Sex Work and Human Rights

Posts tagged “Prostitution Abolitionist

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.


Prostitution abolitionists violate our rights!

Real Woman Support Sex Worker Rights. Photo by Zoccole Dure, All Rights Reserved.Photo by Zoccole Dure. All Rights Reserved.

Italian feminist blogger Eretica Whitebread recounts her conversation with an Italian sex worker living and working in Germany.

Originally posted on Research Project Germany

Clicca qui per la versione italiana di “Le abolizioniste della prostituzione violano i nostri diritti!”. Please note that the copyright for this article lies with Abbatto i Muri and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

By Eretica Whitebread

I wrote this article after a conversation I had with F., an Italian sex worker living in Germany. She works at a place that is perfectly legal and pays taxes. She has a son from a previous relationship and her current partner is a woman. A few years ago, she moved away from Italy, where she had been charged with abetting ‘exploitative prostitution’. At the time, she was sharing an apartment with another sex worker. They had intended to help each other in order to work more safely. But under Italian laws, merely living with a sex worker can put you in trouble and see you charged with ‘exploiting the prostitution of others’.

After she served her sentence, F. chose to relocate to Germany, but currently, she feels quite unsettled there. Having already suffered due to the unfair legal charge in Italy, which made her the victim of a law that criminalised her without reason, a law not intended to support her in any way, she now learnt from the news that fanatic feminists want to make sex work illegal, thus driving sex workers underground. F. is afraid that she might again face a law that will criminalise her job.

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Why do abolitionists have to lie or fantasise?

Mock version of the Feminist Current logoMock version of the Feminist Current’s “dandelying” logo

Guest post by Dr Calum Bennachie in response to Samantha Berg’s article “From Norway to New Zealand, pro-prostitution research is its own worst enemy” on Feminist Current, a Canadian blog created by Meghan Murphy.


In her article, Berg claims the number of street-based sex workers in Auckland had increased following the decriminalisation of sex work. In the following, I respond to her claims.

Berg, like Melissa Farley and others, deliberately read the information out of context. In her introduction, she cites Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf:

“For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

Yet, this is exactly what she is doing. Or perhaps it’s because she did not know how to read a report. The report clearly states:

2.3.2 2007 Re-estimation

A second estimate of the size of the sex industry in the five locations was carried out in 2007. For most centres, the same techniques as those used in 2006 were again employed. However, as noted above, in 2006 Auckland outreach workers did not include street-based workers known to be working but not seen on the nights counts were done. In 2007, the count in Auckland was conducted in the same manner as the Wellington and Christchurch counts in 2006 (and again in 2007).

Table 3 - Re-estimation of Numbers of Sex Workers in Five Areas of New Zealand in June to October 2007

2.3.3 Auckland Results

The increase in numbers of street-based workers in Auckland in 2007 can be partially explained by the different methodologies used to estimate numbers of street-based workers in 2006 and 2007. However, the CSOM study also notes that the Auckland outreach workers had seen an increase in the number of sex workers on the street in the six to eight months prior to June 2007. The Auckland NGO ‘Streetreach’ report an increase in street-based sex workers in Auckland between August and November 2007 (Streetreach, 2007).

In the 2006 count, outreach workers in Auckland only included those who were working on the street during that period. In the 2007 count, they included all people who had worked on the streets in the preceding 12 months. Furthermore, the Committee continually asked Streetreach to provide evidence of their claims of an increase, yet they could not.

Perhaps she should also have read the following.

2.6.4 Claims that Numbers Have Increased

The Committee is aware of reports claiming the numbers of sex workers, and in particular street-based sex workers, have increased as a result of decriminalisation. Addressing these claims forms a substantial part of this chapter. Often, the increases have been reported in general terms, based on impressions, rather than citing actual numbers. One exception is the claim that the numbers of street-based sex workers in Auckland increased by 400% as a result of decriminalisation. This claim cannot be substantiated, and was not based on systematic or robust research.

