Sex Work and Human Rights

Swedish Model

Шведска: Земја која не прифаќа мајки – сексуални работнички

Земја која не прифаќа мајки – сексуални работнички [Photo by 12019-10269 images, Fingerprint by Kurios]

Сексуална работничка од Шведска го изгубила старателството над нејзиното дете поради својата работа 1

Östra Göinge, Шведска, 13 Јануари, 2018.

Мајката е уништена со судска одлука.

Една мајка која работела како сексуална работничка во Östra Göinge, едно село во Шведска го изгубила својот син поради својата професија. Таа ги нудела своите сексуални услуги преку Интернет. Почнала да работи како сексуален работник откако паднала во финансиски проблеми кога нејзиниот син имал само три месеци. Таа ги канела своите клиенти во сопствениот стан нудејќи им сексуални услуги за пари. Нејзината месечна заработка изнесувала околу 2.000-2.300 евра месечно.

“Мајката и нејзиниот син најчесто живееле изолирани од светот, освен за посетите од нејзините клиенти. Многу често се случувало клиентите да го прекинат сексот со мајката кога бебето ќе се разбудело. Неговото креветче било веднаш до креветот на мајката. Мајката се изјаснила дека детето во ниедна ситуација не изгледало исплашено, но сепак било љубопитно за тоа што се случува. Откако ќе се разбудело, мажите веднаш си заминувале од дома, особено оние кои имале деца, сфаќајки ја целосно ситуацијата,“ се вели од Управниот суд.

Сè се разоткрило откако едно засегнато лице ја пријавило мајката во социјална служба, при што синот веднаш и бил одземен. Ова се случило без никаква претходна формална проценка на ситуацијата, иако активностите на мајката беа потврдени преку нејзините онлајн реклами. 

Управниот суд особено става акцент на фактот што мајката ги поканувала своите клиенти во нејзиниот дом. Според судот, постоел значителен ризик дека здравјето и развојот на детето ќе бидат оштетени од целокупната ситуација.

Откако детето и било одземено, мајката веднаш ги прекинала своите услуги. Сепак, Управниот суд сметал дека се уште постои ризик дека ќе го повтори своето однесување и затоа одлучил дека синот треба да остане под државната заштита согласно Законот за грижа на млади (LVU). Покрај тоа, судот утврдил дека мајката покажала рамнодушност во однос на безбедноста и заштитата на нејзиниот син, со тоа што ги носела непознатите мажите во својот стан.

Наместо сексуална работа, мајката сега е во потрога по друга работа, а во меѓувреме, аплицирала за социјална поддршка од владата, иако смета дека сепак нема да може да заработува толку колку што заработувала како сексуална работничка. Мајката, исто така, изјавила дека е во постојан контакт со нејзината мајка, која ветила дека ќе и помогне.

Според Управниот суд, таа е “загрижена за последиците на нејзиниот син”. Исто така, може да поднесе жалба против одлуката на судот во Административниот апелационен суд во Гетеборг во рок од три недели.
 CCJ Article

Кликнете на сликата за да ја прочитате целата статија (Англиска верзија)


Превод од СТАР-СТАР – Првиот колектив на сексуални работници на Балканот. Овој превод првпат беше објавен на веб-страницата на СТАР.

CTAP-CTAP Logo“СТАР и сексуалните работници веруваат дека почитувањето на основните човекови права и слободи и правото на слободен избор на професија, се основните принципи за здраво, толерантно и слободно општество. … СТАР СТАР се залага за свет без насилство во кое сексуалните работници слободно работат, а почитувањето на основните човекови права и слободи се основни принципи за демократско и толерантно општество.”

Можете да го следите на Твитер и Фејсбук.

Сексуалните работници и сојузниците преведуваат, Уредување + дизајн

SWAT Logo © Helen Chan for SWAT

“СРСП има за цел да стане мрежа на сексуални работници и нивни сојузници кои можат да преведуваат, уредуваат и дизајнираат извештаи, известувања, академски, блоговски и новинарски статии, презентации, постери, дури и описи на фотографии со цел да споделат знаење во врска со сексуалната работа и да премостат културолошки и јазични бариери.”

