Anyone want to debate the liberal pro sex work stance vs the radical pro Nordic model stance?

(17 Posts)
Aliasnumberone Sun 09-Oct-16 20:47:52

I've been having an internal argument with my self for the last while about this and other aspects of liberal vs radical feminism, but I can't question them in the local famines group because they're so liberal to even question gets you branded a radical and therefore a bigot and a terf. So I'd love to have a proper discussion with some like minded and hopefully not so like minded feminists to get a better understanding of the two positions so I can educate my own decision on where I stand on this.

My gut reaction is to support the Nordic model. I feel nothing but sympathy for women who find themselves working in the sex industry in what ever form, it has to be damaging. I know there are women, laura Lee for instance who insist that they are there by choice and enjoy the work, but I can't see how they are in the majority. For laura Lee to use her privileged position of having a law degree to take legal action to challenge the law in Northern Ireland (where I'm from) to legalise prostitution and raise her voice above the hundreds (thousands?) of women who have been trafficked and forced to work in Northern Ireland and who don't have the freedom to speak out against their oppressions seems selfish.

I also don't see how legalising the purchase of another human being for sexual gratification can be good for society in general. It legitimises violence towards women and perpetuates rape culture.

I know there are a myriad of other facets to the argument I just wanted to put those down as opening gambits for a discussion. I'd really appreciate some opinions.

0phelia Sun 09-Oct-16 21:17:09

Hello. As a sex industry worker, introducing a neoliberal unregulated free market model for sex is always a disaster. Germany is already suffering the consequences. Anywhere it has been introduced women are suffering the consequences.

The industry needs partial or rad-fem (Nordic) regulation at the very least, in order to protect women.

I have worked on-and-off for 20 years in the sex industry and am very pro- Nordic model because it is so simple in how it protects women.

Our (UK) Partial criminalisation model works very well mind you in my experience.

The very worst is full criminalisation, take Saudi Arabia per example.

Felascloak Sun 09-Oct-16 21:24:31

You might find this thread interesting
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/2679988-Guest-post-As-sex-workers-our-lives-depend-on-decriminalisation

I'm too tired to post an in depth reply tonight, sorry, but I will try to tomorrow.

0phelia Sun 09-Oct-16 21:30:49

In Nordic Model countries, women sell sex, men buy sex, the rates aren't that different to over here. The police don't camp outside known brothels arresting all punters they do it on informer basis.

What that means is, any disrespect towards the WG whatever it may be, demanding a service such as OWO, BB, or BDSM that wasn't on offer, taking a condom off halfway through unexpectedly or calling the WG a derogatory name, all of these behaviours are default illegal.

It doesn't matter "did he or didn't he, was there a miscommunication?" ETC regarding the police non-interest scenario. If you piss off a WG you are bang to rights.

You have the power to inform under any circumstance which keeps the punters on the back foot. You obviously need your money so will only do so if you need to but the law is on your side.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 09-Oct-16 21:38:04

It has been discussed at length several times. I am in favour of the Nordic model and am glad France has gone down that route.

I am not in favour of decriminalisation- pimps and brothels should not be legal. Nor am in favour of legalisation. Being a prostitute is not a job like any other and buying the services from a prostitute is not like hiring any other tradespeople, no matter how much the punter and pimp lobbyists tell you it is.

I also object to gentrification such as "the sex industry" "sex workers"

Aliasnumberone Sun 09-Oct-16 22:50:32

Thanks for the responses, it's appreciated.

Lass, sorry, I know it's been discussed, I haven't been part of those discussions though and it's a very different experience reading past threads and actually being able to raise questions based on responses. I know there are issues with terminology, I used sex work in the title specifically because it's all part of the same issue re liberal and radical, pro sex work stance in regards to liberal, because saying liberal pro prostitution stance would be an oxymoron because liberals object to the use of the word prostitution. I do think Sex industry is useful though ad it doesn't just centre on prostitution and includes chat line workers, strippers etc, although I'm open to hearing alternative terms to describe the umbrella that incoporates all those activities.

Ophelia, thank you, I get so fed up of listening to the liberal feminists in my local Facebook page bleating on about being pro sex workers when they are blatantly middle class privileged women who've never been faced with the harsh realities of becoming homeless or not being able to feed their children, I don't know what your route into it was but I appreciate that your voice is an authentic one with lived experiences and actual knowledge of the impact prostitution has and the realities that legislation has on the safety of women and men working as prostitutes.
I saw the awful images of the 'open night' in Germany in the red light district with hoards of tourists traipsing through brothels like they were on some sort of hideous safari, it was utterly appalling. Interestingly, I'm in a couple of radfem favebook pages and the few German members are always lamenting the lack of fellow German rad fems.
Regarding decriminalisation, how do you feel about laura lees and what she is advocating? Does she represent a large section of WG as she claims to? It's interesting to hear your perspective about the current state of affairs, I've not considered the fact that it keeps punters on the straight and narrow with the assumption the WG can and will be taken seriously if she reports.

Felascloak, thanks for the link, I'll read it now. Sorry it's so late to start a topic like this... Only time I get once the babies are asleep!

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 09-Oct-16 23:28:40

Oh I didn't mean "don't discuss it" but you may not get a huge response as it has been discussed at length.

Fela linked to the Laura Lee thread- this was running at the same time.

Guest post: "The sex trade can never be made 'safe'" | Mumsnet Discussion
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/a2680130-Guest-post-The-sex-trade-can-never-be-made-safe?msgid=62200111#62200111

So far as "sex trade" or "sex industry" I prefer commercial sexual exploitation.

Aliasnumberone Sun 09-Oct-16 23:43:24

Thanks lass, I'll check that thread out when I've finished reading the comments on the laura Lee guest post.

