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Benny B
01-05-2016, 10:25 AM
I'm in favour of abolition. Here's some quotes from the corbyn thread (who is in favour of decriminalisation, as is mr tea)


Mr Tea: Baboon's hit the nail on the head - the debate does tend to be dominated by people with no experience of sex work who think they can speak on behalf of sex workers

Maybe so, but the issue effects everybody. You don't have to have direct experience of sex-work to have an opinion. You DO need to be informed though, and there is plenty of research to show that decriminalization/legalization actually does nothing to improve safety, 'monitoring' by the law remains woefully inadequate, the majority of violence still goes unreported, it does not result in safer sex practices, and prostitutes are still stigmatized and discriminated against by society. These are all myths, playing into the hands of organised crime.


I've read that in Scandinavia, a lot of prostitutes are highly critical of the so-called Nordic model (selling sex is legal but buying it is illegal) because punters are naturally afraid of prosecution and therefore give false names, which just makes everything riskier for the prostitutes. I believe the Collective of English Prostitutes takes basically the same stance.

so what? Should we then just give up on trying to target the demand? Don't you see this is exactly what the johns and criminal organizations who drive the sex industry want so they can maintain the status quo? And of the course the men that 'visit' prostitutes who feel they have the right to buy another persons body.

as for the prostitutes in favour of decriminalization/legalization: most of the arguments I' ve read have failed to convince me they're fully aware of the true extent of the damage caused by the sex industry, which is under the complete control of organized crime (and is surely to remain so even if it was decriminalized/legalised, as has happened in the Netherlands, Australia, NZ). Prostitutes are caught in this trap, and inevitably often become mouthpieces for those that profit financially from the sex industry - pimps, traffickers, the mafias. Sadly the vast majority of prostitutes do not speak out because they live in fear, or are silenced by the criminal gangs that exploit them.


Really I see it as symptomatic of an actually fairly reactionary school of academic feminism that simultaneously infantilizes women (by assuming they know what's best for sex workers and can speak for them)

Strange that you of all people take an anti-academic line. You rightly say that more prostitutes' voices should be heard but that's hardly feminists' fault. Lots of research is carried out, they're not just making this stuff up!

The abolitionist arguments I've read (from feminists or not) are backed up with research and the horrific statistics of abuse and murder caused by the sex industry pretty much speak for themselves. And the suggestion that abolitionists are nothing more than Victorian prudes is incredibly dismissive, offensive even. This is about the normalisation of the commercialisation of women's bodies, not squeamishness over sex.

You use the word 'infantilise' - sadly, many prostitutes ARE practically infants, too young to understand what they are getting forced into. they need responsible people to speak for them and help them escape the trap. decriminalisation in New Zealand for example has done practically nothing to prevent 13 year old girls selling their bodies on the streets, and the men arrested for buying sex from minors still receive light sentences. THIS is what happens when people like corbyn decide what is 'best' for prostitutes.


...and demonizes men (by conflating sexual desire, which is very often more about intimacy than it is about sex, in the case of men who visit prostitutes) with violence. Or it's just good old Victorian prudery dressed up as feminism


No, it YOU who are confusing 'sexual desire' and 'intimacy' with the act of paying for sex. Women should not be made responsible and made to suffer for men's inability to build safe, sexual relationships based on respect, without having to buy another person's body. Quoting Rachel Moran (a survivor of prostitution who wrote the book 'Paid for'), 'there are three types of john: those who assume the women they buy have no human feelings; those who are conscious of a woman's humanity but choose to ignore it; and those who derive sexual pleasure from reducing the humanity of women they buy'.

I can find a certain amount of sympathy for some men who pay for sex (but certainly not for most of them), but this pales in comparison to the injustice against women. I DO agree that there needs to be much more research into johns, of which there is actually very little compared to the vast amount of research into the prostitutes themselves.

One thing is clear: women often do not have a choice, but men who pay for sex ALWAYS do.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 10:32 AM
baboon2004: I don't even know clearly what I think about this issue, other than what's most painfully apparent is how infrequently sex workers themselves are consulted about their thoughts on the issue of decriminalisation, rather than others speaking 'for' them (sometimes/often based upon the idea that a shared gender is enough for one to act as a spokesperson for all women, as though no other lines of division between people exist [also on a side note, fact that big proportion of sex workers in UK are men seems often to be completely forgotten in the debate]). As such, this is worth reading: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics...y-corbyn-money

Yes men can be victims too but I cant help feeling this is all a distraction from the main issue, which HAS to be one of gender. Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? The idea is to raise awareness of the exploitation that is behind the industry, and explode the many myths around decriminalization . What percentage of sex workers are men? How many women pay for sex with men? It is overwhelmingly women who are the victims of trafficking, exploitation, abuse and murder.

sufi
01-05-2016, 11:54 AM
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rights-and-the-law

from an association of sex workers' organisations, so they have a claim to be representing their voices (though there are some who challenge this and suggest that organising cannot be separated from exploitation), a lot of it seems to follow on quite obviously once you've got past the taboos.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 12:28 PM
Sorry i havent read that document yet, but what do you consider to be the taboos?
From a look at their list of 8 rights, it doesnt seem like any of them can be achieved by decriminalisation or legalisation. On the contrary, it would play into the hands of the organised crime groups who control the sex industry.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 01:02 PM
reading my post back i'm kicking myself for parroting the term 'sex worker'. much more accurate to just say 'prostitute'. selling your body to 5 or 6 complete strangers a day for years on end is exploitation, no matter how much they get paid. if it is to be considered work, then it is unlike any other.

john eden
01-05-2016, 01:30 PM
How is abolition even an option?

john eden
01-05-2016, 01:32 PM
Also, I remember this as being fairly nuanced:

http://youtu.be/612M6VBWYPM

Benny B
01-05-2016, 01:59 PM
How is abolition even an option?



It is an ultimate aim to be worked towards. Accepting the status quo would be defeatism. Decriminalisation is a step in the wrong direction-the normalisation of paying for sex.



If abolition was an option, would you choose it?

john eden
01-05-2016, 02:05 PM
Well I'd like to see the abolition of wage labour generally.

Short of that, probably not. It just seems unrealistic and has the whiff of men criminalising women, which is maybe worse than exploiting them?

sadmanbarty
01-05-2016, 03:09 PM
I imagine I take a somewhat different tact to this than some of you in that I don’t see anything inherently wrong with selling or buying sex. I don’t see the acts in and of themselves as dehumanising, exploitative, contributing to rape culture, etc.

My concerns are with reducing the following:

1) Violence
2) Human trafficking
3) Pimping and coercing people into the industry
4) Underage sex work
5) Disease
6) Drug Addiction

I read the conclusions of these studies:

prosentret.no/?wpfb_dl=343

http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/commercial-property-and-regulatory/prostitution/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/plrc-report/documents/report.pdf

https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/sites/antitrafficking/files/federal_government_report_of_the_impact_of_the_act _regulating_the_legal_situation_of_prostitutes_200 7_en_1.pdf

http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/pdf/Article-for-World-Development-_prostitution_-anonymous-REVISED.pdf
http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=9940201230000961020870650220651090 10116045067060095028110096083103023125108020030101 01806309911102604203410411601709208000701902906600 40330830020721231110040300920370890201000170270081 07083026092121028019126006027080123022002117073115 005115073100017&EXT=pdf

It seems it's so difficult to measure the effects of decriminalisation that it would be hard to take a firm stance on the issue. However due to the seeming increase in human trafficking resulting from decriminalisation I am tentatively against it.

I want to find out more about about the effects of decriminalisation on disease. Also that New Zealand report sounded very optimistic so I'll read that in full.

Mr. Tea
01-05-2016, 03:34 PM
I'll respond properly later, Benny, but for now all I'll say is this.

It's very weird to see the word 'abolition' being used in this context. Now there are important differences between the drug trade and the sex trade, obviously, but they have in common the hugely important fact of being the source of massive amounts of criminality due to various governments' attempts to stop people from paying for things they like, and want, very much.

How well, would you say, has the 'abolition' of illegal drugs worked in the UK, or anywhere else? How well did the 'abolition' of alcohol go in the USA a century ago?

Benny B
01-05-2016, 04:26 PM
Don't see what's 'weird' about using the word abolition. If like me you believe that there is something fundamentally abusive about any act of buying a person for sex, and that decriminalization or legalization would only make abuse worse, I'm not sure what else to call it.
And just because lots of people really really like and want something (like a spoilt child) does not mean it is acceptable. Comparisons to the abolition of illegal drugs and alcohol are unhelpful - what you call 'important' differences' between them are important enough to cloud the issue at hand - and I'd argue that in the case of prostitution there is even more at stake.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 04:39 PM
Well I'd like to see the abolition of wage labour generally.







Short of that, probably not. It just seems unrealistic and has the whiff of men criminalising women, which is maybe worse than exploiting them?




No, abolitionists (at least the kind that I support) do not believe in criminalizing women. Quite the opposite, they are concerned with liberation of prostitutes from slavery. They oppose legalization and decriminalisation for the reasons I've outlined above.

droid
01-05-2016, 05:03 PM
Abolition is a pipe dream. Its the world's oldest profession for a reason.

The comparisons with drugs is adroit, because people will always want to take drugs. It can never be stopped, so the choice is to criminalise or regulate. The former always leads to worse outcomes - with the latter there is at least a chance of a less vicious system.

As for the moral argument - the harm principle applies. People should be allowed to do what they want as long as it doesnt harm anyone else. Its not up to me or you to decide that someone else's choices are fundamentally abusive and it seems to me the potential for harm is decreased in a regulated system.

john eden
01-05-2016, 05:30 PM
No, abolitionists (at least the kind that I support) do not believe in criminalizing women. Quite the opposite, they are concerned with liberation of prostitutes from slavery. They oppose legalization and decriminalisation for the reasons I've outlined above.

Well ok, but I'd like to know what methods they propose. If it's something like the universal basic income or opposition to austerity (as proposed in the video above) then I would support that.

baboon2004
01-05-2016, 06:39 PM
Yes men can be victims too but I cant help feeling this is all a distraction from the main issue, which HAS to be one of gender. Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? The idea is to raise awareness of the exploitation that is behind the industry, and explode the many myths around decriminalization . What percentage of sex workers are men? How many women pay for sex with men? It is overwhelmingly women who are the victims of trafficking, exploitation, abuse and murder.

I was only making the point about men as a side point, and obvs agree that the power dynamic for women sex workers is completely different, and agree with your last statement. However, it is important to be cognisant of the scale of male sex work (eg this study http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/government-society/polsis/research/statistics-on-sex-work-in-the-uk.pdf suggests 33% of all sex workers in UK are men; I've seen others claim up to 50%, but can't find the appropriate link now).

"Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? " I'm not 100% sure what you mean here, but I was questioning the right of any particular woman to speak 'on behalf of all women' while clearly not being much bothered what adult women (again, obvs the situation is very different when minors are involved) actually engaged in sex work think about their lives.

As far as abolition goes, as John suggests above, it seems impossible to talk about this practically in separation from measures to guarantee everyone an economic safety net.

baboon2004
01-05-2016, 07:15 PM
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/blog

Benny B
01-05-2016, 07:30 PM
Abolition is a pipe dream. Its the world's oldest profession for a reason.





The comparisons with drugs is adroit, because people will always want to take drugs. It can never be stopped, so the choice is to criminalise or regulate. The former always leads to worse outcomes - with the latter there is at least a chance of a less vicious system.





As for the moral argument - the harm principle applies. People should be allowed to do what they want as long as it doesnt harm anyone else. Its not up to me or you to decide that someone else's choices are fundamentally abusive and it seems to me the potential for harm is decreased in a regulated system.



I'm as liberal as they come but this is everyone's responsibility and it affects everyone - we tolerate the view that women are sexual objects that can be bought and sold. As you probably know most (arguably all) prostitutes are coerced into selling their bodies, or doing it as desperate manner of survival - not free choice. Maybe it can never be stopped - that doesn't mean that we shouldn't fight for gender equality to work towards a world where women don't have to 'choose' prostitution. Gender equality can never exist in a world where buying sex is normalized, justified and regulated.

Organized crime, male entitlement and misogny should always be opposed, even if you think its unrealistic to abolish it completely.

sadmanbarty
01-05-2016, 08:03 PM
the view that women are sexual objects that can be bought and sold.

Gender equality can never exist in a world where buying sex is normalized, justified and regulated.


Why would paying for sex mean that a woman was viewed as merely a sex object? If I pay a barista to serve me coffee I don't immediately feel that the entirety of their existence is to serve coffee. If that barista was a woman, I don't assume that she's unequal to men. The same goes for providing any service I can think of. Why would providing sex as a commercial service be any different?

Benny B
01-05-2016, 08:18 PM
Come on, having sex with multiple men who you have no sexual desire for day in day out to fatten the pockets of exploitative criminals is not the same as any other 'service'.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 08:27 PM
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?

baboon2004
01-05-2016, 08:32 PM
(re post before last)

That sentence is definitely true, but there are a lot of assumptions there about the nature of sex work that needn't apply to everyone involved in it. Most obvious one is that every sex worker is being pimped out by organised crime, which I'm a bit mystified by - I don't think anyone would disagree with your views on sex trafficking, but we're talking about something far wider here surely?

baboon2004
01-05-2016, 08:34 PM
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?

wouldn't be comfortable with my daughter going to prison* but doesn't mean i don't think prisoners should be listened to rather than lectured about their best interests. this q is a dead end - no-one here (i think) is advocating that people become sex workers, but rather reacting to the fact that some people are sex workers, for often v complex reasons

*or taking heroin or anything that is A Bad Thing, prison was just the first thing that came to mind (prob because there's an awful lots of talk wrt prisoners of 'what's best for them' etc, as if getting out of prison into a life of barely making it by or minimum wage slavery is some kind of societal victory)

sadmanbarty
01-05-2016, 08:48 PM
By adding “exploitative criminals” you’re introducing variables that weren’t in my post.

Would you say that men who pay for male prostitutes view all men as merely sex objects to be bought and sold? Would you say that so long as there are women who buy sex from men, men will be viewed as inferior to women in our society?

I have no idea what it’s like to have a child so I can only answer the daughter question in an emotionally detached way (which renders my answer a bit silly). If I was sure she was safe and happy (or as much of those things as she would be in another job), I imagine I’d be fine with it. I would have concern about people viewing her as a victim or psychologically damaged in some way. I’d be concerned that society's stigma’s might get her down or impede on her friendships and relationships. But these things reflect badly on society rather then my parenting or her personality (or her clients for that matter).

droid
01-05-2016, 08:51 PM
Just a couple of rhetorical questions for Benny.

Is there any scenario where you would say that prostitution is not morally wrong? Say a woman of independent means who freely chooses to sell sex with no third parties involved?

Is it only in the context of societies treatment of women that you view prostitution as unacceptable - what about male prostitution?

Not to propagate the happy hooker myth - but can you conceive of a prostitute who actually enjoys her work?

Mr. Tea
01-05-2016, 09:06 PM
if like me you believe that there is something fundamentally abusive about any act of buying a person for sex...

Well, I don't, or at least I see it as no more abusive than paying someone to drive you around, mow your lawn, do your taxes or whatever. (And 'paying' is the correct word here - 'buying' is ridiculous hyperbole.)

I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles. All I'll say further is that I think the impulse some 21st-century liberals feel that prostitution is necessarily this hateful and involuntary state of desperation that the women need to be 'rescued' from is a direct descendant of the impulse that made 'whore' and 'son of a whore' insults in the first place.

sadmanbarty
01-05-2016, 09:18 PM
I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles.

If you can be assed I would be interested in your take.

My intuitive position was similar to yours (comparisons with alcohol abolition, war on drugs, etc.) and so I was actually pro-decriminalisation. Thanks to Benny bringing it up I did a quick bit of research (those studies I posted earlier in the thread) which has changed my mind (though I'm by no means certain and of course I'll have to do more than some cursory google searching).

Benny B
01-05-2016, 09:39 PM
Don't be like that tea, I still think we can both get something out of the conversation even if we don't agree.
Anyway lads I promise to get back to you all asap. I'm on my phone and in a bar rn

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 09:53 PM
Listen to sex workers and shut up.
The end.

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 10:02 PM
As you probably know most (arguably all) prostitutes are coerced into selling their bodies, or doing it as desperate manner of survival - not free choice.

Also, don't just make stuff up.

Benny B
01-05-2016, 10:11 PM
Listen to sex workers and shut up.

The end.


Thanks for your enlightening contribution and good night

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 10:37 PM
at what point does sex work not offend your sensibilities as someone self-declared "as liberal as they come"? would you ban porn too? or would you allow soft-core stuff? how about advertising referencing sex? you're going to have to find a lot of jobs. are you going to match their earnings?

sex work isn't just people working on the streets full time in desperate conditions, it exists across a huge spectrum and huge numbers of people are involved to greater or lesser extents. you probably know a bunch of people who have done sex work. you don't get to decide who is empowered and who isn't.

so you can continue having your ridiculous 'what if' imaginary world discussion about other people if you want

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-do-sex-workers-want-Toni-M - you should watch this instead though

Mr. Tea
01-05-2016, 10:47 PM
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?

I'd probably not be overwhelmed with joy by the idea of my daughter cleaning toilets for a living, but that doesn't mean I think no-one should allowed to do it. Ultimately I'd prefer her to be happy, and if she achieves this by perfoming brain surgery, cleaning toilets or having sex with strangers, then so be it.

All your objections basically boil down to "sex work is icky and gross, no-one could possibly consent to doing it in any meaningful way, ergo sex workers need rescuing from their unfortunate circumstances/their own weakness and stupidity". And I'm convinced "sex work is icky and gross" comes from "sex workERS are icky and gross".

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 10:50 PM
Strange that you of all people take an anti-academic line. You rightly say that more prostitutes' voices should be heard but that's hardly feminists' fault. Lots of research is carried out, they're not just making this stuff up!

Sex workers are systematically excluded from these academic conversations because they don't satisfy 'academic criteria'. They may be interviewed by academics and used as research tools but that's not the same as actively involving them in the conversation.


The abolitionist arguments I've read (from feminists or not) are backed up with research and the horrific statistics of abuse and murder caused by the sex industry pretty much speak for themselves.

Violence and murder are caused by a huge amount of intersecting problems - obvious distrust of the police, criminalisation, the fact that sex workers are often simply not believed or assumed to have 'deserved' it. The people who are pushing against all this are sex workers themselves, through organisations like Ugly Mugs, because the system is not on their side - if you are serious about ending abuse and violence, you should donate: https://uknswp.org/um/

Here is a study showing that criminalisation of clients (often pushed by abolitionists as a way to prevent violence and abuse without criminalising sex workers) actually makes sex workers more vulnerable to abuse by making it harder for them to effectively screen clients and operate in safe working conditions - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24889853. It also shows that as usual, this applies disproportionately to low-income street based workers.

droid
01-05-2016, 10:53 PM
I dont agree with Benny, certainly on the moral position, but sex worker advocacy groups like the scarlet alliance cannot, by definition speak for the hundreds of thousands of women forced into prostitution. For every German or Australian sex worker who controls her own income and terms of employment, there must be dozens who are trafficked and effectively enslaved.