Ве молиме кликнете тука за информации за SWAT на 18 јазици. Те молам контактирајте го SWAT преку е-пошта ако сакате да придонесете со своите вештини. Исто така, вие сте поканети да се придружите на SWAT Фејсбук групата


(Информации за лиценца на англиски јазик. Ве молиме почитувајте ја лиценцата Криејтив комонс.) The Swedish original of this article was written by Carl-Johan Liljedahl and first published as “Barn till prostituerad omhändertas” (Child of prostitute taken into care) at Kristianstadsbladet (January 13th, 2018). The terms “prostitution/prostitute” and “sex buyer” were replaced with “sex work/sex worker” and “client.” The copyright for the original article lies with Kristianstadsbladet. It is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

The images and tweets above and below did not appear in the original article. Translations of articles do not represent endorsements of titles, images, terms used or views expressed therein, or of the authors who have written or the media outlets that published them. 

Photo: 12019/10269 Images Illustration: Kurios (Pixabay); Font: Last Soundtrack


Помогнете да го ширите зборот!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

La Suède: Pas un pays pour les mères qui sont travailleuses sexuelles

Pas un pays pour les mères qui sont travailleuses sexuelles [Photo by 12019-10269 images, Fingerprint by Kurios]

Une mère travailleuse sexuelle perd la garde de son enfant  1

Östra Göinge, Suède. 13 janvier 2018.

La mère est dévastée par la décision du tribunal.

La mère travaillait comme travailleuse sexuelle dans un village d’Östra Göinge, où elle annonçait ses services par Internet. Elle a commencé à faire cela après avoir eu des ennuis financiers quand son fils n’avait que deux à trois mois. Elle invitait des hommes à son appartement et avait des rapports sexuels avec eux en échange d’argent. Son revenu était d’environ 2000-3000 euros par mois.

La mère et son fils vivaient de façon plus ou moins isolée, à part les visites de ses clients, qui arrêtaient les rapports sexuels avec la mère si le garçon se réveillait dans son berceau à côté du lit. La mère disait que le garçon ne semblait jamais avoir peur, mais s’intéressait à eux. Quand le garçon se réveillait, les hommes rentraient chez eux, comprenant la situation, comme ils avaient des enfants eux-mêmes, selon la décision du Tribunal administratif.

Tout a été révélé quand une personne a dénoncé la mère aux services sociaux, suite à quoi le fils a été pris en charge. Cela s’est passé sans aucune évaluation formelle de la situation, bien que les agissements de la mère aient été confirmés par ses annonces en ligne.

Le Tribunal administratif a attaché une importance particulière au fait que la mère avait invité des étrangers à avoir des rapports sexuels chez elle. Selon le tribunal, la situation générale signifiait qu’il existait un risque significatif de dommages pour la santé et le développement du fils.

Selon la mère, elle a arrêté le travail sexuel depuis que son fils a été pris en charge. Néanmoins, le Tribunal administratif a cru possible qu’elle ne répète son comportement, et pour cette raison a décidé que le fils doit rester placé en accord avec la Loi sur la prise en charge des jeunes personnes (LVU). En outre, le tribunal a retenu que la mère a fait preuve d’indifférence envers la sécurité et la protection de son enfant en amenant des étrangers mâles à son appartement.

Au lieu de travail sexuel, la mère va maintenant chercher un autre travail, et entre-temps a demandé des aides à l’État, bien quelle comprenne que ces paiements ne se monteront pas à 2000-3000 euros comme le revenu de son travail sexuel. La femme a également constaté qu’elle a repris contact avec sa mère, qui a promis de l’aider.

Selon le Tribunal administratif, elle est « dévastée par les conséquences pour son fils ». Elle peut faire appel de la décision du tribunal devant la Tribunal administratif d’appel de Göteborg dans un délai de trois semaines.

CCJ Article

Cliquez sur l’image pour lire l’article complet (Version anglaise)


Traduction pour SWAT par Cornelia Schneider, une activiste travailleuse sexuelle indépendante.

SWAT  – Les travailleurs/-ses sexuelLEs et leurs alliéEs traduisent, éditent et dessinent

SWAT Logo © Helen Chan for SWAT

“SWAT vise à devenir un réseau de travailleurs/-ses sexuelLEs et alliéEs capables de traduire, éditer et dessiner des rapports, documents d’information, des articles académiques, de blog et d’actualités, des présentations, des affiches, ou même des légendes de photos, afin de partager des connaissances sur le travail sexuel à travers les barrières culturelles et linguistiques.”