I'm going round in circles on those comments because it seems to me that some posters are talking at cross points to each other. The Nordic model criminalises the punters and doesn't criminalise the prostitute, yet here are a lot of posters talking about the dangers to prostitutes, are they conflating the Nordic model with full criminalisation? surely the point of the Nordic model is that women will be protected by law while the punters will be prosecuted if deemed necessary. If women HAVE to sell sex to survive they can BUT, the Nordic model will attempt to cut off demand. I'm oversimplifying, I'm tired... Think I might have to follow felacloak and off to bed with myself.

Aliasnumberone Sun 09-Oct-16 23:46:06

And yes commercialised sexual exploitation does say it better than sex industry. Mind you if I said that in the local lib fem group is be run out of town for implying exploit ion and taking away the agency of the workers...

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 09-Oct-16 23:57:35

I think it suits the pro punter lobby to adopt the line that prostitutes are criminalised for being prostitutes.

I'm sure they know that under the Nordic model the seller is not a criminal , nor in the UK is the seller (or the buyer for that matter ) a criminal.

The criminal aspect in the UK relates to:- Soliciting. And why should that not be criminalised? Women and men who are not prostitutes or punters should not be harassed by those who are.

Brothel keeping- the pro punter pro /pimp lobby would have you believe this penalises 2 women "working" together in a flat in some sort of fluffy collective as opposed to the reality in Germany.

Living off immoral earnings aka pimping.

ChocChocPorridge Mon 10-Oct-16 06:53:03

On a purely emotional level (and I entirely agree with Lass on this) just read an article written by or about the women in the German super-brothels. There's no way that's good for society, I can't imagine how anyone can defend what goes on.

There's no way I want that to be acceptable in my country (or any country I live in)

Aliasnumberone Mon 10-Oct-16 10:02:38

Hi choc, don't suppose you can link to the article you read?

Lass, yeah I see your point. I'm not clear on the actual law in r uk, I'm in Northern Ireland and it's slightly different here, but again I'm still not 100% clear on what the law actually states. I'll try and find some clear information later

0phelia Mon 10-Oct-16 11:24:13

What do I think about LL? She, like many WGs is basically worried about a drop in earnings.

The introduction of the new legislation in NI is very progressive in my opinion. It is pro-female. The claims that this model "drives prostitution underground" putting women in more danger aren't exactly true. Prostitution already exists "underground".

While introducing NM legislation makes the necessity to be discreet more important to the client, discretion is already your most important aspect of the job, it's very complex.

The sex industry is complex, there's no perfect solution. The Nordic model may indeed compel a client to use a fake name and separate sim-only phone or whatever making them hard to track down but they all do this already anyway. There are sure downsides to some consequences of NM but the positives far outweigh these.

Anti NM WGs worry that it'll mean they'll have fewer clients, but the positives include fewer trafficked WGs because the destination is less attractive to send girls to work so less competition for WGS there, better protection by law enforce, and better behaviour by clients as they worry about getting shopped. The NM has the best record in lowering, almost eliminating, street prostitution which is the worst and most dangerous lowest paid form of prostitution. These are fanstastic results and worth the cost of a WG and her client having to be a bit more discreet about things.

Most of the complaints anti-NM folk have are things we already have to contend with, but without the positive sides.

Over here, England, the law criminalises certain behaviours but basically prostitution is half legal so you get a slap on the wrist unless you do something very terrible or wind up the local police, which works fine but is not without it's serious drawbacks.

Wikipedia has a good page on prostitution law covering the UK!

0phelia Mon 10-Oct-16 11:36:50

Meant to add the one thing that is guaranteed to lead to a drop in earnings is legalisation.
Basic neoliberalism economics.
€5 a job in Germany now. No thank you!

Aliasnumberone Mon 10-Oct-16 13:09:36

5 euro? For full sex? Jesus that's obscene. How are men expected to value women if that's socially sanctioned?

Ophelia, I don't suppose you know of any studies or links to statistics regarding the current state of affairs in Germany, are there any figures out there that compare violence towards wg pre and post legalisation? Average age of entry, numbers of trafficked women etc? I feel like a lot of the discussion around legalisation is hung of the strength of statements like 'violence has decreased in countries at ha have legalised' or such, but there's no actual evidence quoted so it's hard to refute and the more these statements are written and repeated not he more they just become accepted truth when they could in reality be fictitious myths bandied about.

0phelia Mon 10-Oct-16 16:16:21

Some stats do show how violence increases under legalisation/Decriminalisation
www.vice.com/en_uk/read/leeds-holbeck-district-sex-workers

Tellingly, Leeds have since abandoned their legal red light zone because violence was seen to increase and a (working) woman was murdered.

It's tricky to find accurate stats because too many are put forward by people with an agenda all I can say in my personal experience is trafficking in Germany has shot through the roof and decriminalisation helps nobody apart from men looking for a cheap ride.

An interesting read from Germany
m.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-902533.html

You might find Vice.com interesting generally because it is quite balanced.

Weirdly, and this is always a pointer, in New Zealand decriminalisation of prostitution has worked there very well on the surface of looking at the situation. It's probably down to other cultural societal factors. A sparce population and remote. This does not mean the UK or places in Europe would work with decriminalisation because we clearly can't.

So much of this discussion is ideological but I have my feet in the corner that protects women (and girls like the one I used to be) from abuse.

venusinscorpio Mon 10-Oct-16 21:29:00

I read some interesting stuff about Amsterdam post legalisation re the proportion of foreign born prostitutes going up massively (it was very strongly implied that was because of trafficking). Plus an ex prostitute who is now a member of the city council said the red light district had become a "cesspit" since legalisation and they were very concerned about the foreign prostitutes' access to legal rights, healthcare etc. Which is supposed to be one of the plus points of legalisation. I'll try and dig it out.

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