My default position on most of these kind of issues is 'let women sort it out', but there is a valid argument that many women involved in prostitution are effectively voiceless, so from that point of view I don't see any major problem with having these conversations as long as they are non-proscriptive.

It's a difficult one, with loads of opposing but valid claims... ...regulation seems like the least worst option to me, but I can sympathise with other POV's.

john eden
01-05-2016, 10:58 PM
Thanks for your enlightening contribution and good night

Tell us how you aim to abolish sex work or shut up.

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 11:02 PM
The anti-trafficking position obviously sounds very rational but in reality it often seems to go hand in hand with general anti-migration stuff. A lot of women who worked as sex workers in London were deported based on police testimony that they'd been 'trafficked' after the recent soho raids, and a lot of trafficking figures have been debunked based on the definition they use etc

Here's an article about it based on a SWOU meeting in 2009 - https://bristolnoborders.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/more-evidence-that-sex-trafficking-is-a-myth/

Another here with some contributions from Laura Agustin - http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2009/01/20/the-myth-human-trafficking/

"She is critical of the conflation of the terms "human trafficking" with "prostitution" and "migration", arguing that what she calls the "rescue industry" often ascribes victim status to and thereby objectifies women who have made conscious and rational decisions to migrate. She advocates for a more nuanced study of migrant sex workers."


For every German or Australian sex worker who controls her own income and terms of employment, there must be dozens who are trafficked and effectively enslaved.

Criminalisation makes it pretty hard to conduct the research you would need to verify that.

droid
01-05-2016, 11:10 PM
I dont really know much about the situation in the UK, and I agree the area is mired in some controversy, but on the other hand the ILO claims that 4.5 million people globally (which is what I meant in my post upthread) are subjected to forced sexual exploitation each year... http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang--en/index.htm

UFO over easy
01-05-2016, 11:17 PM
My feeling is that crack-downs on sex workers and their clients do absolutely nothing to stem that.

droid
01-05-2016, 11:22 PM
Yeah, thats probably true, but my point is that there are competing narratives here.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 12:27 AM
Tell us how you aim to abolish sex work or shut up.



Look I'm trying to be civil. I will be back with more arguments and evidence asap (later this week hopefully) but am obv quite conscious of walking into a flame war. Ben ufo couldn't have been more disrespectful here and I ask you not to follow suit thanks

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 07:28 AM
Your priorities are weird. Would you have preferred it if I'd asked you politely to be quiet instead?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 07:54 AM
Your priorities are weird. Would you have preferred it if I'd asked you politely to be quiet instead?


What do you think my priorities are exactly? What sort of attention do you think YOU deserve? I've been civil. I would never have told u to shut up. I will not shut up. I've never once advocated the criminalization of prostitutes or crackdowns on sex workers. You haven't engaged in half the points I made in the first post anyway.This argument is complex and will take a while to roll out but I will try. Meanwhile maybe you could just stick your fingers in your ears?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 07:58 AM
Droid seems to be getting somewhere. The responses have been very UK centric so far

john eden
02-05-2016, 08:48 AM
Look I'm trying to be civil. I will be back with more arguments and evidence asap (later this week hopefully) but am obv quite conscious of walking into a flame war. Ben ufo couldn't have been more disrespectful here and I ask you not to follow suit thanks

It's only turning into a flame war because you clearly have a highly developed position on this - and started this thread - but haven't really expanded on it despite politely being asked to do so.

I think we're all pretty safe on here these days - Woebot was fearful of catching all sorts of grief on his EU thread but it was a good respectful discussion.

I have friends who have been sex workers so it's a bit less abstract than the EU for me. Possibly that is true of other posters too.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 09:16 AM
It's only turning into a flame war because you clearly have a highly developed position on this - and started this thread - but haven't really expanded on it despite politely being asked to do so.



I think we're all pretty safe on here these days - Woebot was fearful of catching all sorts of grief on his EU thread but it was a good respectful discussion.


.

I've said ill be happy to expand on my position. Last night I was in a bar on my phone and today I've got a baby to look after. Give me a chance!
Obv it's an emotive issue but I wont be told to just shut up. My partner is a survivor of gender based violence and has worked with prostitutes and women who are abused fwiw

Benny B
02-05-2016, 10:06 AM
ok I've got a spare 5 minutes, lets start again, with Danish ex-prostitute Tanja Rahm's open letter to her clients. this is where my sympathies lie


Abolish Prostitution Now
18 de enero de 2014 ·
FOR YOU, WHO BUY SEX
By Tanja Rahm
Dear sex customer,
If you think that I ever felt attracted to you, you are terribly mistaken. I have never had any desire to go to work, not once. The only thing on my mind was to make money, and fast. Do not confuse that with easy money, it was never easy. Fast, yes. Because I quickly learned the many tricks to get you to come as quickly as possible, so I could get you off of me, or from under me, or from behind me.
And no, you never turned me on during the act. I was a great actress. For years I have had the opportunity to practice for free. Actually, it falls under the concept of multitasking. Because while you lay there, my thoughts were always elsewhere. Somewhere where I was not confronted with you sucking out my self respect, without spending as much as ten seconds on the reality of the situation, or to look me in the eye.
If you thought you were doing me a favour by paying me for thirty minutes or an hour, you were wrong. I would rather have had you in and out as fast as possible. When you thought yourself to my holy saviour, asking what a pretty girl like me was doing in a place like that, you lost your halo when you proceeded to ask me to lie down on my back, and then put all your efforts into feeling my body as much as possible with your hands. Actually, I would have preferred if you had gotten down on your back and had let me do my job.
When you thought you could boost your masculinity by getting me to climax, you need to know that I faked it. I could have won a gold medal in faking it. I faked it so much, that the receptionist would nearly fall off of her chair laughing. What did you expect? You were perhaps number three, or number five, or eight that day. Did you really think I was able to get turned on mentally or physically by having sex with men I did not choose myself? Not ever. My genitals were burning. From lubricant and condoms. And I was tired. So tired, that often I had to be careful not to close my eyes for fear of falling asleep while my moaning continued on autopilot.
If you thought you paid for loyalty or small talk, you need to think again. I had zero interest in your excuses. I did not care that your wife had SPD, and that you just could not go without sex. Or when you offered any other pathetic excuse for coming to buy sex with me. When you thought I understood you and had sympathy for you, it was all a lie. I had nothing but contempt for you, and at the same time you destroyed something inside of me. You sowed the seeds of doubt in me. Doubt as to whether all men were just as cynical and unfaithful as you were.
When you praised my appearance, my body, or my sexual abilities, you could just as well have vomited on me. You did not see the person behind the mask. You only saw that which confirmed your illusion of a raunchy woman with an unstoppable sex drive. In fact, you never said what you thought I wanted to hear. Instead, you said what you yourself needed to hear. You said that, which was needed to preserve your illusion, and which prevented you from thinking about how I had ended up where I was at twenty years of age. Basically you did not care at all. Because you had one goal only, and that was to show off your power by paying me to use my body as it pleased you.
When a drop of blood appeared on the condom, it was not because my period had just come. It was because my body was a machine, one that could not be interrupted by a monthly cycle, so I inserted a sponge into my vagina, when I menstruated. To be able to continue on the sheets. And no, I did not go home after you had finished. I continued working, telling the next customer exactly the same story that you had heard. You were all so consumed with your own lust that a little menstrual blood did not stop you.
When you came with objects, lingerie, costumes or toys, and wanted erotic role-play, my inner machine took over. I was disgusted with you and your sometimes quite sick fantasies. The same goes for the times when you smiled and said that I looked like a seventeen-year-old girl. It did not help that you yourself were fifty, sixty, seventy, or older.
When you regularly violated my boundaries by either kissing me, or inserting our fingers into me, or taking off your condom, you did it knowing perfectly well that it was against the rules. You were testing my ability to say no. And you enjoyed it when I did not object clearly enough, or when I too often would simply ignore it. And then you used it in a perverted way to show how much power you had and that you could cross my boundaries. When I finally told you off, and made it clear that I would not have you as a customer again if you could not respect the rules, you insulted me and my role as prostitute. You were condescending, threatening and rude.
When you buy sex, it says a lot about you, your humanity, and your sexuality. To me, it is a sign of your weakness, even though you confuse it with a sick sort of power and status. You think you have a right. I mean, the prostitutes are out there anyway, right? But they are only prostitutes because men like you stand in the way of healthy and respectful relationship between men and women. Prostitutes only exist because men like you feel you have the right to satisfy your sexual urges using the orifices of other people’s bodies. Prostitutes exist because you and your peers feel that your sexuality requires access to sex whenever it suits you. Prostitutes exist because you are a misogynist, and because you are more concerned with your own sexual needs than the relationships, in which your sexuality could actually flourish.
When you buy sex, it reveals that you have not found the core within your own sexuality. I feel sorry for you, I really do. That you are so mediocre that you think that sex is all about ejaculating into a stranger’s vagina. And if one is not handy, it is never further away than down the street, where you can pay an unknown woman to be able to empty yourself into a rubber while inside of her. What a petty and frustrated man you must be. A man unable to create profound and intimate relationships, in which the connection runs deeper than just your ejaculation. A man, who expresses his feelings through his climaxes, who does not have the ability to verbalise them, but prefers to channel them through his genitals to get rid himself of them. What a weak masculinity. A truly masculine man would never degrade himself by paying for sex.
As far as your humanity goes, I believe in the good in people, also in you. I know that deep down you have a conscience. That you have quietly wondered whether what you did was ethically and morally justifiable. I also know that you defend your actions and likely think that you treated me well, were kind, never mean or did not violate my boundaries. But you know what? That is called evading your responsibility. You are not confronting reality. You delude yourself in thinking that the people, you buy, are not bought. Not forced into prostitution. Maybe you even think that you did me a favour and gave me a break by talking about the weather, or giving me a little massage before you penetrated me. It did me no favours. All it did was confirm to me that I was not worth more. That I was a machine, whose primary function was to let others exploit my sexuality.
I have many experiences from prostitution. They enable me to write this letter to you. But it is a letter, which I would much rather not have written. These are experiences I wish I could have avoided.
You of course you thought of yourself as one of the nice customers. But there are no nice customers. Just those who confirm the women’s negative view of themselves.
Take my hand and see me for the person I am on the inside. Let us go together to make a difference in the future. Let us raise our voices to our friends, our girlfriends, our business associates, our bosses, our politicians, and last but not least, to the prostituted. Let us raise our voices together and say that sex is private. Let us shout that sex is not a product on a shelf, but that it can cost dearly if it is treated as one. Let us scream to the world that money and sex do no belong together, and that sex belong to all together different and mutually reciprocal relationships. Because in this case, you will re-concur my respect and I will see you as the person you are, and not just as a buyer of sex, seduced by an illusion.
Yours truly,
Tanja Rahm
http://www.welt.de/…/Ich-ekelte-mich-vor-Euch-und-Euren-Fan…

more here: http://www.tnp.no/norway/panorama/4233-former-prostitute-opens-up-discussion-on-ban-in-norway

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 10:35 AM
The responses have been very UK centric so far

Obviously there's no global catch all, and obviously people feel more qualified to comment based on the places where they have experience of living.


What do you think my priorities are exactly?

I'd much rather be the kind of person who feels angry at posts like yours than the kind of person who feels so 'disrespected' by that that it becomes their main focus. That's all you've said in response to me so far, despite being asked to engage and expand on your position repeatedly by several people and despite the fact that against every instinct I actually did actually engage with your posts, despite my initial unforgivable rudeness.

What does that letter have to do with sex work policy?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 10:37 AM
good, concise two page summary of the outcomes of legalisation/decriminalisation in germany, new zealand, australia, the netherlands and senegal here:

http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/Does_Legalizing_Prostitution_Protect_Women_and_Gir ls_EN.pdf

if you think its tl;dr the short version is:
1. decriminalising those who buy sex has done nothing to reduce sex trafficking and exploitation.
2. Regularisation and 'monitoring' has been a total failure.
3. sexual violence is not reduced or reported,
4. prostitutes remain stigmatised and dicriminated against.
5. access to health services and benefits has not improved.

in fact all of these problems have only got worse under decriminalisation.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 10:40 AM
What does that letter have to do with sex work policy?

errr...have you read it?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 10:41 AM
you were the one calling for prostitutes voices to be heard

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 10:52 AM
good, concise two page summary of the outcomes of legalisation/decriminalisation in germany, new zealand, australia, the netherlands and senegal here:

http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/def...d_Girls_EN.pdf

Equality Now is an organisation that has repeatedly attempted to de-fund sex worker rights groups led by sex workers themselves, which have been instrumental in providing access to healthcare globally in countries where sex work is fully or partially illegal and stigmatized, and their representatives have described sex worker led healthcare initiatives as fronts for trafficking and pimping in order to achieve that.

Here's NSWP's response to Equality Now's attack on the UN recommendation for sex work decriminalisation - http://www.nswp.org/sites/nswp.org/files/final%20nswp%20statement%20Equality%20Now%20Attack %20on%20UN.pdf

"While NSWP is delighted that attention is being drawn to these recent UN
reports, which both strongly recommend the decriminalisation of sex work as
the best way to ensure sex workers have full access to human rights, health,
and justice, we condemn:
● the attack on the rights of sex workers to effective rights-based
programming as their best protection against HIV;
● the irresponsible and deliberate conflation of sex work with trafficking,
which has been shown repeatedly to harm both sex workers, and
people who are genuinely trafficked into a range of industries;
● the continued promotion of the failed Swedish model as a ‘solution’; a
‘solution’ that further harms those it purports to help, and makes
invisible the majority of sex workers;

● the denial of the existence of sex workers and sex work. This ignores
the self-evident existence - and self-advocacy - of millions of sex
workers of all genders from all over the world, especially women; and
● the deliberate misrepresentation of the UN reports, as “failing” to
“include” the voices of those who have sold sex. Both UN reports were
written in close consultation, and with substantial input from current
sex workers. One look at the acknowledgements page and a more
detailed look at the methodologies would demonstrate this fact."


in fact all of these problems have only got worse under decriminalisation.

That's not what your article says.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 10:55 AM
errr...have you read it?

ugh, was a quick post in anger - of course i've read it. she hated her clients and her experience of sex work.

but sorry let me rephrase the question - what does that letter have to do with the implementation of sex work policy which would aim for the complete abolition of sex work, which is what you are calling for? that's what you were asked and what i thought this conversation was about, and your responses so far haven't even started to address that.

sadmanbarty
02-05-2016, 11:07 AM
http://www.hivhumanrights.org/commitmenttohumanrights/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2014/09/5-Sex-work-issue-paper-FINAL-rev-post-mtg.pdf

Only skimmed this one, will read in full at some point. It seems to suggest a consensus among various UN bodies that decriminalisation will increase the rights of prostitutes and reduce HIV infection. Like I said, I will need to give it a proper read.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 11:11 AM
Amnesty's position as well as of more recently - https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/08/sex-workers-rights-are-human-rights/

These are enormous global organisations who have spent years conducting research, so maybe that will address Benny's concern that this is all getting a bit 'UK-centric'.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 11:46 AM
Here's NSWP's response to Equality Now's attack on the UN recommendation for sex work decriminalisation - http://www.nswp.org/sites/nswp.org/files/final%20nswp%20statement%20Equality%20Now%20Attack %20on%20UN.pdf

s.

ok I'll try and break it down a bit, taking each of the human rights listed in that NSWP document


• The right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favourable conditions of work

Impossible to achieve under decriminalisation. Read that letter again, about the working conditions, and above all, about the clients. Then see what has actually happened to working conditions in the countries that have decriminalized clients


• The right to life, liberty and security of person

Impossible under decriminalisation – their safety is not increased and violent crimes remain unreported.


• The right to be free from arbitrary interference with one’s private and family life, home or correspondence and from attacks on honour and reputation

But yet prostitutes remain stigmatised in countries with decriminalisation, and are still regularly threatened and abused by the general public, pimps (since regularization has failed to remove them from the equation) and clients alike.


• The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Decriminalisation has not improved access to health services. Many prostitutes have been abused all their lives and the effects and risks on health of doing this ‘work’ are devastating. Read the letter again and see what it does to a persons sense of self-worth


• The right to freedom of movement and residence

Fine.


• The right to be free from slavery, forced labour and servitude

…by the criminal organisations that have benefitted from decriminalization and been given carte blanche to continue exploitation. This is a $99bn global industry, where do you think all that money goes?


• The right to equal protection of the law and protection against discrimination and any incitement to discrimination under any of the varied and intersecting status of gender, race, citizenship, sexual orientation etc

Fine, but prostitutes in countries that have decriminalization continue to be marginalized and discriminated against, while those men who pay for sex with minors receive light sentences, unreported sexual violence increases etc etc. Do you see a pattern here?


• The right to marry and found a family

Fine. I can’t imagine its easy to be a prostitute and sustain a happy family life.


• The right to peaceful assembly and association

Fine. This is what abolitionists want too.


• The right to leave any country, including one’s own, and to return to one’s own country

Again not saying anything abolitionists aren’t saying. Especially when you see the figures on forced prostitution and immigrants.


• The right to participate in the cultural and public life of society

ok, i think where you get where im coming from by now

Benny B
02-05-2016, 11:53 AM
That's not what your article says.

but do you see anything positive in these outcomes? or is it simply that the status quo has been maintained? they certainly havent improved matters

Benny B
02-05-2016, 11:58 AM
Amnesty's position as well as of more recently - https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/08/sex-workers-rights-are-human-rights/

These are enormous global organisations who have spent years conducting research, so maybe that will address Benny's concern that this is all getting a bit 'UK-centric'.

brief but decent response here, with plenty of good links.

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jul/28/amnesty-international-prostitution-sex-work-human-trafficking


edit: gotta go now, will be back later

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 12:08 PM
Fine, but prostitutes in countries that have decriminalization continue to be marginalized and discriminated against, while those men who pay for sex with minors receive light sentences, unreported sexual violence increases etc etc. Do you see a pattern here?

the pattern i see is misogyny. you don't combat that by waging an unrealistic and (itself a misogynist) war on sex work and sex workers based on some fantasy of what you think the world should look like, as opposed to what it actually looks like now for the people who are living this.



Decriminalisation has not improved access to health services.

A source would be great, preferably from an organisation that doesn't discount the repeated testimonies of sex-worker led health initiatives on the basis that they are a 'pimp lobby'. So far that's been your only source. That Guardian article was also written by EN's co-founder unsurprisingly.


Impossible to achieve under decriminalisation. Read that letter again, about the working conditions, and above all, about the clients. Then see what has actually happened to working conditions in the countries that have decriminalized clients

Many sex workers in situations where clients are criminalised have no choice but to visit their clients at home, where they've been shown to be more at risk. In these countries sex workers are less likely to report abuse to the police, for among many things fear of arrest/deportation, disbelief, and generally hostile attitudes towards them and their work as 'criminal' even when it is not. If less people feel comfortable reporting abuse and violence, police stats look much nicer. Again, distrust of the police and the state is why sex worker led organisations like Ugly Mugs are essential - https://uknswp.org/um/


But yet prostitutes remain stigmatised in countries with decriminalisation, and are still regularly threatened and abused by the general public, pimps (since regularization has failed to remove them from the equation) and clients alike.

We might make some progress with that if you and Julie Bindel stop saying things like this - "selling your body to 5 or 6 complete strangers a day for years on end is exploitation, no matter how much they get paid. if it is to be considered work, then it is unlike any other."