Veuillez cliquer ici pour plus d’informations sur SWAT en 18 langues. S’il vous plaît contactez-nous par e-mail et dites-nous quelles compétences vous voudriez nous apporter. Nous vous invitons également à rejoindre le groupe Facebook SWAT


(Informations de licence en anglais. Merci de respecter la Licence Creative Commons.) The Swedish original of this article was written by Carl-Johan Liljedahl and first published as “Barn till prostituerad omhändertas” (Child of prostitute taken into care) at Kristianstadsbladet (January 13th, 2018). The terms “prostitution/prostitute” and “sex buyer” were replaced with “sex work/sex worker” and “client.” The copyright for the original article lies with Kristianstadsbladet. It is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

The images and tweets above and below did not appear in the original article. Translations of articles do not represent endorsements of titles, images, terms used or views expressed therein, or of the authors who have written or the media outlets that published them. 

Photo: 12019/10269 Images Illustration: Kurios (Pixabay); Font: Last Soundtrack


Aidez à faire passer le mot!


Janice Raymond’s modus operandi

Raymond's Ouija BoardJanice Raymond’s Ouija Board (Source: Wikipedia)

Introduction

In an exclusive for OpEdNews, a US-based website for political and social analysis, radical feminist Janice Raymond responded to sociologist Julie Kaye’s opinion piece in the New York Times, titled “Canada’s Flawed Sex Trade Law”, in which Kaye criticised the Canadian government for having merely replaced one flawed policy with another by passing Bill C-36. [1] It would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so serious an issue, that of all people, Raymond felt she was in a position to criticise Kaye for ignoring evidence. Responding to claims made by Raymond surely is not what gets me up in the morning but I decided to do so due to the sheer amount of misinformation put forward by her, including continuing to misrepresent South Korea’s Anti-Sex Trade Laws. The statements from reports and articles listed below will illustrate that ignoring evidence is in fact Raymond’s very own modus operandi.

Alleged increase of human trafficking during sport events

Raymond is indignant that someone could have the audacity to challenge “the numbers of women and girls sexually exploited during sports events”. In the report “What’s the cost of a rumour? A guide to sorting out the myths and the facts about sporting events and trafficking”, Julie Ham wrote:

“There is a very wide discrepancy between claims that are made prior to large sporting events and the actual number of trafficking cases found. There is no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking for prostitution.”

Source: Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

And in a study commissioned by the European Football Association (UEFA), Martina Schuster, Almut Sülzle, Agnieszka Zimowska wrote:

“As in our previous analysis of major football events, we suggest that the topic of human trafficking should not be brought up in connection with such events, since this is detrimental to efforts to help victims. Before the 2006 World Cup in Germany, for example, various campaigns predicted an increase in human trafficking, which did not materialise. As a result, the organisations concerned were no longer taken seriously by the public because their predictions had been so inaccurate.”

Source: La Strada International (LSI) – Network against Trafficking in Human Beings

Finally, Ruth Krčmář, Coordinator of the International Organisation for Migration’s Counter Trafficking Programme in the Ukraine stated:

“NGO case data as well hotline responses show no evidence that human trafficking surged before or during the EURO 2012. The scare of increased human trafficking for sexual exploitation comes up every time there is a large sporting event on the horizon, although our experience only reinforces earlier findings in other countries. We hope that studies like ours will eventually put an end to the myth, which results in scarce counter-trafficking resources being spent on one-off campaigns rather than long-term solutions and victim assistance.”

Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

You say ‘Nordic’, I say ‘Swedish’, let’s call the whole thing off

With regards to Raymond’s conflation of different countries’ prostitution laws as ‘Nordic Model’, May-Len Skilbrei and Charlotta Holmström wrote:

“We found that the differences not only between, but also within, the Nordic countries are too great for there to be anything like a shared ‘Nordic’ model – and that the case for their success is far more fraught than popular support would suggest. Only Sweden, Norway and Iceland have acts unilaterally criminalising the purchase of sex. Finland has a partial ban; Denmark has opted for decriminalisation. The ‘Nordic model’, then, is in fact confined to only three countries. … The Nordic countries also police prostitution using various other laws and by-laws. Some of these regulations do, in fact, assume that the women who sell sex are to be punished and blamed for prostitution. This goes to show that one should be careful in concluding that Nordic prostitution policies are guided by progressive feminist ideals, or that they necessarily seek to protect women involved in prostitution.”

Source: The Conversation

Raymond blames Kaye for ignoring the findings of the Swedish Institute’s evaluation of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act from 2010, claiming that “there is no evidence that the decrease in street prostitution has led to an increase in prostitution elsewhere” and that “Sweden is one of two countries in Europe where prostitution and sex trafficking is not increasing”. However, the one who is doing the ignoring here is Raymond.

