disability Support Program. The first requires proof of income, which must be below the amount they pay out, which was $650 CAD/month (plus prescription coverage, which does really help) when I last went through the system. Average rent for a bachelor apartment in Toronto is over $800. You’re allowed to work on OW, but only pay to top you up to $650. At the time, I’d managed to find an apartment for $650 all included, but I couldn’t travel, go to the doctor, or eat with that sort of budget, and there was no way for me to get a roommate or break my lease. And my landlady was pretty horrible. ODSP pays more, geared to rent up to a particular maximum with bonuses for medical reasons and more medical coverage, but you must prove financial need. There is a lot of inaccessible bureaucracy to wade through here. Then they have a few weeks to review your file. Then you must prove your disability status. They will take up to (meaning definitely) 90 days to approve or deny. They always deny the first time. Then you appeal and it goes to hearing, which can take a few weeks to schedule. Then the adjudicator hears both sides and takes 90 days to decide to approve or deny. This whole process can continue with appeal after appeal for years, even for people who are very clearly disabled and who cannot work. And in the meantime, folks gotta eat and buy medicine.

    We do not have food stamps in Canada. We do have food pantries, though they are only open at certain times and are often inaccessible. On top of that, I have a medically restricted diet that is unlikely to be supported by donations. I don’t have kids, so no idea about housing help for families. We have utility assistance, but my utilities are included in my rent (which is rather low for Toronto) so I do not qualify. There is no general housing assistance for non-parents like me.

    • radwonka

      So men who want poor women to suck their dick, and let them starve if they dont are not racist and sexist? Aiiiiight.

  • Azura Rose

    Some sex workers are non-binary or male. We respect each other and our gender identities.

    We’re marginalized by male violence, yes. But male cops who sleep with us, beat us, and either arrest or blackmail us are perpetuating misogyny. Misogyny is part of why stigma against those of us who have sex at work persists: because women aren’t supposed to want sex, because women who do are putting ourselves at risk/asking for it, because women are weak and can’t be trusted to make our own decisions/will regret it. All of those things are reasons both the religious right and the carceral feminists on the left want to “end prostitution”, and also the same reasons given by anti-choice people. Stigma is part of the sexism stew in a long list of microaggressions, and also stigma contributes to evictions and blackmail and thus real, actionable violence against us.

    But really, if you are worried about male violence against us, then let us do our screening in peace and stop sending men with guns and handcuffs and an institutional licence to commit violence to our doors, and stop making it illegal for me to work with others or hire security. My only motive is to keep police violence out of my life as much as I can.

    • Bleep

      No one here is advocating for prostituted women, or sex workers, to be criminalized or arrested. The stance here is that johns should be criminalized.

  • Si Llage

    Agreed!

    So glad to hear that you will no longer say prostitution is about what “women can and can’t do with her body” because money has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s body and what they can or can’t do with it.

  • Si Llage

    So no research, no source, nothing at all to support your poo-flinging. Okay.

  • Shinjitsu

    Any men’s rights groups that think they are entitled to sex by using money isn’t a men’s right group. They are more like the nazi party of a gender equality forum.

  • No Comment

    Why did you change their logo back to a candle? Did Amnesty threaten to sue over the spurting phallus graphic? Because in the U.S. you would be on solid First Amendment grounds. But I know in Canada you don’t have the same freedoms we Yanks have (e.g. We would never tolerate “human rights commissions” policing our speech, like you Canucks do)

    We Americans fought for our freedoms (as we recall today on our Memorial Day) and we don’t surrender them easily. You know, you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands, etc. etc.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It is different, as the reason men pay for sex is in order to treat women as non-human, and to use their bodies as they like, without regard for what women feel/want/think. Using someone’s body as a sex object is nowhere near the same as paying someone to help you build a house.

  • Meghan Murphy

    SlutWalk is pro-sex industry, yes. Does that answer your question?

  • Meghan Murphy
  • Meghan Murphy

    Bye troll.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You’re what, 13?

