Amnesty International says laws against buying sex breach men's human rights

(1000 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

DonkeySkin Tue 28-Jan-14 08:36:25

The organisation is planning to adopt a position that calls for the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, including johns and pimps.

It is tabling a paper for its UK branch to vote on that says it is a human right for 'consenting adults' to purchase sexual consent from another person (regardless of the desperate circumstances that person may be in, presumably). The paper also devotes time to that latest favourite cover-all for sex-industry advocates, 'the rights of the disabled', as a reason to allow the continuing expansion of the global sex industry with no oversight or concern from governments.

Apparently the human rights of the (overwhelmingly) women and girls who are coerced, trafficked and enslaved inside the sex industry to satisfy the demand from men for paid sex are of no concern.

Oh, sorry - Amnesty does remember to devote a whole two words to this, conceding that prostitution takes place in an 'imperfect context'. That would presumably be the context of a worldwide patriarchy that devalues female human beings, denies them education, safety and fairly paid work, and tells men they have the right to use their bodies for sex regardless of their actual desires. Not to mention, systemic racism, colonialism and exploitative capitalism.

Good to know Amnesty is prepared to stand up for the most vulnerable people on earth - male sex buyers.

Custardo Tue 28-Jan-14 08:40:30

amnesty do some amazing work, have you got a link to this on the amnesty website because I am not opening a daily mail link

I would rather read amnesty's perspective and make my decision than read some shit mate up by paper so right wing.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 09:00:18

At the moment it's a consultation paper so I do not t think it's on their site as a campaign.

Their stance seems to be partly that it might be a net positive to decriminalise buying and selling as women could work together in brothels etc. I disagree with the viewpoint but it's not unique.

DonkeySkin Tue 28-Jan-14 10:06:41

Here is the leaked draft document:

Note that in the first paragraph, the authors conflate prostituted people and johns, as if they were equal partners with the same power differential in a business transaction.

Doctrine, although it is a draft paper, supposedly up for consultation with Amnesty's UK membership, the organisation is pushing this line heavily, and plans to adopt this position internationally should the UK branch approve it.

The language throughout is completely gender-neutral, with no recognition that the majority of those purchased for sex are women and girls, and virtually all buyers are men.

And no acknowledgement of the evidence that legalisation increases human trafficking, as there are never enough women entering the sex industry voluntarily to cope with the demand from men as the market expands with legalisation.



Do you reckon MNHQ could get a representative on for a web chat about this? I've always respected Amnesty and would like to hear how they respond to some of these questions.

I almost thought to suggest tweeting them to ask them to join and talk about it, but of course that would bring a rash of trolls here with them.

RayPurchase Tue 28-Jan-14 10:15:16

Yuck sad

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 10:16:22

It's strange cos they have supported anti trafficking campaigns before!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 28-Jan-14 10:18:07

That's awful.

I second Buffy's suggestion.

MooncupGoddess Tue 28-Jan-14 10:20:57

Ugh. I thought the experience of decriminalisation was that the sex trade significantly increased in the cities in question, drawing in trafficked/exploited women and sex tourists from all the surrounding countries. Great result all round, eh.

The idea that men have a human right to buy sex is simply bizarre.

slug Tue 28-Jan-14 10:56:33

There's a twitter hashtag #QuestionsForAmnesty

Men have a human right to buy sex = women don't really qualify as human?

ArtexMonkey Tue 28-Jan-14 11:02:45

I am so sick of women being thrown under the bus by supposedly progressive men organisations.

Lio Tue 28-Jan-14 11:12:50

Good idea, Buffy: I have been a supporter of Amnesty since school and want to know what's going on here.

So, does that count any kind of sex? All kinds of sex?

I'm trying to think of all the things I've heard read prostitutes say they have to do..and I'm trying to think why a man being able to piss on a woman for money should have to be legal. Disabled or not.

Why don't they start a campaign to enlighten people to disabilities to increase the chance of them meeting willing sex partners? Or helping them to meet other disabled people... How is sex a human right? Surely the right to not have sex is the only inalienable sex right there is?

And if it is a "human right" will they be trying to increase the number of men going in to prostitution for disabled women to "enjoy"?

slug Tue 28-Jan-14 11:35:41

Is not one of Amnesty's slogans "Protect The human" It strikes me that women are excluded from the category 'human.'

ArtexMonkey Tue 28-Jan-14 12:35:34

Will Amnesty be campaigning for consenting adults to have the human right to buy and sell organs and bone marrow i wonder? Or do the possible benefits of a practice only outweigh the potential for exploitation when it's mainly women being exploited?

NeoFaust Tue 28-Jan-14 12:39:07

Maybe they're thinking of protecting women's right to sell? That could be the perspective they're coming from, rather than protecting mens rights to buy.

And of course, mens right to sell and women's right to buy.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Tue 28-Jan-14 12:43:35

Do you have a non-Daily Mail source for "the organisation is pushing this line heavily"?

Viviennemary Tue 28-Jan-14 12:45:55

I think people would need to know more about this from the Amnesty point of view. I have listened to arguments in favour of legalising prostitution but not sure where I stand on it. this shows they were pushing the same sex industry talking points to lobby against the Nordic model.

I think the Daily Mail's pretty dire, but Julie Bindel's a good journalist who has worked to research the reality for women within prostitution.
The document she cites is linked above.
Amnesty are saying it's just the beginning of a consultation but I don't buy that if they've already used the same talking points in their lobbying work.

I saw on twitter they'd asked the Scottish branches to remove their support for the 'ending demand' consultation but I don't know the source for that.

One of the women condemning this is Heather Harvey of Eaves who used to work for Amnesty. I'm assuming she would be able to verify the story before speaking out.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Tue 28-Jan-14 12:56:54

Interesting -- have found (apparently legit) minutes of Amnesty UK's International Issue Sub-Committee (IISC) from November where they are discussing canvassing the opinion of Amnesty UK members -- they say specifically that IS (International Section, I think) is "strongly advocating" an Amnesty position supporting decriminalisation and the IISC is "broadly supportive".

So it does seem an accurate report for once.

Mishmashfamily Tue 28-Jan-14 13:54:31

shock shock

That's fucking terrible if true.

VoldysGoneMouldy Tue 28-Jan-14 14:04:36

I was so hoping this would turn out to be daily fail bullshit, but it would appear otherwise.


NO not organs.. I am sure. They can come from men.

Rent a wombs in 3rd world countries though....

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 15:40:23

Having the opinion that people should be allowed to sell and pay for sex, and that businesses should grow around them, should not equate to being pro-human-trafficking.
It is disgusting that I can be put in prison for choosing to exchange my body for money. This is not a feminist issue, it is a libertarian issue.

OddBoots Tue 28-Jan-14 15:47:07

They wouldn't be doing this in order to increase their female membership to get it voted down, would they? I know that sounds bonkers but only as strange as the proposal is in the first place.

I guess it's really a point of where one draws the line. Some laws protect people from others, but some protect people from the ultimate consequences of their own free choices.

Should people be allowed to sell themselves into slavery? Sell their organs? Both are currently illegal, both could be consent based. If they were made totally legal, people would be open to terrible exploitation from others.

Some believe the selling of sex is like the selling of organs or of one's self into slavery. Others think it's more similar to providing other kinds of personal services, like say physiotherapy.

So unless your libertarianism means complete and total freedom of choice for everyone (i.e. no laws) then it does become a matter of degree, of where the line is drawn.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 16:16:29

Some great points, buffy. Asking someone of a libertarian bent whether consentual slavery (relinquishing choice) should be legal is an excellent dilema!
I'm not sure that legal prostitution handled correctly should be the equivalent of slavery or of organ donation. There should be a way to deduct abuse and human-trafficing from the equation of legal prostitution.

I think my version of handling legal prostitution correctly would be to first attend to the structural factors that might make selling sex seem like an attractive option for a woman. So, is she free from coercion from another person? Does she have real, viable access to education or training? Is there another sort of work she would prefer that pays her enough for a decent standing of living? Does she need treatment for substance abuse or mental health problems?

Because while I know that there are exceptions, women who would choose to sell sex even though they have other viable opportunities, I don't think that the experience of this minority (and I think it's a minority) of women should be the basis upon which we make laws designed to protect (or not) the majority who don't really have a viable choice. Even though doing this makes it far more palatable for the men who want to access their 'human right' to buy sex.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 16:54:18

Actually I do think that it is a mans human right to buy sex from a consenting adult who wishes to sell it.
For me another point of legalising prostitution would be to regain control over it. Why have all of these women under the control of lawless criminal gangs? I understand we would have to avoid the poor and corrupt implementation that has occurred in Australia.
Maybe organising an infrastructure which vets and maintains legitimate prostitution would provide some tax revenue to fully police the underage/sex-slave side of things?

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 16:57:46

Libertarianism is bunk. Unless you've got the guts to say you're an anarchist, you're just drawing the line around things that affect you. It's bankrupt as a political philosophy and deeply rooted in power structures.

Since this is your first post, you might not realise you're derailing the thread vaudevelle - start another thread about libertarianism if you want.

As for AI, their position is clearly stated, this is not a consultation. The proposal paper relies only on pro-decrim research and papers by George Soros's Open Society Foundation. Also AI are lobbying against adoption of Nordic model in NI. Hardly an open consultation. I'm disgusted at Amnesty. I don't always agree with them but they do some good work. I have been a donor in the past but will not support them again.

TheCrackFox Tue 28-Jan-14 16:58:45

If this is true then I will cancel my direct debit with them.

HavantGuard Tue 28-Jan-14 17:01:57

Ditto TheCrackFox

5madthings Tue 28-Jan-14 17:03:45

I wil also be cancelling my direct debit to them.

RosaParksIsBack Tue 28-Jan-14 17:03:48

Second the amnesty web chat idea, surely this can't be true? sad

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 28-Jan-14 17:04:15

I am now an ex-Amnesty supporter as a result of this.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:05:08

Thank you for posting this. If you are a member phone them on 02070331777 to protest. They are supposed to listen to members and I can imagine a lot of us will be unhappy about this proposal. Don't just cancel as there will be a consultation process with members.

This is a good article about the proposals.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:07:03

Also a woman who was in the sex industry set up this virtual event today in protest.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 17:19:34

Florafox, I was giving my opinion that what amnesty international was suggesting (legalising prostitution) may not be such a bad thing and that the morality may still be open for debate. I'm pretty sure that it's disingenuous to suggest that AI would want girl sex slaves to continue being abused (as has been intimated in this thread).

I reported my post that suggested a web chat. MNHQ say it usually takes a while to sort but they are going to talk to their campaigns and web chat team and see "what's possible".

Let's hope there's an opportunity for MN to engage with Amnesty on this.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:22:51

A web chat with them would be great.

And vaude, every single country that has legalised prostitution has seen a rise in violence, muder, trafficking and children in prostitution.

And it is obvious if you think about it. A lot of prostitution is controlled by criminals. Legalisation makes their life much easier and they take full advantage of it.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 17:31:43

The biggest indicator of quantity of human trafficking is geographical proximity to an exporting country. Maybe there is room for more than one opinion?

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:32:59

Except the evidence does not support your view.

And women being bought for men to use for sex, will never be okay or just a job.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 28-Jan-14 17:36:36

I have always failed to see why legalising something already in the control of organised criminal groups is supposed to transform the trade in that thing. The criminals will not relinquish control in something with reliable demand, like sex or drugs. They will create legitimate business structures to take advantage of legalisation, behind which they will operate as they always have.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 17:40:45

There absolutely is a correlation between proximity to exporting countries and quantity of trafficked humans, but I am not suggesting that this fact somehow over rides the potential harm of legalising prostitution.
I just feel that the current prohibition model tends to give more power to criminals, not less.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 17:44:34

AngelaDaviesHair, The really obvious one would be alcohol, there are other examples but that's for another thread.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:47:48

The Nordic Model is the only one that has had any success in reducing violence and trafficking. Women are decriminalised, punters and pimps are criminalised, and women given support to get out of prostitution and into something better.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 28-Jan-14 17:50:11

Prohibition of alcohol in the West was fleeting and localised. I don't think it disproves my point. In places like Saudi there has been a long-standing cultural and religious prohibition.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:55:23

In the leaked policy document from Amnesty it says:

"Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health." .

This would appear to state that the rights of those who desire sexual access to other human beings usurps the rights of those who would deny them.
The aim of Amnesty International's Policy on Prostitution would , in that case, impose legal prostitution for the benefit of the sellers and consumers of prostituted people and put the rights of those so commodified last. Where women's rights fit into this is inexplicable, because they don't.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 18:05:00

Amphetamine use is massive in Saudi, with all the dangers of home-brew, unregulated drug use. But again that's for a prohibition thread.

AphraBane Tue 28-Jan-14 18:10:05

I would definitely support a webchat to clarify this point. DD1 has just joined the junior wing of Amnesty because of their stellar work on gay rights, but I know she's concerned about their stance on termination (which veers a little too much towards rights of the foetus and a little too far away from rights of the woman).

What if there aren't enough women willing to provide sex?

If you say sex is a basic human right and sex isn't available then you can't criminalize people for taking it can you? If men start raping women as no one is "providing them with a basic human right" you have to afford them the same sympathy you would someone looting a grocery store for food in a disaster situation.

Because there aren't enough women surely who would have sex with men for money who are perfectly mentally healthy/who haven't got sexual abuse in their past/ drug habits/ can feed their children through other means.

And if the women are being paid a decent living wage through the sex work, could the average person living on disability in this country and in others afford to pay them adequately? Or should they also be offering a reduced fee? hmm

may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.

And that.. that is infuriating... What about the health risks brought in to a city by prostitution? The health risks undertaken by PIV or anal sex by any sex worker (even if done "safely" which in many countries it isn't)

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 28-Jan-14 18:13:05

Claiming it undermines the right to health is just gobsmackingly ridiculous. Sex is very nice but it isn't necessary for health ffs!

Thing is though vaudevelle Amphetamines, home-brew and other drugs used by Saudis to get around the prohibition of alcohol aren't people like the women punters would like to use to fulfil their "need" for sexual desire.

It's a whole different ball game when you're trying to balance the "rights" of two people. I don't think it's comparable to the right of one person to put substances into their body, however harmful those might be to their health and wellbeing.

Libertarianism is a wonderful concept if you're in a position to choose between several decent options. Less so if you aren't.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 18:18:43

To specify that the only morally correct reason for this is that those too unattractive to the opposite sex are having their human rights violated by not being able to get any is so weak. Maybe some sort of government limited-attractiveness coupling service would be a better avenue?

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 18:23:49

Buffy, I'm not a libertarian (hate the dogmatic drivel that comes with excessive labeling) and my opinion is not formed on this subject. I'd just like some balanced views before everyone demonizes Amnesty.

This is a similar question to that about porn versus so-say ethical porn. The question being, at its root, one of personal ethics:

So if you know that many sex workers (whether in porn or prostitution) are there because they have been forced, coerced, at best they have few other options; you know they don't find you attractive, you are aware that having sex with you might even be making them desperately unhappy, causing them psychological trauma… Not all of them, but enough for you to know that this might be the case, with this sex worker right then, and yet you still feel that your basic human right to sex overrides these considerations?

Well really that suggests to me that punters at best manage this cognitive dissonance by shutting the above scenario out of their minds. Some may actively enjoy the fact that they have purchased the power to abuse someone who can't say no.

How can this be OK? How, as a society, can we put structures in place that make it easier for punters to justify this situation to themselves?

OK vaudevelle glad to hear you are open to other perspectives. I've assumed you were a libertarian because you said so. Or, you said you were "of a libertarian bent" earlier, so I made a leap, I suppose.

Just to clarify, when I say 'you' I don't mean <finger points in style of Kitchener> "you". I'm just trying to avoid the excessively complex sounding sentences that come from using "one" smile

Foxred10 Tue 28-Jan-14 18:36:32

I am absolutely speechless having read the paper. I have donated a lot of money to AI in the past - no longer.

AfricanExport Tue 28-Jan-14 18:42:34

Can I ask a question? I find many of these discussions based on the utopian world view (which is lovely, I agree) to be somewhat devoid of reality.

When you make prostitution illegal you remove many womens chance of feeding herself and her children. Not every country in the world has benefits and our education system. Unless you can solve those problems you surely cannot dictate how these woman provide for their families. Or is it okay if they starve as long as they are not prostituting themselves? I realise that's a No... but that is the option you leave.

There is a much bigger picture here and, although I do get the trafficking etc and yes it's horrendous, I do think that we would simply have less issues globally if we just accepted that this happens (prostitution not trafficking) and focus on the illegal element instead of broad strokes that, although helpful to the law makers, do not actually help the people.

For global problems you need global solutions and we cannot get truly global solutions so all you have is entire countries/ regions in which the 'global solutions' are ignored... hence not global. .. ie worthless.

Men will always buy sex.. and woman will always sell it. It's happened for thousands of years (hundreds of thousands, for all we know). Can we really change the nature of human beings, really? In a generation or two? I don't think so.

It's all very idealistic just not particularly realistic. ..

So I actually agree with amnesty international. Maybe I'm wrong. .. lol it wouldn't be the first time. ..

The war on drugs and the war on prostitution are lost causes. They will never be won. We need to wage war on actual criminals not activities. Focus on the criminal issues around prostitution not prostitution itself, prostitution although perhaps not to our taste, is a valid choice... as long as it's a choice; and that's what need policing.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 18:53:30

AE, is a choice between prostitution and starvation really a choice?

I do see your point African, it's a horrendously complicated situation.

My very personal reaction is that it feels like a massive cop out for me to sit here at my laptop in my comfortable kitchen and essentially (it feels to me) admit that 'men are always going to buy sex and women to sell it' but I don't have to sell it, so <shrug> let's make the best of it.

But equally, a women who has the choice to sell sex or watch her children starve (which of course is no real choice at all) might tell me to fuck right off with my principles and support changes that will make her crap options just a little bit less crap.

There is no solution either way. Sacrifice women who have no other option by criminalising demand? Sacrifice those women of the future, because we're allowing men to keep the privilege of being the humans with the rights to buy sex.