A 2014 report by the Stockholm County Council, titled “Extent and development of prostitution in Sweden”, states that “the methods currently available are unable to estimate the exact extent in Sweden” and that “the size of the population” engaging in prostitution is unknown. What’s more, the report also states that there is a lack of “a single definition of prostitution and human trafficking, which makes it difficult to draw comparisons between and within countries over time”.

Whereas Raymond cites the 2010 report as stating there was no evidence that prostitution had moved elsewhere (from the streets), the 2014 report states that “the number of escort ads aimed for men who buy sexual services from women has increased markedly during the past eight years from 304 to 6,965 ads”. Apparently, prostitution did move elsewhere: online. One should also note that the claim of the Sex Purchase Act having halved street-based sex work is problematic, since it is based on guesstimates from as early as 1995 – 4 years before the adoption of the law. [Source: Stockholm County Council]

A recent research report from Malmö University, commissioned by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU), also criticises the Sex Purchase Act, concluding that claims of the policy’s success have been greatly exaggerated. “There is no evidence that the demand has declined to the extent claimed by the state-led evaluation,” RFSU’s President Kristina Ljungros told the daily Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. “The law has instead led to increased vulnerability for sex workers.” [Source: Global Network of Sex Work Project (NSWP)/Dagens Nyheter]

Fictitious numbers

Where Raymond’s statements about Germany are concerned, I shall give her credit for correctly stating that Germany decriminalized aspects of prostitution in 2002, as opposed to legalising sex work in 2002, as is commonly and incorrectly claimed. However, the number she mentions of persons engaged in prostitution is a mere figment of her imagination. The claim that they are 400,000 sex workers in Germany actually dates back to the 1980s – before Germany’s reunification – and was only an estimate by Hydra e.V., a meeting and counselling centre for sex workers.

At a symposium titled “10 Years Prostitution Law in Germany” in 2012, researcher Elfriede Steffan stated that Hydra’s estimate was continuously being cited for over two decades although it lacked any scientific basis. According to Steffan, another estimate from the 1990s put the number of sex workers in unified Germany between 60,000 and 200,000. She added, “Objectivity also means to admit what we don’t know. There is no new data.”

A 2005 evaluation report by the German government estimated that there were 200,000 sex workers in Germany, and on its website, the responsible ministry states that where the number of sex workers in Germany is concerned, there are no reliable statistics available. Thus, Raymond’s claim that “two years after the law was passed, the number of persons in prostitution rose from about 200,000 to over 400,000” is entirely fictional.

Raymond’s Reprise: Misrepresenting the ‘South Korean Model’

Finally, as I mentioned in my introduction, Raymond continues to misrepresent the nature and alleged success of South Korea’s Anti-Sex Trade Laws, currently under review by the country’s constitutional court. Raymond states that the law prohibits “the purchase of sexual activities” but conveniently leaves out that sex workers are equally criminalised. In addition, as I have written previously, her claims about the existence of better victim protection and assistance and the alleged reduction of the sex industry in South Korea lack common sense as well as scientific evidence.

Conclusion

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence to counter the wild claims made by Janice Raymond, and I shall leave the remaining ones to others, since there really isn’t enough time in a day to debunk articles such as Raymond’s. But at the very least, I hope that the above listed sources will suffice to illustrate that Raymond is in no position to blame others for “selecting certain examples at the expense of others” and that what Raymond laments, ignoring evidence, is in fact her very own modus operandi.


Footnotes

[1] Janice Raymond is an American radical feminist author and activist, and a professor emerita of Women’s Studies and Medical Ethics at the University of Massachusetts (UMass). Julie Kaye is the Director of Community Engaged Research and Assistant Professor of Sociology at The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta.

[2] For the reason why I do not use the term ‘sex trafficking’ as Raymond does, please see Borislav Gerasimov’s article ‘Hey, mind your language’ and my own comment below.


Kuosmanen: Sex Purchase Act Creates False Optimism

Jari Kuosmanen - Photo by Åbo Underrättelser. All Rights Reserved.Questioning the Sex Purchase Act: Jari Kuosmanen, associate professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg, says that supply and demand for sexual services in Sweden has not declined since the late 1990s. Photo: Åbo Underrättelser. All Rights Reserved.