  • calabasa

    What makes you think it is a Slutwalk in Edmonton? The author states it is a pro-prostitution rally, and the only people pictured are men (saying “We love sluts,” etc.–i.e., calling prostituted women sluts). Slut walks are supposed to be anti-rape rallies, although they are misguided, in my opinion, because they also embrace the idea that self-objectification is somehow “empowering” (or, “it is good to be a ‘slut,’ which still buys into the notion that there is such thing as a ‘slut’–there is no real challenge going on).

    But there is no indication that photo is anything other than what the authors says it is: a pro-prostitution rally, with men (many of which may be johns) defending their “right” to have sex with prostituted women. It seems you are inferring something that just isn’t there (this is called “confirmation bias,” have you heard of it?)

    Then, after that inference, you somehow are directing your outrage at your presumption about the author’s choice of image and caption at me. Do you see how odd this is? (This is an ad hominem attack, and a distinctly illogical and odd one, given that you don’t know me, know nothing about me, and are making assumptions about that image that I don’t know how you could possibly know are true–i.e. that it is from a Slutwalk, and not a pro-prostitution rally, as the caption states).

    Furthermore, did you read the article? Although, someone with your level of skills in “argument” might not actually understand it; it takes a certain intelligence to follow a logical argument about the buyer-seller relationship under capitalism and who has the power in it (and why any honest analysis of this undermines that the women in prostitution are the ones in power, given the logical premise that it is a “job like any other;” i.e., he proves the position that women who sell sex hold any power in the business of prostitution to be invalid, based on the premises of the pro-prostitution argument).

    All that might be lost on you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh Dan Savage! We’ve never heard of him. To The Stranger! (

  • Meghan Murphy

    What are you talking about??? No, prostituted women are not fined under the Nordic model. They can much more easily go to the cops under the Nordic model than under any other model, as what the johns are doing, in paying for sex, is already illegal — women don’t have to ‘prove’ they were raped or abused or anything, as they would under decrim or legalization. And how does one prove they were abused when a man has paid to abuse them, in any case?

    Please stop using this forum to propagate myths about the Nordic model.

  • Morag999

    By “travel,” I think she means transportation around the city? As in, bus fare?

    But, holy shit, Anon! I don’t agree with Azura’s views on prostitution either, but you have really crossed the line here into another territory entirely, where’s it’s OK to tell impoverished women that they just need to budget better, and to moralize about “honest,” hard work at low-paying jobs, and the difference between the deserving and undeserving poor, between the legitimate and illegitimate.

    Nobody can live on $650/month in Canada. Nobody. Therefore, if someone with only a $650 cheque survives until the end of the month, there are most definitely other resources involved. Such as dirt-cheap or free housing or food (and at what cost to one’s physical and mental health?), or –yes — a handful of cheats, lies, or petty crimes. How could it be otherwise?

    Yeah, perhaps almost no Canadians are starving to death, but many have experienced ill-health and the pain and humiliation of a constant supply of poor quality food, or underfeeding on the good stuff, and, during the worst days, outright hunger. And if you’re hungry, honesty gets awfully expensive.

  • Morag999

    Everyone should be good like you and your husband. Then there would be no more poverty.

    Pfffttt.

    • Anon

      We worked hard and had no special privileges. Sorry that pisses you off. Also, I never claimed anything would “end poverty” so don’t stick words in my mouth. You can not disprove anything I said on its merits, so you resort to sticking your words in my mouth and then knocking the straw women down. In fact, there are things people can do realistically to improve their situation in life and we are living proof. Not sure why this provokes your hatred.

      Pfffttt to your own self.

  • Meghan Murphy

    To be fair, I don’t think ‘starvation’ is a very good standard by which to measure poverty. And it’s simply not that easy for people to pull themselves out of it. Many cannot get loans for school (and getting loans fucks you for life, anyway, so it’s not like that’s a great solution) and if you are homeless, it’s VERY difficult to get a job. The cycle of poverty is real. It’s not just that people aren’t working hard enough. Plenty of people in the US work two or three jobs and are still struggling to make ends meet.