…by the criminal organisations that have benefitted from decriminalization and been given carte blanche to continue exploitation.

This is tabloid territory man, and it's not what's happened. Human trafficking is still illegal, forcing people into the sex trade is illegal. These things aren't sex work, don't conflate them. It's manipulative and disgusting. No one is saying the sex industry shouldn't be regulated, like any other industry either. 'Criminals' and 'pimps' aren't being given the go ahead to exploit people - that's not sex worker advocacy. If that's not what your saying, perhaps you can clarify.


but do you see anything positive in these outcomes? or is it simply that the status quo has been maintained? they certainly havent improved matters

"Decriminalisation and regulation lead to more accurate statistics, safer working environments and potential renewal of trust in the system" is a much less grabby headline than "evil pimp criminals take advantage of sex work lobby in EU UN conspiracy - and YOUR daughter could be next!"


I can’t imagine its easy to be a prostitute and sustain a happy family life.

That's literally your response to a sex worker organisation stating their collective right to family life (not 'happy' family life btw. i imagine family life is different for everyone and happiness isn't a human right as far as i know - but again you sound very sheltered. like i said upthread, sex work is something huge numbers of people do or have done to greater or lesser extents for a multitude of purposes, and you probably know people who have been involved yourself). This is clearly what it comes down to for you. You seem to think the work is nasty and therefore the people must too be nasty and miserable. Your position is misogynist and hostile to sex workers. I think based on several things you've said in this thread that's worth saying bluntly.

You still haven't answered any questions about how you'd like to see the implementation of abolition, and which forms of sexual labour you'd like to see abolished.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 01:07 PM
I also feel like noting here that despite one person in this thread already telling you that they have friends who have worked in the sex industry, you are continuing to repeatedly use a word that is now widely considered a slur.

http://titsandsass.com/the-p-word-101/ - here is an explanation as to why, if you need one

sadmanbarty
02-05-2016, 01:14 PM
I also feel like noting here that despite one person in this thread already telling you that they have friends who have worked in the sex industry, you are continuing to repeatedly use a word that is now widely considered a slur.

http://titsandsass.com/the-p-word-101/ - here is an explanation as to why, if you need one

I use the word prostitute without any judgement. It's a word, any value judgements are independent of it.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 01:34 PM
I don't buy the value judgement line when we're talking about words which describe communities of people who are systemically discriminated against, and which are readily used in order to propagate discrimination against them. And it's not like there's no alternative.

That website has an interesting article on the media conflation of trafficking as a legal term with people who have been forced into prostitution - http://titsandsass.com/sex-trafficking-a-media-guide/

Benny B
02-05-2016, 03:37 PM
the results of legalisation in germany (a couple of years old, but still a very thorough piece of reportage)

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/human-trafficking-persists-despite-legality-of-prostitution-in-germany-a-902533.html

Benny B
02-05-2016, 03:46 PM
of course, this could never happen in the UK could it?. Oh, no.

droid
02-05-2016, 04:09 PM
On face value, that seems devastating, however, some of the language used and the overall tone smacks of axe grinding.

The counter argument seems to be that the new legislation simply formalised existing arrangements without implementing any new protections.

https://feministire.com/2013/06/06/does-legal-prostitution-really-increase-human-trafficking-in-germany/

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:17 PM
The counter argument seems to be that the new legislation simply formalised existing arrangement without implementing any new protections.

https://feministire.com/2013/06/06/does-legal-prostitution-really-increase-human-trafficking-in-germany/

is it possible to implement them? now who's talking about a 'pipe dream'? Now who's being unrealistic?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:20 PM
For everyone badgering me to expand and clarify my position: just slap me silly and call me Meghan Murphy.

http://groknation.com/women/to-create-gender-equality-fight-prostitution/

droid
02-05-2016, 04:22 PM
It might also be useful if you clarified what you mean by 'abolition'? Cadging from wikipedia here but this seems reasonable - by these definitions, 'abolition' is what currently exists in the UK, whereas you seem to arguing for prohibition.



"Prostitution should be tolerated by society":

decriminalization: "prostitution is labor like any other. Sex industry premises should not be subject to any special regulation or laws", the current situation in New Zealand; the laws against operating a brothel, pimping and street prostitution are struck down, but prostitution is hardly regulated at all. Proponents of this view often cite instances of government regulation under legalization that they consider intrusive, demeaning, or violent, but feel that criminalization adversely affects sex workers.[81]

regulation: prostitution may be considered a legitimate business; prostitution and the employment of prostitutes are legal, but regulated; the current situation in the Netherlands, Germany, most of Australia and parts of Nevada (see Prostitution in Nevada). The degree of regulation varies very much, for example in Netherlands prostitutes are not required to undergo mandatory health checks (see Prostitution in the Netherlands) while in Nevada the regulations are very strict (see Prostitution in Nevada)

"Prostitution should not be tolerated":

abolitionism (prostitution itself is not prohibited, but most associated activities are illegal, in an attempt to make it more difficult to engage in prostitution, prostitution is heavily discouraged and seen as a social problem): prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal, but the surrounding activities such as public solicitation, operating a brothel and other forms of pimping are prohibited, the current situation in Great Britain, France and Italy among others;

neo-abolitionism ("prostitution is a form of violence against women, it is a violation of human rights, the clients of the prostitutes exploit the prostitutes"): prostitutes are not prosecuted, but their clients and pimps are, which is the current situation in Sweden, Norway and Iceland (in Norway the law is even more strict, forbidding also having sex with a prostitute abroad).[82]

prohibitionism (both prostitutes and clients are criminalized and are seen as immoral, they are considered criminals): the prevailing attitude nearly everywhere in the United States, with a few exceptions in some rural Nevada counties (see Prostitution in Nevada)

droid
02-05-2016, 04:27 PM
is it possible to implement them? now who's talking about a 'pipe dream'? Now who's being unrealistic?

Well yeah - you're talking about eliminating behaviour that has been around for as long as human civilisation and exists even in primates, whereas the suggestion in the article I linked to is that the decriminalisation could work if legislation is properly enacted and enforced.

I would suggest that there is an order of magnitude in difference between those two theories.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:29 PM
It might also be useful if you clarified what you mean by 'abolition'? Cadging from wikipedia here but this seems reasonable - by these definitions, 'abolition' is what currently exists in the UK, whereas you seem to arguing for prohibition.

from that list it would be 'neo-abolitionism' - not a term I'm familiar with i must admit.

I have already said that I am not in favour of criminalising prostitutes, why are you asking me this again?

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:30 PM
Well yeah - you're talking about eliminating behaviour that has been around for as long as human civilisation and exists even in primates,

lol

droid
02-05-2016, 04:32 PM
lol indeed:

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


A study at Yale–New Haven Hospital trains capuchin monkeys to use silver discs as money in order to study their economic behavior. The discs could be exchanged by the monkeys for various treats. During one chaotic incident, a researcher observed what appeared to be a monkey exchanging a disc for sex. The monkey that was paid for sex immediately traded the silver disc for a grape. The researcher took steps to prevent any possibility of coins being traded for sex after his suspicions were aroused

droid
02-05-2016, 04:34 PM
from that list it would be 'neo-abolitionism' - not a term I'm familiar with i must admit.

I have already said that I am not in favour of criminalising prostitutes, why are you asking me this again?

I was simply asking you to clarify your position. You said you wanted to 'abolish' prostitution. In the general meaning of the word this would equate to the prohibitionist position outlined above, whereas 'abolition', in this context, means something different.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:35 PM
i am speechless

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:36 PM
I was simply asking you to clarify your position. You said you wanted to 'abolish' prostitution. In the general meaning of the word this would equate to the prohibitionist position outlined above, whereas 'abolition', in this context, means something different.

well, now you know.

droid
02-05-2016, 04:38 PM
And if I might add, as someone with no particular horse in this race, the handbaggery from everyone here is making this a less constructive exercise than it might be.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 04:41 PM
No, abolitionists (at least the kind that I support) do not believe in criminalizing women. Quite the opposite, they are concerned with liberation of prostitutes from slavery. They oppose legalization and decriminalisation for the reasons I've outlined above.

from the 1st page,

like i say i've never come across the term 'neo-abolitionism'. sorry if it caused any confusion.

droid
02-05-2016, 06:00 PM
Just to go back to the moral argument for a moment, as I think it goes to root of the stances on this.

So we have two basic positions:


Sex is the ultimate form of human communion, (perhaps even) something sacred, the human body is not just another commodity, and the selling of sex is an affront to human dignity.

Sex is just another biological function like eating or shitting and if people wish to sell sex of their own free will then it's nobody else's business and any attempt to prevent this is a paternalistic attempt to control women's bodies.


Seems to me that both of these things are true, and possibly both of them are sometimes true at the same time.

Like I alluded to earlier, my position on pretty much all issues involving sexuality is essentially 'as long as there is consent and no-one is being harmed, its none of my business', but despite this there's something here that trips me up, which I suppose puts me closer to the first position personally - that the idea of buying sex has always seemed intrinsically wrong to me and its something I never have, nor will I (hopefully) ever do.

So, a question for those advocating decriminalisation.

Whatever about the morals of selling sex - do you think its moral for a man to buy sex?

droid
02-05-2016, 06:03 PM
Not trying to catch anyone out or stir any shit here btw. This seems to me to be a particularly messy question, and Im intrigued by the seeming certainty, the lack of doubt in the two positions being argued for here.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 06:44 PM
Don't be like that tea, I still think we can both get something out of the conversation even if we don't agree.


OK, I'll write that big post I was threatening. I haven't read the whole the last couple of pages so please forgive me if I cover points that have been gone over already.

My position is that the default opinion that prostitution is always bad, always exploitative and something no-one can ever really consent to is a result of the fact that feminist discourse is dominated by academic feminists who are by definition highly educated, invariably female-bodied, overwhelmingly white, middle-class and, if not necessarily rich, at least financially comfortable. To women like this, it's easy to say to themselves "There is no situation I can conceive of in which I would consent to doing paid sex work while still in my right mind. Therefore, any women who sell sex must have been forced into it through violence or the threat of violence, or - worse still - may believe they are 'consenting' to it but are actually too oppressed to realize how oppressed they are, and therefore cannot be considered to be in their right mind." Ergo, consenting to sex work becomes an oxymoron.

Now to reply to your specific points:


You don't have to have direct experience of sex-work to have an opinion. You DO need to be informed though, and there is plenty of research to show that decriminalization/legalization actually does nothing to improve safety, 'monitoring' by the law remains woefully inadequate, the majority of violence still goes unreported, it does not result in safer sex practices, and prostitutes are still stigmatized and discriminated against by society. These are all myths, playing into the hands of organised crime.

A great many prostitutes argue, contrary to this position, that criminalizing the purchase of sex makes their work MORE hazardous, not less. That's without even touching on the point that it's clearly stupid to criminalize the sale of sex in the name of it being 'for their own good', any more than a state is 'protecting' people from drugs by jailing them for possessing small amounts of illegal substances for person use.

Here are a number of prostitutes arguing that criminalizing their punters would be a really bad idea: http://prostitutescollective.net/2016/05/02/4888/

It's also the position taken by, for example, the English Collective of Prostitutes (although I dunno if they necessarily have all the answers - a quick look at their website (http://prostitutescollective.net/about/) tells me they oppose compulsory health checks or HIV tests, which seems nuts to me, but anyway).


...criminal organizations who drive the sex industry...pimps, traffickers, the mafias...

The next point is that by bringing in sex work from the cold completely, i.e. not just decriminalizing it but fully legalizing it and regulating it, the whole criminal element could be cut out. This is almost so obvious that people miss it. You could make it illegal to profit from someone else's sex work - which would remove madams/pimps from the equation - and even introduce legislation to require that immigrants have to have been settled in the country for some time, say a year or two minimum, before doing sex work. This would greatly reduce the financial incentive to traffickers, who are obviously looking to make a return on their dollar as fast as possible.

Pointing to the Netherlands or Germany and saying "They still have problems X, Y and Z" is not an argument against legalization, because we wouldn't have to take a carbon copy of their laws for our own. Indeed, we could look at what's worked over their, what hasn't worked, and learn from their mistakes.

And in any case, all this stuff goes on in countries where prostitution is illegal anyway. Thinking that banning it makes it go away it just bizarrely naive.


.Strange that you of all people take an anti-academic line. You rightly say that more prostitutes' voices should be heard but that's hardly feminists' fault. Lots of research is carried out, they're not just making this stuff up!

I'm not 'anti-academic' by any means - what I'm 'anti' is anyone who thinks they can speak with absolute authority on behalf of other people, especially other people from totally different backgrounds and with totally different like experiences. From the VICE piece I posted above:

“Those on the side of the Nordic model [which makes it illegal to pay for sex] talk about giving ‘a voice to the voiceless’, but won’t listen to those of us who are shouting at the top of our lungs, who these laws will directly affect.”

Now of course I understand that different people will have different experiences of selling sex. A middle-aged woman who works in her own home and has a number of long-term clients she knows well, trusts and has a good relationship with is not in the same situation as a terrified teenager who finds herself walking the streets in a strange city, not speaking the same language as anyone she knows except the men who've put her in this position, and feeling unable to go to the police no matter what happens to her because she'll just get sent back where she came from and end up perhaps an even worse state.


This is about the normalisation of the commercialisation of women's bodies...

This is an interesting phrase. If you'll forgive me being glib, do you get equally furious when you see a group of blokes in hi-viz vests digging a hole in the road, or picking fruit in a field? Because what's that other than "the commercialization of men's bodies"? Indeed, what is *any* paid work other than the "commercialization" of someone's body and/or mind? It's legal to pay someone to do just about any activity that's legal in and of itself, so just what is it about sex work that makes so radically, qualitatively different from all other sorts of labour?

Yes yes, I know, gangs, pimps, trafficking etc. This line is basically saying "prostitution should be illegal because it's dangerous" without acknowledging that, in very large part, prostitution is dangerous because it's illegal. And while I appreciate there are places where it's not illegal (including the UK, technically), the gangs that run the trafficking operations are quite obviously illegal. No-one, least of all Jeremy Corbyn, is talking about legalizing their activities.

(Furthermore, you're also taking the classic anti-sex-work feminist line by assuming all prostitution involves women selling sex to men - that may account for most of the sex trade globally, but there are vast numbers of male prostitutes too - whether they sell sex to women or to other men - and another very significant population of transsexual/transgendered prostitutes.)


decriminalisation in New Zealand for example has done practically nothing to prevent 13 year old girls selling their bodies on the streets, and the men arrested for buying sex from minors still receive light sentences.

If agents of the law in New Zealand are turning a blind eye to the exploitation of children then that constitutes an argument that Kiwi coppers need to get their fucking act in gear. It doesn't constitute an argument that adults should be forbidden from earning a living as they see fit, any more than the fact that 13-year-olds sometimes get drug forms a good argument for an outright ban on alcohol.


No, it YOU who are confusing 'sexual desire' and 'intimacy' with the act of paying for sex. Women should not be made responsible and made to suffer for men's inability to build safe, sexual relationships based on respect, without having to buy another person's body. Quoting Rachel Moran (a survivor of prostitution who wrote the book 'Paid for'), 'there are three types of john: those who assume the women they buy have no human feelings; those who are conscious of a woman's humanity but choose to ignore it; and those who derive sexual pleasure from reducing the humanity of women they buy'.

Why does buying a prostitute's services "ignore [her] humanity"? Do you not "ignore the humanity" of any person you pay to perform any service? (had a deep and meaningful two-way spiritual connection with a bus driver or waitress lately?) Again, we come down to the question of what makes sex work so utterly different from all other forms of work. [Arguably, you can say I'm doing what I've accused you of doing, i.e. ignoring what a (former) prostitute has to say and claiming to speak for her. But that's one woman's experience, while I've read in a good variety of sources that prostitutes overwhelmingly oppose criminalization.]

In any case, there are a great many men for whom visiting prostitutes is not primarily, or not *at all*, about sex but instead about intimacy.

Edit: I should point out that I'm aware it's not currently illegal to buy or sell sex in the UK - but also that the illegality of 'brothels' (defined as two or more prostitutes working in one building) has safety implications, with respect to women being able to look out for each other, and that soliciting is also illegal. Prostitution is also legal in France, I think, but they have ludicrous laws against pimping that define it as anyone financially benefiting from someone else's sex work, to the extent that children being supported by a woman who earns a living through sex could in principle be charged with 'pimping' their own mother - although I don't know if a case that obviously crazy has ever come to court.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 07:02 PM
THIS is what happens when people like corbyn decide what is 'best' for prostitutes.

Oh, the irony! Corby hasn't "decided" anything at all - he's taken the radical step of actually asking groups representing the people who would be affected by this area of legislation what they think would be in their own best interests. I'm reminded of something that happened a year or so ago, when Corbyn mentioned *as a suggestion only* introducing women-only carriages on certain train services as a response to the problem of sexual harassment. A friend of mine, who has a tendency to jump to conclusions and then go off on one rather, went NUTS on Facebook and had a huuuge rant about Corbyn "deciding what's best for women". And yet he'd raised it only as a suggestion and had done so after consulting with a focus group of women on various women's issues. In fact they had suggested it to him. And here was my friend, who considers herself a lefty, laying into the first high-profile British politician in living memory who'd actually just said to members of the public "What problems do you face and how do you think we can address them?"

john eden
02-05-2016, 07:26 PM
For everyone badgering me to expand and clarify my position: just slap me silly and call me Meghan Murphy.

http://groknation.com/women/to-create-gender-equality-fight-prostitution/

This is helpful, thank you. Perhaps given Droid's post above you can understand the confusion about this. Know I know where you're coming from I can have a think about it.

vimothy
02-05-2016, 08:33 PM
So we have two basic positions:


Sex is the ultimate form of human communion, (perhaps even) something sacred, the human body is not just another commodity, and the selling of sex is an affront to human dignity.

Sex is just another biological function like eating or shitting and if people wish to sell sex of their own free will then it's nobody else's business and any attempt to prevent this is a paternalistic attempt to control women's bodies.


I think that's a good summary of the debate here. The former position corresponds to a kind of 'natural law' understanding of sex that's very hard to get away from completely (which is why the question about how you'd feel about your own daughter doing it is so acute - if they're honest, most people would feel extremely squeemish about it). The latter accords more with contemporary liberal understandings. We're autonomous people, and most of our lives can be described in terms of our free contracting and transacting. Sex has no intrinsic meaning and is ultimately a commodity like any other that people might trade and contract over.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 08:46 PM
Like I alluded to earlier, my position on pretty much all issues involving sexuality is essentially 'as long as there is consent and no-one is being harmed, its none of my business', but despite this there's something here that trips me up, which I suppose puts me closer to the first position personally - that the idea of buying sex has always seemed intrinsically wrong to me and its something I never have, nor will I (hopefully) ever do.

So, a question for those advocating decriminalisation.

Whatever about the morals of selling sex - do you think its moral for a man to buy sex?

I don't think it's a relevant question, the conversation should be about safety and basic human rights. I think it's immoral to deny sex workers agency, to deny their status as workers and to implement legislation that makes them more at risk, less able to report abuse, less able to screen clients, and less able to earn their living. Implementing policies which affect the safety of low income workers disproportionately is also immoral.

droid
02-05-2016, 08:54 PM
Sure, but Im interested* in the answer, and I do think its relevant as without clients, prostitution wouldn't exist, and its (an average of about) 15% of men who drive this industry.