The figure of a 400% increase has been re-reported several times, demonstrating the ease with which opinion can be perceived as ‘fact’. In his speech to the House during the second reading of the Manukau City Council (Control of Street Prostitution) Bill, Gordon Copeland MP attributed the report of a 400% increase to the Maori Wardens’ submission on the Bill in 2006. The Maori Wardens may have been influenced by an article in the NZ Herald in 2005 in which Mama Tere Strickland was reported to say, ‘Numbers have quadrupled since that Bill [Prostitution Reform Act]’ (New Zealand Herald, 2005).

A 400% increase in the numbers of sex workers was predicted prior to the passage of the PRA, and was also claimed in relation to the law reform in New South Wales. This may be the original source of the idea that numbers of sex workers will, or have, increased by such a margin as a result of law reform. Officials advising the Select Committee were unable to find any statistical evidence to support the claim. In addition, the Select Committee noted that ‘there may appear to be a growth in the industry because it becomes less hidden in nature’ (Select Committee, 2002).

In the Committee’s first report, the number of street-based sex workers in Auckland was estimated to be 360 (PLRC, 2005). An increase of 400% would mean there would now be 1,440 sex workers on Auckland’s streets. The Committee considers that the research undertaken by the CSOM conclusively refutes an increase of this magnitude, with the 2007 figures estimating the number of Auckland street-based sex workers at 230.

The figure of 360 for central Auckland that was published in the 2005 report comes from police records and counts, not merely arrests or anecdotal evidence. There were also 150 recorded in South Auckland, in the Counties Manukau policing District. That gives a total of 510 street based sex workers in the Auckland region prior to decriminalisation in 2003. Sometimes abolitionists say that the drop from 360 to 230 is an impossible reduction in street based sex work (let alone a drop from 510 to 230). Firstly, as the report admits, the police figures were cumulative, and so included people who may have moved to another city, or who may have left sex work (yet somehow the police deemed it necessary to continue to keep their name and link it with sex work). Secondly, with decriminalisation, the register the police insisted on keeping was no longer required, and as a result, a large number of street based sex workers began to work indoors as there was no fear that the police would be holding their details.

There does appear to have been a trend of movement from the managed sector to the private sector post-decriminalisation. In 1999, the managed sector comprised 62 per cent of the sex worker population in Christchurch and the private sector 10 per cent. The proportions in 2006 were 51 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. These differences were significant, with workers in Christchurch less likely to be working in the managed sector in 2006 (RR: 0.82; 95 per cent CI: 0.72–0.93) and more likely to be working in the private sector (RR: 2.36; 95 per cent CI: 1.64–3.38) than in 1999. (Abel, Fitzgerald & Brunton, 2009: 524).

There are claims that the Committee was biased because of who was on it. While it did contain three nominees from NZPC – one of who was a noted criminologist from Victoria University of Wellington – and two representative of operators, the Chair was a former Police Commissioner who had worked on the vice squad, and other members included representatives from ECPAT and Streetreach, a Catholic nun working with the homeless and vulnerable, as well as members from the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Local Government who were not necessarily supportive of decriminalisation. Yet abolitionists fantasise that all members supported decriminalisation, and specifically tailored the report to reflect this. This is clearly not true. What is true is that some of the committee members, after reviewing the fact based evidence changed their opinions from being against decriminalisation to being in favour of decriminalisation.

But of course, whatever is said to prove them wrong, the abolitionists, who never talk with sex workers on a daily basis, don’t know their lives, don’t know why they work, or why they work in a particular area of sex work, who don’t accept that for some people sex work is a stabilising influence on what may be an unsettled and chaotic life, will point a finger and go “Ahah! but the report must be wrong because …”, and prefer to continue their own fantasy rather than be struck in the face by reality.

So I ask Samantha Berg, why do anti-sex work campaigners have to lie? Why do they ignore evidence based research, and instead have to fantasise about non-existent issues or make things up that just don’t exist? And how did the abolitionists come up with the often repeated figure “40,000 people trafficked” to **[name of sporting event]**? What evidence do they have to back up their claims? Where is the evidence to support the claims of the abolitionists?