    • Anon

      Good job missing the point completely! “Starvation” wasn’t my “standard” and I never claimed it as such. In fairness to me (which you don’t seem terribly interested in), it was a disingenuous claim made by Azura Rose that I was responding to. Azura Rose claimed that she would literally starve to death if she didn’t suck a dick for money.

  • Anon

    1st of all, nothing I wrote is “misinformation” which is why you can not be more specific. Yes, of course, poverty is relative to cost of living and no one said otherwise. Yes, some people are not getting their nutritional needs met, but as someone who has studied this situation in depth, this has been shown to be largely due to food choices, not lack of support. We do not force feed people broccoli in the USA. If they choose McDonalds, they probably are missing out on nutrients. Food pantries give out fresh fruits and vegetables in the USA and LINK can be used for these items, but we can not force people to eat them. What is your solution? I do not have a political agenda, and do not know why some want to bring politics into everything. My prior statements were not intended to be a comprehensive evaluation of poverty in the USA, but rather to show the hyperbole in the statement (made by Azura Rose) that we literally let people “starve” to death in the USA and Canada. No one has starved to death in the USA or Canada in the last 100 yrs (except for anorexics and a few crime victims.) That is the statement I made. I said nothing about ideal nutritional status, in fairness to me (you don’t seem terribly interested in that.) I stand by the statement I made and do not appreciate you trying to twist it to suit your agenda.

  • Anon

    Yes, it is tough to be on assistance and not ideal. However this does not equate to “starving to death” which is the only statement I addressed.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ok well my student loans will never be paid off in my lifetime. I chose to major in Women’s Studies during my undergrad and completed a Masters degree in the dept of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Now I am a feminist writer and journalist. Did I make the wrong choice? Consider that had I chosen “something serious that there is an actual market for” this website would not exist and you would not even be commenting here… My choice to become a writer and to focus on developing this site rather than vie for a career elsewhere meant that I chose debt over financial security. I feel very lucky to be able to make a living of sorts through my work and writing, as it is my passion, so my aim here is not to complain, but to point out that, 1) Yes, loans can and do fuck you for life, and 2) What is considered “serious” is not always the right choice to make, in terms of our education. All this aside, I believe post secondary education should be free, which would make this argument pointless.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You may believe you ‘sell a service,’ but johns most certainly do see prostitution as purchasing the use of a body.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Trafficking and prostitution are one in the same. Under legalization, trafficking increases to meet demand. Trying to draw this imaginary line between ‘coerced’ and ‘uncoerced’ women is a purposeless exercise that erases context.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh yaaaaaa that’s why you see so many wealthy prostitutes amirite?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Also, I think the fact that you run an MRA page https://www.facebook.com/TheMensFront/ AND are supporting the legalization of prostitution really tells us everything we need to know about the pro-legalization ideology.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I have no idea why you are being so antagonistic about the idea that student loans really fuck working class people (like me!) over, financially… Student loan debt is a really big problem for tens of thousands across North America. And sure, I guess it is a privilege to be able to attend university at all, but I worked several jobs throughout and went into debt to the point of being unable to ever pay it off in order to escape the ‘pink ghetto’ of office admin work…

    And plenty of countries have free post secondary — it’s totally feasible.

    • Anon

      Well, for one, I am NOT antagonistic to the idea of funding college differently to make it more affordable. Different ways of cost-cutting and funding college deserve study and serious consideration. I simply pointed out that there is no such thing as “free college.” It is paid for via some mechanism. In European countries, it is part of the (higher) tax structure. In the USA, one can call the police or fire department and one is not charged for it, but that does not mean policing and fire fighting is “free.” Policing and fire fighting is paid for with our property tax money, upon other funding sources. It is not “free” simply because it isn’t paid for per use. Not sure why you aren’t getting what I am saying. It isn’t that hard to understand. Everything has a cost and gets paid for one way or the other. There are NO countries where attending university (or anything else with an attendant cost) is literally “free.” You seem to believe in magical thinking. Perhaps you should have added an economics course in uni.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Of course I’m well aware that ‘free’ post secondary, just like universal daycare, are paid for by the government and through taxes. Do you honestly believe that a person who has advocated for things like free post secondary, a basic income, affordable housing, and universal daycare doesn’t understand how these things work? Have you followed my work as a writer and journalist over the years and come to the conclusion that I am stupid? Try being a little more respectful and a little less insulting please.

