An Open Letter to Rachel Moran

This is in response to An Open Letter to the ‘Good’ Punter. I am one of those. You wrote "I met many of you. So many. Too many." I wonder. You say that you used to be a prostitute but Laura Lee and Maggie McNeill don't believe that. I'm not going to accuse you of fabricating your story because I only write something that I'm certain is true.

That's the biggest difference between me and you. You are quite happy to state something false if it furthers your cause. You went onto national radio and stated that 127 Dutch prostitutes had been murdered in the last 15 years.

Presenter Jane Garvey asked you "If the punters are criminalized, won’t this drive them and the prostitutes to even more risky circumstances?" To which you replied "Well you only have to look at the difference between Sweden and Holland to get your answer to that. There’s been 127 women murdered in Dutch prostitution in the last 15 years. Now in Sweden there’s only been one prostituted woman murdered."

I tried to find this statistic on the Internet. The only thing I could find is a Dutch news report that said that 127 Dutch prostitutes had been murdered in the past 30 years. 30 years, not 15 years. Considering that prostitution in the Netherlands was fully decriminalized 15 years ago, it could have been that most of those murdered were killed between 15 and 30 years ago, before decriminalization. If that is true - as indeed it turned out to be - then criminalization would be likely to increase the number of women killed. That doesn't seem to bother you though.

When I looked further I found that this statistic had been stated at the Northern Ireland Assembly when Laura Lee (a sex worker and representative of the International Union of Sex Workers) was being questioned by Jim Wells during a debate on the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill. This is what Jim Wells said.

"You quite rightly pointed out the tragedy of Petite Jasmine.  That is a very sad case, and we are aware of it.  It happened in Sweden, and, since 1998, it is the only example of a prostitute in Sweden being killed.  In Holland in the same period — of course, as you know, prostitution in Holland has been entirely legalised and is controlled — there have been 127 murders of prostitutes.  Given those statistics, why would prostitutes be safer if you made it totally legal?"

Laura didn't know how to respond to this. Nobody knows how to respond to false statistics that they have never heard before. This is a favourite tactic used by people who want to ban prostitution. I have given numerous examples of this elsewhere on this blog. It was left up to Laura to clear up the confusion.

Laura wrote a letter to the Belfast Telegraph to give the facts. This is what she wrote.

"Mr Wells seems determined to avoid discussing the real issues and, instead, talks of these 127 murders of sex workers in the Netherlands. Given his obsession with this 127 statistic, I'd like to clarify: the statistic relates to 118 murders that occurred between 1985 and 2012 being investigated by a police cold case team in the Netherlands. In 25 of the cases, the victims were not sex workers, or it is not known if they were sex workers or not. Most of the sex worker victims were working illegally and outdoors, not indoors. Eighty-six of the murders took place before October 1, 2000 (i.e. before prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands)."

I admire Laura Lee for her ability and determination to get at the truth of the matter, which is in contrast to the casual way that you are happy to use statistics that you haven't bothered to check. You spread confusion wherever you go and people like Laura have to clear it up. Laura and Maggie's investigative skills are better than mine - which is another thing I admire about them - so I leave it to them to work out if you have lied about having been a prostitute. What's for sure is that you much of what you say is false.

I often wonder about your motivation for writing your open letter. I can only think that it is similar to the senior police officer who wrote an article in a newspaper where he said that if men visit Thai prostitutes they should realize that the women's smiles are false because in reality they are desperately unhappy. I think that the smile of a sex worker is no more or less false than that of a waitress. What he was trying to do is to deter those punters that have a conscience. What he and you should realize is that if sex workers have fewer clients and the ones that remain are the less caring ones then their lives will be made more difficult and dangerous. How is that helping them? Do you even care about that?

You write about "the right to buy what you like". In Britain we believe that people should be able to do what they like, unless they harm others. So people like you, who want to take away people's rights, have to pretend that these rights are harmful. That's where all the false statistics come in - it's your way of trying to make people think that a right should be taken away. You want people to believe that unless we crack down on prostitution women will die, when in fact the evidence is pointing the other way.

You also write that I wouldn't want my daughter to be a prostitute. Well I know one thing for sure and that is that I'd much rather have Laura Lee for a daughter than someone like you. I admire Laura but I have found nothing to admire about you.


Bête de Nuit said...

This is an interesting post about the statistic. What is most interesting is that in Sweden they have no idea how many murdered women are prostitutes. Also apparently in the 9 years leading to criminalization in Sweden there were no murders of prostitutes (see comments).

Bête de Nuit said...

It looks as if women in Sweden are not decriminalized as we were led to think.
"... the Swedish Model does not decriminalise us. This law was put on top already existing abolitionist laws, not one law was repealed."
"If we work together for safety we are charged with pimping each other."

Bête de Nuit said...

Jim Wells is in the news now "Health Minister Jim Wells: Police investigate gay abuse remarks". He said 'The facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. A child is far more likely to be abused and neglected….'. Nick Clegg said 'Those comments have lifted the lid on some really unpleasant views. The mask has slipped.'

If people like Jim Wells get their way over prostitution they will not stop there. First they will harm the interests of sex workers, then they will go after gay men and lesbian women. That's why it's so important to stand up to these people and their lies.

Bête de Nuit said...

Kat Banyard in her book Pimp State: Sex, Money and the Future of Equality repeats the false statistic that 127 Dutch prostitutes died in the same period that no Swedish prostitutes died. You would think that if she cares so much about the fate of sex workers then she would check her facts. All you have to do is Google it to see that it is false. Yet she talks about MYTHS. There's so much wrong with this book.

She took the words of a religious bigot and didn't bother to check them, even though it's the lives of women we're talking about. This is how radical feminists ally themselves with Protestant bigots in northern Ireland and Catholic bigots in southern Ireland, and with American and Saudi bigots too.