References

Abel, G., (2010). Decriminalisation: A harm minimisation and human rights approach to regulating sex work. A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Christchurch: Author.

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers: Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee. Christchurch: Christchurch School of Medicine.

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2009). The Impact of Decriminalisation on the Number of Sex Workers in New Zealand, Journal of Social Policy, 38, 3, 515–531.

Prostitution Law Review Committee, (2005). The Nature and Extent of the Sex industry in New Zealand: An Estimation. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.

Prostitution Law Review Committee, (2008). Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.


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.


Open Letter to Rhoda Grant

Rhoda Grant responded. See update below.

The following is an open letter I have sent today to Rhoda Grant, Member of the Scottish Parliament, in response to her decision to remove all responses to the consultation process about her proposal to criminalise the clients of sex workers in Scotland. (see earlier posts)J'accuse

Ms Grant,

I am sure you are a busy person, but if you were to look back at our previous correspondence, I believe you would find that I always addressed you respectfully, even though I found your proposed bill, your public statements about the subject matter, and the handling of the consultation process by your office more than questionable.

In politics as well as in academia it is commonplace to disagree on a wide range of issues, and at times, we might disagree a little more and even find opponents to our own views annoying. That’s just human. But that you went as far as to remove all responses to your consultation without prior notice is a new low, even for you, and it strikes me with disbelieve that an elected public servant would behave in such a manner. That is, by the way, in addition to the fact that you continued to omit at least one response, that of the Philippine Sex Workers Collective, although their members took time out of their schedules to participate in your consultation.

I strongly suggest that you restore access to all responses to your consultation immediately and that you add the above mentioned response and any other responses that were omitted.

I have today requested access to all responses from the Scottish Parliament via the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and already received an acknowledgement of that request.

It is certainly your prerogative to remove your comments about your failure to receive cross-party support for your bill from your website. But to omit opponents’ responses, to publish a biased summary of responses, to paint a picture as if Amnesty International supported your bill, and now to remove all responses without prior notice – is this really the conduct that you believe is appropriate for a member of the Scottish Parliament?

I believe it is not and I will, like others, lodge an official complaint about your conduct. If publicity is what you were aiming for, you got it. I am nothing short of disgusted to witness this blatant abuse of power on your part.

I should be sorry for being so blunt but I am not. Shame on you, Ms Grant!

Matthias Lehmann
Research Project Korea
Berlin, July 11th, 2013

Update! (July 12th, 2013)

Rhoda Grant has responded to my letter. She stated that she wasn’t obliged in the first place to make the responses available online and that they were available on her website from the time they were published to the time her proposed bill failed to achieve the necessary cross-party support required to proceed. She also stated that they were published to allow for scrutiny of the proposed legislation but since the bill wasn’t proceeding, they have been removed from the site. All responses have been lodged with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) and the Scottish Parliament as required. Other than that, Ms Grant made no comments whatsoever about the other issues raised in my letter.


Update #2 to Rhoda Grant’s consultation process

Restore Access, Rhoda!Image altered by Matthias Lehmann (Research Project Korea)*

There has been another unbelievable development regarding Rhoda Grant’s consultation process. Not enough that previously, submissions that opposed her bill to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland were omitted and that her comments on having failed to get cross-party support for the bill were removed from her website. Now all responses to the consultation process were removed, too!

Twitter LogoPlease tweet to @RhodaGrant to remind her that she is a PUBLIC SERVANT and demand that access to ALL responses be restored!

This morning, I submitted a request to the Scottish Parliament under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain all submitted responses, which was acknowledged by the Head of Information Governance. Should my request be successful, I will provide them to SCOT-PEP and the Sex Workers Open University.

Related Posts

Update to Rhoda Grant’s consultation process

“A self-inflicted lack of information” – My response to Rhoda Grant’s consultation process

*I am not suggesting any ad hominem attacks on Ms Grant. However, in my view, her ignorance of the subject matter and the contempt she has shown throughout for sex workers and others who opposed her, justify to make light of a bad situation and mock Ms Grant with the above image. Unfortunately, she well deserves it.