Talk about crap options sad

AfricanExport Tue 28-Jan-14 18:56:05

Doctrine. If course not, but that's irrelevant to the here and now. That is the choice many have. Good,bad or in different. That's reality..

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 18:58:19

I know, but you finished your post with "as long as it's a choice" so I was confused.

Shouldn't amnesty be campaigning for sufficient benefits that it's never that choice?

Tinytv Tue 28-Jan-14 19:02:21

I agree with Buffy's proposal for a web chat. Maybe a campaign too.

I am shocked and disgusted by this plan by AI.

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 19:05:38

It's not a choice though, as you've said AE so why did you say "as long as it's a choice" ? How does that work in a non-choice context?

AfricanExport Tue 28-Jan-14 19:07:13

But people do make that choice. High class hookers often have other options. They still do it.

They could but perhaps they realise just how unrealistic that would be in most of the world.. think Africa, China.. It's just not going to happen.. you actually have more chance of winning the war on prostitution than getting global benefits in impoverished nations .

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 19:11:58

AE are you saying men should be able to buy sex from women who are impoverished because some "high class hookers" have a choice even though the impoverished women don't? I'm not clear on the connection between your concern for impoverished women and your concern about the choice of "high class hookers".

My interpretation of what AE was saying was that for many women, the 'choice' is sell sex or watch their children starve, and by removing the sell-sex option, we are leaving them with the starvation problem.

Which leaves AI with rather a stark choice: campaign for prostitution to be legalised and regulated globally, or campaign for measures that reduce the poverty of women and children globally.

I know which one I'd like them to prioritise.

And actually, if AI find that overall, the least harm is done by <this sticks in my throat> legalising prostitution, then right, OK, I'm very unhappy about that but don't feel I can tell impoverished women in China that letting their children starve is a better option for them…

But I would still object vehemently to AI justifying it on the basis of the human-fucking-rights of the men exploiting these women in dire circumstances, just so they can get their rocks off. At least name the problem for what it is: making the best of shit options for women and children so no extra people starve while we try and solve the underlying problems.

angry sad

msrisotto Tue 28-Jan-14 19:21:44

Twitter made me aware of this utterly awesome keynote speech on prostitution by Catherine MacKinnon. I wish I could find a transcript as she speaks SO much truth and it is a lot to take in. I thoroughly recommend you take the 30 minutes time to watch it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 19:35:59

Well put, Buffy. If it was a. "With sorrow, we think we can save more lives now by supporting this but as soon as our other campaigns change the world, we'll change our position" that would be a bit different

(Disclaimer -- have only read first page of scribd link)

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 19:36:00

But if the men didn't want them for sex, they'd have nothing to sell and their children would starve. In cultures where woman are not given the chances we are there has to be some opertunity for cash to flow womanward. I know this may be an outrageous statement to make but to some it is true.

MooncupGoddess Tue 28-Jan-14 19:44:50

But people defended slavery on the basis that it gave slaves a secure way of life and that without it they would starve. I don't think it's a great argument.

msrisotto Tue 28-Jan-14 19:46:16

Men are born into poverty as well but how many of them go into prostitution/traffiking? Hardly any in comparison to women. There are clearly other options for some.

saw this earlier and didn't get time to post, sure all of what I'd say has been said by someone much cleverer than me, so just marking place smile

ediblewoman Tue 28-Jan-14 19:51:23

Oh god, I really have nothing cogent to say but urgh, I feel so disappointed in AI. Women's rights to have lives free from sexual exploitation are missing in the documents shared so far.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 19:53:42

MooncupGodess Some forms of prostitution can be compared (correctly) to slavery, some cannot.
We need to find a way to root out the bad stuff and maybe hiding it all under a cloak of prohibition isn't working?
A woman should have the right to choose to sell her body, and not to.

Beachcomber Tue 28-Jan-14 19:57:33

I hate arguments for prostitution that basically come down 'will someone think of the children!'

Firstly, children have two parents. Where the fuck is the dad if the mother is so desperate to put food on the table that she is choosing between her children going hungry and prostitution?

Secondly, radical feminists always argue that if you want to improve the situation of children, you need to improve the situation of mothers. Arguing that at least the kids get fed if their mother is prostituted, is lamentable. And anti woman and anti children. The problem is the feminization of poverty, which, of course, directly affects children. Women need real, healthy, sustainable economic solutions. Their subjugation to men who want to fuck is not a solution, it is a poverty trap and a low status trap.

It is a vicious circle of misogyny. Women do not have children by themselves and they are not the driving force behind prostitution. Where are all the men in this???

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:01:00

Beachcomber I think you are on the money with that argument, you've summed up the correct "no" vote perfectly.

MooncupGoddess Tue 28-Jan-14 20:02:44

I'm not necessarily likening prostitution to slavery; I'm saying that 'but without this exploitative institution people will starve' was a crap argument for slavery, and it's a crap argument for prostitution.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:06:10

And my point was that prostitution is not always exploitative ergo some forms can be equated to slavery, some cannot.

Beachcomber Tue 28-Jan-14 20:08:13

And notice, it is always about the 'right' of a woman to sell her body in order to feed her children.

The gendered klaxon doesn't get much louder than this.

The women are left (literally) holding the babies and have to act as subordinates deferring to male dominance, and a system of social organisation that classes men as human and women (and children, especially girl children), as 'other'. As the sex class.

It is so blatant.

If this AI thing is true then we are really in trouble. This is the backlash reaching a height that AFAIA no-one, not even the most cynical radical feminist would have predicted.

ediblewoman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:08:17

Right yeah 'While individuals engaged in sex work (um what's with the gender neutral bullshit, the vast majority of these workers are women) may face increased health risks (which they acknowledge include increased STD risks, and violence) these are less related to sex work itself and more to policies, practices and cultural bias that limit their health related decisions and choices and access to health services.' Uh huh, right, ok, tell that to the HIV positive porn workers in the USA who worked within a legal and apparently safe and consensual set up, worked well for them.....

I get protesting at this but leaving what is an organisation trying to do good in multiple ways seems rather ott and stupid.

If ai are willing to debate on stuff I'd be more keen to join tbh as I find them rather smug sometimes so choose other 'charities' to support. Whilst prostitution is rife with criminal elements (obvs) there's aspects to the discussion id like to see occur that I find mners often just shut down. To my mind there's statistics and lies to support criminalisation and de-criminalisation. Both have plus and minus.

Beachcomber Tue 28-Jan-14 20:12:02

prostitution is not always exploitative

Yes it is. Of course it is. Because...patriarchy.

AnyFucker Tue 28-Jan-14 20:14:25

Beach I wish I could carry you around in my pocket. My dungarees are quite roomy...

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:17:01

No one wants women to have to choose between their children starving and prostitution, this is the kind of situation that cannot be helped by prostitution laws and is obviously not a choice. I think we all get it.
The other side is the woman who decides she'd rather not spend 40 hours a week at sainsburys for minimum wage. She should have that choice and none of you should be in a position to take that from her.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 20:18:09

Can those who are against Amnestys proposal, please tell them on their facebook page. I am not sure they read MN

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 20:20:01

grin AF

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:20:58

Now beachcomber, that really is a poor effort haha

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 20:21:52

Vaudeville, should she also have the choice to be paid to give blood, or be a surrogate, or donate a kidney?

The laws of each country regulate what can be bought and sold, particularly with respect to people's bodies.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 20:26:01

I notice you've bumped a five month old thread about a GTA advertising display of a bikini clad woman asking if the poster would have protested about a hot guy in the ad, vaudevelle.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:26:36

Doctrine, or chop her own head off or leap down the well or any number of other things which are not related to prostitution

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:30:53

Doctrine, I know, just joined today and didn't notice how old all the posts in that sub were haha. It was on the first page!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-Jan-14 20:32:40


Your examples are fatal, mine are not.

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 20:33:37

This worship of "choice" always gets trotted out when it comes to women in prostitution. Our choices are highly regulated, particularly where there is an imbalance of power or as AI puts in an "imperfect context" [snort]. Every law on the books is there to constrain someone's choice whether it's my choice to murder you, my choice to work for £2 an hour, my choice to work on a roof without a safety harness. Choice is not an analysis.

What about these choices?

nameequality Tue 28-Jan-14 20:37:07

This is dreadful. sad

Anyone who doesn't know much about prostitution (I didn't before researching it as a feminist) - I really recommend Rachel Moran's book

It's only £1.89 on Kindle.

You will see how a disadvantage girl became a prostitute and just how vile the "punters" are.

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 20:38:00

The "Human Rights' angle to this is fucking vile. No person has a human right to another's body, that they could even suggest that makes me feel sick. Let alone them wanting to put more power in the hands of pimps, I'm sure that'll work out wonderfully for the women they own 'manage.'

I've been a donating to Amnesty for over 20 years and will be stopping that and writing to them to voice my concerns.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:38:34

Yes I was exaggerating to suggest a point, I'd much rather have sex for money with a man I find unattractive than donate a kidney! No matter what logic used to get to that example, I think it needs revisiting.
As there was no logic supplied regarding giving blood and surrogacy I'll assume they're a stock response around these parts.

nameequality Tue 28-Jan-14 20:41:14

Florafox I was just trying to remember the name of that project.

Please please everyone read it. Read the words of these men. It is heartbreakingly eye opening.

They say things like "FFS she barely looked at me seemed like she spoke no English, wouldn't even do XYZ, seemed like she didn't even want to be there" etc etc

msrisotto Tue 28-Jan-14 20:44:17

Oh oh, I found a transcript of Catherine Mackinnon's speech here: Trafficking, prostitution and inequality. For anyone genuinely interested.

Weegiemum Tue 28-Jan-14 20:46:43

We are amnesty members.

Unless they can assure me this isnt their position! they'll get no more of our money!

<drafting email>

nameequality Tue 28-Jan-14 20:48:28

Good point made in this statement

AI’s position directly contravenes long established human rights conventions. It is at odds with several key UN instruments including the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Prostitution of Others, which holds that prostitution is ‘*incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human being*'

ArtexMonkey Tue 28-Jan-14 20:55:03

Ugh @ the invisible men project. Just ugh. How interesting that wanting to bypass the whole concept of sexual consent is now a 'human right' that should be protected. Amnesty have really dropped a bollock here. Note it's not just pore lonely disabled men they're concerned for. It's men who are 'unwilling' to try and get shagged the traditional way, ie by not being a repulsive bellend.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 28-Jan-14 21:00:43

I live in a country with legalized prostitution. Infant there is a very large brothel opposite my DIY store. They have open days, where anyone can go and visit, talk to the workers etc.

For the sex workers in these "institutions" for want of a better word, they pay tax, social payments, pensions etc and have the same rights as any other employee and work in a safer environment where they agree to their sexual limitations. (these are advertised on their website). They have just raised the legal age of sex workers to 18 to cover child protection.

All sounds very safe and fair in principle of course.

What worries me is that there is still a presence of Eastern European gangs operating in the country. It's a lucrative business still. In a free market (if we are looking at this as a cold commodity) this just drives up the competition. But the gangs aren't just going to shrug and throw in the towel because they can't compete with shower facilities, hot tubs and the "girlfriend experience".

They are going to offer something the brothels can't - cheaper girls, younger girls, more choice, unprotected sex, degradation. There is usually only one way to do this, which usually results in exploitation.

I also worry about the normalization. Why should I have to explain to my DS8 what the History Club is? If it's such a normal process what's to stop people getting the mindset that if it's legal, it's simply a regular acceptable thing to do?

We also have these sex boxes open last year. The whole idea is to protect the workers, offer shelter and a security guard. They cost a fortune to build and maintain. But there is already news that the German versions have closed as they were being run by Eastern European gangs. So to me, it's like we've just paid for their premises. confused

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 28-Jan-14 21:01:20

Infact, not infant. Apols.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:03:12

msrisotto, excellent read, aside from the trafficking debate, maybe prostitution should be banned in countries where, due to lack of alternative supplied by the patrirchi, it equates to serial rape of woman.
Very interesting choice of structure also, she worded both sides very carefully.

ArtexMonkey Tue 28-Jan-14 21:03:31

Vaudeville, you seem strangely unfamiliar with the concept of analogy. It isn't about what you personally would 'rather' do. If we are talking about a person's right to sell or buy sex, why not talk about a right to sell or buy organs, blood, tissue, sperm, eggs, anything else? If I am a healthy non coerced woman with two working kidneys, why should I not sell one for money rather than do a shitty min wage job? Why should anyone have the right to stop me? Why is it more of a human right for some lonely guy to buy sex (which he will not die without) than for the rich parents of a dying child to buy my lovely kidney or bone marrow? Could it be that the selling of body parts is massively open to exploitation and coercion, and that even the people who initially enter into such arrangements willingly (or to save their children from starvation) could later come to severe harm, or death, or to regret it, with no redress? Omgosh, so NOTHING like prostitution then hmm

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:08:35

Artexmonkey, it would be very easy to suggest that prostitution could be equated to back massages and physiotherapy, which would be the analogous equivalent of your argument. Why didn't you choose those examples?

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:13:12

Oh but I would agree that the man "right-to-sex" concept angers me beyond belief.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 28-Jan-14 21:16:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

DonkeySkin Tue 28-Jan-14 21:16:26

In cultures where woman are not given the chances we are there has to be some opertunity for cash to flow womanward.

Yet in a previous post, Vaudevelle, you were claiming that (paraphrasing) 'men have always bought sex, and women have always sold it, it's been that way for thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of thousands'.

So if both statements are true, women would be a lot richer than they are - surely some of that cash from thousands of years of prostitution would have flowed 'womanward' by now. If the sex industry enriched women, rural Thai women would be among the wealthiest demographics in the world.

The idea that prostitution is a solution to female poverty is a delusion. In fact, it entrenches it, because it is both a function of and a contributor to their low status, and it also happens to be among the most dangerous occupations in the world, exposing those in it to extreme levels of male violence, disease (including AIDS), PTSD and drug and alcohol addiction to cope with the dissociation needed in order to do one's 'job'. Among prostitutes in Mumbai, for example, the average life expectancy is 30.

Throughout history, women and girls have never lacked the right to be prostituted - they lack political rights, they lack education, they lack recognition of their bodily integrity, they lack recompense for the real work that they do - which is most of the world's work.

So the men have a human right to sex yet the women don't have the human right to feed their children without spreading their legs.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 28-Jan-14 21:18:18

"I would agree that the man "right-to-sex" concept angers me beyond belief"

But you think a man has a HUMAN RIGHT to buy sex from a consenting adult.


To buy something?!

A human right?

So does a man also have a human right to buy a television under your bizarrely misunderstood concept of libertarianism?

msrisotto Tue 28-Jan-14 21:21:27

There is no real separation of prostitution and trafficking. MacKinnon cites a legal definition of trafficking which basically says any prostitute who has a pimp is trafficked, so we can't set trafficking aside...there is barely anything left if you do.

And the woman just said that banning prostitution and decriminalizing it both make it worse, so no, I wouldn't ever suggest banning it, but I would propose the Nordic approach. Oh, and where is society not patriarchal?

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:23:32

Although i have never used the hackneyed "it's been going on for milenia" line as you say. I totally agree that woman choosing prostitution serves no long term purpose. What I have said has been pretty rational, I think.
Maybe a few of you should learn to accept dissonant voices and some actual debate might occur. It's not a healthy place if only the party line is allowed.
Oh and I've been typing on my phone so apols for any typos

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:25:42

Joinyourplayfellows, please don't get so upset that you straw man me, it's pretty weak

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:30:03

stealthpolarbear not sure I said that, intact a couple of posts above I said the opposite. This is all a bit extreme actually.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 21:33:00

I just read the first page of the link (policy overview) and I don't think that is real.

Main points that jumped out:

"Amnesty International understands the imperfect context in which individuals choose to become sex workers (or miners or foreign domestic workers)."

Why the random equivalence with miners and domestic workers? In the policy overview? If they have stuff to say about those occupations then I would have thought it would be covered in the main body, or associated docs. Presenting an equivalence of working in prostitution to working in mining or domestic work (foreign? to who? are local domestic workers not ever exploited?) is odd. That whole bit it odd.


"Amnesty International considers children involved in commercial sex acts to be victims of sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international human rights law. States must take all appropriate measures to prevent violence and exploitation of children. The best interests of the child should, in all cases, be a primary consideration and the state should preserve the right of the child to be heard and to have his or her views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity"

Hmm right well that's a lot of flannel. Their views? About what? Sure Amnesty International would be a bit stronger than saying it "considers" children involved in commercial sex acts etc. Wouldn't they say they ARE? And NOWHERE in that portion does it mention anything to do with the people who have sold their services, or bought their services. ie the people who have pimped them out, and the people who have raped them. A little bit of an oversight there, surely?

I cannot believe that this document is real.

If it is then YES people should withdraw their support because this is just a bunch of random incompetent shit.

With respect vaudevelle why should individual posters accept dissonant voices that they strongly disagree with? What you're finding on this thread isn't a "party line" it's a number of independent people posting from different locations who don't know one another, yet who agree broadly on this issue.

Unless you can make a very good point that causes those posters reconsider aspects of their position, I don't see what value it is to debate to attempt to undermine our views by offering veiled insults?

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 21:35:46

The talk of restricting a mans access to sex as being discrimination also sits very badly with me. For some reason it reminds me of the I bought her dinner so she owed it to me defence, it is all about the man and what he wants, his rights.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:41:06

It's not the reasonable responses, buffy, it's the hostility at a non-accepted opinion. Oh, and have you noticed the actual insults and mis-quotes above many of my posts. I've been pretty restrained actually.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 21:43:47

vaudevelle you may not have noticed that this board is called "Feminism / women's rights chats". No-one has to "learn to accept dissonant voices" - that, along with a number of your other comments and your PM to me comes across as very, ummm, entitled. You've just got here and you're telling everyone how to conduct the discussion. hmm

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 28-Jan-14 21:45:13

Exactly Princess I think that's a really shady line.

And at a time where the Chairman of Nestlé can say that water quite possibly shouldn't be a basic human right, it would be a sick and twisted world if paid access to use a woman or man for sexual relief was.... sad

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 21:49:02


That is very interesting. All I know about Amnesty is that they are "good" and raise money to try and help people who are imprisoned with torture and stuff.