About this translation

In 2014, the European Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Canadian Parliament all voted in favour of laws to criminalise the purchase of sexual services, a measure commonly referred to as the Swedish Model. Meanwhile, the Select Committee of the French Senate, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, and the Justice and Electoral Committee of the New Zealand Parliament rejected such a move.

Advocates for the Swedish Model claim that the law has led to declining numbers of buyers and sellers of sexual services. However, according to Ann Jordan from the American University’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Swedish government doesn’t actually know “whether the law caused any reduction in the number of sex buyers, sex workers, trafficking victims or migrant sex workers”. As Jordan explains, claims of its ‘success’ lack reliable evidence, and the source of such claims “is primarily the government’s initial and short English-language summary”.

While street-based sex work dropped initially, Jay Levy and Pye Jakobsson argue that research suggests it has since returned to previous levels, and that it remains unclear if the initial decline was caused by the law or other factors. With regards to the alleged decline of sex buyers, Swedish researchers Susanne Dodillet and Petra Östergren point out that the aforementioned English-language summary cites a survey, which suggests that fewer men had bought sex compared to a 1996 study, but crucially omits the reservations expressed by the very person who conducted it: Jari Kuosmanen. While advocates of the Swedish Model and anti-prostitution activists continue to cite his findings as evidence supporting their views, Kuosmanen explains in this interview the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of the law.

Please note that the copyright for this article lies with Åbo Underrättelser and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Sex Purchase Act Creates False Optimism | By Dan Lolax

Finnish politicians who want to follow Sweden’s approach and introduce a total ban on buying sex should think twice. There is nothing to support the claim that prostitution in Sweden has decreased since the country established the law in 1999, says Jari Kuosmanen, associate professor at the University of Gothenburg, who was the first to evaluate the effects of the law. According to him, the problem is that politicians didn’t base the legislative change on research.

That the law regarding the purchase of sex is described as a success is a statement based on assessments by the police and social services. “It gives a completely false image of supply and demand for sexual services. Street prostitution has gone down, yes, and it is now dominated by Eastern European and African women. But hidden prostitution is difficult to access”, says Kuosmanen, adding that even before the amendment, two-thirds of prostitution occurred indoors.

Overall, the Swedes feel positive about the ban on buying sex. Approximately seventy percent support it, more women than men, but that does not mean that the Swedes think that it has any effect, he says, referring to his evaluation. The effects have not so much to do with the law as it has to do with police resources, says Kuosmanen. The number of arrests per year varies, sometimes there can be as many as three hundred.

If the police, after lengthy investigations, manages to blow up a trafficking ring it will create good statistics. Many clients confess right away to avoid a trial and public shame, says Jari Kuosmanen. “But such crackdowns were possible even before the amendment because pimping was not allowed before 1999.

Prostitution in Sweden has become a political issue, for better or for worse, he says. There are politicians who travel to Nordic countries and praise the law without having any evidence of its success. Instead of basing their statements on research, politicians cite the government’s assumptions, which according to Kuosmanen, are often biased.

His colleagues and him were thwarted by social welfare authorities when they proposed to establish a prostitution research centre. “The risk is of course that we researcher find something out that goes against the purpose of the law.”

In the evaluation of the law in 2010, two years after Jari Kuosmanen’s research on the effect of the law, the working group consisted of lawyers only. “The impression one got was that the instructions were: ‘Do as you please, just don’t do anything to undermine the law.’”

The reason that he doubts that the law has had the effect politicians claim it does is that the scope of supply does not seem to have decreased. The proportion of Swedish men who bought sex was ten percent, according to Kuosmanens evaluation report in 2008. That figure was a drop compared to 1996, when it was thirteen percent. “But when the question was asked in 1996, buying sex was not illegal as it is now. And how many will admit that they committed a crime?” Seventy percent of the men who buy sex do it abroad. This figure has not changed since the Act came into force.

Jari Kuosmanen’s message to Finnish politicians is to not forget that prostitution is a multifaceted phenomenon. There is not an overall agreement among researchers in Sweden, he admits, but some of them cannot with a clear conscience say that the law had an effect. What Kuosmanen can say is that prostitution can not only be met with legislative changes. “Prostitution has so many faces. There are miserable experiences, but there are also others.”

Right now, Kuosmanen is conducting research on male sex workers and people who engage in sex work as a kind of rebellion to go against the mainstream, have fun and make money. His point is that issues regarding prostitution must be allowed to be seen as complex as any other societal issues.

