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Sweden and prostitution

(113 Posts)
Aradia Tue 11-Nov-14 09:32:56

Has anyone seen this article? It talks about how Sweden has decriminalised the selling of sex and criminalised the buying of sex, at the same time increasing funding for resources to support women to get out and re-educating law enforcement. This has led to a dramatic decrease in prostitution and virtually wiped out sex trafficking. The thing that stood out to me as well was that 50% of government at the time they legislated was women. How far away are we from achieving the same? Sadly I suspect we are likely to be waiting a long time before we see similar in this country.

dreamingbohemian Tue 11-Nov-14 09:40:46

It seems like such an obvious approach to try out, I hope it spreads. Apparently there is a campaign to do similar in the UK but I have no idea how well it's doing:

enddemand.uk/about/sex-buyer-law/

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 11:04:08

Interesting article, thanks.

Northern Ireland has just introduced similar legislation which is just about to take effect. Canada has also done so. Unfortunately this was proposed in Scotland but didn't pass. The European Parliament also supports this approach and a similar law was almost adopted in France. The Germans are apparently reconsidering their legalisation approach.

I'm somewhat optimistic that more countries will adopt this approach. As the article points out, the success will largely come down to enforcement and to a change in public attitudes.

PuffinsAreFicticious Tue 11-Nov-14 11:37:06

We live in hope that everyone except of course those with a vested interest in wishing to propagate the continued use of women as wank socks will see the wisdom of this. If we lived in a more equitable and equal society, these laws wouldn't have to be enacted. But we don't.

NeoFaust Tue 11-Nov-14 11:46:45

Just to make sure that an alternative view is presented:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/06/sex-workers-decriminalisation-amendment-modern-slavery-bill

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 11:50:10

Yes make sure the pimp lobby view gets promoted everywhere hmm

FuckOffGerbil Tue 11-Nov-14 13:28:19

Why does an alternate view need to be presented when a person is simply linking to a specific news article? confused

If I post a curry recipe do I need also post a Pie and chips recipe to make sure pie and chips are represented. It's almost like you have an agenda.

PuffinsAreFicticious Tue 11-Nov-14 14:35:54

Well, colour me shocked... the pimp lobby is here.

I must away, not allowed to be cross about things anymore, must always be smiley and welcoming.

AutumnMadness Tue 11-Nov-14 15:28:08

I am not one of the people who is terrified of posting on FWR, but now I am a bit apprehensive that I will be labeled the "pimp lobby" for simply raising a question as opposed to joining in the cheer.

I am not an expert on the subject, but the article linked by the OP is rather thin. There are no references, the stats are vague. For instance, how does the Swedish government exactly measure the decrease in trafficking? I would like some more concrete information to judge success.

Experience in fighting other crime shows that prohibiting things does not necessarily make these things go away. The "war on drugs" is a prime example. This also makes me want more data and explanations.

And I don't think posting an alternative view here is like inserting a pie recipe into a curry discussion. It's more like critiquing the original curry recipe or offering another. So again, I would welcome information that is more detailed and from a more reputable source than the original article, especially when there are publications like this - www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ruth-jacobs/prostitution-laws_b_4851224.html - out there.

MuddyBootsAndPinkCoats Tue 11-Nov-14 15:43:09

Dips toe in.

I'm not going to argue one way or the other, but people here seem to be unaware that the Swedish Model was debated as part of the Modern Slavery bill in parliament last week.

It failed. Neo's link to the Guardian is a comment piece on the decision.

HaroldsBishop Tue 11-Nov-14 15:53:02

This is the profile of the author of that Guardian piece:

"*Niki Adams* is a spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, a network of women working in different areas of the sex industry – both on the streets and indoors, which campaigns for decriminalisation of sex work and for sex workers' safety"

She doesn't sound like she would be arguing on behalf of pimps? What am I missing here?

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 15:54:05

The article linked by NeoFaust was written by the English Collective of Prostitutes, which I certainly do consider to be part of the pimp lobby as they advocate for legal brothels where women in prostitution are "employed" by pimps.

Your article is the same, it's produced by organisations lobbying for decriminalisation of prostitution.