The more I read through the link the more I am shock

I have just got to a bit where they are stating an equivalence between gay people, and people who pay for sex:

"At least one human rights body has directly applied the right to privacy to sex outside of the confines of marriage. For example, the Human Rights Committee in Toonen v. Australia, held that laws criminalizing same-sex activity in private were in breach of the ICCPR. Notably, the Committee rejected the government’s public morality justification for its criminal law. Moreover, the Committee’s reasoning did not solely focus only on sexual orientation-based discrimination, but rather it found a violation of the right to privacy because the laws interfered with adult consensual sex in private. "


Is this real? I am really, really shocked.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 21:52:02

I mean it talks about concerns about people working as prostitutes to include "pollution" and "constant standing".

This is all a bad joke, right?

Sauce for the gander

AI UK is headed up by a woman. There are definitely women on the board.

I am trying to find out more about this and will update soon if I can

AnyFucker Tue 28-Jan-14 21:54:17

It's coming across more and more as a spoof. Is it ? Please let it.

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 21:55:41

No, FloraFox, I'm not talking dissonent as in anti-feminist, I mean that I'm not totally sold on prostitution being illegal. And is it not OK to expect not to be called an idiot etc.? Even if I'm new?
Anyway. I have found some opinions very interesting and have questioned my own.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 21:56:24

Prostitution is legal in the UK.

HTH and we can move on smile

Thanks Thinkabout - dangers of flicking through twitter without checking

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 22:00:13

Hold on is Vaudevelle a new NN for Beth9009? The language, phrases used, stance and style of argument are spookily similar.

If not then I wouldn't bother getting in touch with her Vaudevelle, you'd loathe each other for taking the menz attention off you and it'd all end in tears.

Good point on the water wally I wonder if Amnesty have stated a position on this?

vaudevelle Tue 28-Jan-14 22:04:54

I'm going to search beth9009 to see if I should be insulted!

It is a consultation document open for consultation with members. Amnesty uk will debate and agree a response at the AGM in April in Edinburgh to go the international division.

It is not policy. As a members based organisation members need to vote and shape this.

Please don't walk away. Stay and debate and shape the policy.

Ai UK chair of the board and executive directors are both women. Really inspirational women.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 28-Jan-14 22:12:03

I'm not sure it's even worth debating with an organisation that would publish a document as offensive and misogynist as this.

I am insulted by the idea of a vote on whether men have a human right to coerce women into sex by "purchasing" consent.

Forgive me for being boring, but I've skimmed the thread and not seen this said. It's from frothydragon and I think it just sums it up: if prostitution is work ... will teenage girls be required to do 'work experience'?

For me that sums it up.

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 22:13:18

Also if it is work will women lose their benefits if they refuse to take a job in a brothel?

ediblewoman Tue 28-Jan-14 22:20:11

The German story has been found to be untrue, snopes say there is no evidence of truth and the German policy statement is that jobs in brothers will not be advertised in job centres or mentioned tomoeoe who haven't indicated an interest. God I hope so

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 22:21:21

Literally searching for insult vaud, you'll enjoy yourself here.

Think this is not a consultation document like I have ever seen one before. It's a clear statement of a position. Also, AIUK are already lobbying the NI Assembly opposing the Nordic model. The reference materials and further reading are all decrim and from George Soros's Open Society Foundation - where is the reference to all the Nordic model material? I just don't buy it that this is somehow an open process.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 22:21:36

They define children for the purposes of this document as anyone under 18.

They also say "consensual". Although they include doing it because your children are starving as "consensual" so arguably if you don't want to lose your benefits and have no option but to work as a prostitute that would fall under the same "consensual" banner.

I find it disturbing that for all the flannel they give about children being prostituted, in what are basically footnotes, there is no talk about how those who sell / rape them should be considered (ie criminals).

The tone of this document is totally bizarre.

Thinkaboutit Thanks for looking that up. I've moved to my lap top so searching and linking are easier. Apologies for quoting inaccuracies from twitter and thanks for corrections.

It was this internal wrangling and subsequent press stories of discrimination tribunals which I was referring to and the large payouts which you can read here within "pay controversy"

AI Wiki page

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 22:24:44

Lapdancing/webcam work has been advertised in UK jobcentres in the past. I think it was offered to some people specifically as well? It's a while ago now.

Anyway that was banned.

Amnesty presumably would want that ban overturned.

FloraFox Tue 28-Jan-14 22:25:54

Also the notion that this buying sex from women is a "privacy" right is directly contradictory to saying it is a commercial service like any other.

The idea that sex is a basic human need also directly contradicts a position that selling sex is like selling anything else. It is a hugely gendered approach - a basic human need for men as buyers, a purely commercial transaction for women as sellers.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 22:26:41

Sex is not a basic human right end of story and that is that.


Amen to that, nice.

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 22:28:49

German story may be untrue for now but will it stay that way? The more acceptable you make prostitution the more certain it is that we go down that path. Remember we're supposed to find selling our bodies as empowering hmm.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 28-Jan-14 22:30:05

It is a hugely gendered approach - a basic human need for men as buyers, a purely commercial transaction for women as sellers.

Yes, that's exactly it.

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 22:32:26

I like the way whenever they talk about people buying sex in the article, they refer to men or women buying sex. Which also carefully whitewashes over the clear sex differential in these "consensual transactions".

NiceTabard Tue 28-Jan-14 22:32:57

It is a hugely gendered approach - a basic human need for men as buyers, a purely commercial transaction for women as sellers.

And yes this this this.

I hope Amnesty is proposing this in the hope of ending laws that oppress sex workers and enable corrupt policemen, for instance, to exploit prostitutes, or that make prostitution more dangerous - e.g. outlawing brothels so that women selling sex are forced to work alone.

Not sure this paper is going to achieve that, though.

I believe the Nordic model is the only one that represents an advance for women in prostitution. IMO Amnesty should drop all the stuff promoting the rights of men to buy sex and focus on the rights of sex workers - female and male, fwiw.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 22:39:16

You can phone Amnesty UK and protest at this. Maybe ask them how they are going to consult with members? i am a member and maybe we need to go to the AGM and protest?

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 22:40:46

This is an incredibly misogynistic document. It is totally about men and their right to buy women's bodies. I have been angry about it all day.

PrincessPeashooter Tue 28-Jan-14 22:49:54

I think a lot of people have a very blinkered view of prostitution, they think we fully decriminalise and all will be wonderful, good access to healthcare, security etc, it's all unicorns and rainbows. But prostitution is rarely about sex, why else do high profile individuals with everything to lose get caught in a back alley with a cheap prostitute? There are plenty of safer places for them to get sex, a woman I know used to be a high class prostitute for such men, but they do it for the thrill, danger and power. Take that away and they'll move onto other forms which are even more dangerous for the women concerned. Plenty of men are turned on by a resistant woman apparently, but it's not rape because they paid.

BTW the former prostitute I know is a lovely lady, beautiful and will state any day that she did it for her, she was in control, empowered and earned a lot of money. She also has the most crippling low self-esteem of anyone I have ever met and is unable to form functional relationships, she moves from one abusive situation to another. It is a desperately sad situation.

ArtexMonkey Tue 28-Jan-14 22:52:04

"The idea that sex is a basic human need also directly contradicts a position that selling sex is like selling anything else. It is a hugely gendered approach - a basic human need for men as buyers, a purely commercial transaction for women as sellers."

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes thank you yes.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 22:54:07

That is very sad Princess.

I know lots of women who have been prostituted. Most are feminists who clearly see it as abuse. The friend I have who isnt a feminist was abused at home, ran away and lived on the streets, and ended up being prostituted as a homeless 14 year old.

I get sick of people who know nothing about the realities constantly defending this as a choice.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 28-Jan-14 23:03:45

While each of the countries that has adopted the Nordic model are reporting the results they've desired, Europe is a borderless place. I'd be interested to see if they have resolved the problem or driven it elsewhere.

Whilst I'm sure they have probably reduced the Swedish opportunist punter, Latvia for example is only a short trip away for a weekend of cheaper, more plentiful and poorer girls.

How can they be sure they've curbed the problem, and not just driven it to more desperate places with less robust police resources?

I've read a lot of these "review" websites, to a lot of men it's like taking a fucking spa break, the way they talk about a search for value for money, willingness and beauty for their hard earned cash trips to EE are the way they get what they want, without fear or retribution. sad

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 28-Jan-14 23:12:17

Apologies for going off topic, but I just wanted to mention that a certain punterish website is now posting on twitter. You know, incase you wanted to post any thoughts ever?


YoniMatopoeia Tue 28-Jan-14 23:14:19

I am not a member of ai, but might have to join just to threaten to leave. It is hard to believe that an organisation I respected has come up with this damaging drivel.

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 23:16:34

If you are a member, you have a right to have a vote on whether they adopt this policy or not.

munkysea Tue 28-Jan-14 23:32:51

I'm pretty much disgusted by this. The policy reads like an exercise in fuzzy whataboutery.

I don't have time to read all the cases referred to in the policy, but will do tomorrow, if I find the time. I suspect they can be distinguished on the facts from prostitution, like the issue another poster pointed out earlier about conflating a consenting same-sex relationship with the buying and selling of sex. These are two separate issues.)

I'm going to cast aside the flaws related to the policy's naive view of what legal prostitution will entail. I can't add anything to that debate other than disgust.

The policy states that the criminalisation of prostitution may jeopardize the woman's right to freely chosen gainful work (Article 6, ICESCR).

The right to freely choose gainful work is being misunderstood here. The women, by the criminalisation of prostitution, are not being prevented from freely choosing gainful work. Casting aside the question of whether female sex workers can/do make an active choice and the issue of sex-trafficking, the criminalisation of prostitution, in theory, does not prevent individuals selling their labour legally. A woman could get another gainful, legal job (this is, obviously, not always possible, which begs the question of whether she is freely choosing prostitution or not). Article 6 is designed to protect people from being barred from getting a job because of their national or ethnic origins, or religious beliefs for example. To take AI's position to the extreme - does the criminalisation of heroin mean that drug dealers are deprived of their right to freely choose gainful work (some of them even CHOOSE to be drug dealers and make loads of money amirite lol)? No. No it does not.


munkysea Tue 28-Jan-14 23:53:05

I just wanted to add, the policy suffers from a fatal logical flaw. Sex workers human rights are being broken, but not because prostitution is illegal, and decriminalising prostitution will not solve the problems sex workers face.

DonkeySkin Wed 29-Jan-14 00:06:51

IMO Amnesty should drop all the stuff promoting the rights of men to buy sex and focus on the rights of sex workers - female and male, fwiw.

One thing I find interesting about the AI document is how unabashed it is about its decrim position being about the needs and rights of johns (the massively dishonest gender-neutral language aside).

The trend these days for sex-industry promoters is to disappear the johns entirely, and talk about why decrim/legalisation is needed to protect people in prostitution. The logic they use is that because people (overwhelmingly women and girls) in prostitution are exposed to gross levels of violence and disease from johns and pimps, decriminalising those same johns and pimps will solve the problem. By this same elision, feminists who oppose the legalisation and normalisation of the sex industry are increasingly said to be responsible for the harm inflicted on prostituted women by the buyers and pimps.

The Amnesty paper also presents across-the-board decrim as an inevitable package. It does not mention that virtually all feminists agree that people who sell sex should not be subject to any criminal penalties - the point of disagreement is over the criminalisation of pimps and johns.

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 00:26:15

Does the paper refer to "pimps" and "johns" or is there another reason why these terms are so often used? They just seem a bit out of place compared to the generally formal English used (not out of place regarding prostitution, obviously)

PrincessPeashooter Wed 29-Jan-14 00:41:31

Have you not read it Vaudevelle? Seems pretty bad form to be staunchly defending it otherwise.

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 00:53:28

Genuinely thought I missed it.
And the defence was a positive assumption where AI are concerned, I just wanted rational debate before the pitchforks and torches came out. A reasonable stance, yes?

PrincessPeashooter Wed 29-Jan-14 01:08:25

Seeing as the discussion is about prostitution then the references to Pimps and Johns are not out of place are they Beth? Or do you prefer us to use that neatly sanitised language of sex workers and clients? The language that hides the blatant gender divide and power imbalance.

So come on tell use why your fiancée you think prostitution is so wonderful? The 'I have the right to sell my body' defence will not work, you do have the right to sell your body that is not disputed, but why should men have the right to be a woman's body at all? How is that their human right?

I look forward to your contribution to the debate.

PrincessPeashooter Wed 29-Jan-14 01:15:54

Oh and whilst not always considered incorrect anymore the frequent starting of sentences with 'and' is annoying and a massive giveaway to your identity Beth. Try and mix it up a bit for your next nick name, maybe try doing some reading and learning some critical thinking skills too, there's a dear.

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 01:42:45

I spent years wanting to start sentences with "and", I also wished to put a comma before and many times. Sorry if it's too frequent, I only recently found out it was OK (damned social mind-control)
Not sure about the whole beth thing, I don't think my writing style is like hers at all.
Regarding critical thought: I find your points very easy to understand in the framework of this forum, I just don't agree with all of them. While here the intellectual landscape is littered with trueisms and unquestionable belief, out there things are different. I have never been drawn to dogmatic or religious viewpoints so can't help but question you sometimes. I'm sorry that questioning made you so very cross.

I'm still confused as to why people think I'm in favour of a mans "human right " to sex. I'll say it again, they do not have one.
I have always said that, where our hand isn't forced, it is a woman's right to sell her body if she wants. It's just not your place to tell me what to do. Simple really.

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 02:16:23

Oh, and using "there's a dear" in the pejorative is a little strange don't you think? A bit like male mysogyny?

PrincessPeashooter Wed 29-Jan-14 02:24:33

You haven't questioned me Beth so I have no idea why you think I'm cross, I just think you are an immature idiot. I'll keep calling you Beth as 'and' is just one factor, as I said earlier it is the tone, structure and style that gives you away. I'll add total inability to form a coherent argument and address points.

You're confused as to why we think you are supporting a mans human right to sex? Well if you have a good read of the document we are discussing and actually understand the current legal position in the UK you will see that prostitution is legal, completely legal, we are not telling you what to do as it is your body. Whether it is £20 for a blow job in a back alley, grand a night for a high class hooker, or getting married to someone who can only get off by spunking over your tits in exchange for not having to work, that is your choice. The AI document is arguing for the rights of pimps and clients to not be criminalised, because of their human rights to buy a woman's body.

You even stated yourself actually I do think that it is a mans human right to buy sex from a consenting adult who wishes to sell it.. How can buying another person ever be a fucking human right? Can you not see how repulsive that is? It debases a person down to a mere commodity. If it is a human right to buy another person then by definition the person they are buying is not human. That is vile.

I'm sure you'll now jump in with 'consenting' so how do you know they consent? Is the trafficked girl who is convinced that she will pay off her debt soon but never will really consenting? What about the girl who's boyfriend got her addicted to heroin, then on the game and now looks after her so well by making sure she gets her hit from the profit he keeps.

I'm not some naive little kid like you Beth. I worked in the sex industry and then in outreach , I've worked with street prostitutes, I also know high class call girls and those that were paid by NOTW to do stings on celebrities and then 'sell' their stories (that the paper already owned). You have no clue what it is like out there and it is not a wonderful 'empowering' space for women.

PrincessPeashooter Wed 29-Jan-14 02:27:17

Oh, and using "there's a dear" in the pejorative is a little strange don't you think? A bit like male mysogyny?

Of course it was perjorative, but not misogynistic. I don't think that of women as a class, just total fuckwits of either sex - like you!

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 02:50:16

It's a bit strange that you keep calling me beth. It feels like you are obsessed with a lost partner or friend.
Could you stop please?

vaudevelle Wed 29-Jan-14 03:02:49

Your rant was full of indications that you can't accept different opinions. You don't know my age or experience, yet you describe me as naive and "a kid", you call me an idiot. You have the righteous indignation of someone shouting blasphemy!
You are just the kind of person who should not be allowed to form policy; secularism is not always just about rejecting deity based religion. Your dogma should be rejected as such.

WhentheRed Wed 29-Jan-14 05:33:38

There are two written documents, which have both been put to AI and which AI has not disavowed: a draft policy and a draft document calling for consultation.

The draft consultation document says among many things:

1. AI brought the policy forward for approval before consultation.
2. AI did not engage in wide consultation because it assumed that the draft policy would be approved without consultation with members.
3. The consultation is about how to implement the draft policy, not about whether it should adopt the draft policy.
4. Without the need for consultation, in AI's judgement, the Nordic Model is mistaken. Full decriminalisation is required. Legalisation/regulation is not a goal.
5. Prostitution is a matter of the rights to privacy and expression.

The draft policy is:

For me, the key paragraph is a footnote:

As noted within Amnesty International’s policy on sex work, the organization is opposed to criminalization of all activities related to the purchase and sale of sex. Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.

It is a human right to buy sex if you don't want to persuade someone to grant consent.

msrisotto Wed 29-Jan-14 07:23:32

Where has this idea that sex is a fundamental human need come from? Nuns and monks and loads of people go their whole lives without sex, you don't die from a lack of's like chocolate, lovely to have but not life threateningly necessary.

msrisotto Wed 29-Jan-14 07:24:45

And you can't really buy sex. You can buy penetration, blow jobs etc but sex is intrinsically rewarding and if you have to pay someone to do it then it is no longer it's own reward, therefore, it is no longer sex.

WhentheRed Wed 29-Jan-14 08:22:41

What men who use prostitutes buy is sexual gratification. AI says "sexual desire and activity" are fundamental human needs. That isn't strictly accurate. Sexual desire isn't a need, it's a feeling. It happens and it doesn't happen.

What AI really means is that people(men) feel sexual desire and wish to express that desire in a manner of their choosing which should not be public and which would gratify that person(man). AI believes it is a fundamental need for people(men) to be able to gratify that desire in a private manner as they so wish (but not rape rape obvs or children). If:

1. that desire cannot be gratified in the way that the desiring person(man) wants
2. the person(man) does not want to make the effort to obtain consent
3. the person(man) does not want to have to deal with the corresponding fundamental human need of the other person(woman/man) for gratification

then that person(man) has a fundamental human right to buy the gratification that person(man) wants from any other person(woman/man) of the person(man)'s choice who will take the money.