*Even more interested now youve avoided the question!;)

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 09:10 PM
I don't think it's black and white personally. I don't think morality exists on an absolute scale.

My suspicion of the question comes from its use as a diversion tactic by politicians, religious groups and abolitionists as a way to avoid having a real conversation about sex work, and sex itself. I think you've already acknowledged that there's no way to conceive of those 15% of men simply dropping off the planet so I'm not convinced of the usefulness of the question.

Benny B
02-05-2016, 09:21 PM
Of course we need to talk about the clients, it's insane not to.
As soon as money enters into the equation you have a power imbalance in any sexual relationship - its no longer simple consent.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:21 PM
Well Im not trying to divert anyone's attention away from a real conversation, and I think there's been a decent one here, Im asking in good faith, and I believe it is an important question, because if the buying of sex is immoral, (or less than moral) then this would of course have an impact on the moral view of the selling of sex.

Nothing is black and white and everything is grey, but we all have lines.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:22 PM
Of course we need to talk about the clients, it's insane not to.
As soon as money enters into the equation you have a power imbalance in any sexual relationship - its no longer simple consent.

I had a list of questions for you a couple of pages back as well Benny!

Benny B
02-05-2016, 09:25 PM
I had a list of questions for you a couple of pages back as well Benny!


Sorry yeah I'm having trouble keeping up! I think you've been steering the conversation in the right direction the last couple pages btw.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 09:25 PM
Of course we need to talk about the clients, it's insane not to.
As soon as money enters into the equation you have a power imbalance in any sexual relationship - its no longer simple consent.

You don't have the right to tell other people, especially women, what they can't consent to.

Droid, I get that your question was in good faith. I've explained why I think it's unhelpful.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:33 PM
Well, its unhelpful if you are campaigning for one particular viewpoint (which I mostly agree with btw), but I think it is relevant to the wider issue - why people hold particular attitudes in the first place.

I am deeply suspicious of conviction when it comes to social/sexual issues (abortion is another one). I think good decisions and good arguments come from doubt. Basically, (presumptuous as it is) I want to see your work (you too Benny), the moral framework your opinions are based on.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:39 PM
Im also interested in this as you never see men campaigning for decriminalisation or social acceptance of prostitution. Even where it is legal Im sure there is still stigma attached.

Now of course, you could claim that this is due to ingrained societal attitudes, but I find it hard to imagine a world when a man would be happy to tell his mother, wife, daughter or girlfriend that they had paid for sex. There is a deeper shame there than simply concern for the neighbour's opinion.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 09:42 PM
I think it's pretty insulting to suggest that work hasn't been done already. Tea and I have both written long posts citing sources which have been systematically ignored by the people here arguing for abolition, who instead prefer to liken sex workers to slaves and deny their agency.
I have questions as to what regulation would look like and how it'd be implemented too. The position I'm arguing for is that we should listen to sex worker lobby groups working in the industry now, and not erase their experience.

To your follow up post - a lot of work is hugely stigmatized, and again assigning sex work a special status in this regard is something that is generally only done by people who themselves think it shameful, who seek to proscribe what constitutes acceptability for others.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:49 PM
Well, my intention is not to insult you as I hope you know - but Im not referring to the practical aspects/research end of things, on which both yourself, Benny & others have provided ample food for thought - I'm talking about the moral foundation that underlies your conviction.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:51 PM
To your follow up post - a lot of work is hugely stigmatized, and again assigning sex work a special status in this regard is something that is generally only done by people who themselves think it shameful, who seek to proscribe what constitutes acceptability for others.

Just to clarify - Im just making observations amongst friends here, Im not passing judgment on anybody, I dont think anyone has the right to tell anyone what to do with their own body, no matter what their personal opinion on a particular issue is.

UFO over easy
02-05-2016, 09:53 PM
Ok gotcha.
I think writings on consent and the nature of wage labour by sex workers (Google will bring up a lot) are what you should be prioritizing in setting your moral compass to this, that's how I try to set mine.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 09:57 PM
As soon as money enters into the equation you have a power imbalance in any sexual relationship - its no longer simple consent.

I think it'd be stretching the definition of the word to breaking point to describe a transaction between a prostitute and a client a 'relationship'.

In any case, in how many genuine relationships is there really absolute parity of economic power? Your position could be used to argue that any marriage between a man who has a paid job and a woman who doesn't - or vice versa - is not a 'consenting' relationship. In fact any relationship in which the two people don't have exactly the same income!

I strongly contest the assertion that there cannot be consent just because money is involved. And no, "but what if the woman is forced into it..." is not a comeback to this, because this is exactly not what anyone is advocating decriminalizing or legalizing.

droid
02-05-2016, 09:59 PM
There is a contradiction here though isnt there? That men who would argue for decriminalisation would also never dream of paying for sex themselves.

Thats OK though, I dont think it weakens the argument, because, like drugs, the argument should be based on minimising harm.

But still.

droid
02-05-2016, 10:01 PM
Ok gotcha.
I think writings on consent and the nature of wage labour by sex workers (Google will bring up a lot) are what you should be prioritizing in setting your moral compass to this, that's how I try to set mine.

Not unreasonable.

Now Tea - what about you?

vimothy
02-05-2016, 10:05 PM
Nothing is black and white

Really, nothing?

droid
02-05-2016, 10:12 PM
Really, nothing?

Paint?

vimothy
02-05-2016, 10:16 PM
Surely there are some things we can all agree are absolutely morally wrong.

droid
02-05-2016, 10:20 PM
Socks with sandals?

vimothy
02-05-2016, 10:24 PM
Now you're avoiding the question.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 10:25 PM
Not unreasonable.

Now Tea - what about you?

Huh? You talking about personal attitudes to paying for sex? I haven't, and I think it's unlikely I ever will, but that's not so much out of a moral stance as out of the idea that "I'm just not the kind of guy who does that kind of thing". Take that how you will. At any rate, it has to do with the unavoidable cultural associations with sordidness, desperation and so on - and, as has been amply demonstrated in this thread, the widespread opinion that any man who pays for sex must be an aggressor, perhaps even little better than a rapist - rather than any ethical concern as such. If I were very wealthy and unattached, or (as some guys do) felt too busy to be in a worthwhile relationship, I could certainly see the attraction.

It's also a self-esteem issue - I'd prefer to think a woman wants to fuck me because she's interested in me qua me, not in the contents of my wallet. (A happy consequence of not being rich is that I'm fairly sure this has been the case so far.)

I know at least a couple of friends of mine have paid for sex, and I don't think any the less of them for it.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 10:26 PM
Socks with sandals?

Christ almighty, can we keep the conversation tasteful, please?! :confused:

droid
02-05-2016, 10:30 PM
I know at least a couple of friends of mine have paid for sex, and I don't think any the less of them for it.

Really, even in an legislative environment where there is a strong likelihood that the person they paid was exploited in some way?

That would be the prime argument against paying for sex IMO - regardless of one's moral stance, you have no way of knowing if the woman involved is actually consenting.

Mr. Tea
02-05-2016, 10:39 PM
Really, even in an legislative environment where there is a strong likelihood that the person they paid was exploited in some way?


Well, I wasn't there on either occasion - but knowing the guys concerned I'm fairly sure neither of them would have been raring to go with a terrified and visibly bruised teenager. Of course, a prostitute might not be that obviously exploited and yet still be in that situation for reasons beyond her control, I accept that. Then again, the same could be said about many people doing many kinds of jobs.

Really, though, it quickly comes down to a definition of 'exploitation'. In the Marxist view, anyone is who is paid a wage by anyone else is exploited, aren't they? Taking that stance, you'd find yourself very limited for choice of where to spend your money if boycotted every shop, pub, restaurant etc. that was 'exploiting' its workers.

droid
02-05-2016, 10:54 PM
Well, I wasn't there on either occasion - but knowing the guys concerned I'm fairly sure neither of them would have been raring to go with a terrified and visibly bruised teenager. Of course, a prostitute might not be that obviously exploited and yet still be in that situation for reasons beyond her control, I accept that.

Right, so its bad if the women involved are 'visibly bruised teenagers', whereas a seemingly cheerful & healthy migrant in her 20's whose family has been threatened and is forced to give up 90% of her income if she ever wants to see her passport again is OK? Isnt a main pillar of the argument for decriminalisation that exploitation and abuse is much more likely under the current conditions?

droid
02-05-2016, 10:55 PM
Now you're avoiding the question.

lol. Ok, almost nothing.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 12:23 AM
So, a question for those advocating decriminalisation.

Whatever about the morals of selling sex - do you think its moral for a man to buy sex?

interesting little study here
http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/pdfs/Farleyetal2011ComparingSexBuyers.pdf

Benny B
03-05-2016, 12:28 AM
Right, so its bad if the women involved are 'visibly bruised teenagers', whereas a seemingly cheerful & healthy migrant in her 20's whose family has been threatened and is forced to give up 90% of her income if she ever wants to see her passport again is OK? Isnt a main pillar of the argument for decriminalisation that exploitation and abuse is much more likely under the current conditions?

from that study i just posted:

Both sex buyers and non-sex buyers evidenced extensive knowledge of the physical and psychological harms of prostitution. Two thirds of both the sex buyers and the non-sex buyers observed that a majority of women are lured, tricked, or trafficked into prostitution.
Many of the men had an awareness of the economic coercion and the lack of alternatives in women's entry into prostitution.
Almost all of the sex buyers and non-sex buyers shared the opinion that minor children are almost always available for prostitution in bars, massage parlors, escort and other prostitution in Boston.
The knowledge that the women have been exploited, coerced, pimped, or trafficked failed to deter sex buyers from buying sex. Many of the sex buyers had used women who were controlled by pimps at the time they used her for sex. Sex buyers in this study seemed to justify their involvement in the sex industry by stating their belief that women in prostitution are essentially different from non-prostituting women.

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 12:31 AM
response to farley's research by PS - http://prostitutescollective.net/2012/07/17/response-to-melissa-farley/ - huge amount of manipulated data and misrepresentation going on.

the PS response also contains hard stats from independent studies with citations regarding the numbers of sex workers who themselves report to have been coerced into sex work - as opposed to farley's approach of asking people for their 'observations' of others circumstances, which seems oddly un-academic and casual for an academic. additionally i'm beginning to resent having to articulate again and again that calls for decrim/regulation are not recommendations that 'pimps' be allowed to continue exploiting minors.


Many of the men had an awareness of the economic coercion and the lack of alternatives in women's entry into prostitution.

It's important to note the word 'economic' in that sentence. A lot of people are economically coerced into working by awkward things like having to pay rent and buy food.



Sex buyers in this study seemed to justify their involvement in the sex industry by stating their belief that women in prostitution are essentially different from non-prostituting women.

This is obviously disgusting and very sad. I believe it to be at least in part a by-product of criminalisation - sex work and buying sex are both illegal in Boston where your study was conducted.
This line is one you also seem to take elsewhere in this thread, although maybe not in the same essentialist sense. You appear to think that sex work fundamentally impacts on a person's ability to function 'normally', regardless of context. Relatedly, as it's been buried upthread, I want to post this talk by a sex worker again - http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-do-sex-workers-want-Toni-M - and recommend everyone watch it.

vimothy
03-05-2016, 01:01 AM
"Almost nothing" - which still leaves room for the example you give above, and more besides.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 09:46 AM
The men who buy sex do think of prostitutes as being different from other women (from their wives and girlfriends for a start), because they are considered to be their property once the money has been handed over – not because of criminalisation. They either enjoy the dominance, don’t care, or choose to ignore the risk that they are taking advantage of a vulnerable person’s position of weakness.

Ben, we all have to pay the rent and buy food. We do not all fall into prostitution as a result of financial hardship: vulnerable women and girls do. The idea that regularization would somehow protect women, that prostiution is just a job like any other, is a lie sold by the men who want to maintain this status quo. So that vulnerable people continue to believe there is no alternative and can be no alternative (and perpetuated by arguments like, ‘you’re going to have to find a lot of jobs’ – as someone said upthread – that it’s an unrealistic pipe dream to create alternatives).

The elephant in the room, the thing that nobody here seems to really want to talk about, is that our society is defined by its patriarchal and capitalist (obv the two go hand in hand) structure. Prostitution exists to serve men, their need to dominate and control women – a pool of women is created to cater to their every desire (if dworkin is a bit much for you, Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho is very good on this if you can find her stuff in English). They are conditioned, usually from a young age (the younger the better), and attracted or kept there by financial desperation, coercion and manipulation. As a matter of pure survival, the abused are bonded to their abusers and come to rely on them (this is also one of the reasons why women who are beaten, abused and raped by their partners often do not leave them).
Meanwhile men are conditioned into the idea that it is normal to buy sex from somebody whenever they want it – there’s no need to go through the hassle of building a relationship in which their desire is reciprocated. And all the while behind this dynamic are the men who profit financially from it. The demand and the desire to inflict violence grows, as the respect for women diminishes (hence the '2 bratwurst, 2 beers and all you can fuck for 70 euros' german mega-brothels that have emerged under 'regularisation'). Nobody, including those women who ‘independently choose’ prostitution as a way of life, is outside this dynamic. That’s why I look to the feminists for guidance, to those who are talking about gender and patriarchy, and certainly do not exclusively limit myself to what the prostitutes themselves have to say (who in any case are not, and can never be, represented by the tiny percentage of prostitutes who have organized into alliances like the NWSP). And that’s why droid’s question about buying sex is not just relevant, but absolutely key to the debate.

droid
03-05-2016, 10:14 AM
"Almost nothing" - which still leaves room for the example you give above, and more besides.

Which? Socks and sandals?

droid
03-05-2016, 10:21 AM
Ben, we all have to pay the rent and buy food. We do not all fall into prostitution as a result of financial hardship: vulnerable women and girls do. The idea that regularization would somehow protect women, that prostiution is just a job like any other, is a lie sold by the men who want to maintain this status quo.

This is clearly and demonstrably untrue, as those lobbying hardest for legalisation are sex workers themselves


The elephant in the room, the thing that nobody here seems to really want to talk about, is that our society is defined by its patriarchal and capitalist (obv the two go hand in hand) structure

So, since patriarchy and capitalism are not going away and the current structures are clearly not working, then a better way to deal with the problem must be found


They are conditioned, usually from a young age (the younger the better), and attracted or kept there by financial desperation, coercion and manipulation. As a matter of pure survival, the abused are bonded to their abusers and come to rely on them (this is also one of the reasons why women who are beaten, abused and raped by their partners often do not leave them).

Once again, this is not always true. It may be true for the majority, but it is not always true.


Meanwhile men are conditioned into the idea that it is normal to buy sex from somebody whenever they want it – there’s no need to go through the hassle of building a relationship in which their desire is reciprocated.

No they arent - I certainly am not anyway, and, as I mentioned above, there is, and will always be (I think) a stigma attached to prostitution.


And that’s why droid’s question about buying sex is not just relevant, but absolutely key to the debate.

Its relevant in teasing out attitudes - I don't think its key - its like asking people to stop taking drugs because of the criminality of the supply chain.

droid
03-05-2016, 10:22 AM
Ahem.


Just a couple of rhetorical questions for Benny.

Is there any scenario where you would say that prostitution is not morally wrong? Say a woman of independent means who freely chooses to sell sex with no third parties involved?

Is it only in the context of societies treatment of women that you view prostitution as unacceptable - what about male prostitution?

Not to propagate the happy hooker myth - but can you conceive of a prostitute who actually enjoys her work?

droid
03-05-2016, 10:37 AM
Really, though, it quickly comes down to a definition of 'exploitation'. In the Marxist view, anyone is who is paid a wage by anyone else is exploited, aren't they? Taking that stance, you'd find yourself very limited for choice of where to spend your money if boycotted every shop, pub, restaurant etc. that was 'exploiting' its workers.

This is a weak argument and I think you know it. Sure, according to Marx all wage labour is exploitation, but very few jobs require the loss of personal & bodily integrity, potential emotional impact, level of intimacy etc. required by prostitution. Pretty sure you'd make a fairly severe distinction if you were in that position yourself.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 10:40 AM
Ahem.

just quickly then...

3rd parties (society) are always involved in some capacity. We cannot talk about prostitution as a free-choice with no 3rd parties involved, as if it doesn't have a knock-on affect on society as a whole. Male prostitution is part of the same dynamic created by patriarchy, so its really no different. The 'happy hooker myth' is just that: a myth.

so, in a word, no to all three questions

Benny B
03-05-2016, 10:42 AM
but very few jobs require the loss of personal & bodily integrity, potential emotional impact, level of intimacy etc. required by prostitution. Pretty sure you'd make a fairly severe distinction if you were in that position yourself.

THIS

Benny B
03-05-2016, 10:43 AM
you have no way of knowing if the woman involved is actually consenting.

THIS

droid
03-05-2016, 10:48 AM
just quickly then...

3rd parties (society) are always involved in some capacity. We cannot talk about prostitution as a free-choice with no 3rd parties involved, as if it doesn't have a knock-on affect on society as a whole. Male prostitution is part of the same dynamic created by patriarchy, so its really no different. The 'happy hooker myth' is just that: a myth.

so, in a word, no to all three questions

Well hang on a sec - you cant argue that female prostitution is misogyny writ large and then apply the same logic to male prostitution. It literally makes no sense.

If you're saying that there is absolutely no circumstances where a woman could offer sex for money, then I have to agree with Ben, you're completely ignoring the free will & agency of these women.

As a corollary of that, there are women sex workers who say they enjoy their work - are these women lying, misguided or confused, or perhaps incapable of comprehending their own desires?

Benny B
03-05-2016, 10:49 AM
you are asking the right questions droid, but your conclusions seem to amount to: the demand/capitalism/patriarchy has always been there and always will be, and so theres no point in resistance.

edit: xp

Benny B
03-05-2016, 10:56 AM
Well hang on a sec - you cant argue that female prostitution is misogyny writ large and then apply the same logic to male prostitution. It literally makes no sense.





yes I can, women are perfectly capable of holding patriarchal views, and men can be victims of it too. like I said, no one is outside the system or not affected by it. Again this is where feminism can come in to raise awareness.

droid
03-05-2016, 10:59 AM
Well, what Im trying to do is cast doubt in the conviction of both sides in the hope of achieving some middle ground.

Im looking for a logical & flexible moral framework that accepts the fact that these things are messy and universal principles are not always applicable, and I have to say, Ive found both sides wanting.

One thing I can say to everyone's credit is that they seem to be coming at this from a good place (except for tea, who is clearly a monster).

Benny B
03-05-2016, 11:03 AM
If you're saying that there is absolutely no circumstances where a woman could offer sex for money, then I have to agree with Ben, you're completely ignoring the free will & agency of these women.

As a corollary of that, there are women sex workers who say they enjoy their work - are these women lying, misguided or confused, or perhaps incapable of comprehending their own desires?

patriarchy will tend to do that. if happy hookers do exist it must surely be a drop in the ocean. and you've already seen the arguments for why that happiness is impossible to achieve under decriminalisation

droid
03-05-2016, 11:04 AM
yes I can, women are perfectly capable of holding patriarchal views, and men can be victims of it too. like I said, no one is outside the system or not affected by it. Again this is where feminism can come in to raise awareness.