Sex, Lies, and Abolitionists

How prostitution abolitionists defame sex workers’ rights activists

The following comment was left on my blog last night.

Are you actually interested in the suffering of women who were forced into prostitution and who are hard up? If yes, you could read the following: Your Justifications are Killing Us
– Sophie

Rather than replying in the comment section only, I chose to respond more publicly in this post, to highlight the defamation that proponents of sex workers’ rights frequently have to endure.

Dear Sophie,

I do indeed take an interest in forced prostitution, though without your apparent limitation to women. I already knew the text you sent me. Even though I do not wish to deny the personal experiences of the author, I do take issue with the message she aims to convey with her text as well as with the blatant lies she spreads. In the following, I will respond to selected paragraphs of her post and thus, to your comment.

“Too much of the Left is made of male-thought, and in this thinking it not surprising that the Left has always justify the sex trade, and ignore the reality of life for the prostituted.” – Rebecca Mott

To give but one example to challenge her view, I shall name the German prostitution law (ProstG), which was an initiative by the female members of the German Green Party who by no means ignored the reality of sex workers. The ProstG abolished the statutory offence of the „promotion of prostitution” and made it possible to create better working conditions for sex workers without rendering oneself liable to prosecution.

Since the author mentions her view about which groups dominate the prostitution discourse, how about we take a look at the spectrum of prostitution abolitionists? In my view, those are predominantly radical feminists or members of faith-based organisations.

They are the ones who ignore the realities of sex workers, since their opinions often rest on their own concepts of morality and disproven research. I have no problem with anyone who doesn’t consider sex work as a desirable occupation or wishes to write about it and try to have others think about it, too. That falls under freedom of expression. That, however, is not what prostitution abolitionists are content with.

“If you scream and shout that you’re not a victim you are suffering from a false consciousness. And if you try to convince them that you’re not even suffering from a false consciousness, they will say: ‘Well you’re not representative'”.
– Pye Jacobsson, Swedish sex worker and activist URL

The term „prostituted“ supports the notion that sex workers lack agency and aren’t able to make informed decisions. “to be prostituted” is a passive term that supports the notion that one cannot actively choose to work as sex worker. Is a construction worker “constructed” then?

“I am tired of everyone letting the left off the hook – I tired of waiting for the Left to get on board with abolition – I tired of men who Leftist making their porn stash and their consumption of the prostituted is somehow better than right-wing men who do exactly the same.” – Rebecca Mott

I, on the other hand, am tired that forced prostitution and pornography are conflated time and again, and that those who oppose the criminalisation of sex work are branded as proponents of sexual exploitation.

“In this post, I will speak of the many leftist cliches that have said to me, or I have read, or had fed to me by the media.” – Rebecca Mott

I don’t know which media the author refers to here, but I cannot support her view that the media are currently engaged in a campaign for the rights of sex workers. Rather, prostitution abolitionists frequently dominate the discourse and silence any dissenters. (See my previous post about a German talk show in featuring prominent prostitution abolitionist Alice Schwarzer) URL

The following statement is a typical example for that.

“Much of the poison-speech by the Left is the language of pimps and punters – men who are not pimps and punters parrots their words without questioning. I was consumed by many Leftist punters who justify all their tortures – I had profiteers selling me who imagine they were on the Left, hell they were sexual outlaws, they were empowering women, they were model-day freedom fighters.” – Rebecca Mott

If you don’t agree with them, prostitution abolitionists will denounce you as pimp, punter, torturer or – here – will-less parrot.

“I write to the Left, for my heart is exploring with pain and grief – silence round the Left betraying the prostituted class is killing the prostituted every day.” – Rebecca Mott

Again, the author conveys that the left ignored the reality. I would like to know whom she is talking about, but that she fails to elaborate on. I suppose that according to current criteria, you can call me leftist, and where I am concerned, I did seek the dialogue with prostitution abolitionists several times, only to be faced with attempts to defame me, distort my views into the opposite, or shout me down.