HermioneWeasley Wed 29-Jan-14 09:11:15

I have cancelled my DD and written to tell them why

When the red do you have the draft consultation available to share?

Amnesty don't tend to work as you describe - at least not in my experience. It s very much members based so any policy is always debated before being accepted - they wouldn't leap to debating implementation before the policy has been voted on. I'm not even sure they can under their constitution.

My belief about this is that:
1. This is a badly worded draft for debate
2. It deliberately taking the most neutral and broad stance in order to provoke the debate, not in order to deliver this as the policy outcome
3. The goal is the protection of female sex workers from prosecution, exploitation and police harassment
4. Following member consultation the likely and expected outcome will be the adoption of support for something like the Swedish model
5. Amnesty have handled this badly and responded too slowly
6. Amnesty are a force for good in the world and a force for women's rights and should be given the benefit of the doubt and engaged in debate. I think they have entered into this naively assuming people will assume the best of them and they are probably now reeling at being taken at face value.

I do not believe that Amnesty are a misogynist organisation - apart from anything else they are a members run organisation and I don't believe that the balance of Amnesty Members are misogynist.

This is actually the current member voted stance on prostitution - this is the motion that was carried in 2010:

"In light of the Integrated Strategic Plan’s (2010-2016) long term perspectives, in particular, the
need to integrate gender and women’s rights, international justice and the exploitation of
children throughout the perspectives, AIUK believes the time is now right to ask the International
Secretariat to undertake a review on the issue of prostitution and human rights"

And this as the follow up in 2012 (Yep, they are slow but that's because of all the consultation, and because the bulk of their activity is the actual campaigning for human rights not developing policy)

There are significant human rights issues relating to prostitution and state responses to prostitution.
In 2011, when considering the potential migration strategy looking at migration and labour exploitation,
AIUK recommended a review of policy in the area of trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution.
According to the most recent update from the ICM, the International Secretariat will be recruiting an adviser
to research and analyse the human rights laws, standards, and practice pertaining to criminalization in a
wide range of areas including prostitution.
This AGM decides that:
- the particular and inextricable relationship between prostitution and trafficking for sexual
exploitation has not been highlighted sufficiently.
- this should be stressed and prioritised in reviewing policy both in the potential migration strategy
and in the criminalisation review.

The resolution was carried overwhelmingly

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Wed 29-Jan-14 11:41:37

Did you read the minutes I posted a link to, TAIT? Amnesty UK are certainly under the impression that AI as a global body is "strongly advocating" the adoption of a pro-decriminalisation policy (not deliberately taking a neutral stance). And AI have already specifically lobbied against the adoption of the Swedish model in Northern Ireland (see SuperLoudPoppingAction's link upthread) so I'm not sure how you reach the conclusion that support for that model is their likely or expected outcome.

This is the stance on their facebook page:

A proposal regarding a policy of decriminalisation of sex work has been presented by our international secretariat (our research HQ) in London.

It is important to emphasise that this is a proposal and not Amnesty International's position today. It is a complex and highly controversial issue. For example, the women's movement, internationally, is divided on the issue of prostitution and countries have different models and different laws. Partly for this reason, the consultations will take place throughout the international Amnesty movement.

Just to be clear, we will continue to call for the prosecution of human traffickers, including trafficking for sex work, the prosecution of adults involved in child prostitution or any form of child abuse, and prosecution for anyone who commits a crime against a sex worker, including rape or any other form of violence. The consultation doesn't change our position on these human rights violations.

Here in the UK we will start that consultation shortly and we will add your comments here to that process.
If you're a member, you can also take part in more detail by emailing

As an Amnesty member for 20 years I will take part in the debate to shape the policy. Amnesty do a huge amount of good for women's human rights and I do not believe they will adopt a policy that puts the rights of men above the rights of women. It just isn't what the organisation believes or is about.

If they do adopt this, THEN I will end 20 years of support but I won't leave based on a consultation paper.

Well we should all put our money where our mouths are and join Amnesty so as to participate in the debate.

here's a link to their joining page.

It's a sub committee, the very earliest of early days in consultation. They put it out there and members shout it down. Members shout a lot of stuff down in Amnesty!

When I read the wording of the minutes and the proposed question to put to the AGM it is:

•Main question: Do you support Amnesty International adopting a policy to support the decriminalization of Sex Work?

They do state the need for consultation with the women's network and the swedish amnesty organisation among others and they will have a special debating session at the AGM.

I am worried by the statement that 'Decriminalization of both demand and supply side are part and parcel of achieving whole objective'. What is not clear is whether this is coming from the point of view that punting is currently legal in most countries and it is the supply that should be decriminalised or if they have some perspective that punting should be legal as a human right rather than as a way of meeting the broader objective of supporting women in sex work.

I don;t know honestly but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Thank you Buffy, very reasonablefeminist!

If I can drag the toddler up I will go to the AGM too. DP is already going so he will have a very clear brief if I can't make it!

I havent got any spare cash to join so it's not really an issue for m. But if people actively join up while this is in the media, won't it be easily read by their stats that people support this campaign? Seems much better to have people leave and then join after they drop it?

They aren't that daft PJLYBA but I see your point about joining - I was more imploring the people who are planning to leave before it is even debated to take part in the debate and get it kicked out.

I can't stress enough that Amnesty is governed by members and members votes - so if feminists want Amnesty to continue to be a strong voice for women's rights it is in our power to make it happen.

Seriously the organisation ties themselves in knots trying to do the right thing.

I was responding to Buffy telling people to join up, I can understand why you wouldn't leave yet though.

To me it's a bit like boycotting ASDA by buying a load of stuff.

*joining right now would be

Weegiemum Wed 29-Jan-14 12:43:32

Looking at dates I should be able to make the Agm too and if we can get childcare dh will come as well.

I reckon it'll be a pretty interesting meeting!!

DuskAndShiver Wed 29-Jan-14 12:55:12

I don't want to join Amnesty International to oppose this, I would prefer to join a human rights organisation that already treats women as human. Pity there probably isn't one (or is there?)

I would like to write to them though and say this is why I won't be joining them

Did anyone ask MNHQ about getting them on, as suggested? I would definitely like to see that web chat.

I am so saddened by this. It's like finding Operation Yewtree knocking on John Noakes' door or something. (legal disclaimer - not that I am suggesting this will ever happen)

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 12:57:27

Amnesty are lying when they say they are at the earliest stage of discussions around this. Otherwise why are they actively lobbying against the Nordic Model in Belfast? I actually contacted Amnesty to ask if this was true, and I have had no reply. If it was untrue, I am sure they would have quickly responded saying it was an untrue rumour.

I am a member and plan to go to the AGM. But I don't believe what they say when it comes to this issue.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 12:59:11

I agree Dusk. I have always heard Amnesty in very high regard, before this.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 13:22:13

"rite to Amnesty International
Letter Template

Feel free to use the following letter template to send to Amnesty International and ask them to end their pro-prostitution lobbying efforts in Northern Ireland.

” To Amnesty International’s Secretary General, International Board and Secretariat:

I am shocked to learn that Amnesty International is calling for the decriminalization of prostitution “in order to protect human rights.” This is an absolute outrage because prostitution is a severe violation of the human rights AI claims to protect. The decriminalization of prostitution will not eradicate but instead normalize the violence, abuse, and health and safety risks most women in the sex industry face day in, day out. Most would exit the sex industry if they could.

You state that your “vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.” Please meet the standards you have set for yourself. Stand up against the sex industry, not for it.

In Urgency,

[ ... ] ”
Please send your letters to:

1. AI Secretary General
Salil Shetty,

2. AI Board Members
Bernard Sintobin,
Guadalupe Rivas,
Julio Torales,
Mwikali Nzioka Muthiani,
Nicole Bieske,
Paul Divakar Nimala,
Rune Arctander,
Sandra Lutchman,
Sarah Beamish,
Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah,

3. AI International Secretariat
(According to AI, the Secretariat is responsible for the organization’s research and campaigns),
Tel: +44-20-74135500

Fax: +44-20-79561157

Twitter: @Amnestyonline

Address:1 Easton Street, London, WC1X 0DW, UK

Tel (US member services): (212) 633- 4254,

Fax: (212) 627-1451.

4. AI “Contact Us” Page

5. General AI Email Address"

WithRedWine Wed 29-Jan-14 13:22:52

I love that quote from the minutes of the meeting: 'Note: AI does not take position on morality'.

Ok, so no point arguing that torture is morally wrong then. The whole organisation may as well pack up and go home, in that case hmm.

Ffs! Human rights are based on a sense of morality, surely? What else does it mean to take an ethical stance on something?

It's totally contradictory to advocate helping all children who are the victims of sexual exploitation, and then to have a policy which presumes consent amongst the sexually exploited adults most of those children become. Oh, so you're 16? Well, here's our policy supporting the poor disadvantaged people who've been raping you for money all these years.

Come on Amnesty, get a grip and quickly! You'll have us all supporting the gagging law as a knee-jerk reaction if you carry on like this.

KerryKatonasKhakis Wed 29-Jan-14 13:27:33

Just reading the #QuestionsforAmnesty on Twitter.

They'll never get this through, surely? Cannot possibly see how anyone can support it. It goes against all the other work they've done with exploitation and prostitution.

I don't see why they need support 'right to (buy) sex'? Have they not heard of masturbation? Protect the right to wank, by all means, just not into another human.

DuskAndShiver Wed 29-Jan-14 13:31:34

Have written.

Kerry, have you written yet? If not, I strongly suggest that when you do, you suggest "protect the wank" as a tag line

Sorry to be an eejit but can anyone give me a thumbnail sketch of what the "nordic model" is?

WithRedWine - yes yes, and I would suggest that it is a weird internalising of that common mistake that the only sort of morality that counts as such is conservative (ie patriarchal) sexual morality - which is just giving the whole discourse to right wing dickheads

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 13:34:51

There is nothing wrong with morality. We all have a clear sense of what is right and wrong according to our views.

Surely the morality point is trying to say that there are rights that are above morality and not open to discussion. This is the point of a right. It is universal and it just is.

This was what amnesty said about their lobbying against the criminalisation of punting in Belfast. It wasn't at all about pushing the rights of the punter but a more pragmatic stance about division of resources:

“However, Amnesty International is concerned that making ”the paying for sexual services of a prostitute” a criminal offence could run counter to the purpose of tackling trafficking by confusing these related but separate issues and diverting criminal justice resources away from tackling trafficking. It is already an offence in Northern Ireland to pay for sexual services from someone who has been subjected to force,a position which we support.

Grainne Teggart added:

“The Trafficking Convention and the EU Trafficking Directive expressly provide measures to be taken for discouraging and reducing the demand for trafficking victims; the criminalisation of the users of prostitutes is not one of the measures they recommend. The proposed change to the law in Lord Morrow’s Bill thus creates an offence outside the trafficking legal framework. Legislators should focus on the provision of essential support services to the victims of trafficking and steps to ensure more successful prosecution of traffickers.Amnesty International welcomes this debate on how Northern Ireland can meet its international obligations to protect and uphold the human rights of victims of trafficking.”

The source for that was

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 13:58:58

Then AI are very naive. Criminalising punters reduces trafficking. It has everywhere it has been put into affect. To reduce trafficking you tackle supply and demand.

Also there is no evidence at all that resources will be diverted away.

AngelaDaviesHair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:01:05

Naive, or just gripped by the desire to pursue a very particular agenda where paid-for sex is concerned?

But how can someone know with any certainty that someone hasn't been trafficked? So how can you prosecute thoseraping having sex with trafficked women? They can always claim to not know she was trafficked.

It's so difficult to prosecute rape cases anyway

I was just this morning listening to a story about a man who got off for rape as the woman he was raping kept shouting no, and he says thought it was a sex game. hmm

Not one they had prediscussed mind you.
"I recognized the way she said no as a part of the sex; I recognized it from other girls"

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 29-Jan-14 14:18:32

Surely the morality point is trying to say that there are rights that are above morality and not open to discussion. This is the point of a right. It is universal and it just is.

How can there possibly be rights that are "above morality" and not open to discussion?

All rights are derived from an ethical framework.

Universal rights are rights that people believe to be important enough to apply to all people.

They aren't things that "just are" in any possible sense.

If they were, and there was no room for discussion about them, then what would we need Amnesty for in the first place?

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 29-Jan-14 14:22:00

What they mean by "morality" is "sexual morality".

And what they mean by saying they don't take a stance on sexual morality is that disapproving of prostitution is the same as disapproving of sex before marriage or the use of contraception.

They don't see the sale of women's bodies as an ethical issue, but an issue of strictly sexual morality, which all right-thinking, non-prudish people are "open-minded" about.

That's why they think it's covered by the right to privacy.

The right to privately rape a woman when you have know way of knowing whether she consents, but you've paid so it's OK.

DuskAndShiver Wed 29-Jan-14 14:26:06

Join - exactly, that was the stuff I was trying to get at!

DuskAndShiver Wed 29-Jan-14 14:27:25

I really think that there is a role in many organisations for an in-house philosopher (as many have in-house lawyers, for drafting contracts etc)
For those organisations that only need to call on a philosopher occasionally, they could outsource it to a philopshers' practice for a fee

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 14:53:25

A lot of trafficking is internal trafficking in this country. Some people have a very stereotypical idea of what trafficking actually includes.

And children in the sex industry, are usually still there when they become adults. Why is it wrong to rape them at 15, then fine on their 16th birthday?

AngelaDaviesHair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:55:12

Quite, Grennie. The problem with reducing everything to a question of 'choices' is that it ignores the extent to which vulnerable people have their choices and ability to choose shaped, restricted and manipulated by exploiters.

DonkeySkin Wed 29-Jan-14 15:12:27

Hi Grennie,

Thanks so much for putting together the letter template. There is an issue with the wording, though, in that it does not distinguish between assymetrical decriminalisation (the Swedish model) and across-the-board decriminalisation (the sex industry's preferred model).

It's important to note that decriminalisation of prostituted people is essential to protect their rights and wellbeing, and is also a recognition of the fact that they are not the ones who should shoulder the blame (or shame) for the situation they are in. That properly falls on the buyers and pimps. Hence, the feminist approach is to remove all criminal penalties from sellers, and criminalise the johns and pimps.

Can I suggest an amended version of the letter:

Write to Amnesty International
Letter Template

Feel free to use the following letter template to send to Amnesty International and ask them to end their pro-prostitution lobbying efforts in Northern Ireland.

”To Amnesty International’s Secretary General, International Board and Secretariat:

I am shocked to learn that Amnesty International is calling for the total decriminalization of prostitution “in order to protect human rights.” This is an absolute outrage because prostitution is a severe violation of the human rights AI claims to protect. The decriminalization of buyers and third-party profiteers will not eradicate but instead normalize the violence, abuse, and health and safety risks most women in the sex industry face day in, day out. Most would exit the sex industry if they could.

The Swedish model, which decriminalises prostituted people, and criminalises the buyers, is the only model which recognises the vast power disparity between these two parties, and targets the demand which drives trafficking in human beings for sexual use.

You state that your “vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.” Please meet the standards you have set for yourself. Stand up against the sex industry, not for it.

In Urgency,

[ ... ] ”
Please send your letters to:

1. AI Secretary General
Salil Shetty,

2. AI Board Members
Bernard Sintobin,
Guadalupe Rivas,
Julio Torales,
Mwikali Nzioka Muthiani,
Nicole Bieske,
Paul Divakar Nimala,
Rune Arctander,
Sandra Lutchman,
Sarah Beamish,
Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah,

3. AI International Secretariat
(According to AI, the Secretariat is responsible for the organization’s research and campaigns),
Tel: +44-20-74135500

Fax: +44-20-79561157

Twitter: @Amnestyonline

Address:1 Easton Street, London, WC1X 0DW, UK

Tel (US member services): (212) 633- 4254,

Fax: (212) 627-1451.

4. AI “Contact Us” Page

5. General AI Email Address"

arsenaltilidie Wed 29-Jan-14 15:12:57

AI has women throughout it’s chain of command. They are at the front-line for the battle to 'Stop Violence Against Women' around the world.

I find it hard to believe an organisation actually inside these cesspits, fighting for women’s rights all over the globe is somehow naïve and all they are doing is protecting the men’s rights.

What is there to gain by ‘supporting the Johns’ ?

Maybe criminalising Prostitution/Johns will simply push them into the hands of local gangster/pimps.

There will always be men willing to pay for sex, there will always be women willing to sell sex.
What should be done is working with these women, why do they see prostitution as a way out of poverty.
Also should work with these men and find out why they need to visit prostitutes when the majority of men don’t.

We should be investing more in more access to therapy, counselling, etc?

Criminalising/ decriminalising will not make a difference. The gangsters will deal with the legal issues (connect the punters to the prostitutes) but ultimately the fundamentals will remain the same, some men will pay for sex and some women will sell sex.

arsenaltilidie Wed 29-Jan-14 15:19:28

We have a situation where police know about every brothel and for these brothels to maintain the status quo, they don’t have under 18s working etc.
If the whole industry goes further underground, it will be difficult to maintain that openness.

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 29-Jan-14 15:21:09

It just doesn't work like that, Arsenaltilidie. All the evidence shows that what actually happens is that where you have legal prostitution you get an increase in illegal, as well.
It's a comforting fantasy to think you can magic away exploitation just by making it legal but it doesn't work.

Weegiemum Wed 29-Jan-14 15:26:18

If there are a few of us planning to go to Edinburgh for the AGM, should we try to meet and go together?

DonkeySkin Wed 29-Jan-14 15:31:05

Dusk, the Swedish, or Nordic, model involves a three-pronged approach to the issue of prostitution, recognising the evidence from research that people (mostly women and girls) in prostitution are exposed to overwhelming levels of violence from pimps and johns, and that most are there through poverty or other coercion.

