Showing posts with label Nordic Model. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nordic Model. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2019

review of Paid For part 3

There are several different aspects to this book. One aspect, her own personal experiences, is very interesting. Another aspect, her comments on her experiences, is not interesting. For example, in Chapter 10 she says that she met 'advantaged middle-class women' who were prostitutes. That is interesting, because it contradicts what the 'abolitionists' say. When Moran comments that these women must all have something wrong with them, probably child abuse, that is not interesting, because that's just her opinion.
"They were privileged. They were educated, only to second level usually but even so, I am talking about well-to-do fee-paying private schools. They seemed to have had other viable choices open to them; they could have gone to university, they could have gone to work in daddy's business, but yet here they were in this awful place doing something they clearly hated and that obviously made them miserable." Chapter 10 page 96.
Moran wrote in the same chapter that she knew one woman who managed to save ten thousand pounds. This woman would have been even better off if she hadn't spent so much money on overheads - rent, advertising, mobile phone, taxis, clothes and shoes. Moran criticised her for this: "The whole idea was supposed to be about making a half-decent living, I'd say to her, for God's sake" page 92.

The ex-preacher Gavin Shuker (now an MP but not for much longer I hope) said this in a debate about prostitution in the House of Commons: "There is undoubtedly a huge supply of money, estimated by some to be £5 billion or £6 billion of our economy, but that money is not finding its way into the pockets of women who are exploited through this trade; it ends up in the pockets of pimps, exploiters and those who benefit from trafficking."

In the debate Moran's book was mentioned three times. It's almost as if they haven't read it. She wrote that the reason she and others became prostitutes was 'the opportunity to put roofs over our heads and food in our mouths' page 73. She didn't hand over her money to 'pimps, exploiters and those who benefit from trafficking'. So her experiences contradict what Shuker and other abolitionists say.

This leads us on to the question of is it a good idea to remove the opportunity for women to put roofs over their heads and food in their mouths. This is a question that has been answered by Molly Smith and Juno Mac in their excellent book 'Revolting Prostitutes'. On page 150 they write this:-
"One anti-prostitution organization, the Women's Support Project, write in support of the Nordic model: 'If men were not prepared to buy sex, then prostitution would not work as a survival behaviour.' When you enact a policy that makes a survival strategy 'not work' any more, some of the people using it to attempt to survive may no longer survive."
I don't believe that all women who become prostitutes do so because they would otherwise be homeless or starve. Many will survive by low-paid work and then they turn to prostitution when they want something better than survival. We can all agree that there should be social security so that nobody remains homeless or hungry.

Another important question that Molly Smith and Juno Mac answer in their book is about how some laws can make prostitution more dangerous for women. It is important for sex workers to be able to screen potential clients. Street sex workers could do this but the 1993 law in Ireland and the 1999 law in Sweden made this much more difficult. On page 144 they write this:-
"Everywhere in the world, regardless of the legal model, street-based sex workers use a familiar range of safety strategies. For example, they might work together with a couple of friends, they might take time to assess a client before getting into his car, and they might have a friend write down his car's number plate to signal to him that someone will know who she's with."
A woman who is was a street-based sex worker (as Moran was) either had to give up working on the street and work indoors (as Moran mostly did) or continue under more difficult circumstances. In either case she can no longer screen her clients in the way she used to. Moran said this was a big problem with the 1993 Irish law. Smith and Mac say this was a big problem with the 1999 Swedish law. Yet Moran and others successfully campaigned for the Swedish law to be enacted in Ireland. This happened in 2017, and according to newspaper reports it seems to have been a complete disaster.

A major theme of this book is trauma. She writes that she was traumatised by having to have sex for money. People don't usually do things that traumatise them a second time. You might think that she was forced to do it because she had no other way of making money. However, she seemed to have quite a few different ways of making money. I'm not talking about her early attempts at erotic dancing and erotic photography. I'm talking about her drug dealing and her pimping.
"I had progressed to snorting cocaine at that point and would procure it for certain punters, making a mark-up on it, so that I was profiting from the drug transaction as well as whatever bizarre fantasies I was helping these men indulge." Chapter 9 page 87.
"I rented an apartment in Terenure for a short time and opened an escort agency of my own. I was seventeen at the time and I'm quite sure I was the youngest person advertising an escort agency in Ireland. It was a very simple thing to do and only required an apartment, a mobile phone and an advertisement in the back of In Dublin magazine, but when I had to deal with the reality of the ridiculous overheads, I soon got rid of the apartment and advertised for call-outs only. I worked mainly in the brothels and escort agencies of others from then on and did my own call-outs to homes and hotels. If I'd get a request for a call-in on my agency line I'd use a bedroom in the brothel of one of the women I was associating with at that time. I'd pay them a fee for the use of the room, which was common practice. I'd made money that way when I had my own apartment." Chapter 10 page 93.
As someone who has spent years on Job Seeker’s Allowance I'm not very sympathetic to people who sell drugs or pimp and who justify it by saying they needed the money. I never did that, I lived within my means on benefits. Many people in Ireland travelled to England and worked night shifts in factories. So to say she had no other option is far from the truth.