FWIW - i was thinking of gay male prostitution ('arent you always!' sez the peanut gallery), but it must be said that the dynamic of the gigolo is very different from traditional male on female prostitution.

droid
03-05-2016, 11:06 AM
patriarchy will tend to do that. if happy hookers do exist it must surely be a drop in the ocean.

Ah - but they do exist, which means they can exist, which means it is possible to have happy women + prostitution, which means with the right formula perhaps many female prostitutes could be happy.

Right?

Benny B
03-05-2016, 11:14 AM
Ah - but they do exist, which means they can exist, which means it is possible to have happy women + prostitution, which means with the right formula perhaps many female prostitutes could be happy.

Right?

if you're looking for absolutes - i don't think it is possible for anything more than a tiny proportion of 'happy prostitutes' to exist, as long as prostitution exists at all. The 'right formula' you are searching for does not exist.

droid
03-05-2016, 11:20 AM
if you're looking for absolutes - i don't think it is possible for anything more than a tiny proportion of 'happy prostitutes' to exist, as long as prostitution exists at all. The 'right formula' you are searching for does not exist.

But the potential is there though isnt it?

Lets widen the net. I know few people who are 'happy' in their jobs, and many who are unhappy, but they consider it a reasonable compromise in return for their wage and certainly do not feel abused.

It stands to reason that there must be a reasonable cohort of sex workers who feel this way, certainly a larger group than those who say they 'love' their work. How do we make this cohort larger?

Benny B
03-05-2016, 11:26 AM
But the potential is there though isnt it?



the potential for increasing the number of happy prostitutes (that tiny proportion) while prostitution exists does not exist

droid
03-05-2016, 11:34 AM
Thats not logical. And it feels like Im hitting a dogma wall here.

Happy prostitutes cannot exist because prostitution is bad because there are no happy prostitutes.

droid
03-05-2016, 11:44 AM
Oh jesus, Ive just realised that Ive turned into Vimothy. :confused:

vimothy
03-05-2016, 11:46 AM
Which? Socks and sandals?

Wouldn't it be absolutely morally wrong to force "a seemingly cheerful & healthy migrant in her 20's" to work as a prostitute, because her "family has been threatened and [she] is forced to give up 90% of her income if she ever wants to see her passport again"? Or are there some states of the world where that's okay?

droid
03-05-2016, 11:52 AM
I don't want to take things off topic, though I am surely deserving of some Vimothian interrogation, but sure, I would think so, but I also guess i could conceive of some scenarios where it is less absolute - but generally, I would say enslavement is one of those things that is not grey.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 11:55 AM
Thats not logical. And it feels like Im hitting a dogma wall here.

Happy prostitutes cannot exist because prostitution is bad because there are no happy prostitutes.

you are definitely hitting some kind of wall.

Under pressure from you to come up with some sort of magical absolute catch-all statement I (admittedly reluctantly) qualified it to say that no more than a 'tiny' amount of 'happy' prostitutes could ever exist as long as prostitution itself exists.

your interpretation of what i was saying:'prostitution is bad because there are no happy prostitutes' does not cover all the negative effects of prostitution on society as a whole.

the argument may seem circular, but the real vicious circle is the one created by patriarchy. no wonder we're all tied up in knots!

droid
03-05-2016, 12:01 PM
Im trying to prompt you to examine your own beliefs, as it seems from the outside that they have led you to completely dismiss the explicitly expressed wishes of a reasonably large number of women who have direct firsthand experience of prostitution - arguably a manifestation of the patriarchy you yourself oppose.

It may be that the solution is different in different places. it may be that, like drugs, we will have to have decriminalisation/legalisation to bring things out into the open before an honest conversation can take place and the wider societal issues are tackled effectively. It may be that range of approaches - some contradictory - are necessary.

One thing that I am certain of is that a dogmatic, proscriptive approach based on inflexible, abstract moral principles is not capable of providing a good answer, or even a completely persuasive argument.

droid
03-05-2016, 12:07 PM
In other words, your qualification strengthens rather than weakens your argument.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 12:12 PM
Im trying to prompt you to examine your own beliefs, as it seems from the outside that they have led you to completely dismiss the explicitly expressed wishes of a reasonably large number of women who have direct firsthand experience of the prostitution - arguably a manifestation of the patriarchy you yourself oppose.

.

i have at no point said that all prostitutes voices should not be heard in the debate, and certainly do not 'dismiss' them. I did say that we should not listen to ONLY them, to the exclusion of EVERYONE ELSE as Ben UFO seems to advocate ("listen to sex workers and shut up")

droid
03-05-2016, 12:16 PM
lol indeed:


A study at Yale–New Haven Hospital trains capuchin monkeys to use silver discs as money in order to study their economic behavior. The discs could be exchanged by the monkeys for various treats. During one chaotic incident, a researcher observed what appeared to be a monkey exchanging a disc for sex. The monkey that was paid for sex immediately traded the silver disc for a grape. The researcher took steps to prevent any possibility of coins being traded for sex after his suspicions were aroused

I wonder if there's been any research on dolphins. If any species has independently developed prostitution it'll be those fuckers. Not sure I can search for 'dolphin prostitution' in work though...

sadmanbarty
03-05-2016, 12:17 PM
I wonder if there's been any research on dolphins. If any species has independently developed prostitution it'll be those fuckers. Not sure I can search for 'dolphin prostitution' in work though...

Especially if you work at an aquarium

Benny B
03-05-2016, 12:18 PM
I wonder if there's been any research on dolphins. If any species has independently developed prostitution it'll be those fuckers. Not sure I can search for 'dolphin prostitution' in work though...

lol

and on that note, i've got to bow out for now. have a good day chaps and keep asking those important questions

droid
03-05-2016, 12:26 PM
i have at no point said that all prostitutes voices should not be heard in the debate, and certainly do not 'dismiss' them. I did say that we should not listen to ONLY them, to the exclusion of EVERYONE ELSE as Ben UFO seems to advocate ("listen to sex workers and shut up")

Ben has qualified his statement and acknowledged his rudeness to be fair.

Here's where Im coming from. I came into feminism in my teens via the likes of Dworkin, Sheila Jeffreys, MacKinnon, Woolf. My default stance on prostitution would probably have been not too different from your own and I would have supported the Swedish model, more or less. In recent years Ive seen a large upsurge in women calling for decriminalisation and legalisation and I figure that I wouldn't be much of a feminist if I didnt listen to what these women are saying.

It seems to me that you are not giving their arguments fair shrift because you instinctively feel that there is something morally wrong in the very act of prostitution. Nothing wrong with that, but I would suggest that basing policy purely on subjective moral principles is a) A very slippery slope and b) That we should judge the morality of a social policy, not necessarily by the behaviour it engenders, but by its outcomes.

droid
03-05-2016, 12:28 PM
Especially if you work at an aquarium

lol. There's a documentary somewhere about a dolphin keeper who had a 20 year affair with one of her... charges? captives?

vimothy
03-05-2016, 02:28 PM
I don't want to take things off topic

That's fine by me, but in practice you can't avoid "subjective moral principles" -- everyone on this thread has made repeated appeals to them. (For example, why should outcome X be favoured over outcome Y?)

droid
03-05-2016, 02:35 PM
Sure, and I should be more adroit with my use of qualifiers, but I hope we can take it as a given that there is more of a consensus that rape/enslavement is harmful than there is that prostitution in of itself is harmful? Utilitarianism basically - though I would also acknowledge the problems there.

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 03:00 PM
I wonder if there's been any research on dolphins. If any species has independently developed prostitution it'll be those fuckers. Not sure I can search for 'dolphin prostitution' in work though...

Dunno about dolphins but penguins definitely do it.

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 06:18 PM
Right, so its bad if the women involved are 'visibly bruised teenagers', whereas a seemingly cheerful & healthy migrant in her 20's whose family has been threatened and is forced to give up 90% of her income if she ever wants to see her passport again is OK?

I'd have thought you'd been arguing about stuff on the internet for long enough not to use such a cheesy old line as "Oh, so you think [X] is OK, do you?" (to which the answer is, invariably, "No of course I bloody don't").

As I said, I wasn't there, so I don't know. That doesn't automatically mean it was very worst possible scenario you can imagine.

Has anyone given any thought to the suggestion I made a couple of posts ago about tackling the trafficking problem by restricting prostitution to people who are either native citizens or immigrants who've been domiciled here for some period of years? I don't know if


Isnt a main pillar of the argument for decriminalisation that exploitation and abuse is much more likely under the current conditions?

I'm not sure I get you - prostitution is already decriminalized in the UK, in fact it's fully legal. The VICE link I posted above quotes prostitutes who are arguing against the introduction of a Scandinavian-style law that would criminalize prostitute's customers.

What remains illegal is pimping (a good thing in itself, although I can only assume the enforcement of this law is woefully inadequate) and other activities such as 'running a brothel' (i.e. two or more prostitutes working in the same premises), which I think is probably counterproductive.

droid
03-05-2016, 07:01 PM
I'd have thought you'd been arguing about stuff on the internet for long enough not to use such a cheesy old line as "Oh, so you think [X] is OK, do you?" (to which the answer is, invariably, "No of course I bloody don't").

Im glad you picked up on this, though I am somewhat stunned by the irony. This was a minor tribute to you, as (though you seem oblivious) this is one of your standard rhetorical devices.


As I said, I wasn't there, so I don't know. That doesn't automatically mean it was very worst possible scenario you can imagine.

Yes, but it may well have been, and given the legal situation in the UK there is a strong possibility that the women your friends bought sex from were coerced in some way, and sex with coercion invalidates implied consent, which means... ...Ill let you fill in the blanks.


I'm not sure I get you - prostitution is already decriminalized in the UK, in fact it's fully legal. The VICE link I posted above quotes prostitutes who are arguing against the introduction of a Scandinavian-style law that would criminalize prostitute's customers.

What remains illegal is pimping (a good thing in itself, although I can only assume the enforcement of this law is woefully inadequate) and other activities such as 'running a brothel' (i.e. two or more prostitutes working in the same premises), which I think is probably counterproductive.

In an attempt to clarify Benny's position, I posted a list of definitions of positions on page 5 which you must have missed, the UK is abolitionist, Sweden is neo-abolitionist, Nevada is prohibitionist, New Zealand is decriminalised, Holland is legalised.

They seem useful, so they are the definitions Im using

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 07:12 PM
That’s why I look to the feminists for guidance, to those who are talking about gender and patriarchy, and certainly do not exclusively limit myself to what the prostitutes themselves have to say (who in any case are not, and can never be, represented by the tiny percentage of prostitutes who have organized into alliances like the NWSP).

This is a huge distortion of your actual position. Sex work is one of the most contentious areas within contemporary feminism, and what you have actually done is seek out the subset of feminists who will confirm your existing prejudice - feminists who are mostly older, middle class, white, from Western Europe and the US, who systematically exclude the voices of sex workers from academic debate (hence their no platforming on student campus' - 'you exclude us we'll exclude you'), who base their research on casual 'observations' (that Farley piece you linked to upthread) as opposed to the many independent studies and research projects from around the world that exist in this area.

You prioritise these voices over other feminist groups which are younger, more diverse in every way and who are more engaged with sex workers. These groups all discuss capitalism and patriarchy and how the two intersect with other causes extensively. You also prioritise these particular feminist voices, who satisfy your own ideas around what feminism should look like, over current sex worker activist groups, and over Amnesty International and the UN who as we discussed have conducted research over a number of years which informs their recommendations for decriminalization.

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 07:28 PM
Yes, but it may well have been, and given the legal situation in the UK there is a strong possibility that the women your friends bought sex from were coerced in some way, and sex with coercion invalidates implied consent, which means... ...Ill let you fill in the blanks.


I'm not sure this is true. A huge amount of sex work in the UK is conducted through Internet sites now through which sex workers advertise and screen their clients - who are essentially ranked/reviewed, with any problems or difficulties flagged up. People can choose not to accept clients who don't satisfy certain feedback criteria or who don't have enough feedback. The Swedish model (criminalisation of clients) makes this system impossible, as clients would not be willing to register for such a service, making screening much more difficult. The obvious response to policies like this which affect safety are for sex workers to work together in groups - but unfortunately as Tea has mentioned, a group of two or more sex workers now legally constitutes 'brothel keeping' and is also illegal.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 07:55 PM
Can you please explain how subscribing to a brand of feminism that informs and is in agreement with my views is a 'distortion of my actual position'. Of course im aware that the issue is contentious within feminism itself. Im inclined to think feminists who support decriminalisation are mistaken. Not sure what else to say to you about that really

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 07:58 PM
You implied that your position is 'the feminist' position - 'that's why I look to the feminists for guidance' - and that this position is the one concerned with 'gender and patriarchy', which is something all feminists are concerned with.

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 08:03 PM
Im glad you picked up on this, though I am somewhat stunned by the irony. This was a minor tribute to you, as (though you seem oblivious) this is one of your standard rhetorical devices.

Haha, touché. I'm sure most of us have done it at some point, to be fair.


Yes, but it may well have been, and given the legal situation in the UK...

Actually one of the guys I'm thinking of told me about a time he visited a (legal, obviously) brothel in Germany during the World Cup.

A crime definitely took place, however - he left his wallet unattended and she robbed him blind, lol.


In an attempt to clarify Benny's position, I posted a list of definitions of positions on page 5 which you must have missed, the UK is abolitionist, Sweden is neo-abolitionist, Nevada is prohibitionist, New Zealand is decriminalised, Holland is legalised.

They seem useful, so they are the definitions Im using

OK, yes, I did miss that post and yes they seem useful.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 08:08 PM
You implied that your position was 'the feminist' position - 'that's why I look to the feminists for guidance'.


Didnt imply anything. I assumed that everyone would know about the type of feminism i subscribe to from what id previously written.
You can go on about the age and ethnic background of the feminists i support-i dont care. Its the arguments the consistency and the reasoning that interests me

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 08:14 PM
Your arguments and the consistency of the reasoning you've cited have been interrogated pretty thoroughly at every turn and you've failed to provide counter arguments every time, instead preferring to moralise or make grandiose and offensive remarks about slavery.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 08:25 PM
For everyone badgering me to expand and clarify my position: just slap me silly and call me Meghan Murphy.



http://groknation.com/women/to-create-gender-equality-fight-prostitution/


Just in you case u missed it ben. This explains my position as concisely and clearly as i could imagine.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 08:27 PM
Hardly think i can be accused of not providing counter arguments though

droid
03-05-2016, 08:28 PM
I'm not sure this is true. A huge amount of sex work in the UK is conducted through Internet sites now through which sex workers advertise and screen their clients - who are essentially ranked/reviewed, with any problems or difficulties flagged up. People can choose not to accept clients who don't satisfy certain feedback criteria or who don't have enough feedback. The Swedish model (criminalisation of clients) makes this system impossible, as clients would not be willing to register for such a service, making screening much more difficult. The obvious response to policies like this which affect safety are for sex workers to work together in groups - but unfortunately as Tea has mentioned, a group of two or more sex workers now legally constitutes 'brothel keeping' and is also illegal.

OK, on the face of it this seems like a decent argument against the Swedish model, but on the other hand I can think of about a thousand ways offhand to game that system from both sides.

Can you say with any conviction that someone who wishes to buy sex in the UK online or otherwise has any way to be certain the woman involved is not being coerced, abused or exploited?

Is there a source you trust that indicates the level of trafficking and/or vulnerable women forced or coerced into prostitution in the UK?

craner
03-05-2016, 08:31 PM
Just as a point of order, Benny, when everybody is interrogating you so closely, it seems a bit off to just post links and declare, "there! That's what I think!"

craner
03-05-2016, 08:32 PM
Although that has been Droid's default tactic in other contexts.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 08:35 PM
Just as a point of order, Benny, when everybody is interrogating you so closely, it seems a bit off to just post links and declare, "there! That's what I think!"


I know but ive alrwady gone through practically all the arguments and cant really be arsed repeating them again . I like that article in particular because its a neat summary. Have you read the whole thread?

craner
03-05-2016, 08:41 PM
Pretty much, but I don't have anything enlightening to say on the subject. It's a very interesting and engaging thread, though, don't get me wrong.

Benny B
03-05-2016, 08:50 PM
Pretty much, but I don't have anything enlightening to say on the subject. .


Shame. Its probably time for some other people to speak up now

droid
03-05-2016, 08:58 PM
Regarding the class/type of feminism issue. So we have a few basic categories:


Academic feminists of a certain vintage who hold Dworkinesque positions and endorse neo-abolitionist or prohibitionist positions.

Sex-workers & (mostly) 3rd wave feminists who generally endorse decriminalisation or legalisation.

Those forced into sex work who are essentially voiceless but (from my knowledge) tend to support the first position.


So category 1 accuses category 2 of ignoring reality, being out of touch etc. - fine. But what about the category of sex workers who are not organised, by virtue of being trafficked, abused, coerced - are they not being ignored by the 2nd category? Given the experience in holland & germany (if even half of it is true), dont the demands of the second group fail to take into account the needs of the third?

droid
03-05-2016, 08:59 PM
Although that has been Droid's default tactic in other contexts.

One thing I dont think I can be accused of is a reticence to give my opinion.

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 09:00 PM
Can you say with any conviction that someone who wishes to buy sex in the UK online or otherwise has any way to be certain the woman involved is not being coerced, abused or exploited?

No. This isn't an argument for the Swedish model, however, and is consistent with my viewpoint.


Is there a source you trust that indicates the level of trafficking and/or vulnerable women forced or coerced into prostitution in the UK?

No, because as we've discussed the legal definition of trafficking is broken, as it includes economic migrants who voluntarily enter into sex work in order to support themselves. Ridiculously, a sex worker can also be charged with trafficking their friend if a client requests an appointment with two people, and they make an appointment for them and that friend. In some places trafficking is legally defined as 'aiding prostitution' and people can be charged with 'trafficking themselves' into sex work.

There are some examples here of 'trafficking' cases and the variety of things that can actually describe - http://titsandsass.com/sex-trafficking-a-media-guide/#more-21442

The author, a sex worker, claims not to be able to find a single case example where a trafficking charge describes forced prostitution.


Given the experience in holland & germany (if even half of it is true), dont the demands of the second group fail to take into account the needs of the third?

I don't think so, because proper regulation in the long term would account for this, and enable the police to do their jobs more effectively. It would be a long term project involving a lot of trust rebuilding between communities - eg sex workers, government and the police. As Tea has said, the problems in Holland and Germany are evidence of poor regulation and ineffective policing, not that sex work itself is a root cause of exploitation.

Benny - I didn't miss the Meghan Murphy article. I believe all points within the article have been covered extensively.
I also believe Meghan Murphy to be a transphobe and a racist. This is a letter signed by various sex worker action groups, transgender activist groups and Black Lives Matter reps in Canada to that effect - http://shamelessmag.com/blog/entry/an-open-letter-to-the-editors-of-rabble.ca

droid
03-05-2016, 09:05 PM
OK, but the ILO stats I posted above claim 4.5 million worldwide, which is a fairly staggering number. There must be some indication of numbers in the UK - if only to act as a guide.


No. This isn't an argument for the Swedish model, however, and is consistent with my viewpoint.