“If authorities and politicians try to create some uniform picture, their credibility disappears”, says Kuosmanen, and urges Finnish politicians to do proper research before any change of the law. Only in this way can the legal effect be determined and properly evaluated.


This article was written by Dan Lolax and published by Åbo Underrättelser, a newspaper in Åbo, Sweden. Click here to view the Swedish original. Please note that the copyright for this article and the photo above lies with Åbo Underrättelser and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License. The photo below did not appear in the original article.

Translation by Anonymous. Every effort has been made to translate this article verbatim. However, on some occasions, the wording and word order were slightly altered for better understanding.

No to the Swedish Model - Protest at Stormont, Belfast - Photo by Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Sign used during the protest by sex workers and allies against the introduction of a sex purchase ban in Northern Ireland. © 2014 Matt Lemon Photography | Please read the copyright notice


New Zealand Justice Committee rejects Swedish Model

Photo by New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

Yes and no, and no again!

In recent weeks, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly as well as the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada have voted in favour of laws to criminalise the purchase of sexual services, a measure commonly referred to as the Swedish Model. In July, however, the Select Committee of the French Senate rejected such a move, as did a majority of members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom last week. The latest decision against the Swedish Model was handed down on November 7, 2014, by the Justice and Electoral Committee of the New Zealand Parliament (Pāremata Aotearoa).

Petition by Freedom from Sexual Exploitation

In May 2013, Elizabeth Subritzky had submitted a petition on behalf of Freedom from Sexual Exploitation that the House of Representatives legislate for a national plan of action to combat street prostitution, including a law to make the purchase of sexual services illegal. At the time, Subritzky claimed that the Prostitution Reform Act of 2003, which decriminalised sex work, was to blame for women selling sex. According to Subritzky, the law had not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but also “transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor women in New Zealand”. (Source: Stuff New Zealand)

The Prostitution Reform Act 2003

The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 decriminalises prostitution while not endorsing or morally sanctioning it or its use. The Act, administered by the Ministry of Justice, creates a framework that

  • safeguards the human rights of sex workers and protects them from exploitation
  • promotes the welfare, occupational health and safety of sex workers
  • is conducive to public health
  • prohibits people under 18 years of age from working in prostitution.

The Act provides protections for all sex workers, whether they work indoors or on the streets, by making prostitution subject to the same laws and controls that regulate other businesses. No person in New Zealand on a visa may provide commercial sexual services, or act as an operator of or invest in a New Zealand prostitution business. (Source: Report of the Justice and Electoral Committee)

Report of the Justice and Electoral Committee

Based on the 2008 Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee (PLRC), established under the Prostitution Reform Act, the Justice and Electoral Committee stated that a perceived increase in street prostitution “may be due to an increase in visibility in some areas” which “may not necessarily represent greater numbers overall.” The committee also referred to a 2010 report from the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective which found that “the number of sex workers is relatively stable, and in some parts of the country, such as Wellington, is decreasing as sex workers have the means to shift indoors and to work from home or elsewhere”.1

With regards to the impact of street-based sex workers on the communities they work in, the committee found that while a small number of communities “have raised concerns about vehicle noise, disorderly behaviour, and the disposal of rubbish”, there are already laws in place to address them. A review of the issues associated with street-based sex work undertaken by the Ministry of Justice in 2009 recommended “a comprehensive local approach to improve community safety and minimise harm” and suggested that “banning and moving on street-based sex workers might drive activity further underground, impairing the health and safety of workers”.

Whereas Subritzky’s petition expressed concern that street-based sex workers were “particularly vulnerable to violence, rape, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, and social marginalisation”, the committee stated that the aforementioned 2008 PLRC report had concluded that “on the whole the vast majority of those involved in the sex industry are better off than they were before the Prostitution Reform Act, and [that] the relationship between sex workers and the police has improved.” Acknowledging the vulnerability of street-based sex workers, the committee recommended to encourage them to move to indoor workplaces and support them “to work as safely as possible while causing minimal disruption to local residents”.

In response to the request in Subritzky’s petition to make the purchase of sexual services illegal, the committee stated: “The purpose of the Prostitution Reform Act is to give sex workers the same protections as other workers, recognising that sex workers are not necessarily victims. The 2008 PLRC report noted that Swedish sex workers have criticised the Swedish model, saying the need to protect their clients from the risk of prosecution disadvantages them and exposes them to risk. The committee considered that all forms of criminalisation increase workers’ vulnerability, producing negative health and safety outcomes.”