1. Decriminalise the sellers of sex, criminalise the buyers and third-party profiteers (pimps).

2. The state provides funds for exit programs, counselling and support and skills training for people who wish to leave prostitution.

3. Retraining the police force to root out a culture that may involve police harassing or otherwise using their power against prostituted people - police are to understand that their job under the law is not to target prostitutes, but to focus on arresting the pimps and johns.

Here is a good interview with the brilliant Swedish feminist Kasja Ekis Ekman, explaining how the Swedish model was developed - she notes that it was not (as is often claimed by sex-industry advocates) imposed over the heads of 'sex workers' by feminists and politicians; rather, it was inspired by decades-long research into the material conditions of prostitution which involved in-depth and documented interviews with prostitutes themselves.

It's a long interview, so scroll down towards the end for the bit about the model and the research (although the whole thing is well worth reading).

DuskAndShiver Wed 29-Jan-14 15:59:02

thank you DonkeySkin!

Having mulled and wracked my brain again I am wondering if they have somehow over intellectualised the issue? Is there too much sophistry going on?

I wonder if the logic was 'if you are supporting the right to sell something you have to support the right to buy it'. Strikes me as weird though. I wish they would answer a bit more to clarify and explain their stance.

WhentheRed Wed 29-Jan-14 17:14:58

I only have the draft consultation in pdf form and do not know how to upload it. Apologies for the cut and paste

Here the text.

International Issues News # 35 (December 2013): Consultation on the decriminalization of sex work1

1. Introduction
In the first half of 2013, the International Secretariat (IS) prepared a
draft AI policy calling for the decriminalization of sex work and a limited
consultation on this draft took place. At the International Council Meeting
(ICM) in Berlin in August 2013, which is AI’s highest decision-making body, it became clear that there was a very wide range of opinions on the draft policy. It was therefore agreed to extend the consultation period until June 2014 so that the outcomes of it could be discussed at the Chairs Assembly (which brings together the chairs of the boards of all national AI sections) in that month.

2 This approach is consistent with AI’s overall framework for
human rights policy development.
3 One reason for the length of the consultation period is to give AI sections time to consult with national advocacy groups for sex workers and others outside AI whose views will provide useful input. Given the wide range of different legal frameworks for sex work in different countries, and the different approaches that several countries have tried in recent years (e.g., Sweden made it a criminal offence to pay for sex in 1999 whereas Germany removed many of the legal constraints on sex work in 2001), it will be particularly helpful to get a wide range of contributions to this consultation.

2. Why does AI need a policy on decriminalization of sex work?
For more than a decade, AI has taken the view that criminalization of
consensual sexual relations among adults is incompatible with a wide range of internationally recognised human rights (including freedom of expression and conscience, privacy, and freedom from discrimination). On this basis, AI has developed positions on specific issues: for instance, it has for many years opposed the criminalization of homosexual relations and also of adultery

4. Criminalization of sex work prevents people from exercising their
human rights and it is therefore a logical next step for AI to oppose this,
too. Such criminalization can lead to social marginalisation, stigma and illtreatment by providers of health and welfare services, and by the general public. The draft policy therefore states that decriminalization of sex workis essential if the rights of all involved are to be upheld.
Decriminalization means removing laws that make sex work a crime.
Legalisation is a further step in which specific laws are passed to regulate
sex work that are supplementary to existing laws governing business and
employment. In calling for decriminalization, AI would not be calling for
legalization, but neither would it oppose legalization that was compatible

1 This document is mostly based on Consultation regarding draft policy on decriminalization of sex work (POL 39/005/2013), Decriminalization of sex work: policy background document (POL 39/003/2013) and Amnesty International: Decriminalization of sex work Policy – Questions and Answers (POL 39/004/2013).
2 Because the draft policy was originally written on the assumption that it would be approved without wide movement consultation, it is not easy to read. Furthermore, the consultation paper is mainly concerned with how to implement the policy, rather than whether it should be adopted by AI.
3 See The Role Of Human Rights Policy In Amnesty International (POL 30/002/2011)
4 For AI’s long-standing position on adultery, see for example Turkey: Amnesty International opposes criminalization of adultery, EUR 44/032/2004. with international human rights standards.

AI learned from the Stop Violence Against Women (SVAW) campaign in 2004-10, and the current Demand Dignity campaign that contact with the criminal justice system is often harmful to people living in poverty, especially women. Such contact is typically brutal, discriminatory, and based on inappropriate assumptions about “virtue” and “honour”. Criminalization of sex work considerably increases the frequency of such contacts and therefore contributes to violations of human rights. Furthermore, it makes it very difficult of sex workers to claim basic rights at work, such as freedom from violence, because they are engaging in illegal activity. The draft policy aims to ensure that all sex workers and their clients can live free from violence and can be empowered to claim their rights.

3. Human rights legal context
Several international human rights standards support the argument for
decriminalizing sex work. Everyone is entitled to freely choose gainful work and to safe and healthy living conditions.5 Similarly, everyone is entitled to the right to privacy, and several important rulings by human rights bodies have made it clear that the right to privacy covers sex outside marriage, most notably the landmark 1994 Toonen v Australia decision by the UN Human Rights Committee.

4. Health issues
Although individuals engaged in sex work often face health risks, these
risks often arise directly from the criminalization of their work. The
dangers of contracting sexual transmitted diseases, being subject to
violence by clients, and being blackmailed or otherwise abused by law
enforcement officials all decrease considerably when sex work is legal and does not need to be hidden. When sex work is driven underground by criminalization, health problems become more serious and more difficult to remedy.

5. Decriminalization of “related actors”
Members of some AI sections have expressed concern about the proposal to decriminalize the “purchase” of sex by the clients of sex workers and the roles of brothel keepers, procurers, etc., because they believe that criminalizing these activities and roles helps to reduce sex work and helps to protect women against violence and coercion. Laws criminalizing the clients of sex work were adopted in Sweden in 1999, and a similar approach is taken by other Scandinavian countries, as well as in Israel, Nepal, and elsewhere.

However, in AI’s judgment, as outlined in the draft policy, such laws are
mistaken for two reasons. Firstly, criminalizing any aspect of sex work in
practice puts a burden on sex workers to protect their clients, and this can make the sex workers’ lives more dangerous. Secondly, both men and women sell sex; gay, straight and transgender people buy and sell sex. Any prohibition of paying for sex is a violation of all these people’s rights to express themselves and of their autonomy. It is also, often, based on a naïve view of sex workers as victims which denies the possibility that they have made a legitimate choice in engaging in this work. It is a mistake to believe that all sex work is a form of forced labour.

5 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Articles 6 and 7.
6. Related human rights abuses Decriminalization of sex work should make it easier to oppose trafficking of people into forced labour. This is because people who are engaged in illegal sex work are often afraid to come forward with complaints about trafficking. For the same reason, decriminalization should make it easier for sex workers to have access to medical services, and recourse to protection against abuse and violence. AI would, of course, continue to consider children involved
in commercial sex acts to be victims of sexual exploitation, entitled to
support and remedies. Similarly, AI would continue to call for trafficking
into forced prostitution – or any other non-consensual aspect of sex – to be criminalized in national and international law.

7. Conclusions
AI recognises that the debate around this issue is very polarised. Members of some sections have reacted negatively, for example, to the proposal to decriminalize the “purchase” of sex; others have expressed concerns about the decriminalization of sex workers. The proposals in the draft policy – as summarised above – are, however, based on a strong application of universal human rights standards and on the belief that all individuals should be protected from state interference in their private lives. It is also based on the belief that the adverse consequences of criminalization overwhelmingly affect the marginalised in society, and contribute to their further marginalisation. AI sections are encouraged to engage with these issues – and with groups representing the views of sex workers themselves – in the coming months and to feedback their views in good time for the Chairs
Assembly in June 2014.

International Issues News is put together to spread updates on AI's
international focus to a wider audience worldwide, encouraging more members to become engaged with the issues. The articles are summaries of internal papers which we aim to condense without offering our opinions on the original documents.

We welcome any comments, questions or suggestions on our choice of
documents, the accuracy of the summaries, and how the newsletter could be more usefully developed: please write to

Editorial team
• Hilary Naylor (AIUSA): a 20+ year member of AIUSA who has served on the Board of Directors, as a Country Coordinator, and as a Trainer.
• Peter Pack (AIUK): chaired the International Executive Committee 2007–11. He previously chaired AI’s mandate and human rights policy committees 1999–2007 and helped to run the AI International Training Network 1991–95. He is a member of AIUK’s governance taskforce.
• Jane Salmonson (AIUK): an AI member for 25 years, currently serving on the AIUK International Issues subcommittee. She is the Overseas
Development Co-ordinator for L'Arche, previously Executive Director of an international NGO specialising in humanitarian work in countries emerging from war.
• French translation by Mireille Boisson (AIF)
• Spanish translation by Ferran Nogueroles (AIUK)

Note on original documents
These articles are mainly based on internal AI documents from the Weekly Mailings sent out by the International Secretariat. AI sections vary in their practice with respect to making these available to members. If you are interested in finding the original document please investigate within your own Section but feel free to let us know if you are having problems. We can normally supply English-language versions of all documents referenced in these articles

DonkeySkin Wed 29-Jan-14 17:33:11

Sophistry is indeed the word for it, TAIT.

I've just read through the International Issue Sub-Committee minutes and it shows that Amnesty is being deliberately deceptive regarding the position it plans to adopt and the one being put to 'consultation'.

It states that the internal position of the IISC is: 'Decriminalization of both demand and supply side are part and parcel of achieving whole objective.'

But when it comes to putting this position to a vote, the question members will be asked is: 'Do you support Amnesty International adopting a policy to support the decriminalization of Sex Work?'

So members are not being given the information that Amnesty plans to lobby for the decriminalisation of pimps and johns.

Members will also be given a document '10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work' to help them decide. No doubt this will detail the horrifying circumstances in which most prostituted people live, which will inspire anyone with a conscience to say, 'Of course we should get the law off their backs'.

While they are not told that Amnesty also plans to work towards getting the law off the backs of sex buyers and sex-trade profiteers (many of whom are deeply implicated in the human trafficking industry that Amnesty supposedly opposes).

There is also a reminder to committee members to 'be mindful of terminology especially when broadening out on international level' - which presumably means to be careful to use gender-neutral language when talking about this overwhelmingly gendered phenomenon.

It's all so blatantly dishonest, so ghastly and Orwellian, to have the world's most high-profile human rights group deliberately obscure the violence, the torture and the massively gendered power imbalance that underlies an industry responsible for vast human rights violations against women and girls.

I almost feel like I'm in a parallel universe, one where feminism has made no impact whatsoever on the understanding of women as actual human beings.

NiceTabard Wed 29-Jan-14 20:13:25

Have amnesty responded at all to all of this? I saw the twitter link yesterday, surely they can't just ignore all those people?

So point 5 of whenthereds post addresses the reasons for legalising brothels and purchasers

The lgbt element seems like it misses something in the relative numbers being talked about.

The point about the Swedish model leading to prostitutes protecting pimps and punters and ending up in greater risk as a result (presumably from threats etc) needs some validation but at least it comes from the right perspective. Not the daily mail reported view that purchasing sex is a human right.

Nice tabard I posted amnesty's Facebook response earlier. It is pretty disappointing.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 21:26:44

Reading the document in full just makes me more sick. They really haven't a clue about the realities of prostitution, the gendered nature of it, or the evidence of the impact of different approaches including total legalisation.

They are talking as if individuals freely choose to sell their bodies for others to use for sexual pleasure. The criminal gangs who control most prostitution would be laughing their heads off reading this. How can they be so bloody naive? I would expect this from a bunch of sixth formers, but from an organisation who should understand the realities of prostitution and the sex industry, and how this is fuelled by misogyny.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 21:28:03

Donkey, thanks for your suggested changes. I didn't actually write the letter, just copied it off that website. But I agree with the changes you recommend.

HermioneWeasley Wed 29-Jan-14 21:31:10

Their response is so revoltingly political it reads like it was drafted by Malcolm Tucker.

Agree with OP that I feel like I must be dreaming - it's too bizarre

NiceTabard Wed 29-Jan-14 22:13:36

TAIT thank you, I was hoping / thinking that they might have put out something a bit more complete or something.

OK, this has just gone out on their site in answer


It's not rebutting anything specific beyond reiterating that it is a fully open consultation with plans for a detailed debate at the AGM. They are adamant they have no position.

*We have been aware of the need to develop our thinking on this issue for a while, informed by work on our Stop Violence Against Women campaign, and then on poverty and human rights. Both campaigns highlighted gaps in our policies as they relate to the human rights of sex workers.

For these reasons, our International research headquarters (the International Secretariat) undertook a study of the issue and has proposed a draft policy for consultation.

The draft policy proposes the decriminalisation of activities relating to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults, on the basis that this is the best means to protect the rights of sex workers and ensure that these individuals receive adequate medical care, legal assistance and police protection.

However, we acknowledge that these issues are complex and opinion is polarised. Proponents of different policy responses invoke core human rights principles in justifying their positions. As a human rights organisation, we therefore think it is important to consider our position in this debate.

We value debate and have not yet endorsed any particular position.*

For Amnesty members this is the email to get hold of the full consultation documents and have your say:

The letters earlier suggested writing directly to the international team - UK members would do better to address Amnesty UK:

Consultation on sex work
c/o Chief Executive’s Office
Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard

NiceTabard Wed 29-Jan-14 22:30:52

Well you see that sounds reasonable.

But someone wrote that document FFS and really? what on earth.

NiceTabard Wed 29-Jan-14 22:31:47

\oh they missed a bit out though

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 29-Jan-14 22:33:17

Fucking hell! Sex is not and never should be a human right!

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 22:44:27

It is not reasonable. They ignore the fact they are actively lobbying in Ireland against the introduction of the Nordic Model. That is hardly - not decided a position.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 22:45:52

So it is simply a lie to say that no particular position has been endorsed. And those campaigning for the Nordic Model in Ireland include a lot of women who used to be in the sex industry. They are actively lobbying against these women.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 22:47:39

I have also read rumours that at the AGM they plan to give out a paper listing 10 points that outline why members should support this proposed policy. If that is true, it would be hardly neutral consultation.

FloraFox Wed 29-Jan-14 22:48:58

Given the paper pasted in by whenthered, this response looks comletely disingenious. As grennie says, AI are lobbying in NI - not consistent with an undecided position.

Also, this response does not address the "rights" of sex buyers and brothel keepers specifically mentioned in the consultation document, nor that fact that AI have pronounced the Swedish Model "mistaken".

NiceTabard Wed 29-Jan-14 22:50:22

"The draft policy proposes the decriminalisation of activities relating to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults"...

Because we live in a happy happy utopia where this description is valid all the time!!!!

I thought earlier, while I was coming home from work.

Their document is all YAY to happy fun people having really fun and super great SEX all the time <whispers For Cash> if they are over 18. But if not then DIE DIE. Erm no actually it was if under 18 people should be nice to the prostituted people who probably are but let's not say that female, and look after them and stuff and listen to their views if it is age appropriate to do so (WTAF???) and not at all ever mention the fact that what was done to them were Criminal Acts by Criminals who should be prosecuted to the max of the law. Why is that not at all ever mentioned?

And also what of people who aren't making an active fun choice to have really fun sex with super people <whispers For Cash> who are over 18????

So are things like drug addiction, poverty, children to support, being pimped out by a husband or boyfriend, having mental health issues, being vulnerable due to learning disabilities, past sexual abuse, past emotional abuse, being groomed etc etc etc ad infintum.... People who sell (or are persuaded to sell) their bodies to be used by others are "choosing" to do so in an "imperfect context".

Well what a bunch of absolute fucking cunts they are.

Apols for swear but really. Can't think of a better one for this bunch. Clearly as a cunt is no more or less than any other commodity, like a packet of biscuits or a t-shirt, as long as children aren't involved in it, then they are quite happy. So I'm using it with impunity.

WhentheRed Wed 29-Jan-14 23:02:24

Sorry, TAIT but that does not wash. The draft policy (sent for "consultation") says that AI's existing policy on sex work is that it is a human right to buy and sell sex.

Also, the consultation makes it pretty clear that AI as an organisation already believes that the Swedish model is mistaken. Second, the only groups AI wants to consult is "sex workers" organisations. No mention of survivors' organisations. No mention of those groups like CATW who have been on the ground for decades.

The so-called consultation was doomed from the start.

Grennie Wed 29-Jan-14 23:05:11

Sex workers organisations is usually a eupheminism for pimp sponsored organisations, like the International Sex Workers Union. And read their response to questions recorded in a parliamentary enquiry and in Hansard. They basically admit in their own words they are a pimp sponsored organisation.

The reality is it is easy to listen to pimp sponsored organisations. They have money to make their voices heard. Organisations of survivors often struggle with just the travel expenses to attend meetings.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 08:54:41

Why decriminalize? Don't you think amnesty has researched this subject before taking such a controversial position? This is no light thing! Decriminalization would establish HARM REDUCTION for the victims of human trafficking and would prevent lives from being unnecessarily devastated as is the case currently when sex workers are arrested. Arresting sex workers does not serve society and is very destructive to society despite all the moralizing and all the talk of protecting women. Why are trafficking victims being arrested if they are VICTIMS?! BECAUSE prostitution is criminalized that's why! Criminalizing prostitution does NOT prevent prostitution this is a hard cold FACT. therefore, the line of thinking is about establishing harm reduction. The current method of rescuing the victims of sex trafficking is ARREST. Arrest is not a rescue. When a sex worker (forced or not) gets arrested this practically ensures that the sex worker will have an even harder time getting a 'regular' job as well as a safe place to live (try renting an apt or applying for a job with a prostitution arrest on your record). Society expects sex workers to somehow change their lives but society does not take into account the actual circumstances involved. This is not a simple issue. It is very easy to sit behind a computer and moralize and judge when you don't have a clue what reality is like for the people you are judging.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 09:00:17

Not a single person on this thread thinks that it should be a criminal offence to sell sex.

The argument we have with Amnesty is that they think that it is a human right to BUY sex.

Yes, loved the LGBT reference. So in Amnesty's eyes loving gay sex between consenting adults is right up there with adulterous sex and women whose bodies are being sold? Yay!