Im not saying otherwise, but basically, as the situation stands, a man buying sex from a woman in the UK has no way to know if the woman is being coerced? That, to me, does not seem like a particularly ethical transaction.

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 09:12 PM
Edit - wrong stat. Yep that's terrible.

I don't know of numbers in the UK. A couple of the reports I've posted in response to Benny have numbers for the US and New Zealand I think.

droid
03-05-2016, 09:18 PM
There must be some reasonable numbers somewhere - the ILO seem reputable.

The EU claims 30,000 registered victims over 3 years , 69% victim of sexual exploitation, which makes about 22,000 (presumably the real numbers are much higher), but those figures alone seem unacceptably high.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29660126

droid
03-05-2016, 09:20 PM
Is there a real risk that decriminalisation if not implemented properly (and I assume it wont be) will, at the least, make the situation worse for these women?

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 09:21 PM
No one in their right mind would argue against that, but forced sexual exploitation isn't sex work and it's obviously not what sex worker activist groups are lobbying for. Any legislation that would make it worse for those people would obviously be dreadful, but why would that need be the case?

droid
03-05-2016, 09:34 PM
Sure, its sex-slavery, but the actual work involved, I assume is very similar.

Decriminalisation based on the German model would essentially remove what remaining laws are currently in place relating to prostitution and fail to bring in any effective regulatory system, providing a semi-legal cover for these activities making them even more difficult to police, and possibly increase the attractiveness and profit of the business - and presumably the numbers being trafficked and/or coerced.

Im not sure I have faith that government - particularly a Tory government - is capable of implementing good legislation on this.

droid
03-05-2016, 09:38 PM
I guess I have a suspicion that organised sex workers essentially hold a privileged position, and that decriminalisation whilst benefiting them could be to the detriment of those below them on the food chain.

Sorry for being lazy - but is there proposed legislation from lobby groups? Do they address the issue of trafficking - other than to say it doesn't happen?

UFO over easy
03-05-2016, 09:48 PM
im not sure I have faith that government - particularly a Tory government - is capable of implementing good legislation on this

That's a fair concern, I share that.

But I don't think it's fair at all to place forced labour next to sex work in a 'food chain'.

droid
03-05-2016, 09:54 PM
Sorry, poor choice of words, but you essentially have two categories of people doing more or less the same work, one of their free will, and one against their will, so I think the principle stands.

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 10:10 PM
There must be some reasonable numbers somewhere - the ILO seem reputable.

The EU claims 30,000 registered victims over 3 years , 69% victim of sexual exploitation, which makes about 22,000 (presumably the real numbers are much higher), but those figures alone seem unacceptably high.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29660126

Nice turn of phrase - reminds me of Pope Vows To Get Church Pedophilia Down To Acceptable Levels (http://www.theonion.com/article/pope-vows-to-get-church-pedophilia-down-to-accepta-17201).

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 10:13 PM
Decriminalisation based on the German model...

Assuming we're still talking about the UK here (given that this thread was spun off from the Corbyn one), I pointed out some time ago that some hypothetical future UK government that wanted to change the law on prostitution would be no means be logically bound to copy the German model to the letter. Indeed, to the extent that German laws haven't protected (some) prostitutes there, we could learn from their mistakes.

john eden
03-05-2016, 10:21 PM
Initial thoughts on this, largely for my own benefit I guess. Sorry for length and for repeating what other people have said.

I should point out, as I did on the EU thread, that I am not certain about this and am contributing in the spirit of discussion and clarification.

That said, I think it is unlikely that consensus will be reached. Perhaps that's OK as it is basically privileged white men discussing this issue on the internet. One of the reasons it is hard to reach any kind of agreement is that the data is so hard to come by. This is partly because of the legal situation and partly because of the ethical situation (sex workers being widely regarded as dubious people).

Having said that I haven't read all of the links which have been posted here, because of a lack of time, sorry. Anyway I am trying to go back to my first principles here, so people can "see my working" as Droid has said - rather than pass myself off as an expert or someone who has special knowledge.


Women / Work / Wages

1. Sex work as it currently exists is a product of a patriarchal society and capitalism. My aim is to eradicate both and replace them with something better/fairer.

2. Sex work is a spectrum which includes exchanging penetrative sex for money at one end. But it also includes a bunch of other, less invasive activities. Including stuff which is not necessarily directly sexual (adult babies, bondage etc) for the sex worker or which doesn't involve direct physical contact with another person (cam work, some porn etc).

3. Women are expected to participate in "emotional labour" far more than men are generally.

4. Women's work is generally less well paid than men's work.

5. Women's work generally includes vast amounts of unpaid labour without which society would not be able to function (housework, childrearing etc).

6. Women are more likely than men to be single parents (and so more likely to need to support a family out of a single income).

7. Women have been more adversely affected by the current round of cuts/austerity than men.

I do not find it inconceivable that some women may prefer to engage in some types of sex work rather than get minimum wage (or no wages) for intimate care work, for example wiping the arses of old people. Or other mind numbing activity that takes up more of their time than sex work might/could.

This is obviously not a choice I think is fair - hence my calls up thread for a universal basic income as a transitional demand before we get communism and unicorns.

But I know a woman who has made that choice and seemed relatively happy with it. It is not for me to decree that she needed rescuing.

Morality / Your Daughter

1. Women are judged more harshly than men for sexual transgressions. (I am excluding sexual assault here as I consider that to be more about violence and power than sex). Shane MacGowan apparently worked as a rent boy and this is passed off as an unfortunate phase in his life. Women in the public eye who have worked as sex workers seem completely defined by that forevermore.

2. I have not paid for sex / sex work and think it is unlikely that I would do so in future. It does not fit with my ethical code or how I see myself. Possibly I would reconsider this if my life situation changed harshly - most of the situations I am envisioning involve horrible things happening to me or my partner so I prefer not to vocalise them but I suppose I could if that would be helpful.

3. I've been in a monogamous relationship for 19 years now. And actually have been in monogamous relationships for virtually of my sexually active life. I've never had an affair, even. Woo.

4. There is a vast field of things I do not want my daughter to do. These include taking drugs, being religious, holding fascist beliefs and enjoying the music of Phil Collins. In terms of work I would not want her to join the armed forces, the police force, a firm of bailiffs, anything to do with banking, the Sun newspaper etc. I would also not want her to be a sex worker.

5. It is clear that a significant percentage of the population think about sex and relationships entirely differently from me. Some people of all genders / sexualities just like to fuck around generally and seem happy enough with that. (WRT to Droid's insightful point about sex being a special thing to some people - the sacred peak of a relationship).

6. It is abundantly clear that a large proportion of men have no problem paying for sexual services, even if they are illegal. My guess it that whilst we have capitalism that will always be the case. The logic of capitalism is that there will therefore always be sex workers.

So...

I can't stop my daughter from taking drugs, so I would like to ensure that the drugs she takes and the environment she takes them in are safe - and as free from dangerous people and criminals as possible. Hence why I think regulation of drugs is worth exploring.

I can't stop her going into the Army either - which is why I support efforts to ensure that soldiers have the right training/equipment and also more crucially that sexism/bullying in the forces is challenged.

Ultimately I can't stop her becoming a sex worker either, which is why I think it is important that harm reduction strategies are introduced.

As flagged up in the video I posted on the first page, some sex workers are saying that they would like to be able to go to the police with more confidence when crimes are committed against them in the course of their work. The sex workers in the video are suggesting that decriminalisation is better for them than regulation/legalisation. They are not suggestion neo-abolitionism as a solution.

Are they typical sex workers? Do they represent typical sex workers? Nobody actually knows, do they?

The law

1. Extortion, kidnap, assault, rape etc are already illegal as has been pointed out. How good the police are at ensuring convictions for these crimes varies greatly - and is dependent on their resources as well as their institutional racism, sexism and the prevailing political climate.

2. Investigations by the police are clearly affected by the race, gender, status etc of the participants. I do not see this changing any time soon. Any recourse to legislation must come with an acknowledgement that this will mean more policing - with all the disastrous effects that inevitably brings: “I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.”

3. Over the last century huge steps have been taken in workplace safety thanks to trade unions, campaigning, legislation etc. People should not expect to be routinely beaten or raped or robbed as part of their work, in the same way that they should not be exposed to asbestos or cigarette smoke. Generally the campaigns that have worked best have had a groundswell of support from the workers themselves. It is hard to get my head around the various sex worker lobby groups but my impression is that harm reduction and safety is something that everyone on this thread can agree on?

4. Safety of the consumers should also be considered. I'm not sure how you can do that without legislation though. Possibly by some ebay-like feedback scheme. It is a lesser issue for me. (I think Ben said that criminalising punters would put people off registering but I'm assuming Bitcoin / silk road etc models might be able to generate a profile which is not traceable - lots of people have online profiles which are distinct from the real life ones - that can be assessed by people for credibility - it's easy to see who is a bot or a nonentity "ranting egg" on twitter, right? But more on tech at the end...

Neo-abolitionism
Now I know what this is, my initial reaction is that making clients who pay for sexual services into criminals will not necessarily help with harm reduction. I'd like to be clearer about what sexual services this would apply to, for starters.

My immediate point would be that if someone who pays for services from a sex
worker is already criminalised that a dynamic has already been set up where the client is prepared to break the law. That may not have a healthy impact on the situation.

Similarly, as said above, if the police already view the situation in a criminal framework that may not help sex workers either. It is all too easy to see cops who are short of arrests staking out people who leave sex work establishments, whether they are guilty of the "crime" of purchasing sex or not. If you were running a business where all of your clients were criminals (by definition) and one of them assaulted you, would you be happy to go to the police and identify your premises or somehow otherwise reveal your other non-violent client base?

Tech / other stuff

More as a throwaway really, but I think we need to consider technological solutions to these issues as well as legislative ones. Peer to peer has had a significant impact on the music business and has lead to a plethora of one man bandcamps. I'm not sure if it's had the same impact yet on the porn industry but I am guessing it will. (I'm amazed that newsagents still stock porn mags - that surely will die out in my lifetime?)

Has tinder had an impact on sex work? What will happen when VR and (ugh) sex-bots are more prevalent?

What are the technologies that can be used for harm reduction in sex work?

droid
03-05-2016, 10:51 PM
Great post John. Pertinent points about the perils of policing - I was thinking something similar myself.

Please, tell us about the horrible things that you envision happening to you.*







*Only joking

john eden
03-05-2016, 10:54 PM
Rereading Selma James (about the occupation by sex workers of a church in the 70s in protest against police harassment) has lead me to the ECP site which has some bits on:

trafficking: http://prostitutescollective.net/2016/04/20/facts-on-trafficking/

Also their response to a Scottish bill on criminalising purchase of sex:
http://prostitutescollective.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Scotland-consultation-response1.pdf

(the bill was not adopted - looks like it wasn't discussed even, due to lack of support - that just for info, it may just have been appallingly drafted or something)

vimothy
03-05-2016, 11:24 PM
I hope we can take it as a given that there is more of a consensus that rape/enslavement is harmful than there is that prostitution in of itself is harmful?

I agree with that, but my point is that it's not enough to put forward a utilitarian solution as though it were free from moral judgement and merely the answer to a technical question about the effect of policy.

droid
03-05-2016, 11:33 PM
Well, the utilitarian approach itself is never free from moral judgement is it? Seeing as the calculation of harm/benefit is in itself a moral judgment, albeit (and this is the crux I suppose) one that attempts to quantify the most widely accepted definitions of both - which, in the area of social policy is the closest you can get to objectivity.

Mr. Tea
03-05-2016, 11:44 PM
I'm not sure this is true. A huge amount of sex work in the UK is conducted through Internet sites now through which sex workers advertise and screen their clients - who are essentially ranked/reviewed, with any problems or difficulties flagged up. People can choose not to accept clients who don't satisfy certain feedback criteria or who don't have enough feedback.

Yes, exactly. A woman - or a man, for that matter - who is able to screen clients is not in the same position as someone who simply has to use their judgement in the case of each potential punter who turns up (or, worse still, is in such dire financial straits as to be unable to turn anyone away). A prostitute who works for herself and only for herself is not in the same position as someone who is beholden to a pimp or madam. A prostitute working in a legally registered brothel with professional security on hand is not in the same position as someone who gets into strangers' cars every night. And so on.

So there is a huge range of experiences encompassed by the term 'prostitute' or 'sex worker', from someone who chooses their own clients, sets their own rates and keeps the rewards of their labour (and who by any reasonable definition of the word is a good deal less exploited than any given shop or office worker) to those who meet the functional definition of a slave.

Two things, then:

Surely we can all agree that the existence of prostitutes at one extreme end of this spectrum can be acknowledged without implying that those at the other end don't exist or can be ignored? and,

Is it possible to create laws that, as far as possible, protect those at the latter extreme of the spectrum while allowing those at the former end to conduct their business without the state interfering with them any more than it does any self-employed person?

Benny B
04-05-2016, 12:25 AM
Great post John with lots to ruminate on (which is precisely what I'm gonna do for a while before posting again I think). One thing I will say is that there needs to be much more research and debate about the men who buy sex and their motivations, how they view the women they buy sex from.

Thanks again for the post.

john eden
04-05-2016, 07:38 AM
Great post John with lots to ruminate on (which is precisely what I'm gonna do for a while before posting again I think). One thing I will say is that there needs to be much more research and debate about the men who buy sex and their motivations, how they view the women they buy sex from.

Thanks again for the post.

Thanks Benny. I agree about the research you suggest. A key question for me is how many of them would care if they knew about the autonomy or lack of, of the sex worker they are paying?

Benny B
04-05-2016, 11:16 AM
One more thing to leave you with before I withdraw from the debate for a while. The NSWP have been brought up several times here. What do you all make of this?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/22/pimp-amnesty-prostitution-policy-sex-trade-decriminalise-brothel-keepers

mistersloane
05-05-2016, 05:32 AM
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/182860.pdf

This is quite an interesting study on punters and why they do it and what they want :

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/182860.pdf

Especially revealing in this sentence, I thought :

3 ) Many of the popular explanations as to why men seek prostitutes are supported by the findings. Underlying many of them is the sense that men are entitled to sexuality, and if conventional relationships are not available or are not meeting their wants, prostitution is an option. This sense of entitlement to sexuality could be addressed in future prevention or education efforts.

That sentence "the sense that men are entitled to sexuality", I find really chilling.

Mr. Tea
05-05-2016, 05:18 PM
Sex is a basic human need for everyone except the small minority of genuine asexuals. I think the asymmetry between men and women arises because almost all women can, if they so choose, find someone to fuck. With men that's not necessarily the case. Which is why prostitution usually - though not always, as people in this thread have pointed out - involves women selling sex to men. Whether this is just a social thing or has a biological basis, I don't know, although if it is social, it does seem to be pretty universal.

I mean, is there or has there been a society where it's more common for men to sell sex to women, or where this kind of prostitution arose first? I'd be intrigued to learn of such a thing.

Mr. Tea
15-05-2016, 05:31 PM
Now here's a thing. At the music night I hosted with woops on Friday there was this woman I've known for years from the old b3ta messageboards, who makes a living mainly from being a sort of webcam dominatrix. (From what I understand, this doesn't usually involve any nudity on her part but is aimed at men who get off on being told what to do. I remember a screenshot she posted once that showed three men, all fully dressed, sitting on a sofa, deadpan as you like, each with a shoe balanced on his head.) Anyway, she'd told me before that she used to see clients in the flesh for, er, in-the-flesh type actual sex, and she implied the other night that she still did. In her own words, "it's about counselling as much sex" much of the time, and "99 times out of 100 they can't even get it up".

She's FEROCIOUSLY feminist and is pretty much the least oppressed woman you could even hope to meet.

Benny B
15-05-2016, 06:45 PM
Your point being...?

Benny B
15-05-2016, 06:47 PM
Maybe those blokes should go to an actual counseller

Mr. Tea
15-05-2016, 07:28 PM
Your point being...?

Dunno. It's just that it hadn't occurred to me that I knew an actual sex worker.


Maybe those blokes should go to an actual counseller

And maybe you shouldn't care so much about what goes on between consenting adults you've never met.

Benny B
15-05-2016, 07:40 PM
Was just a suggestion. They do need counselling right?

Mr. Tea
15-05-2016, 08:50 PM
Was just a suggestion. They do need counselling right?

I honestly have no idea. Presumably they choose to pay her for their time because they feel better afterwards, whether it's the result of a shag, a heartfelt chat or being told they're very naughty indeed while dressed as a schoolboy.

trza
15-05-2016, 08:52 PM
Chi-Town's own, H.W.A. (Hoez With Attitude). Their debut single from their debut album, Livin' In A Hoe House ...

Benny B
21-05-2016, 11:42 AM
Benny - I didn't miss the Meghan Murphy article. I believe all points within the article have been covered extensively.
I also believe Meghan Murphy to be a transphobe and a racist. This is a letter signed by various sex worker action groups, transgender activist groups and Black Lives Matter reps in Canada to that effect - http://shamelessmag.com/blog/entry/an-open-letter-to-the-editors-of-rabble.ca

i think its only fair to share murphy's response to these accusations.


Recently, there was a campaign initiated, demanding that you be dismissed from your job as an editor at rabble.ca, because (according to them) you were harsh in a post you wrote related to Laverne Cox, who is transgender. You argued that these “sex-positive feminists” were allying themselves with Hugh Hefner, “promoting the pornification of women and lining his pockets”. Can you elaborate on these “sex-positive feminists” and their collusion with the sex industry?

MM: Well, to be fair, the petition to have me fired and no-platformed at rabble had little to do with my commentary surrounding Laverne Cox. Those people had been demanding I be fired and banned from writing at rabble for a long time — privately trying to bully my employers into censoring me — before they created the public petition, due to my work advocating for the Nordic model and fighting the sex industry. They saw my criticisms of the commentary surrounding Cox’s nude photoshoot in Allure as an opportunity to attempt to paint me as “transphobic,” despite the fact that my points, with regard to the claims by mainstream feminists and fashion magazines that the ability to be objectified and desired by men is somehow “radical” and “empowering,” were consistent with the analysis I have with regard to the objectification of all women.

But it wasn’t about Laverne Cox. It was about a very small group of liberals who didn’t like the impact I was having on discourse surrounding prostitution and prostitution law in Canada because, previous to that, they’d kind of had dominion over the topic (at rabble, but also in other progressive circles/media platforms throughout North America, too), and now their monopoly was being threatened.

They’d been happy to marginalize and ignore all the feminists who didn’t agree with them because those women didn’t have easy access to media platforms, but they can no longer pretend we don’t exist and we’ve gained so much ground in terms of our fight. They felt if they targeted me in this way, they could pretend that, 1) It was only white women saying that the system of prostitution is wrong (which is bullshit), and 2) That if they shut me up, the abolitionist media presence in Canada would be notably diminished, and they could go back to promoting sex industry propaganda without anyone challenging it.

They lied on their petition, calling me “racist” and “transphobic” because they knew it would be unconvincing to tell the truth, which is that they simply disagree with the feminist position/fight against the sex industry.

http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/04/19/interview-meghan-murphy-liberal-backlash-feminism/

sufi
22-05-2016, 01:05 PM
OK all you opinionated people, so how do your considered positions on this topic connect to the epic twitter tale of zola?
http://imgur.com/a/WDwyW
"so we vibing over our hoeism or whatever..."