The Swedish police believe the laws there have reduced prostitution. There has also been research by an academic at the LSE on legalisation of prostitution and trafficking:

www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/pdf/Article-for-World-Development-_prostitution_-anonymous-REVISED.pdf

This is one of the most impressive pieces of research I have seen around prostitution as it is measured and is careful in what steps it recommends. Almost all the research carried out around prostitution is done by campaign groups. Even where an NGO or government body is involved, the research is often carried out by a campaign group.

The article in the OP wasn't pretending to be an outline of scientific studies but was an opinion piece based on reported experiences from Sweden. Ultimately, this isn't an issue that can be answered by research as the women in prostitution are hidden, other than those who seem to make a career out of proclaiming how wonderful prostitution is and they have never encountered a trafficked woman. Women who are no longer in prostitution generally want to forget about it and move on with their lives. As a result it will never be possible to "listen to sex workers" because the only ones who are able to speak are those follow the pimp lobby line. How do we listen to the women with no voice?

HaroldsBishop Tue 11-Nov-14 16:01:00

Ummm, Flora from the conclusion of that very study:

"The likely negative consequences of legalized prostitution on
a country’s inflows of human trafficking might be seen to support
those who argue in favor of banning prostitution, thereby
reducing the flows of trafficking (e.g., Outshoorn, 2005). However,
such a line of argumentation overlooks potential benefits
that the legalization of prostitution might have on those employed
in the industry. Working conditions could be substantially
improved for prostitutes—at least those legally
employed—if prostitution is legalized. Prohibiting prostitution
also raises tricky “freedom of choice” issues concerning both
the potential suppliers and clients of prostitution services. A
full evaluation of the costs and benefits, as well as of the
broader merits of prohibiting prostitution, is beyond the scope
of the present article."

AutumnMadness Tue 11-Nov-14 16:05:16

Thanks for the link, Flora, I will read it.

In the answer to the question about how we listen to women with no voice - In the same way as we listed to other very vulnerable and often stigmatised people with traumatic experiences? There seems to be much out there today by survivors of childhood abuse, by victims of all kinds of discrimination, by soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress, etc. I am sure there is more that is not heard, but I don't feel it's right to say that people in these circumstances do not have a voice at all. It's also not difficult to find negative and often frankly horrid accounts of prostitution experience.

On the other hand, I am sure that the university ethics committees do not look kindly of applications for this sort of research . . .

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 16:10:11

Harold that's the point. He acknowledges that a full evaluation of the costs and benefits of prohibiting prostitution is beyond the scope of the study. Authors of other studies should consider take the same approach.

The question asked by Autumn was specifically about whether there is a connection between trafficking and legalisation and this study found that there is. The fact that the author recognises there are other factors which should be considered makes his study more compelling.

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 16:34:29

Autumn Rebecca Mott was in prostitution and now speaks about her experience. This is what she experiences as a result:

rebeccamott.net/2014/11/05/a-change-is-coming/

Rachel Moran and other survivors of prostitution face harassment when they try to speak about their experiences. It's not surprising then that many survivors do not want to talk about their experiences.

AutumnMadness Tue 11-Nov-14 16:46:22

Flora, sorry, I did not mean that it's all plain sailing for those with traumatic experiences. I just meant that their voices are not non-existent. And yes, public talk about such experiences will attract sexist vitriol in a way that the "happy prostitute" narrative does not as the latter does not really challenge existing norms of male entitlement.

Exitedwoman Tue 11-Nov-14 17:11:14

"the English Collective of Prostitutes, a network of women working in different areas of the sex industry"

..yes, as pimps mostly.

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 17:11:58

I agree Autumn. Also feminists don't attack "happy hookers" in the same way as men supporting prostitution attack survivors.

AWholeLottaNosy Tue 11-Nov-14 17:20:36

I've copied and pasted Rebecca's words as they are so powerful.

Last night, Canada become another country that is making hard for men to buy the prostituted. Slowly, there is a change coming.

A change away the so-called norm of men being entitled to buy and sell the prostituted for sexual greed.

A change that it can seen as normal to say prostitution is just a nasty job, but someone has to do it.

A change that makes some women and girls, and some males so sub-human that can be sexually tortured, raped and murdered – and it framed as adult leisure.

I am thrilled that slowly, and on occasions a sudden rush – that prostitution is being seen for what it is.

Seen as a human rights emergency.

Seen as mental, physical and sexual torture.

Seen as the oldest and largest genocide this world has ever know.

I know this is a dangerous time, especially for those of us who are abolitionists and have exited the sex trade.