  • Sara Marie

    I completely agree that this person has a political agenda, and an extremely anti-feminist one at that. Does s/he really think they are the only one familiar with the welfare system in the U.S.? geezus.

    Anon focuses on Azura Rose’s statements, attacking them and telling her if she really wanted to, she could go on welfare, do something else, etc. etc. This is not a “feminism” I want any part of;. As I’ve said repeatedly, abolitionist feminists focus on the choices and actions of pimps and johns, not prostituted women. Furthermore, radical feminism and socialist feminism, and really, any actual feminism, are about having a structural perspective, and again, not focusing on individual choices. Not only is this poster not a feminist, they are espousing a hyper-conservative, personal responsibility agenda.

    It’s clear this poster has no idea what it’s like to have severe physical and/or mental disabilities. When you’re in the hospital repeatedly, you’ll get fired from every job you have. Insurance in the U.S. is corporatized, and insurance companies will come up with ever reason under the sun not to pay for necessary medications. Often, they require “pre-authorization” from a doctor, even though the doctor has already submitted the script for the med. This means the doctor has to contact the insurance company and convince them the med is actually necessary. This process, assuming it is successful, can take entire days, if not longer, for the medication to be “approved.” If it’s not approved, and it’s an absolutely necessary medication, you have to come up with the cash yourself. Even if it is approved, you may have no choice but to pay a substantial amount of money for the time it takes for the “pre-authorization” to be completed. Particularly if you’re already on the medication and will go into severe withdrawal if without it.

    Just move to a less expensive area if you can’t afford rent on welfare? Well, what if your only support system lives in a certain area, including family and doctors who you have worked with for decades? What if you’ve applied for disability and been denied–something that is all too common, including for people with very serious problems. Or, what if someone will be approved for disability, but is currently in the appeals process, which often takes years? What are they supposed to do about money?

    I am in no way encouraging anyone to sell sex; it’s only going to cause you further problems. But, I very much understand why some women do, especially destitute and disabled women. (I should add that poverty is *not* the only reason women get into the sex trade, though it is a major factor). What I am saying is that Anon does not speak for me. This poster would do better posting on National Review than any feminist website I am familiar with, and most certainly, Feminist Current.

  • Sara Marie

    You do not speak for me, nor do I want any part in a “feminist” movement that espouses the likes of such ideology.

  • Melanie

    There’s no way to make prostitution safe or healthy, regardless of any law. You only have to read the occupational ‘health and safety’ guidelines for two minutes to see that. You could be lucky and never get assaulted, injured, sick or develop trauma. But the risk is very high for women in this ‘industry’. It’s nothing like hairdressing.

  • Wren

    it’s both, asshole (this is me addressing YOU)

    • Oh, that’s curious, I actually didn’t know it. Not that I didn’t know what “dear” means, but I thought that “on dear” gave little space for interpretation. Oh well, then I used it as an interjection, in any case.

  • Wren
  • Sara Marie

    RoberttheFoul (fitting name choice, btw), under the Nordic Model female pimps are held responsible, as are any women that buy sex. I notice you don’t give any citation to that 50% of clients are women BS you tout. Talk to anyone who works in the sex trade, and they will laugh in your face. I know lesbians who would love to have a sugar mommy, but can’t even find ONE woman willing to do so. If these same, young, attractive women were willing to look at sugar daddies, they would have no problem finding them.

    Women, by and large, do not have the type of disposable income that allows us to throw it towards whatever sexual fantasies we have. But I think you know that, and are trolling, as does Meghan. Buh-bye!