UFO over easy
26-05-2016, 08:18 PM
new 50 page report by amnesty on the failures of the nordic model (criminalisation of clients), subtitled 'the human cost of crushing the market'

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur36/4034/2016/en/

big focus on how police have chosen to implement laws criminalising clients in such a way that they adversely affect sex workers - bullet points like 'mainstreaming of eviction as police response to sex work', 'police accountability', 'discriminatory targeting of migrant women and/or women with fewer resources', 'sex workers rendered homeless and/or vulnerable to exploitation as a result of eviction', 'oslo police use sex workers’ reports of violence to facilitate their eviction and/or their deportation'

chapters on violence and stigmatisation of sex workers as result of the model, and a big chapter called 'the tensions between anti-sex work, anti-trafficking and anti-immigration enforcement'

Benny B
26-05-2016, 08:49 PM
Smh.
Amnesty's policy and research is a sham. Look up douglas fox. Look up alejandra gil.

Benny B
26-05-2016, 08:52 PM
They and nswp spend all their time downplaying the immense and growing trafficking problem and attacking organisations that rescue 1000s of young girls in countries like cambodia and thailand. Its fucking shameful

droid
26-05-2016, 09:44 PM
I have many problems with Amnesty, but I have read that report and the testimonies seem credible and compelling to me.

Benny B
26-05-2016, 09:55 PM
What problems do you have with them?

droid
26-05-2016, 10:38 PM
I have a long list. Most recently a long and annoying exchange I had with them over their 2014 Israel/Palestine report... This isnt really the place or time.

Mr. Tea
26-05-2016, 10:40 PM
From the Amnesty report:


“Some customers can hurt you at their apartments. They can hurt you because they know we are too scared to go to the police. We have to obey their rules because we are in their house. We can’t bring them to ours.”

A number of the social service providers that Amnesty International spoke with raised concerns that the purchasing ban had created a “buyer’s market” which compromises sex workers’ safety. A representative of Oslo Police told Amnesty International that he believed there had been a reduction in buyers who were most likely to respect the agreement with the seller:

“Many of the good clients – those who respect the law, the younger generation – are no longer out there. But bad clients are still there.”

In other words, the rather obvious point that when the law makes men who buy sex criminals by definition, it's going to strongly discourage customers who are otherwise law-abiding but will have little effect on customers who are habitually criminal, and may even encourage them. So there's potentially a drastic increase in the percentage of violent perverts and psychos making up the client base.

And stringent laws against activities ancillary to prostitution make it hard for sex workers to use hotels, forcing them to go to customer's houses where they're at much greater risk:


The evaluation of the ban on buying sex, conducted by Vista Analysis, a social science consultancy, on behalf of the Norwegian government, acknowledges that:

“Women in the street market report to have a weaker bargaining position and more safety concerns now than before the law was introduced. At the indoors market, prostitutes express concerns for ‘out calls’. They prefer to have customers visiting them at their own apartment or own hotel room.”

Social service providers and police informed Amnesty International that the “promotion” law is being interpreted as applying to the use of hotel rooms- meaning that hotels can be held liable for “promotion” if sex work occurs in their premises. Almost all of the migrant sex workers interviewed by Amnesty International reported being profiled by and/or excluded from hotels.

...just as the law in the UK against "brothels", i.e. two or more prostitutes working in the premises, has the net result of making them more vulnerable to abusive clients.

Benny B
26-05-2016, 11:08 PM
News just in: Prostitution is a "buyers market"

Mr. Tea
26-05-2016, 11:17 PM
News just in: Prostitution is a "buyers market"

The point being, the Nordic model exacerbates the problem. According to Amnesty, anyway.

Benny B
27-05-2016, 12:46 AM
I'd say prostitution is a buyers market by definition and always will be. What would exacerbate it is decriminalisation of the clients. This image of the "good client" who never otherwise breaks the law really needs serious examination. The German mega-brothels for example are full of these clients. But what are the girls 'agreeing' to? Having sex with up to 30 beered up strangers in one day (not an exaggeration unfortunately but entirely commonplace), all perfectly legally. Later the clients can go home to their happy law abiding lives with a clear conscience. It may seem like an extreme example but its what is actually happening in a supposedly progressive European country.


Obviously without good policing and sufficient resources to help exit the industry and find other alternatives, the Nordic model would fail (though I'm not convinced it is failing in Sweden).


In any case, aside from failings in the proper application of it, the neoabolitionist model itself is the only one that puts responsibility for the problem where it deserves to be - on the clients and not the prostitutes.

Benny B
27-05-2016, 12:58 AM
It'll be worth keeping an eye on france and northern Ireland over the next few years. They've both recently took on the Nordic model. I read the NI report that lead to the change and it seemed pretty balanced to me in terms of consultation with the opposing groups.

Benny B
27-05-2016, 09:55 AM
I have a long list. Most recently a long and annoying exchange I had with them over their 2014 Israel/Palestine report... This isnt really the place or time.

well i'd be interested in your general thoughts on amnesty and its relation to neoliberalism anyway. Maybe it will shed light on their motives behind supporting decriminalisation.

There's a very thorough takedown of the amnesty resolution sham here. Before trusting a single word amnesty say on this issue you should read it. https://thefeministahood.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/what-amnesty-did-wrong/

If you want a quick summary…

- Last year Alejandra Gil, the former vice president of NSWP was jailed for 15 years in Mexico for sex trafficking. She was known as the “Madam of Sullivan” and was convicted of sexually exploiting around 200 women as part of a pimping operation. Her son has also been jailed. There are testimonies from trafficked victims who were wooed with promises of love and marriage by men (a very common technique employed by traffickers) who were sold on to Gil to be exploited in brothels.
http://www.faber.co.uk/blog/a-human-rights-scandal-by-kat-banyard/

Gil clearly had vested interests in her support for the decriminalization (or perhaps more accurately, the ‘brothelisation’) of prostitution. The NSWP continue to support her. Fair enough, it’s actually in line with their policy of calling ‘managers’ and ‘third parties” what others might call ‘pimps’. They also seem to spend quite a lot of their time downplaying the trafficking issue funnily enough.

- The NSWP with Alejandra Gil as vice president has had considerable influence on hugely influential and respected international organisations. They review and participate in UNAIDS policy (and used their influence to change their ‘guidance note’ that so many sex worker lobbyists like to quote) and Gil was consulted as an expert by the WHO in their report on the sex trade. And then there’s Amnesty International…

- Amnesty consulted the NSWP in its draft policy for the decriminalisation of brothel keeping and ‘managers’. And this is not only time that Amnesty have used highly suspect ‘managers’ as ‘experts’ to draft decriminalization policy


- Douglas Fox, the man who runs the biggest escort agency (apparently they sell ‘time’, not sex, and say they have no idea what happens during the appointments) in the north east of England, was an amnesty international activist and member of the group which wrote the original decriminalization policy proposal, out of which Amnesty’s resolution was developed.
- Fox is also head and founder of the sex worker’s ‘union’ (shouldn’t unions be organized by the workers rather than the boss?) IUSW – suffice to say that this organization cannot be described as representing prostitutes or anyone other than his own financial interests (apparently anyone in the sex industry, including pimps and even clients have been allowed to join this ‘union’). Let alone be allowed such a huge influence on Amnesty’s laughable 2 year research and consultation progam that lead to the resolution. Amnesty are now trying to distance themselves from him but the damage is done. More on Douglas Fox here https://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2014/02/07/what-you-call-pimps-we-call-managers/
- https://www.facebook.com/notes/martin-dufresne/what-does-the-fox-say-a-super-pimps-strategy-re-amnesty-international/10153823820915595
https://www.byline.com/column/7/article/188
https://harlotsparlour.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/julie-bindel-is-my-bitch/
there was even a documentary about him http://tvfinternational.com/programme/20/the-escort-agency?trailer=1

related...

- Gita Sahgal, former head of Amnesty’s gender unit has spoken up about the deep current of misogyny within the organization (and the human rights movement in general) she faced while she was there http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/25/gita-sahgal-amnesty-international?CMP=share_btn_tw .Their resolution (informed by such incredibly dubious characters like Gil and Fox), which said hardly anything about the demand and the men who buy sex, seems to bear this out. As we have also seen in this thread, this crucial side of the coin is buried. What’s more, it seems amnesty already had their mind made up about decriminalization before they carried out their research and consultation – as leaked documents from 2013 have shown. https://www.byline.com/project/3/article/226


And yes, I’ve seen the nswp’s responses to the Alejandra gil scandal – again they point to the backing of UNAIDs and the WHO, organizations whose reports were hugely influenced by Gil herself in her capacity as an ‘expert’.

Mr. Tea
27-05-2016, 10:12 AM
This image of the "good client" who never otherwise breaks the law really needs serious examination.

Well think about it from a prostitute's POV for a moment. A good client is one who showers and brushes his teeth, who isn't high or overly drunk when he turns up, isn't aggressive, pays you the agreed rate for your time (whether he can get it up or not), doesn't demand anything you're not prepared to do and then fucks off again. Who doesn't beat, rob or rape you. Who doesn't turn out to be a pimp and try to intimidate you into working for him through violence or blackmail. Who isn't also a dealer peddling hard drugs. Who doesn't turn out to be a horny, corrupt cop demanding free sex in return for not turfing you out of the rented room you're using.

Surely it's obvious that clients are going to vary hugely in desirability, and further, that it's going to be the less desirable clients who aren't going to be put off by laws against buying sex?

I just think it's highly naive to think it's ever going to be possible to make the demand for prostitution disappear through legislation, just as people still use drugs even in countries with the most punitive anti-drug laws. That demand is going to exist for as long as men and money exist.


But what are the girls 'agreeing' to?

I think it's probably best to just agree we're at an impasse here, because you're taking the standard abolitionist line that consensual sex work is an oxymoron, whereas I'm inclined to take groups like the Prostitute's Collective at their word when they say they're upholding the rights of women to engage in consensual sex work - indeed, why would sex workers themselves claim to be working consensually if they weren't?

Benny B
27-05-2016, 10:26 AM
I think it's probably best to just agree we're at an impasse here, because you're taking the standard abolitionist line that consensual sex work is an oxymoron, whereas I'm inclined to take groups like the Prostitute's Collective at their word when they say they're upholding the rights of women to engage in consensual sex work.

What I’ve read about the the Prostitutes Collective’s aims seem very incoherent and actually seems to go against what NSWP, Amnesty et al are arguing for regarding brothels, ‘managers’, ‘third parties’ and safety. http://prostitutescollective.net/1997/03/04/this-is-what-the-international-prostitutes-collective-stands-for/

Sex workers must organize independently from pimps, police and those who are managers in the sex industry.
Autonomy and self-determination for prostitute women and other sex workers. Sex workers must decide how we want to work: we oppose any form of legalization which gives powers to police, local authorities, pimps, madams or other managers to regulate our wages and working conditions and censor what we demand so that they and those they work for can profit from our work. Workers must decide, not the industry.
Free, accessible and non-discriminatory health services for all: no mandatory health checks or HIV tests.
(not even for the clients I presume?)
No zones, no licensing, no legalised brothels which ghettoize sex workers; we oppose all forms of apartheid.

I came away quite confused after reading this to be quite honest. Are they saying that all forms of legalisation/regularization inevitably give power to the police/pimps and ghettoize sex workers etc, or just the ‘bad’ laws do?

Mr. Tea
27-05-2016, 11:42 AM
I saw the thing about opposing mandatory health checks - that strikes me as absolute madness, I have to say. So I dunno if the CoP has all the answers, by any means, although I do agree strongly with them on their core points.

john eden
27-05-2016, 01:07 PM
An interesting point from Sisters Uncut:
http://www.sistersuncut.org/2016/05/27/why-not-the-nordic-model/

Benny B
27-05-2016, 05:43 PM
I find this type of harm-reduction based pro-decriminalization argument really depressing tbh. Even it comes from a sincere place at best it smacks of defeatism. And of course it fits in so well with the aims of those who want to maintain the status quo because they profit from it. I've got nothing against those who work to improve the lives of prostitutes, but focusing on damage limitation tends to overlook the causes (and the causes of the causes) of the problems we have.

Like I said before, I think the real pipe dream is reforming an immense industry that is almost entirely built on crime and exploitation, not working towards gender equality.

Benny B
30-05-2016, 04:10 PM
There's a new EC report on the gendered nature of trafficking in human beings, definitely worth a read.

short version
https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/sites/antitrafficking/files/study_on_the_gender_dimension_of_trafficking_in_hu man_beings._executive_summary.pdf

full version
https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/sites/antitrafficking/files/study_on_the_gender_dimension_of_trafficking_in_hu man_beings._final_report.pdf

UFO over easy
31-05-2016, 04:51 AM
focusing on damage limitation tends to overlook the causes (and the causes of the causes) of the problems we have.

How does client criminalisation get to the root causes of those problems, as you see them? The demand doesn't just disappear and people working in the industry still need to earn to survive, so how is driving sex work underground getting to the root of any problem when it involves removing the possibility for people to work together and look out for each others safety, makes it harder to report violence, worsens stigmatisation and results in evictions and deportations of women working in the industry. Maybe once we've had a few decades of fully automated luxury communism or whatever the situation might be a little different but until then it seems totally reasonable and not at all 'defeatist' that sex worker activists might want to focus on how they can improve their lives in the present.


I think the real pipe dream is reforming an immense industry that is almost entirely built on crime


You need to back sentences like this up with stats.

Benny B
03-06-2016, 01:08 PM
How does client criminalisation get to the root causes of those problems, as you see them?

The clients are almost all men. The abuse, rape and murder of women in prostitution is carried out by males. This is a gender issue. So the root causes of the problem are the patriarchy, economic inequality and an ingrained misogyny in our culture. As I see it, the men who use prostitutes largely know what they are doing and are capable of understanding the social context that leads women into exploitation, yet they either don’t care, lie to themselves and attempt to justify it (though they may feel ashamed 0f themselves), or simply enjoy abusing women (or they have been socialized into thinking it’s ok). Legalising prostitution legitimizes all of this. It lets men off the hook. The misogyny spreads and becomes more embedded in society, so generations of young men are brought up with these same values. Men’s right to buy sex is upheld over human rights. So yes, I do think these men should be held to account, made to take responsibility for what they do and be punished.

There must be deterrents and consequences, but also education, therapy and resources if we want attitudes to change. And we can all agree that poverty, austerity measures and benefit cuts make things infinitely worse for everyone and must be tackled. Governments and the police too must be held accountable for inaction and corruption, which is rife all through Europe and the rest of the world. No one said it would be easy. But worth fighting for? Certainly.


The demand doesn't just disappear

The sex worker lobbies never really go much deeper into the issue of demand, other than to say ‘it doesn’t just disappear’ - of course it doesn’t, we have to actually do something about it first. We have to work on reducing poverty and finding exit strategies and alternatives that offer real freedom of choice for those currently in prostitution or at risk of entering it, and from the other side, reduce the demand that feeds the industry (which, let’s face it, is growing to grotesque proportions across the world). Those two things have to be the long-term focus and the direction that policy has to go if we want to see any positive improvement.

Legalising/decriminalising prostitution increases demand, and it is the exploiters that take the greatest profits, not the prostitutes. This is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands and Germany for example. Even if you argue that there are many prostitutes who are acting out of their own free choice (which is obviously hugely problematic, and again overlooks the structural elements and social context in which they make that ‘choice’), there can never be enough of them to satisfy the huge demand – both the size of the demand and the nature of the demand (Rachel Moran said recently that the most common question she was asked when answering the phone in brothels was “what is your youngest girl?”). The only way to do that is trick, coerce, traffick and exploit thousands upon thousands young girls and women. The most poor and desperate and vulnerable. That’s why the involvement of organized crime and sex trafficking has increased in The Netherlands and Germany (and everywhere, seeing so governments have done so little to combat it and enforce anti-trafficking legislation), and that’s why the sex trade can never be reformed, but must be eradicated.


it seems totally reasonable and not at all 'defeatist' that sex worker activists might want to focus on how they can improve their lives in the present.

Maybe defeatism is the wrong word to use to describe what I’m talking about, but… That sisters uncut thing john posted seemed to be suggesting that staying in the industry and doing more sex work is the answer to escaping abuse and poverty – I mean, what if the abuser is your pimp or your client? What if you have become economically reliant on them? Why aren’t they focusing on the demand that has created this exploitative system in the first place? They seem to have it totally arse-backwards to me.
I feel that only focusing on harm-reduction is throwing away a lot of potential long-term strategies to deal with the root cause of harm, and ultimately only reinforces the system we already have in place (which practically nobody, except the exploiters and the punters themselves, is happy with). There is a sort of resignation to the idea that prostitution is an inevitable product of human nature. Just because something is old and ingrained in our culture, it doesn’t mean we should not try to change it, or that it cannot be changed. Prostitution is as old as patriarchy, as old as misogyny, as old as slavery. But women are not born to be oppressed by men, women are not born to be prostituted, and men are not born with the right to have sex with women for money. It is not something natural and inevitable, but something that has become deeply ingrained and normalized, and it may be possible to change it.
Of course for many pro-decriminalisation lobbyists discussing demand, men’s motivations and attitudes is not even on the agenda.


You need to back sentences like this up with stats.

You’ve already discredited all the sources I’ve stated so far (basically all radical feminists and anyone who disagrees with the NSWP), so I’m not sure you’ll accept studies by organizations like the POPPY project either. Fair enough, you can believe what you want and I have also discredited your sources (amnesty, NSWP and affiliates) for reasons I’ve outlined above (and which you haven’t responded to at all).

As you know, and as others have mentioned on the thread, getting anything like accurate statistics on organized crime and prostitution is practically impossible for obvious reasons. However, there is enough evidence out there to suggest that we are dealing with a massive problem. It cannot be denied that, globally, criminal organizations and mafias make huge amounts of money from sexual exploitation and trafficking (Lydia Cacho’s ‘Slavery Inc.’ and Victor Malarek’s ‘The Johns’ are good on explaining this). They control well-established international sex-trafficking routes that perpetuate and feed male demand. The ILO puts the illegal profits generated from commercial sexual exploitation at 99bn dollars a year, from around 4.5 million people in enforced sexual slavery. EC reports have recognized that the figures they have managed to obtain are likely to be woefully short, (23,600 human trafficking victims identified in Europe over a 3 year period 2010-2012. 62% of which was for sexual exploitation, of whom 96% were female), and are actually in the hundreds of thousands. And I suspect there is something at best, naïve, and at worst deeply dishonest about the downplaying of the role criminal groups have in practically every aspect of the sex trade industry.

I could equally ask you for accurate, reliable figures on how many completely independent (ie, with no involvement from pimps/organized crime/traffickers), non-coerced prostitutes are in existence in the UK, or anywhere in the world. I fear that the only thing we are ever going to agree on is that that there is some kind of problem, and that something must be done about it.

It’s clear that organised crime (and you can include governments and armed forces in some parts of the world) and the sex industry are inextricably linked almost everywhere in the world- a trade that runs through Japan, China, Cambodia, Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Burma, Mexico, USA, South America, Russia, Estonia, the Ukraine, Romania, Spain and all through Europe etc etc. Criminal organisations are still there, stronger than ever in countries where it has been decriminalized in the name of sex worker rights. Since at least the early 90s, with the fall of the iron curtain, the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women in europe by mafias has gone through the roof. It’s astonishing that people are still trying to downplay the scale of the problem and disassociate it from what the sex industry actually consists of and is built on. It can never be reformed and made a safe working environment, we have to try and get rid of it.