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 09:05:46

Grennie that is simply not true. It's a good story but it's not true. There are an abundance of sex workers who are independent operators who are not associated with so called pimps who are standing up demanding their rights be acknowledged. The sex worker organizations I know of are operating on shoe string budgets I don't know of any that have funding as you are stating here. In fact you have it backwards. Abolitionist/anti prostitution non profits are getting funded in the millions! Perhaps your group needs a better grant writer or you haven't done the right leg work but sex worker organizations have been consistently denied funding even though they are the very organizations trying to actually help sex workers! There are no organizations that I know of which are working to help sex workers get out of sex work when they want to. All I see are non profits who exploit sex workers who have been ARRESTED. by the way, ARREST IS NOT A RESCUE.

Yes join but acknowledging that would make DominaEllie's argument fall over. So they probably won't do so, instead keep telling us what we think and why that makes us wrong sad.

I know someone who is a damn fine grant writer OK, it's me so Grennie if you know of survivor organisations that need help with this, pm me.

Beachcomber Thu 30-Jan-14 09:10:06

DominaElle, the Nordic model (which AI are lobbying against in NI) decriminalizes the selling of sex and criminalizes the buying of sex.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 09:37:37

Please watch the documentaries called 'American courtesans' and 'scarlet road a sex workers journey' to learn about real sex workers and what they are doing and saying. Despite what some in this thread have stated, sex workers have NOT been given much of a voice in these discussions! We have consistently been denied and silenced. Most of the time discussions have been reserved for trafficking victims and former sex workers who oppose decriminalization. Otherwise there has been a concerted effort to silence sex workers who desire to do sex work and who support decriminalization. Neat thing is, we are determined people who refuse to be silenced. We just won't go away and we will be heard. All the way to the Supreme Court! Canada has the right idea, prostitution laws are unconstitutional! Enforce laws that address actual trafficking. Enforce laws that address child exploitation/abuse. Criminalizing consensual sex workers OR their clients is destructive to society. People allow their ideologies to block logic and reason. It is not rational in the least to believe that you can end the demand for commercial sex. Therefore the task is to establish harm reduction - go after the real criminals not adults seeking intimacy with other consenting adults. It shouldn't be anyone's business what another person chooses regarding their body and mind. Unless of course YOU want to be like a pimp- controlling other people by determining what they can or cannot do according to your personal views and feelings and needs. The American courtesans film is free on hulu right now in the documentary section of their site.

There are healthy clients just as there are healthy sex workers! This topic cannot nor should it be casually broad stroked!

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 09:45:26

Criminalizing consensual sex workers OR their clients is destructive to society.

I think the ability to purchase sexual consent is destructive to society.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 09:45:37

The so called Nordic model only works in the minds of the people who support it. Here is an interesting read for you regarding your beloved Nordic model:

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 09:48:46

Decriminalisation seems particularly beloved of those who plan to make a profit from selling sex and don't give a fuck about all the people damaged by the trade.

Including the societies blighted by the idea that the weak are there to be bought and sold by the powerful.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 09:51:40

Joinyourfellows do you understand what SOVEREIGNTY is? You can't claim to honestly be supporting my right to agency and bodily integrity if you are telling me I don't have the right to do sex work to earn my living. You can't have it both ways. Just as you don't get to force your religious ideologies onto me, you shouldn't (nor should anyone) be able to force any other ideology onto me, including how you perceive sex work! Some people (many people actually) THRIVE doing sex work. It is a healthy situation. Can't wrap your mind around this? Then it's time to do more investigation. Healthy social engineering leaves ideologies at the door and puts logic and reason at the forefront of the discussion.

Beatrixparty Thu 30-Jan-14 09:52:40

Going back to when I used to frequent magistrates' Courts, there never used to be anyone - ever- charged with soliciting or related offences. The Police and CPS didn't seems that bothered. And I don't know if sections 14-16 of the Police and Crime 2009 has come into force yet, but I've not heard of prosecutions for those either. Again the bobbies don't seem bothered about it.

Anyone know links for the crime stats for these? (I had a very quick look, couldnt see anything)

DuskAndShiver Thu 30-Jan-14 09:58:06

Sovereignty doesn't mean you have a right to do anything you want. Laws are basically things that stop people doing things, whether or not they want to, and we have them all over the place about all sorts of things, for the good of society.
DominaElla, I don't actually care whether you want to sell sex any more than I care whether someone wants to do insider dealing. Or burglary.

However, in this case, what we are talking about is not persuing people selling sex anyway. It is more like pursuing the victorian svengalis who used children to do their burglaries for them (analogy getting more baroque).

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 10:15:01

Joinyourplayfellows do you really believe that people like myself don't care about the victims of trafficking because we want to establish harm reduction for EVERYONE not just trafficking victims? The sex worker advocates and organizations I am aware of and those which I am affiliated with and support absolutely care about the victims of trafficking. Believe it or not you can care about BOTH, trafficking victims AND consensual sex workers who want to do sex work, not to mention the clients!

Why do so many people want to broad stroke everyone a certain way rather than taking a deeper look into every aspect of these issues?! You are accusing me and others of something which (no offense meant) you yourself appear to be guilty of based on your words.

I could state that YOU are willing to disenfranchise literally millions of people throughout the world who CHOOSE to do sex work in the name of rescuing those who are forced.

Decriminalization wouldn't harm the victims of trafficking, ON THE CONTRARY they wouldn't be arrested and subsequently traumatized by the legal process anymore! Wouldn't that be better for them? Since there are indeed laws which address trafficking law enforcement would have more time and resources to address these crimes rather than dedicating resources towards consenting adults engaging in consensual sex! This doesn't make sense to you?

I am DEEPLY concerned about child sexual abuse and exploitation which is greatly taking place OUTSIDE of the adult industry!!!

No, you don't get to sit here and play that way.

Have you done your homework?
PLEASE DO....let's all of us have the best understanding of every angle of this issue and not find ourselves causing further harm to people who are already in vulnerable situations.

it does come across often that people want to punish sex workers unless they are victims and yet I don't hear you crying out that the VICTIMS of human trafficking should not be arrested. Why are you ok with trafficking victims being arrested?

Of course then you would have to admit that there is a difference between human trafficking and consensual sex work. Eh?

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 10:33:31

By the way duskandshiver, I don't recall stating I wanted to sell sex. And by the way, sex work doesn't always involve the act of sex. There are a variety of vocations in the adult industry which do not involve the act of sex. As for myself I specialize in couples therapy. I educate and assist couples in developing better communication, deeper levels of trust, the work (which I am deeply honored to be doing) is extremely fulfilling. Did you assume something different? It's ok, that's what MARGINALIZATION and STIGMATIZATION does. It allows people to project emotional violence at us. We are dirty, we are shameful, we are criminal, we are only up to no good- like inside trading and burglary.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 10:42:53

Sex shouldn't be a human right you say?! mind blowing. Sex shouldn't be my right, but shoving your ideologies down my throat should be your right?! Look up the word RATIONAL. please get some!

Beachcomber Thu 30-Jan-14 10:45:48

Harm reduction is an expression that makes me go hmm

It is most usually employed WRT drug addiction - and, with drug addiction, is an honest admission that the practice is harmful .

When co-opted by pro-prostitution lobbies as an argument for decriminalizing the buying of sex, it is hypocritical, self-contradictory and entirely dismissive of the gendered nature of both the buying and the selling of sex.

AngelaDaviesHair Thu 30-Jan-14 10:49:30

Crikey, Domina, please stop shouting.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 10:49:45

Different areas treat soliciting differently. Some areas do indeed prosecute for it, especially when there are complaints by residents.

DominaElle (apologies for spelling your name incorrectly earlier)

You said:

Enforce laws that address actual trafficking. Enforce laws that address child exploitation/abuse. Criminalizing consensual sex workers OR their clients is destructive to society.

If you'd added something about reducing the structural factors that mean women are more financially, emotionally and physically vulnerable to being coerced into sex work and / or to see sex work as the best of the options that they have available to them, then I'd agree.

In principle, if someone who has had a life free from abuse and extreme poverty makes a real empowered choice to sell their body, then I don't feel it's any of my business to interfere. The two things that bother me about the current situation are:

a) While I believe that you and your friends might do so, I don't believe you when you say that most women are making an empowered choice to sell their body.

b) The institution as it stands is enormously abusive with men holding the power and women being exploited (and I'm talking theoretically here, not about individual interactions). This means that lots and lots of men know that if they want to, they can act out their superior status over women. And that affects every one of us and our daughters

OK, will catch up with the rest of the thread now.

Domina you are shouting about people forcing their ideologies into you. What about women who are having a penis or fist forced into them, the perpetrator first having purchased consent from her male owner? Why aren't you angry about that?

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 10:53:57

I know many women who have been prostituted. Some say when they were in it, they too said it was empowering, blah blah.. They said they needed to believe that to get through each day. It was a self defence mechanism. But they were lying to themselves.

And that makes sense. How many abused women on here argue - it isn't that bad really, we have good times, our family life is overall good. Only when they have LTB to say a year later - I didn't realise how bad things were. I just accepted it as normal.

That is why it is so important to listen to those who are no longer being prostituted. They understand what actually happened to them.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 10:55:50

And the pro sex work crowd always ignore the fact that prostitution is largely controlled by criminal gangs. It doesn't operate in some la la fairy land where women have any control.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 11:38:05

I could state that YOU are willing to disenfranchise literally millions of people throughout the world who CHOOSE to do sex work in the name of rescuing those who are forced.

Yes, I am quite willing "disenfranchise" the negligibly small number of women who freely choose to sell their bodies for sex to protect a far higher number of vulnerably women from unspeakable abuse and violence.

I don't want to live in a society where women (and young gay men) are treated as commodities.

I don't even want to stop you selling your body.

I just want to stop men being able to buy sexual consent.

I think society would be better if men couldn't use money to coerce consent.

enlightenmequick Thu 30-Jan-14 11:39:16

Sorry if this has already been posted. I have read all 11 pages, but I might have missed it.

Why even Amsterdam doesn't want legal brothels

and this petition

JuliaScurr Thu 30-Jan-14 11:44:33
JuliaScurr Thu 30-Jan-14 11:51:31

Domina I am not a libertarian neo-liberal. Therefore I do not value individual personal choice above all else. I am not too bothered about restricting the activities of people who choose to be 'sex workers' because I believe the whole idea of 'sex work' is both cause and effect of gender inequality, which is more important than the personal choice of a few deluded individuals

CuntyBunty Thu 30-Jan-14 11:56:17

Thanks Julia, I just signed. The Nordic model sounds the best we can hope for at the current time really. Urgghh, I can't believe Amnesty of all organisations could look at sex as a human right. I am glad DH didn't perceive it as one of his rights after I had given birth.

JuliaScurr Thu 30-Jan-14 12:10:58

Of course, you would have had the human right to knee him in the bollocks for even suggesting such insanity :D

CuntyBunty Thu 30-Jan-14 12:20:54

He wouldn't have had any bollocks left, if that had been suggested....

Beatrixparty Thu 30-Jan-14 12:20:59

DV ought not to be the subject of humour

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 17:14:36

Well that was a random bunch of crazed ranting confused

I was previously unaware that my views are a result of my religious beliefs.

You learn something ever day confused

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 17:17:43


Worth pointing out that not all boys and men who sell their bodies will be gay, same as not all women and girls who sell their bodies will be straight.

Sexuality doesn't have anything to do with it, really, as it's not about sex for the person who is selling. It's about renting their orifices out to people (men) who will exchange cash for access to a body.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 17:19:39

People seem to get squeamish though (not you, others) when it is pointed out that men who accept money to be penetrated by other men aren't necessarily gay.

I think it makes people feel uncomfortable as it underlines the fact that for the person selling, things related to consensual sex - desire etc - have nothing to do with it.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 17:22:55

Agree tabard. I actually had a man who was defending prostitution who when he was asked if he would be happy to be paid for a man to use his body for sex, said he was not gay. Totally missing the point.

There are plenty of lesbians who are prostituted by men. And straight men who are prostituted by men. The point is if these individuals actually wanted to have sex, they wouldn't have to be paid. They are paid so taht consent is not deemed necessary.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 17:45:13

I agree with you Julia. This libertarian nonsense has really permeated into lefty circles and it needs to stop. It's fundamentally right wing and consumerist. It's based on notions that we are all equal participants in life and all choices are equally valid. It's no coincidence that libertarian and liberal ideologies were developed by rich men to obtain power from powerful men.

Prostitution is not the exercise of agency, it is the sale of agency, the giving over of sexual autonomy to another person. The myth of happy hookers have glasses of champagne then spending the night having great sex with Richard Gere entrances the media and the discussion of prostitution. The reality of life for women in prostitution highlighted in the Invisible Men Project or the Der Speigel article on flat price brothels in Germany paints a very different, very grim picture.

If lovely happy hooker prostitution for women with choices and not affected by poverty, lack of education, abuse (past or present), substance abuse or coercion has to stop to end the demand for the women who make their "choice" in what Amnesty describes as the "imperfect context" angry then that's an reasonable outcome. Pro-pimp lobbyists seem not to realise this is something that happens in every aspect of our lives. Our rights are constrained by others' rights based on societal values.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 19:10:47

Amnesty about to give evidence

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 19:20:54

OMG! The policy originated in a motion brought to AGM by Douglas Fox, an escort service owner, through Newcastle branch.

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 19:23:03

Amnesty WTF shock
I'm so shocked and disappointed by this.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 19:31:56

Amnesty getting a strip torn off by the committee

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:03:38

Are there a lot of United Kingdom posters here? A number of you keep using the word 'bloody'. If so, it makes more sense why you are not getting how decriminalization is healthier than arresting people. You live in a police/surveillance state. In your region of the world people are going to jail for criticizing officials, never mind caring about basic human rights.

How many of you here have actually been trafficked or worked in the adult industry yourselves? Any of you?

When I was working as a prostitute had I been arrested it would have been the straw that broke the camels back. It would have made my journey to recovery (I had hit rock bottom) extremely hard if not damn near impossible. For starters I wouldn't be able to get a regular job with such a thing on my record (therefore would likely be forced by that circumstance to stay a prostitute) and who would want to rent to me if it was seen on my record that I had been arrested for such a thing? What do you people not understand about this?

It seems that many of you really don't care about the actual impact that these laws have on actual human beings.

You believe as you do and that's that. Never mind what actually works or doesn't work as long as the legislation appeases your personal sensibilities.

The VAST majority of sex workers are not being forced by pimps. The vast majority of sex workers are people simply trying to survive. Are anti trafficking efforts creating jobs? working to eliminate poverty?

No. It's about punishing whores. It's about punishing adults who engage in commercial sex. Buyers and sellers. Who is at the front of this push? Predominantly Christian faith based abolitionists and feminist abolitionists. Ideologies all the way.

When a so called solution allows for people to be harmed, it is not a solution. Social engineering should never be motivated by ideologies.

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:05:57

Are there a lot of United Kingdom posters here?

CaptChaos Thu 30-Jan-14 20:12:39

Given your last post, Domina, I'm guessing you're not from the UK, which is fine, there's nothing stopping you posting on a UK site about something at all. It also seems that you broadly agree with the Nordic Model. You should know that in the UK it's not illegal for women to be prostitutes within certain parameters. You say we should do some research, might I respectfully ask that you do the same before accusing posters on this thread of beliefs they don't have, and ideologies they don't subscribe to. I fear though, that my answer is just going to instigate another rant from you, despite you having no clue what I or anyone else on this thread knows, thinks, feels or has experienced.

You live in a police/surveillance state.

So, you don't live in the USA then?

Nobody on this thread advocates criminalising prostituted people. Several have said explicitly that they don't advocate this. I don't understand why you are basing your dismissal of our concerns on the assumption that we advocate this course of action. I realise it's a convenient dismissal of our views, but really.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:20:00

Douglas Fox is also a sex worker himself. He may own an escort agency and be a member of IUSW but that isn't a valid reason to discredit the IUSW.

I agree with Amnesty. I don't believe criminalizing or hunting down consenting adults will solve any problems.

There are already laws in place in the UK and Ireland to cover trafficking, rape, underage sex among other crimes. Effort should go into enforcing these laws effectively instead of wasting time with what consenting adults are doing in hotel rooms.

I believe trafficking has been hyped up into a moral panic. We have already had massive enquiries (including operations pentameter 1 and 2) and raiding flats and brothels all over Britain to find all the alleged traffickers and came back almost empty-handed.

There is a lot of confusion to what sex-trafficking actually means. It means someone has been forced into the sex industry. It has nothing to do with distance or being foreign. Just because a sex worker is not local does not automatically mean he or she has been trafficked.

The recent proposal to criminalize the purchase of sex in Scotland by Rhoda Grant received a lot of support from feminist and religious groups but did not receive much support from sex workers themselves. (only 3 out of ~63 sex workers who responded to the consultation were in support, and this included groups such as the IUSW.)

In summary here is what I believe:

-Sex-trafficking claims by tabloids are heavily exaggerated.

-Criminalization of buying and/or selling of sexual services is not widely support by sex workers themselves.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Thu 30-Jan-14 20:25:17

"Are there a lot of United Kingdom posters here?"

Well, this is a UK-based board, discussing a specific motion up before the Amnesty UK AGM. Let me think for a moment whether there might be a lot of United Kingdom posters here... Did it really take you nine posts before that crossed your mind?

And I'm reasonably sure that no one on this thread thinks that prostitutes themselves should be criminalised; that's a position that's almost unheard-of in feminist circles. Support is, by and large, for the Nordic model; you dismiss that very briefly by linking to the front page of the London Review of Books blog (which was very interesting, because there was an article I hadn't read on the new Cambridge Edition of Virginia Woolf, but I suspect that's not what you were aiming for) and then go back to ranting about how criminalising the selling of sex (a position that no one on this thread supports) will stop ex-prostitutes getting a regular job or renting an apartment.