With regards to the suggestion in Subritzky’s petition that prosecuting brothel managers would enable authorities to control human trafficking, the committee pointed to existing trafficking legislation, which also punishes “a range of conduct associated with trafficking, including rape, engaging underage prostitutes, coercing prostitutes, and exploitation of labourers”. It added that New Zealand was meeting its “international obligations to prevent and combat people trafficking under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime” and had amended the law “to remove the cross-border requirement, ensuring domestic and transnational human trafficking can be prosecuted and punished”.

Whereas the Subritzky’s petition expressed concern “about the number of under-age street-based sex workers”, the committee referred to reports from the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, which indicated that “there are very few under-age workers in Christchurch and Wellington, and few in Auckland”, and that “the existence of the Act has made brothel operators more aware of the law on under-age workers”. In addition, the 2008 PLRC report had concluded that there had been “no increase in the number of under-age prostitutes since the Act came into force”.

On the subject of under age sex workers

Under 11.4 Media Influence on Public Perception, the 2008 PLRC report cited findings from Nicolas Pascoe (2007) that “the most common negative assumptions were that decriminalisation will increase the numbers of under age people involved in prostitution, and that there is or will be more crime associated with sex work” due to the Prostitution Reform Act. “The analysis concluded the way in which an issue is reported (whether negative or positive assumptions about it are made and reinforced), may prompt attention from other sectors of the media and from politicians whose involvement in turn adds weight to the perception that the matter is of grave concern. Thus, the perceived scale of a ‘problem’ in a community can be directly linked to the amount, and tone, of newspaper coverage it receives. The Committee considers that much of the reporting on matters such as the numbers of sex workers and under age involvement in prostitution has been exaggerated.” (p. 163)

Rejecting Subritzky’s petition, the Justice and Electoral Committee concluded: “We appreciate the petitioner’s concerns about street prostitution. However, we are aware that the eradication of street-based prostitution has not proved to be achievable in any jurisdiction, and simply banning it may have negative consequences for the health and safety of sex workers. We support the Prostitution Law Review Committee’s conclusion that local approaches are likely to be most effective in dealing with street prostitution.”

Reaction from Dr Calum Bennachie

“It may seem like a quiet, minor victory, but it is very important. After failing in 2003 to have it added to the Prostitution Reform Bill as it made its way through parliament and after their failed attempt at getting a Citizens Initiated Referendum to overturn the Prostitution Reform Act, abolitionists again attempted to overturn the rights of sex workers. The Select Committee considering their petition has thrown it out, ruling on the side of reason and evidence, rather than on the basis of ideology.

When other groups are finally given rights by society, they rarely have to keep returning to parliament to protect those rights. Yet, sex workers, who have been given their rights by Parliament in 2003 when sex work was decriminalised, continually have to defend themselves in parliament, fight the same battles, and time after time have to refute the same tired arguments based on invented figures. In this petition, there were claims that most people entering sex work do so under 18 years of age. This claim is blatantly untrue, and in another part of the petition, Freedom From Sexual Exploitation actually claims that 18.3% of sex workers start under 18 years of age. No matter how often they repeat their incorrect assertion, 18.3% do not represent the majority of sex workers, and they are still less than the 35.6% of sex workers who started work between 18 and 21, the age group in which most sex workers start. These abolitionists need to realise that the falsehoods, fictions, myths, and lies that they tell will not win, and will be exposed.”

Dr Calum Bennachie is the Coordinator of PUMP (Pride and Unity among Male Prostitutes), the male sex worker project of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collectives.

Footnote + Further Reading

[1] This report is based on Abel, Fitzgerald, & Brunton’s (2009) paper “The impact of decriminalisation on the number of sex workers in New Zealand”. [J Soc Pol 38(3) 515-31]

Response by the Ministry of Justice to Petition 2011/60

Evidence submitted by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective “Decriminalisation of Sex Work in New Zealand” (incl. video)

“Police help short-changed sex worker”, NZ Herald, Jul 13, 2014

“Escort wins landmark case”, NZ Herald, Mar 1, 2014

Una versione italiana di questo articolo è stata pubblicata su abbattoimuri.
An Italian version of this article was published at abbattoimuri.


I would like to thank Dr Calum Bennachie for allowing me to include his comments in this article. (Photo © New Zealand Prostitutes Collective)