Then there are the smaller, independent escort agencies, perhaps with a veneer of ‘respectability’ –. ‘Managers’ and ‘organisers’ living (usually quite handsomely) off prostitutes earnings, while claiming they are selling ‘time’ with the workers rather than sex, and do not interfere with what may go on between consenting adults during that time. This is fundamentally dishonest and is still organized exploitation and pimping when it comes down to it. Frankly I think it’s shameful that it is tolerated to the level it is in the UK.

And to be clear, when I say it’s almost entirely based on crime, I’m obviously talking, not just about organized crime groups and mafias (as if that wasn’t enough), but also the clients. Those who abuse, rape and murder women. I think everyone accepts that prostitutes are at a much greater risk of violence. You don’t distinguish sex work from other forms of work in terms of its exploitative nature, yet I would make the distinction that sexual violence can and should be distinguished from other types of violence, and that prostitutes will always be at a disproportionately high risk of this type of violence in particular (making it very different from any other jobs) due to the very nature of the work. Unfortunately the reality is that tolerating violence and abuse is practically part of the job description. I think it’s vital to never underestimate and lose sight of the scale of gender-inequality, misogyny and violence against women in our culture as a whole. This is the basis for my conviction that abolition is the only answer.

Benny B
03-06-2016, 01:12 PM
apologise for the length, possibly tedious repetition of stuff i've previously said, and the general rambling style of my post btw.

Benny B
04-06-2016, 09:02 AM
The anti-trafficking position obviously sounds very rational but in reality it often seems to go hand in hand with general anti-migration stuff. A lot of women who worked as sex workers in London were deported based on police testimony that they'd been 'trafficked' after the recent soho raids, and a lot of trafficking figures have been debunked based on the definition they use etc

Here's an article about it based on a SWOU meeting in 2009 - https://bristolnoborders.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/more-evidence-that-sex-trafficking-is-a-myth/

Another here with some contributions from Laura Agustin - http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2009/01/20/the-myth-human-trafficking/

"She is critical of the conflation of the terms "human trafficking" with "prostitution" and "migration", arguing that what she calls the "rescue industry" often ascribes victim status to and thereby objectifies women who have made conscious and rational decisions to migrate. She advocates for a more nuanced study of migrant sex workers."



.

Here is what Laura Agustin has to say about women who work in brothels and sex clubs:

"women who live inside sex establishments and rarely leave until they are moved to another place without being consulted receives the media’s usual attention, it being taken for granted that this represents a total loss of freedom. In many cases, however, migrant workers prefer this situation, for any of a number of reasons: if they don’t leave the premises they don’t spend money; if they don’t have working papers, they feel safer inside in a controlled situation; if someone else does the work of finding new venues and making arrangements, they don’t have to do it; or having come on a three-month tourist visa they want to spend as much time as possible making money."

Benny B
06-06-2016, 04:07 PM
An interesting point from Sisters Uncut:
http://www.sistersuncut.org/2016/05/27/why-not-the-nordic-model/

a comment in this article (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2016/06/pimp-state-makes-it-clear-our-laws-prostitution-are-not-working-so-how) nicely sums up the twisted logic of that sisters uncut piece.


Unfortunately, it is easier to identify bad arguments in this debate than good ones. For example, on 27 May, the direct action group Sisters Uncut explained that it supports full decriminalisation because: “In seeking to reduce the number of men willing to pay for sex, the Nordic model makes sex workers poorer.” (Hard to imagine a left-winger making the same argument about sweatshops: at least they are keeping people in work.) By the logic of Sisters Uncut, the truly moral thing is for more men to become punters, because that would make sex workers richer. All hail penis-based philanthropy!

Benny B
07-07-2016, 11:37 AM
I haven't forgotten about this thread. seeing as noone has responded to any of the last few points i made, i'm aware that I'm probably just talking to myself by now (especially now with brexit and chilcot taking up all everybody's attention), but iydm i'm just gonna use this this thread to share some good neo-abolicionist arguments as and when i come across them.


How does client criminalisation get to the root causes of those problems, as you see them? ...it worsens stigmatisation.




https://medium.com/@JonahMix/prostitution-has-a-stigma-because-men-require-that-stigma-for-prostitution-to-function-23523aca2345#.vos2loiqs


Prostitution has a “stigma” because men REQUIRE that stigma for prostitution to function. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for millions of men to purchase sex from female strangers if they did not believe those female strangers were worthless, dirty, and not deserving of respect. Prostitution has a stigma like slavery has a stigma — because it’s something that’s hard to do to a full human being.

Combating “stigma” won’t help because the men who purchase sex — who keep the industry going — are the main purveyors of it. Look at how they refer to the women they fuck: http://the-invisible-men.tumblr.com/

Contempt and hate is so clearly central to the whole operation. You can’t “destigmatize” prostitution because that stigma is necessary for men who want to buy sex without having to consider the person they’re buying from a human.

Mr. Tea
07-07-2016, 12:52 PM
Sorry Benny, I know I was going to bow out of this thread, but I just came back to say: really? Comparisons of sex work with slavery, that old chestnut? Hasn't this been thoroughly debunked as a bankrupt notion by now? I think it manages the neat trick of insulting both sex workers and slaves at once: the former by denying their self-determination, the latter by trivializing their experiences.

Corpsey
07-07-2016, 01:00 PM
Sorry if you've already covered this, but what about women who work as escorts, independent of a brothel/pimp? Is that a class of prostitution entirely apart from what you're talking about, or is that in your view also a matter of exploitation?

Interesting point re: the men who use prostitutes REQUIRING the women to be demeaned, worthy of contempt, etc. I wonder if there are prostitution scenarios (such as the high-price escort with 'clients') where there might be a sense of mutual respect IN SPITE OF the transaction? I guess the question would always be 'why are you not willing to have sex with me for FREE?' though. Perhaps that's always fated to be an impure relationship.

Mr. Tea
07-07-2016, 01:37 PM
I'd love to know what a theoretically "pure" relationship would look like. That of a nun and Christ, perhaps.

Corpsey
07-07-2016, 01:50 PM
I didn't choose that word carefully, I'll admit.

Anyway, Christ and a Nun would be a most impure relationship, given that Christ would almost certainly be (if unwittingly) exploiting his connections to the man upstairs to get in her cassock.

Mr. Tea
07-07-2016, 02:02 PM
And if he's carrying on with every nun, it kind of makes him the ultimate man-slag.

Benny B
08-07-2016, 10:47 AM
Sorry Benny, I know I was going to bow out of this thread, but I just came back to say: really? Comparisons of sex work with slavery, that old chestnut? Hasn't this been thoroughly debunked as a bankrupt notion by now? I think it manages the neat trick of insulting both sex workers and slaves at once: the former by denying their self-determination, the latter by trivializing their experiences.

You have completely ignored or missed the main point made in the quote, which was about stigmatisation, but nevermind. i'm on holiday so i don't have much internet time atm, but i'll try and respond to you (and corpsey) asap. suffice to say for now that the intention is clearly not to insult or trivialise, but to put the blame for exploitation where it belongs - on the MEN WHO BUY SEX.

I also recommend you click on the link that supports the quote, and have a think about why prostitution even exists in the first place


Look at how they refer to the women they fuck: http://the-invisible-men.tumblr.com/

Mr. Tea
08-07-2016, 11:33 AM
And we're back to "all sex workers are exploited, by definition (even when they claim not to be)" - the same old impasse as before. Sorry, as I said, I should have stayed out of this thread. As you were.

Edit: and by all means, please get back to enjoying your holiday!

Benny B
08-07-2016, 11:47 AM
Well if you're not willing to discuss or interrogate the notion of consent in a society that is fundamentally unequal, or talk about the motivations of the johns and the function that prostitution has in maintaining the power imbalance, then yes its probably better that you bow out.

Benny B
09-07-2016, 09:31 AM
Sorry to go back so far in the thread, but these two excellent posts by Droid and Vimothy beg a lot of questions.


So we have two basic positions:
1. Sex is the ultimate form of human communion, (perhaps even) something sacred, the human body is not just another commodity, and the selling of sex is an affront to human dignity.
2. Sex is just another biological function like eating or shitting and if people wish to sell sex of their own free will then it's nobody else's business and any attempt to prevent this is a paternalistic attempt to control women's bodies.


I think that's a good summary of the debate here. The former position corresponds to a kind of 'natural law' understanding of sex that's very hard to get away from completely (which is why the question about how you'd feel about your own daughter doing it is so acute - if they're honest, most people would feel extremely squeemish about it). The latter accords more with contemporary liberal understandings. We're autonomous people, and most of our lives can be described in terms of our free contracting and transacting. Sex has no intrinsic meaning and is ultimately a commodity like any other that people might trade and contract over.

Ok, here’s the thing with position 2. How is it possible to treat sex as a commodity with no intrinsic meaning without trivializing women’s experience of rape? Doesn’t it devalue rape as a uniquely violent crime?

Benny B
09-07-2016, 10:16 AM
Another one from droid


Like I alluded to earlier, my position on pretty much all issues involving sexuality is essentially 'as long as there is consent and no-one is being harmed, its none of my business', but despite this there's something here that trips me up, which I suppose puts me closer to the first position personally - that the idea of buying sex has always seemed intrinsically wrong to me and its something I never have, nor will I (hopefully) ever do.

So, a question for those advocating decriminalisation.

Whatever about the morals of selling sex - do you think its moral for a man to buy sex?

Itis 'tripping you up' because you know it's wrong but you're still letting the consent issue take precedence. Here's the answer: preventing men from buying sex does not in any way infringe on anyone's rights so don't worry. In fact, nobody has 'the right to consent' to do anything do they? If they did, then then governments would have to sponsor us in anything that we desire to, whatever it is wouldn't they? I mean, look at the implications that this line of thought has on, say, gun control laws.

I mean i might desire to be a logger, but that doesn't mean I have the 'right to consent' to being a logger does it? And if the government gave permits to allow logging to everyone who wants one, it would lead to ecological disaster.

Denying someone the right to buy sex would therefore not violate other people's human rights, and as the nordic model seeks to criminalise sex buyers but NOT the prostitutes themselves, it's really the only sensible option. Right?

Corpsey
12-07-2016, 11:01 AM
http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/07/welcome-to-the-new-prostitution-economy

droid
12-07-2016, 12:50 PM
Ok, here’s the thing with position 2. How is it possible to treat sex as a commodity with no intrinsic meaning without trivializing women’s experience of rape? Doesn’t it devalue rape as a uniquely violent crime?

Possessions are commodities - and yet people still feel violated, humiliated and powerless when they are mugged, robbed or burgled.

Benny B
12-07-2016, 01:55 PM
Does a rapist rape for the same reason a mugger mugs?

Benny B
12-07-2016, 01:58 PM
Should a rapist receive the same punishment as a mugger?

droid
12-07-2016, 02:16 PM
There's a huge amount of literature suggesting that rape is primarily about power and domination rather than sex, so, in some cases, possibly.

You realise you're hectoring now benny?

Benny B
12-07-2016, 03:54 PM
Sorry, not my intention to hector (at least no more than I was hectored earlier in thread, though I suppose I started it. Whatever...). I just think they're good questions to be asking is all and I'm genuinely interested in what you've got to say. On my phone now so my posts are short and might come across as a bit brusque.

Benny B
12-07-2016, 04:23 PM
There's a huge amount of literature suggesting that rape is primarily about power and domination rather than sex?




And fwiw I agree with this with the proviso that we're talking specifically about male power over women, with sexual violence being perhaps its ultimate expression.

Position 2 doesn't take this into account

droid
12-07-2016, 04:26 PM
But also in cases of male rape and molestation of children.

Benny B
12-07-2016, 04:31 PM
But also in cases of male rape and molestation of children.


Perhaps better to talk about masculinity then as its a social construction that doesn't necessarily mean male (though it usually does).

muser
13-07-2016, 01:38 AM
I've been living in SE Asia for the past 3 years so this argument is quite interesting for me. I had a friend living in my city who as well as running a catering business worked with one of the biggest local charities stopping trafficking of women and children not always but often for the sex trade. Incidentally she was and still is also a well-paid bi-sexual S&M escort in her free time!

In this part of the world it gets very confusing trying to bridge the moral and social disconnect when the vast majority of the prostitution is easily placed in the morally reprehensible category yet its so endemic in the culture that wives/girlfriends/mothers will often just accept it going on and sometimes even actively encourage it. And most men will have engaged in it and often probably lost their virginity to a sex-worker.

Regardless my overall view is that the majority of prostitution that goes on in the world is objectively morally wrong, but that still doesn't mean I think sex-work is inherently wrong for any reason. Trying to use what you think the deeper emotional complexities involved with sex to the ends of creating a moral dogma for all sex trade is fundamentally flawed and counter-productive. Because peoples attitude to sex, there own sexuality and emotional attachments to the act are far from uniform.

I also believe that if we were in a fairer society for women, with more equal societal standards, there would probably be a lot more of an equal demographic of women looking for, and openly using male prostitutes. How would you feel about it then?

I see this issue very much like I do with drugs, legalise and provide effective and thorough control with a good framework for support and let consenting adults get on with it.

Benny B
13-07-2016, 09:35 AM
What is it with people complaining about moralising? ALL laws express moral disapproval of an act considered to be damaging to society or individuals. If you say "don't judge what 2 consenting adults do" you are also making a moral judgement too (imo a pretty naive one considering we live in a society where these individual consensual actions inevitably have an effect on others).

Benny B
04-09-2016, 12:29 PM
aaah so thats why the Home affairs inquiry into prostitution dismisses the nordic model.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/married-mp-keith-vaz-tells-8763805

makes perfect sense

Benny B
04-09-2016, 08:18 PM
lol

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/keith-vaz-male-prostitutes-controversy-cocaine-drugs-committee-hero-labour-tory-politicians-personal-a7225196.html


In this light, it is absurd and vindictive to attack a man for doing everything in his power to understand the issues he is charged with scrutinising. How on earth is the Home Affairs committee chair to acquaint himself with the ins and outs of male prostitution, if not by having affairs at home with male prostitutes? How better to investigate the impact of cocaine than by offering it to guests, and observing its effects on mind and body close-up?

meanwhile (surprise surprise) corbyn is calling it "a private matter" and has said absolutely nothing about the blatant conflict of interest. more evidence that the supposedly 'progressive' left cannot be trusted when it comes to dealing with prostitution.

UFO over easy
06-09-2016, 12:59 PM
aaah so thats why the Home affairs inquiry into prostitution dismisses the nordic model.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/married-mp-keith-vaz-tells-8763805

makes perfect sense

No. Here's some necessary context from someone who was actually at the hearing - https://medium.com/@belledejour_uk/keith-vaz-does-not-matter-1cef405b0936#.lii1ithw1

Have no doubt that you'll continue ignoring the evidence and cherry picking the bits of reactionary (speculative, homophobic etc) tabloid press which support your position though!

Mr. Tea
06-09-2016, 01:12 PM
Bet the author of that Indy piece is chuffed with himself for this:


How on earth is the Home Affairs committee chair to acquaint himself with the ins and outs of male prostitution, if not by having affairs at home with male prostitutes?

The ins and outs, eh??? Well how else is he to get to the bottom of it??? Do we need a blow-by-blow account??? Etc. etc. etc. etc., I'm here all week, try the veal.

Benny B
06-09-2016, 05:32 PM
No. Here's some necessary context from someone who was actually at the hearing - https://medium.com/@belledejour_uk/keith-vaz-does-not-matter-1cef405b0936#.lii1ithw1

Have no doubt that you'll continue ignoring the evidence and cherry picking the bits of reactionary (speculative, homophobic etc) tabloid press which support your position though!

You're missing (or more like deliberately overlooking) the entire point as usual: there is a blatant conflict of interest in a punter chairing an influential committee on a potential sex buyer law. Lets not pretend this all about privacy and the tabloid press.

So you want to frame this as a homophobic invasion of privacy involving no conflict of interest, as well as believing that this guy actually put up a strong fight in favour of the Nordic model at that meeting? How could Vaz genuinely be in favour of the Nordic model in any way if he himself is willing to buy sex?

In that article where is a direct quote from the horse’s mouth that proves Vaz has ever genuinely ‘backed calls to outlaw paying for sex’? Brooke Magnanti pulled that little quote out of an old Sunday times article of what a reporter said about Vaz, proving nothing about what he said or thinks. And why would you trust a word a slimeball like him says even it did?

Something he did actually put his name to was “we are not yet convinced that the sex buyer law would be effective in reducing demand or in improving the lives of sex workers...”

Read: “I have no intention of being convinced that the sex buyer law would be effective in these things because I don’t give a shit, I’m a sex buyer myself.”

So Vaz’s idea of a safe, regulated prostitution scenario involves desperate Romanian immigrants, cocaine and no condoms, family down the road. Nothing out of the ordinary for a typical sex buyer then – the exploitive men that the sex industry wants to remain invisible.

I notice Paris Lees is trying to pull the same stunt; by claiming Vaz is ‘hypocritical’ and that the sex work lobby influenced the inquiry outcome ‘in spite of’ him, they can position themselves as anti-authority (after all they probably realize that backing someone like Vaz is not a good look) while averting attention away from sex buyers and tackling demand. Vaz has never came out in support of the Nordic model. All he and the committee have ever done is ignore the issue of demand completely and call for the decriminalization of soliciting (which let’s not forget, the Nordic model also calls for anyway).

Read between the lines: it really looks like the sex lobby is unsure of how to put apparent distance between them and Vaz, while also defending sex buyers privacy and avoiding discrediting the pro-prostitution legislation that men like Vaz can help them pass. So we get cynical accusations of homophobia – as if his actions wouldn’t have been equally abhorrent if it had been female prostitutes he had bought. No mention of how the prostitutes happened to be exploited Romanian migrants, one of whom he planned to ‘break in’ that very night. Or blame the tabloid press (just like Vaz was quick to do of course), cos everyone hates the tabloids anyway don’t they? Digs at feminists and prostitution survivors. That will distract away from what Vaz actually did, what punters actually do, and why it made his position as chair of that committee a disgrace, and prostitution look bad.

Then again, the committee was made up of majority men, so I suppose there was always a good statistical chance that one of them would be a sex buyer themselves.

Brooke Magnanti /Belle de jour became rich from propagating the happy hooker myth and the idea that ‘sex work’ is some kind of glamorous and empowering lifestyle choice. You think her opinion is worth more than that of prostitution survivor movements like SPACE international? The article is full of the usual bullshit about how only ‘sex workers’ can have an opinion or be affected - its perfectly fine for creeps like Keith Vaz, Simon Danczuk and Corbyn to support the idea that prostitution is just a job like any other when it suits the pro sex-trade lobby. But the men’s lives must stay private at all cost, while women aren’t allowed an opinion on something that affects all of them, directly or indirectly.

And the persistent claims that the Nordic model kills women is ludicrous. In 16 years not one prostitute has been murdered by a john in Sweden since the model was adopted. Compare that to the countries where buying sex is decriminalized.