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:25:54

I wonder why newbies who don't even seem to know what site they're on come here to write pro-prostitution posts.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:30:03

"Support is, by and large, for the Nordic model"

Among feminist groups yes. But it doesn't appear to be popular among sex workers. You know, the people who know more than anyone about sex work and the people most affected by laws in place.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:31:19

"I believe trafficking has been hyped up into a moral panic."

This is meaningless (at best), dismissive (at worst).

The line "moral panic" is applied in situations where usually right wing commentators (press MPs etc) try and get people's knickers in a twist about something that is really quite harmless.

That is a wholly inappropriate phrase to apply to the idea of people being upset at the thought of human trafficking. Which is quite obviously not harmless and is a quite sensible thing to get your knickers in a twist about if you have an ounce of humanity about you.

If you read the news you will also be aware that people are frequently being released from forced labour, all over the UK, from doing all sorts of things. There is an item in the press about it here at least once a week, you must have noticed.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:32:41

I had hit rock bottom after a devastating life event. I was 36 years old. I had begun to self medicate and had become addicted on top of my devastation. I had no desire to live and was purposely on a mission to die. I consciously told myself "surely this (being a prostitute) would push me over the edge into oblivion. After all, being a prostitute is the lowest thing a woman could do." Isn't this what society says? Prostitutes are dirty, filthy, damaged, broken, garbage, they've been violated and used by men who only see them as objects not human beings. Isn't this the common belief?

My comment to myself is confirmed by nicetabards post above:
Sexuality doesn't have anything to do with it, really, as it's not about sex for the person who is selling. It's about renting their orifices out to people (men) who will exchange cash for access to a body.

This is a perception, a projection, an opinion. Ironically comments like that are most often stated by a person who has never engaged in any form of sex work. Such a comment in my construct equates to violence towards sex workers. Talk about objectification!

The reality of sex work for many sex workers is very different than what nicetabards has described.

Another post here described how sex workers just tell themselves they like doing sex work when they really don't. I'm certain this does happen and I myself have pointed this out. In fact, I feel very passionately that sex work should only be engaged as a vocation by people who want to do it and who enjoy it. Money cannot be the primary focus for doing sex work in my opinion. Regardless arresting people is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE to healthy solutions.

Arresting and targeting clients is futile.

In the end the bottom line you aren't fixing ANYTHING and you are only complicating everything.

It is very easy to sit behind a computer spouting opinions.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:33:21
NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:33:23

"There is a lot of confusion to what sex-trafficking actually means. It means someone has been forced into the sex industry. It has nothing to do with distance or being foreign. Just because a sex worker is not local does not automatically mean he or she has been trafficked."

And just how fucking stupid do you think posters on MN are, quite frankly?

What a load of old shit.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:35:20

"It's about renting their orifices out to people (men) who will exchange cash for access to a body."

This rather degrading comment is the sort of comment supporters of the Nordic model will say. It's not something I've seen or heard a sex worker or client say.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:38:04

To quote rhinoceer: There are already laws in place in the UK and Ireland (and the USA where I live) to cover trafficking, rape, underage sex among other crimes. Effort should go into enforcing these laws effectively instead of wasting time with what consenting adults are doing in hotel rooms.

I added the parentheses

I concur!

If it isn't about renting a body to men who will pay cash to access it, what is it?

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Thu 30-Jan-14 20:42:30

"Among feminist groups yes."

Like.... oooh, I don't know.... the "Feminism/women's rights chat" of a popular women's forum?

If someone is trying to convince posters in such a forum that their position is wrong it would be helpful to start by tackling the position they actually hold, rather than a completely different position that they don't. If you believe that the moon is made of green cheese I'm not going to get very far convincing you that it isn't by explaining in emotive terms that it clearly isn't made out of diamonds.

Please feel free to carry on with dozens of posts explaining why criminalising prostitutes is a bad thing. It won't achieve anything on this thread, where everyone already agrees about that, but if it makes you happy.... However, if you want to actually change anyone's mind then some cogent arguments against criminalising men who pay for sex would be more relevant.

So far we have "it's futile" ((a) evidence? (b) then why is it such a problem?) and that it doesn't seem to be popular with current sex workers. And something to do with the London Review of Books.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:42:33

Everyone can do links innit:

From a scottish paper an article about this study of 110 Scottish men who used prostitutes. It is very interesting reading.

The key thing for me about this has always been that the men in the study said that there were things that would deter them from using prostitutes, page 26 of the full report.

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 20:42:40

^ After all, being a prostitute is the lowest thing a woman could do." Isn't this what society says? Prostitutes are dirty, filthy, damaged, broken, garbage, they've been violated and used by men who only see them as objects not human beings. Isn't this the common belief?^

That's pretty much the punter view, going by the way they talk and what they say online. It's not the feminist view. People should listen to feminsts more and punters less, in my view.

t's about renting their orifices out to people (men) who will exchange cash for access to a body." but isn't that what happens when you strip away the empowering fulfilling yada yada speech?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:43:23

And anyone who thinks there is no problem with people trafficking in the UK has clearly never watched the news hmm

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 20:43:26

The Palermo Protocol defines trafficking:

^(a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the
prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;^

(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used;

This is the accepted UN definition of trafficking. The vast majority of those in prostitution fall within this definition.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:44:27

@NiceTabard that reply was uncalled for.

Some "trafficking statistics" have actually came from phoning up establishments and asking for the nationalities of the women working there. And any foreigners were marked down as "trafficked".

Some escorts on their own free-will travel from city to city to get more business. Some people say they are "trafficked".

If it isn't about renting a body to men who will pay cash to access it, what is it?

This wasn't a rhetorical question. I am asking genuinely, to try and understand your perspective Elle

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:46:28

My clients are awesome human beings and it was the clients who helped me get back on my feet and into a healthier zone. Clients are being marginalized right alongside sex workers. It simply is not true that every client is a sleaze bag looking to 'use a woman's orifices'. This is the koolaid radical feminists pass around. I now specialize in COUPLES sessions. So I guess you can start putting women in your construct rather than just men. LOL.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:47:49

I would say that most people on this thread would argue that using a prostitute is one of the lowest things a person can do.

And that the men, women and children who are engaged in this trade around the world are in the main doing what they must to survive. The ones who are really happy with their work - well that's great for them. I'm not sure how that affects the arguments on this thread in any way though, TBH.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:48:20

"The vast majority of those in prostitution fall within this definition."

Your proof?

enlightenmequick Thu 30-Jan-14 20:49:10


[[ the invisible man project rhinoceer

The clients might not say it to the prostitutes face, but they're saying it, and worse, on the punting websites.

Warning, it is a horrifying read.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:49:25

Read the scottish report.

What do we think of the men who travel to parts of the world where they can easily access children?

Is that a minor, marginal problem? Or is it a fucking massive tourist industry. Hmmmm let me think.

enlightenmequick Thu 30-Jan-14 20:49:41

Sorry forgot to put the brackets in.


BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:51:41

So how did you two find this thread?

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:52:24

rhinoceer and DominaElle.

I was just about to link to this as well, Elle do you think the woman used by No. 125 felt that this client was an awesome human being out to help her get into a healthier zone?

I don't want to deny your experiences and I'm glad they were positive ones for you. But what about the experiences of the women described here? Don't you think they deserve better than this?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:57:02

"some cogent arguments against criminalising men who pay for sex would be more relevant."

Page 38 of,Rights&Health-EN.pdf

quote"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."

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 20:58:00

You did read the definition, didn't you?

The definition is a lot broader that your definition of being "forced". It includes: vulnerable women persuaded into prostitution by their boyfriends, those promised a better life elsewhere. It covers every vulnerable woman recruited by another person offering gifts and then taking money from the prostitution.

Check out the invisible men thread for a review of the studies.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 20:59:27

That invisible man thread will also address your p.38 of the HIV report.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 20:59:38

I am also interested to know how a US person happened across MN without apparently any understanding of what it is or where it is based, about this one very topic which strangely often seems to attract new posters from other planets parts of the world.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 20:59:44

If it's so difficult to prove and the fact most sex workers are not willing to testify against their clients if they end up in court, it doesn't sound like much of a deterrent does it?

And trying to hunt down tens of thousands of consenting adults would divert attention away from people who really are abusers or victims.

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:00:36

^ almost always unwilling to testify against their clients."^ how surprising.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:00:37

How do we know the content on the invisible men site isn't just made up?

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:00:44

Domina your "clients" sound very charitable. Perhaps other charities are missing out here. Oxfam could get more donations if the donors were able to fuck the recipients. What do you think?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:01:26

SinisterSal if you were making money would you want your customers to go to prison?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:02:42

i wouldn't want a punch in the face either. Not rocket science, mysterious stranger!

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:05:07

Fucks sake rhino, why don't you do some research? And don't pretend you don't know where to look. Someone who launches into MN with their first post being that Douglas Fox is a sex worker and defending IUSW is not a curious by-stander.

What is the significance of Douglas Fox being a "sex worker" if he is also a pimp? Is that like a get out of jail card? It's difficult to discredit the IUSW because it has no credibility to begin with. Trade unions do not include managers or owners for a reason.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:05:10

"What do we think of the men who travel to parts of the world where they can easily access children?"

If you mean for sex, then personally I think they are pedos and should be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they make any attempt to engage in sexual contact with a child.

But I don't see what that has to do with proposed laws which affect adults.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:05:49

rhinoceer read the invisible man thread. Your comments have all been addressed in that thread. Also try the "Sex My British Job" thread for more.

On your point about the IM being made up. That one has been addressed several times.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:09:03

What is the significance of Douglas Fox being a "sex worker"

For starters since he is more qualified to speak on the subject than any of us here (except for DominaElle who is also a sex worker).

Sex workers (or whatever term you wish to use) are the people we should be listening to.

enlightenmequick Thu 30-Jan-14 21:09:30

Domestic violence victims were/are unwilling to testify against their victims. They just changed the law so they didn't have to.

How many dv victims have you seen on the relationship board that regret not being with their abuser, now that they are out of that situation? I think I've seen one that was panicking, as it was ongoing at the time. Not one single person regrets it after they have come out the other side, and I
include myself in that.

Prostitutes that have exited seem to be behind the Nordic model, from what I have seen on twitter.

A different perspective from the outside than the inside, so it would seem.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:09:37

rhinoceer I missed your point where you said I was being mean to you because I took umbrage at your claim that posters on this thread do not understand what "trafficking" means.

I still am surprised that you have not noticed regular articles in the papers about people being "freed" from various situations, and others being prosecuted for basically enslaving people. There have been some quite high profile cases. Including ones involving gangs in parts of the country. And those were cases around sex trafficking, although cases come to light across a range of forced work.

I find it shocking every single time there is another case.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:11:48

We don't even know who wrote the invisible man site. It's a blog by an anonymous person with a series of quotes allegedly taken from Punternet. Why doesn't the site tell us where exactly on Punternet the alleged quotes can be found so we can check they aren't made up or if parts have been changed?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:13:27

rhinoceer you have clearly not read that scottish report, hence you have taken my comment out of context.

It might help if you read it.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:14:10

rhinoceer, yes, even that point has been discussed before, on the invisible man thread.

Helen Lewis also wrote about it in the New Statesman.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:14:12

Oh great and now the call to arms has gone out.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:15:39

Buffythereasinable feminist: what motivates clients to seek out the services of sex workers?

Many clients want a mature adult provider. Many clients are horrified at the thought of human trafficking and are NOT ok with patronizing a provider who is trafficked despite the common rhetoric.

Some providers specialize in seeing clients who are handicapped and or disabled. The film 'scarlet road a sex workers journey' beautifully depicts this reality. Why should these people be denied intimacy? One of the clients shown writes through his computer (he cannot talk) that he dreams of having a woman sleep all night next to him.

A desire for intimacy is extremely common and many clients sincerely desire real intimacy which goes well beyond a desire to penetrate a hole.

It's pretty easy to marginalize clients and their motives isn't it? Just as it has been easy to ignore the voices of consensual sex workers. Only in recent years do we have more and more sex workers standing up and of course the previous lack of advocacy was greatly due to the illegal status of commercial sex. Who wants to risk everything? This is why clients have been afraid to speak up.

Somehow a desire for sexual intimacy is ok as long as you aren't willing to pay for it. Paying instantly degrades it in the minds of many. This is really too bad.

Not to mention there are healthy providers who are working within healthy framework and they will not tolerate anything less from their clients. I am one of those people. My clients respect me and honor me or they don't get to be in my presence. I have seen lives change for the better. I have been proud to facilitate such scenarios. It isn't just sex that many clients seek. They seek candid conversation, touch, warmth, I've seen clients who had not experienced touch in many years. Some clients want to develop confidence with a pro before fumbling in a relationship. Some clients are married to women who are terminally ill and cannot provide them with intimacy. They won't leave their wives. Sex is an awesome stress reliever. Loneliness is another motive. There are lots of motives.

Why is it unreasonable and wrong- when there are providers who really do want to facilitate for clients in this context? Providers who are not being forced to any degree whatsoever?

There are even providers who started out with less than healthy circumstances who ended up thriving doing sex work having discovered the healthy aspects I am explaining here. I am one of those providers.

I won't tolerate anything less.

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:17:25

Still no explanation how you two found this thread...

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:21:53

fuck - imagine using as a defence a guy who sleeps with a prostitute while his wife lies on her deathbed shock

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:24:00

"For starters since he is more qualified to speak on the subject than any of us here (except for DominaElle who is also a sex worker)."

So only pimps and those currently working in prostitution are qualified to speak? Domina is an anonymous person typing words on a page but since you seem to think you can ascertain the qualifications of everyone else working here to speak on this topic, I'm not surprised that you have problems with this concept.

This thread is to discuss AI. There are lots of threads that have already covered your basic points. You are derailing this discussion by raising these here. If you want a basic education about prostitution, why don't you read some of the other threads or start your own.

AI's behaviour is truly disgraceful here. Even today, the policy organiser from the global unit in London told the NIA committee that the paper published by Julie Bindel is only the beginning of a comprehensive consultation and investigation with no firm time lines that they expect to be completed in this calendar year. But AI's website yesterday says the deadline for submissions is 21 March! 7 weeks! And they had the cheek to tell NIA that they were not doing enough research to come to any kind of conclusions.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:25:38

I am happy for you, anonymous person, that you say you love participating in physical sexual acts for the gratification of those who pay you.

Your experience is not a shared one, even by the standards of the studies published by the multi-billion pound industry that is the sex industry. As you will see when you do read the two threads I mentioned, at best, 4% of those who work indoors in a legal environment are raped by their clients annually, and 50% of those in street prostitution are raped. That's even if you agree (which I don't) with the proposition that prostitution involves consensual sex.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:28:59

SinisterSal, I missed that. It's obvs tho, innit. As AI says, men have a human right to sexual activity and entitled to pay for it when they are unwilling to try to engage in sex by traditional means. It's a man's human right to have sex even when his wife is dying and can't provide him with the sex he wants.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:29:14

What flora said.

This is a derailment of the thread.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:32:14

There is a difference between trafficking culture and consensual sex work culture. In the years since I started sex work (2001) I have never witnessed a single incident of trafficking. I have never witnessed anyone underage and you better believe I would have done something. Human trafficking is a horrible thing that happens all over the planet and I am very concerned about child exploitation and child porn which in my opinion is happening at epidemic proportions! Though attacking sex workers and their clients in order to address these other issues sure seems bazaar to me. Why not specifically go after child predators and human traffickers instead of focusing on adults seeking adults? Sorry I just don't see how that is effective. You aren't saving children by arresting adults seeking adults.

I believe that many here refuse to acknowledge a difference between human slavery and CONSENSUAL sex work. I believe you are wiling to conflate the topics simply because you want to see them as the same.

I think some of you want to punish sex workers despite your talk of only going after buyers. This is evident when you support the criminalization of commercial sex. Bottom line sex workers ARE being arrested and harmed by the laws, by anti trafficking campaigns, by the anti prostitution rhetoric which generates further marginalization and stigmatization. If you people truly held sex workers as victims why are you ok with them being arrested and ground up by the legal system? Shouldn't they be treated as victims?

Where is the logic?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:36:55

Because Domina, people who pay for sex don't care about the person they are paying, just the sensation. It may seem harmless enough to someone like you who meets decent people and is in it through choice. But that mindset is a very dangerous one when extrapolated to the more commonplace scenarios. How can it not be?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:37:46

I think some of you want to punish sex workers despite your talk of only going after buyers.

Nonsense. Read the thread.

enlightenmequick Thu 30-Jan-14 21:37:54


I've just had the misfortune to spend 10 mins on the uk punternet website. Just go to reviews, type in the name of a city (london) and only read the ones that say no in the recommend box.

Believe me, you will see they are not made up. Loved this little gem-

'She seemed even more annoyed at me that i wasnt getting hard despite her feeble and outright offensive attempt to entertain me, I lost it then and just asked out right what the fucking hell was wrong with her. Told her that she was like a different person to last time and that her attitude was awful and i didnt want to carry on with the visit and asked for my money back. She said that i couldnt but after some arguing agreed to get 20 back so i'd paid for half an hour rather than the hour which i was surprised she actually gave me. Got dressed, went home, had a shower and gave the missus a good seeing to so not a complete loss.'

Lucky missus.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:38:24

AI's website says the consultation is only open to AI members. You have to email AI with your membership information and then they will send you the draft policy and consultation guidelines. You can then make a submission.

So much for a wide consultation with all stakeholders.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:40:50

I thought upthread somewhere there was a link from AI saying that anyone could comment?

They are all over the shop with this aren't they.

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:42:39

I still can't believe Amnesty is doing this. Amnesty! The great human right's organisation!

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:42:50

So Domina what you're telling us is that you have little relevant experience. Your "testimony" that because you haven't seen it, it doesn't exist would not be accepted even if you were not an anonymous somebody typing on a website.

I was struck watching the NIA Committee proceedings that the woman from UglyMugs and a previous pro-decrim woman both said to the Committee that they had never met a woman who had been coerced or trafficked (although this was contradicted by stating that technically everyone could be trafficked). I assume they say this because they think it is evidence that coercion or trafficking are not as wide-spread as others might say. However all it does is suggest they don't know very much about the topic they are supposedly qualified to give evidence about to a parliamentary committee. I expect the echo-chamber of pimps and punters they inhabit must encourage them that this is a valuable contribution because they are "qualified" to speak as "sex workers" and everyone else is not, as Rhino confirms.