“The major one is that if you unionise the sex trade, then it will be fine and dandy. I agree with unions for workers – but there we the major flaw – being embedded in the sex trade is not work, the prostituted class are not workers. They are in the conditions of slavery, of having their human rights stripped from them – they are not workers. To frame it as work, where all that need to be done putting in basic health and safety regulations, all that need to be done is to get a shop steward who go to the sex trade profiteer and speak of working rights for the prostituted. Think a little, and you will see this is nonsense.” – Rebecca Mott

Sex worker unions are indeed no cure-all. However, the notion that sustainable improvements could be achieved without them is a misconception. The interests of sex workers are best represented by sex workers themselves. Those include fighting forced prostitution and violence, by the way. But for as long as prostitution abolitionists fight against sex work itself, a collaboration with sex workers is hardly in the cards. Sex work is work. Forced prostitution is forced sexual labour.

“When there are unions for the prostituted – they always are dominated by the profiteers, punters and those who support painting the myth that the sex trade is safe.” – Rebecca Mott

That is a blatant lie. Information about sex worker organisations can be easily obtained. I recommend the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) as a starting point.

“Unions that exist do not include the prostitute who is trapped in a brothel, do not include women in the porn that is daily torture, do not include the under-aged prostitute trapped in a room with lines of men consuming her.” – Rebecca Mott

While it is true that those forced into prostitution usually have no access to sex worker organisations, it is also true that forced prostitutes represent the minority of sex workers. So what is the answer? To defame sex workers, who like any other working person work on their own accord, and defame their organisations, including the services and assistance they offer? Among others, those include assistance to exit sex work, counselling (e.g. when suffering from sex worker burnout), or the opportunity to report suspected cases of forced prostitution. Does doing away with those sound like a good plan?

“No, unions are not for the ordinary and average woman or girl – for those unions have no intention to stop the routine rapes, the routine beating ups, the routine throwing away of the prostituted. No, the purpose of these unions is to whitewash away all the normal male hate and violence that underpins all aspects of the sex trade.” – Rebecca Mott

See above. One can easily learn about the objectives of sex worker organisations. The supposed “intentions” that the author describes are brazen defamations.

“Do not back any sex trade union – they do not give a damn about the prostituted, they care about pimps and punters.” – Rebecca Mott

This statement demonstrates that the author is not in the least interested in the rights of sex workers.

“It is a union run and controlled by managers, but more by managers who view the prostituted as goods and never as humans. Your belief in unions is killing the prostituted every day.” – Rebecca Mott

The author fails again to disclose what union(s) she is talking about. Her statement is a general condemnation of all sex worker organisations that aims to defame their members and work. Therefore, I will not respond to all further paragraphs, but only to a few additional points.

Sex workers protest against police crackdowns in Seoul [Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man]

“I would see punters who had brutalise me and other prostitutes on marches, in meetings or part of liberal religions – fighting with all the might for rights and dignity of all humans.” – Rebecca Mott

I heard people raise suspicions that sex workers in South Korea were forced to participate in demonstrations. I discussed this with Korean sex workers who I suppose the author would claim belong to this “leftist riff-raff”. None of them was able to confirm this suspicion.

“That when I learnt the lesson I have never lost – these men did not fight for the dignity and rights of the prostituted foe we were not and cannot be classed as humans – we were just goods for them to use to consume and throw away.” – Rebecca Mott

I believe that the information that I published on this blog and via Facebook speak for themselves and refute the author’s portrayal of “these men” as a homogeneous group.

“We were not given access to human rights” – Rebecca Mott

Here I agree. The rights of sex workers are indeed frequently violated and only unagitated discussions about possible countermeasures will lead to a sustainable reduction of such violations. Not only should sex worker participate in these discussions – they should be the protagonists in them.

“Please question your Leftist views if they discard the prostituted class.” – Rebecca Mott

Please question your views if they undermine the rights of sex workers. Failing to safeguard sex workers’ rights, will prevent fighting forced prostitution and violence in sex work effectively.

Sex Workers’ Freedom Rally in Kolkata, India [Photo by Matt Lemon Photography]