We are always under attack from the sex trade lobby, that is so normal to us, that we rarely make it public.

Most abolitionists survivors try to ignore the hate and terror sent to us almost every day, hoping they will slowly get bored.

We usually do not publish or acknowledge their constant war on us, we will not give them free publicity or advertisement for their profits on the bodies of the prostituted still trapped in the sex trade.

But I feel on occasions it is vital to speak out against this war on our minds and ability to keep going forward.

First I want everyone on the Left and in feminism, to start taking seriously what is happening to survivors who are now abolitionists – take serious how powerful the sex trade lobby is, and recognised the extreme hate throw at us.

Andrea Dworkin know this hate, and where and why it is targeted at exited women who dare to speak out in particular – she preach that the sex trade are furious that their goods are rebelling, for we should be dead or too damaged to speak out.

The sex trade lobby has total contempt for all the prostituted class, especially those of us who dare to be alive and to be had the strength to say where we came from.

They want us wipe from the face of the earth – preferably without getting their hands dirty by forcing us into suicide.

This is done in multiple ways, but the main weapon is that their attacks are relentless, or it never done by a single “troll” but a highly organised criminal organisations.

This means the sex trade has access to huge amounts of money and people to keep a non-stop low of hate and lies.

They invade Twitter, Facebook, our blogs, our emails, attempt to find our private addresses.

They threaten our mental and physical welfare, threaten our families, and say enough lies that our friends are made to doubt us.

They use our trauma as a weapon to destroy us – saying we were too weak to deal with the “job”, using that we have fragmented memories to “prove” we are liars.

They pretend to be caring – only to say it just a story, and most of prostitution is empowering to women.

They send us invitations to work for them in their lovely brothels – then we can see it not so violent, coz of course they are the friendly caring pimps.

They get punters to write to us to explain how ignorant we are – for we just need to meet the “good punter” to see how wrong we are.

They explain to us how men must have access to the prostituted, coz they are lonely, disabled, unattractive etc. Making out we are evil to deny men that entitlement.

Sometimes, they just lose it saying we too ugly to be a real prostitute, too weak to know our own truths, too sub-human to even be polite to and have a reasonable debate with.

It is their common weapon to tell us that we were never “real” prostitutes – so our tales should be dismissed or shown to be lies.

They say we are paid bags of money to lie about the sex trade.

It goes on an on and on – it is soul-destroying.

Of course, there are highly personal attacks as well as those politics attacks.

We are attacked for being too damaged to know the truth – never that the damage was forced into us by the constant hate and violence that is prostitution.

We are told we are murdering the prostituted by wanting abolition or the Nordic Approach.

It is a slow torture.

I want this to taken seriously, for as the progress to abolition is slowly taking hold – the sex trade lobby will get more aggressive and even less rational.

The attacks on abolitionists who are survivors will get worse – and we need support and your strength.

Thanks.

SandorClegane Tue 11-Nov-14 17:35:17

I was depressed to discover that the scottish greens oppose the Nordic model and are in favour of decriminalisation. I left their womens Facebook page after a survivor was bullied and harassed for undermining women's 'freedom' to make an 'empowering' choice by framing prostitution as violence against women. Her experiences were dismissed by what to be honest seemed like a load of middle class twats who had no direct experience of what it's actually like for women and girls who are involved in prostitution. It depressed the shit out of me.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Tue 11-Nov-14 19:25:26

I would be interested in your thoughts on legitimate research Buffy - maybe in Feminist Theory?

You're definitely right about the objectivist ideals. It's a pity the fedora-wearers crying out for it aren't able to figure out that the studies they use are not actually scientific in that sense.

AutumnMadness Tue 11-Nov-14 20:07:08

Buffy, while I definitely do not speak for all universities, my experience with ethics committees is that they often do not know what to do with qualitative and interpretive research. Particularly the kind where it is not possible to outline all the activities in minute detail from the start or conduct them all in a controlled environment. It is of course still possible for a determined researcher to gain approval, but delays and filling out forms and revising them a million times for an audience that does not quite grasp what you are doing can be off-putting.

I like the article Flora linked though. It's of the objective kind, but the authors clearly realise the limitations of their methods and the limitations of the conclusions. It is also very carefully constructed in terms of methods.

On a different subject, could somebody please explain to me why some here consider the English Collective of Prostitutes a pimp organisation? I can't find any information about their membership rules.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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