I drive a lot. I have never seen two cars collide head on. Really you guys, it doesn't happen, or not as much as you think... Do you see how that doesn't work?

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:43:17
DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:45:24

Wow. Some here have very hateful attitudes towards men and sexuality. A man doesn't NEED intimacy or love, he just wants to put his dick in a hole. Just say it the way you mean it.

Yes you and I differ greatly. You see half empty I see half full.
You see dirty and I see humanity.

People should be cold and robotic and shut themselves down when their spouses are unable to care for them. Perhaps it would be better if they just up and abandoned the spouse for another spouse (keeping their needs within a traditional construct).

Your moralizing justifies cruelty.

Another thing whenthread, I believe I am the only person in this thread using a name that actually IS connected to my true identity. Whereas YOU are anonymous.

You bring up another issue entirely. THE SPECTRUM of circumstances within the realm of commercial sex. I will not deny that there are extremely unhealthy circumstances especially when talking street level prostitution which only represents a portion of the providers doing any form of sex work. That demographic is extremely vulnerable and exploited. These people are being further harmed by the criminalization of commercial sex and you actually prove my point. Why are these already victimized people (you yourself quoted rape statistics) being further victimized by a broken legal process?! If you were raped would you think being arrested and treated like a criminal would facilitate your recovery and healing process?

Thanks for answering some of my question Elle it sounds as though you have found yourself in a good place.

What about the women who have the misfortune to encounter the sorts of clients who post on punter*et though? Do you think those women feel as you do? Because it doesn't sound to me as though those men treat them with the respect you demand from your clients?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:48:28

"However all it does is suggest they don't know very much about the topic they are supposedly qualified to give evidence about "

So who is the most qualified to give evidence?

And if trafficking was as widespread as some say, why is it so hard to find evidence to say it happens so much?

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:50:33

NT yes, it's quite incredible. I watched the Committee evidence live and when it goes into archive, I recommend everyone watching it. They had a woman from the global unit in London and a woman who is responsible for their trafficking activities and they prevaricated on most points. They avoided all questions on mens rights saying they had no policy on "sex work". They were asked about the process and what they said is not consistent with their public statements.

Briar I admire Amnesty very much but there is a liberal / libertarian foundation for many members' views and this viewpoint on men's rights to sex is consistent with that foundation. I am very disappointed though that their approach is so strongly driven by that ideology. The gender-neutralising language and the focus on the best-off "stakeholders" rather than the most vulnerable is quite shocking.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 21:51:53

One of the women who gave evidence has been a sex worker for over 20 years and hasn't met a single person who had been trafficked.

Does that mean she doesn't know much about the topic? Or could it mean trafficking just doesn't happen on every corner like we are led to believe?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 21:52:33

'A man doesn't NEED intimacy or love he just wants to put his dick in a hole.
you can't buy love yanno. ask john Lennon. it is buying sex. don't pretty it up, you sound like a rather inept marketing undegraduate

that is rather the point

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:52:49

I thought we had hateful attitudes to people working in prostitution?

Has our range extended???

FWIW I think men who pay for sex are pathetic.

I don't know any prostitutes but I do know plenty of men who have paid for it. Usually in eastern europe on stag weekends. I have a pretty low opinion of them for that.

Of course I am sure that before fucking any of the women for sale in the strip clubs, they were extremely careful to check that they weren't being exploited in any way, naturally hmm Maybe via the form of a short questionnaire?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:54:25

Oh I do know a couple of people who had sex in return for other stuff when they were younger, I guess that counts? Even if it was only a 1 time / 2 time thing?

I have also been approached twice by men who wanted to pay me for sex, which is rather encroaching into everyday life for women, isn't it. that is not uncommon, judging by a thread the other day.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 21:55:31

rhino I'm done with your derailing. You are typical of the pimps/punters we get on here now and then demanding to have your stupid and basic points addressed. The points you've made are entrenched with a backwards looking logic that starts with a man's right to penetrate women and works back from there. Unless you can come up with something more interesting that hasn't already been said before by you or people like you, I'd suggest you look at lots of other threads on this board where these points have been addressed.

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 21:55:59

I am anonymous but I do not pretend to testify on behalf of an entire segment of society. I do not offer personal experience as evidence.

If you had actually read those other threads, you would know my position on prostitution quite well.

THE SPECTRUM of circumstances within the realm of commercial sex.

That may be the case but the solution offered by the commercial sex industry to leave them be, so that those in the most privileged position can keep on keeping on, results in the abandonment of the vulnerable people. By hey-ho, you're alright Jack. I get it.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:56:06

Flora fox comparing what I said to someone saying they've never seen a wreck so it must never happen isn't a strong argument.

I started out as a homeless drug addicted prostitute on the streets pretty much. Where do you get off saying I am not qualified to speak on this? Sorry to disappoint you that I don't support your views. I am fully aware that trafficking happens. I am pointing out that people standing on the outside only see what they want to see. Seems you only want to see evil and refuse to acknowledge that this issue is much more complex than you are willing to acknowledge, it's easy to put everybody in one big category.

If only it were that simple.

We want to protect and care for the vulnerable. We want to stand up against exploitation. We want to attack human slavery. How can we do this without further harming people? How can we do this without creating new victims out of consensual sex workers?

This is MY question what is your answer?

Thus far the answers I have been seeing involve harming a group of people to protect another group of people.

What can I say? I think we need to do much better than that!

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 21:56:31

And again yay flora quite right.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:59:47

Wheninthered I don't think you get me at all. There was a time I was anything but ok. There was a time had I been arrested it would have harmed me more and made my recovery that much harder. Arresting sex workers (which is the current solution everywhere despite any models) is harmful. Why are trafficking victims being treated as criminals? Why aren't you upset about this fact?

But what about those men posting those reviews Elle? Why do so many of them feel that they have the right to treat women in this way? Why should we excuse this behaviour?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:00:45

Thus far the answers I have been seeing involve harming a group of people to protect another group of people

the two are not equivelent. Surely you can see that.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:01:51

While you were a homeless drug addicted prostitute on the streets, you only ever had encounters with respectful men who treated your boundaries with care and you enjoyed a harmonious shared experience of sexual intimacy?


Christ that's something that most women & girls who aren't homeless, working as a prostitute, or having periods when they are particularly vulnerable (high) haven't experienced! Let alone all 3 combined.

Elle we've said we don't think sex workers should be arrested. We've said it lots. Are you familiar with the Nordic model? With this approach, sex workers aren't criminals, buyers are. Sex workers are offered help not arrested.

If the experience of most women is like yours, when they're offered this help, won't they just say "oh, no thanks, I'm really happy and my clients really respect my work" and off they will go? And if they don't feel this way, then they can be helped. Why would you object to that?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:02:46

Why are trafficking victims being treated as criminals? Why aren't you upset about this fact?

Christ - we are. that's what the Nordic model is about. Decriminalising the prostitutes, and reducing demand by criminalising the ones with the money/power/options. Do you know what you are arguing against?

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 22:02:58

Decriminalization would do more good than harm. Criminalizing as well as legalizing causes harm and opens the door to situations such as corporate brothels which we do not want! Please look deeper. Please be willing to look at these issues from all sorts of vantage points. I assure you I practice what I say. I am indeed listening to opposing views and perspectives. Could you do the same?

MooncupGoddess Thu 30-Jan-14 22:03:55

"Arresting sex workers (which is the current solution everywhere despite any models) is harmful. Why are trafficking victims being treated as criminals? Why aren't you upset about this fact?"

I imagine that everyone on this thread is opposed to trafficking victims being treated as criminals confused

You're not actually reading the posts, are you?

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 22:04:33

I'm not disappointed as I don't know who you are or what your stake is in this. If you are a pimp or punter, I would be disappointed if my views would coincide with yours.

If you care only about harm reduction for the vulnerable, I would respect that. But when you talk of the needs or rights of men in this context (for love and intimacy - [snort] ) or if you put the rights of happy, choosy non-vulnerable women before the needs of the vulnerable, I do not respect that.

The "harm" suffered by non-vulnerable women who would find demand for access to their bodies shrunk by criminalisation of punters and pimps and decriminalisation of women in prostitution is that they have to find another job. The harm currently being suffered by vulnerable women in prostitution through coercion, trafficking, abuse (past or present), addiction or mental health is real and on-going. That harm will be reduced by the Swedish model and by the reduction in demand from men to access their bodies for penetration. I won't call it sex because sex is fun where women have autonomy over their bodies. Paid-rape is not fun.

who is your "we"?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:05:10

You are in a singular position Domina. It's impossible to take your experience as representative. Your perspective is not everyone's - you are vastly outnumbered by the people suffering all sorts of harm. they are not to be dismissed, surely

No where on this thread has anyone said they want prostitutes to be criminalised.

Elle you've been summoned by someone to join this thread to argue against a point no one is making.

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:12

You are saying that under the Nordic model sex workers are not arrested? That they are treated as human beings? That the so called Nordic model fixes everything? Uh.........please go back and look deeper.

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:19


NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:50


Prostitution is legal in the UK (albeit with some restrictions around street work etc).

No-one on this thread wants to make prostitution illegal.

Feminists have no desire to see people who are working in prostitution criminalised.

Feminists look around the world and see the news and feel a lot of concern about what is going on re. sexual exploitation.

You are fighting a POV that none of us hold.

Of course there is outrage when victims of trafficking are arrested / criminalised. They should be cared for and looked after and not penalised in any way and offered residency in the place they were trafficked to or supported and paid for to go home and have the people who did it penalised to the full extent of the law etc etc etc. You are going to be hard pressed to find otherwise.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:52

Down with Corporate Brothels!

Up with Gang-Run Brothels!

JFC, you couldn't make it up.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:08:03

I don't think the word of a woman with 20+ years experience of working in brothels and as an escort should be dismissed as "stupid".

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 22:10:25

I have asked my sister providers if any of them had seen trafficking taking place. One has 36 yrs as a sex worker. She said not once had she seen it. HOWEVER She was raped and couldn't report for fear of arrest. She was beaten by someone who got a lighter sentence because of her status as a sex worker. I myself was assaulted by a non client who used my vocation to threaten me and keep me from reporting.

Any comments?

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:10:41

Do you deny there are other women who have suffered for 20 years in brothels? is their word to be dismissed as stupid, or irrelevent?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:11:20

Grasping at straws now aren't we?

FWR peeps = look at all these studies and stuff and sensible arguments and things

Rhino = I have found something on youtube where one person says stuff that agrees with what I think.

Also I would be very surprised if you could find a poster on this thread who is against AI stance, who has described people working in prostitution as "stupid".

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 22:11:43

Down with gang or corporate ran brothels!!!!

Up with human rights for individuals choosing their own paths in life. What a concept.

In 1999, as part of a Violence Against Women bill, Sweden passed a law that criminalized buyers of sex while keeping the person who sold or was sold for sex decriminalised.

People who sell sex in Sweden are not criminals under their laws.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 22:12:15

"How can we do this without creating new victims out of consensual sex workers?"

How can anything we are proposing create new victims out of "consensual" sex workers (a group to which you do not belong if your recent posts are true)?

These happy hookers don't need anybody's help, do they? They are doing a job they enjoy, so how can they be victims?

They are making a free choice to sell sex knowing about all the risks, so there is no need to worry about them.

I am ONLY worried about trafficked or exploited sex workers (such as you once were before you realised how brilliant it was being around these wonderful people).

I don't care what happy sex workers want. I don't accept that as an interested party with a business to protect that their views are ones that deserve more weight than those of anyone else.

I would be as likely to give weight to a small-time drug dealer's views about the right policy towards the illegal drug trade.

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:13:16

Decriminalise buying sex? Already here
Destigmatise sex workers? Feminists are on board with this.
Destroy the sex hierarchy? Feminists back this


Elle what about the human rights of individuals whose choices are limited by structural factors beyond their control? What about their rights?

What do you think of the things those men wrote about the women they paid for? Are those men exercising their human rights, or are they exploiting the vulnerable?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:15:41

"FWR peeps = look at all these studies and stuff and sensible arguments and things"

I don't see many sensible arguments at all. I see plenty swearing, dismissive insults and one of your main sources is the invisible man blog by an anonymous person with quotes he/she claims are taken from Punternet.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:16:46

"Destroy the sex hierarchy?"

If you mean destroy the sex industry then it's not going to happen. What we should be focusing on is making it safer.

No, I've looked at actual p*net as well. Actual reviews written by actual men who bought actual women and said these things about them.

rhino do you think that men and women should be equal? Because by saying we can never destroy the sex industry we can only make it safer (for women, I assume you mean) then you are acknowledging that men and women can never be equal.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:18:47

"I have asked my sister providers if any of them had seen trafficking taking place. One has 36 yrs as a sex worker. She said not once had she seen it. HOWEVER She was raped and couldn't report for fear of arrest. She was beaten by someone who got a lighter sentence because of her status as a sex worker. I myself was assaulted by a non client who used my vocation to threaten me and keep me from reporting.

Any comments?"

Well yes Domina if you read the "We Believe You" campaign on MN you will see that the whole campaign explicitly against exactly that sort of thing.

People in authority dismissing complaints from women about DV / sexual violence for, well, any reason they can find, is outrageous and obviously feminists are working to dispel such attitudes.

So the attitude you are talking about is "prostitutes can't be raped". I think that one was worked on a lot in the 80s / 90s here and there is more awareness in the public generally, although obviously there is a hell of a long way to go.

I do not see how saying it is a right for men to pay for sex, will assist in changing the attitude of the police and others towards women (from all walks of life) who report sexual violence and are dismissed.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:19:29

rhinoceer have you still not read that scottish report?

quelle surprise hmm

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:21:58

"If you mean destroy the sex industry then it's not going to happen. What we should be focusing on is making it safer."

Safer for whom, exactly?

I think we all know the answer to that.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:24:33

"Actual reviews written by actual men who bought actual women and said these things about them."

The prove it. Which reviews are the content on invisible man blog taken from?

"prostitutes can't be raped".

Anyone can be raped regardless who they are. I don't know where you got that from.

"rhino do you think that men and women should be equal?"

What are you talking about?

DominaElle Thu 30-Jan-14 22:25:47

I was never raped when I consensually engaged in money for sex. No my initial experiences weren't of the healthiest sort all the time, but I am going to own that this was greatly due to a variety of factors including my own state. But I can say that sex work played a major role in my personal journey of recovery as I have seen and heard from other sex workers. The majority of my clients were good people and this became even more the case as I established a healthier framework in my life. I still work as a provider of adult based services and I do enjoy and love the work I do. By the way, just to share a bit more of my own personal approach to what I do, when a single man calls me for an appointment I put him through a screening process involving a series of questions, in the first ten minutes I ask if he is married or has a partner. If he answers yes and many do, I ask him if he has discussed his desires with his partner and why he is contacting me. I often suggest that the client bring his partner with him if at all possible, because I want to see people engaging their mates.

These issues go way beyond trafficking and into the human condition.

If you keep attacking this from ideological standpoints refusing to dig deeper into the actual causes we will never establish viable long lasting solutions that actually engineer society in a healthier manner benefiting EVERYONE whose lives will be impacted.

Oh well.

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:26:11

And what do you mean "bought actual women"? Are you implying prostitution is a slave auction?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:26:49

I think it is impolite to quote people out of context smile

BriarRainbowshimmer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:29:23

Well I think it's impolite to join a forum to derail and not answer questions.

It looks very suspicious and not worth responding to.

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:03

So what you are saying, basically, is that there is no reason to be concerned for women who are homeless, drug addicted, and working as prostitutes. because you're been there, and nothing bad happened, and the punters were good people, and it was a career that assisted you out of your drugs and homelessness issues.

You see, I was under the impression that young homeless people are at a huge risk of sexual violence. Sleeping rough is terrifying. Sleeping rough while off your head? Really dangerous.


NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:30

Sorry that was to domina.

SinisterSal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:46

Domina - what do you think of the men who paid you for sex when you were homeless and drug addicted? what's your opinion of those individuals?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:59

That is a quote from "BuffytheReasonableFeminist"

WhentheRed Thu 30-Jan-14 22:31:29

As someone in favour of prostitution, why don't you want legalization DominaElle?

What's wrong with corporate brothels? Women can be employed, get the benefit of labour laws, negotiate living wages, perhaps even form a trade union to advocate for better working conditions, have OHS committees and have a say in their workplace safety, get paid holidays and paid maternity leaves, private health insurance, get pensions, be free from discrimination in employment, get management training programmes.

The law would then hold the corporate brothel owner liable if anything happened - workplace injuries, discrimination, sexual harassment even.

Wouldn't all those would protect the women, keep them safe? Wouldn't that remove stigma?

Your statement belies the true position of the commercial sex industry. All it wants is repeal of the Criminal laws. That's it. After that, it's a free-for-all. No state engagement.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 22:33:07

Domina good people help other people without making spunking inside them a pre-requisite. I'm truly sorry that your experience in life has been so awful that you have not encountered this.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 30-Jan-14 22:34:47

Isn't it lovely and symmetrical how a punter and a happy hooker (who used to be homeless and drug addicted, but selling her body did her good) have shown up to tell us all a thing or two?

rhinoceer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:37:57

Who is the punter you speak of? Do you have evidence to back up that accusaton?

Ha ha, no "BuffytheReasonableFeminist" isn't implying that prostitution is a slave auction. Nice try though smile.

Instead of arguing against things it would have been convenient that we'd said because they'd be easy to make look foolish, why not try engaging with, you know, the point?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:45:16

No, I mean don;t quote me as saying "prostitutes can't be raped" out of context. The context in that point being the attitudes of much of society globally. Which causes a huge problem.

In the UK people have worked hard to overcome the "prostitutes can't be raped" attitude. I think things are better than they were 30 years ago, in that sense.

So, don't quote me out of context.

FloraFox Thu 30-Jan-14 22:45:29

Interesting. Is it harmful to be described as a punter? If so, why?

NiceTabard Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:07

flora had t