She wrote that she never had the opportunity to do an ordinary job, such as working in a bank. She wrote that she didn't feel worthy of that type of work. Well I would never have been allowed to work in a bank. You don't have to feel worthy to live on the dole or work in a factory.

Many women and men become full-time drug dealers or pimps. If she hated 'paid intercourse' so much why did she not do one or both of these? She said she didn't want to deal with the reality of the ridiculous overheads. Is she saying that prostitutes keep more money than pimps? She was 17 and hadn't yet developed her cocaine addiction. I'm not saying that women should do anything apart from prostitution, but if you are really traumatised by it then it's odd you should continue because of something about overheads.

Not once in this book does she express regret about the harm she did when she sold drugs or pimped. She does express regret about having been a prostitute. I don't expect anyone to feel guilty about being a prostitute, but I do expect people to feel guilty about dealing or pimping. Especially when pimps (and men like me) are demonized by people like her.

I have said that there are several different aspects to this book. One of them is her own personal experience. Another is her comments about her experiences. A third aspect is the quotations from Ruhama and others which begin each chapter and which I commented on in the first part of my review of this book.

There is a fourth aspect, and this is where she writes about some of her experiences but in a very vague and ambiguous way. It is clear what she intends us to believe, but it is not clear if there is evidence to back that interpretation. Consider this:-
"What was going on was the very same thing that was going on when I was lifting my skirt in a backstreet alley. The nature of prostitution does not change with its surroundings. It does not morph into something else because your arse is rubbing up against white linen as opposed to roughened concrete." Chapter 10 page 100.
She said that she only did handjobs and oral sex up till 1993. Then, after a change in the law, she had to start working indoors. She went back onto the streets sometimes though. One can only assume this was because on the streets she didn't have to do the 'paid intercourse' that she disliked so much and only did 'sporadically'. So why is she writing about her arse rubbing up against roughened concrete? How would she know what street girls do?

My understanding is that street girls don't wear skirts. They wear jeans, and they pull them down a bit and bend forward so they can be taken from behind. So they don't experience their arses rubbing up against concrete, either that of paving or a wall. But then again, maybe they did it differently in Ireland in the 1990s. Why doesn't she make clear what the facts are?

Another thing that is odd is that for the first two years men accepted that she didn't want to do vaginal or anal sex. Later they accepted that she didn't want to do anal sex. Yet they didn't accept that she didn't want to be penetrated with fingers or objects both vaginally and anally. She says that men didn't accept the limits of the 'agreed contractual exchange'.

My own experience of prostitution is that few women allow digital penetration. It is not usual for a prostitute to say beforehand that she doesn't allow it. If I ask for it she will most likely say no, or sometimes she will say she charges extra for that. Occasionally she will let it happen without additional payment. I have never forced anything upon a woman.

If Moran had written "I told him to stop but he wouldn't listen" or "I told him he would have to pay extra for that but he went ahead anyway" then we would be clear about what happened. That would be sexual assault or rape. But she doesn't write that.

In Chapter 23 on page 252 Moran writes this:-
"A 2005 Ruhama research report on barriers affecting women in prostitution states: 'Studies in Ireland have found that 38% of women involved in prostitution have attempted suicide and 25% suffered from diagnosed depression and were in receipt of medical treatment'. It is my personal conviction that the twenty-five percent of prostitutes recorded as having depression in Ireland is a significant underestimate of the true figure and that many prostitutes have not been diagnosed simply because they have not presented their symptoms to a doctor."
If you look for this Ruhama report it does indeed say this:-
"There are also high levels of stress related illnesses. Studies in Ireland have found that 38% of women involved in prostitution have attempted suicide and 25% have suffered from diagnosed depression (O’Connor, 1994)."
The Ruhama report is Factors affecting prostitution – Damage and survival mechanisms. In the references section they give the full title of the work they say they derive these statistics from: O’Connor, A. M. (1994) Health Needs of Women Working in Prostitution in the Republic of Ireland, First Report for EUROPAP, Dublin: Eastern Health Board.

However, the O'Connor 1994 document says nothing about either suicide or depression. What's going on? There is another document, written by O'Connor and somebody else that does contain these statistics. It is O’ Neill, M. and O Connor, A.M. (1999) Drug Using Women Working in Prostitution, Report prepared by the Women’s Health Project, Dublin: Eastern Health Board.

Now that we know the correct title of the document we can tell immediately that it is not about prostitutes in general in Ireland, but about prostitutes who are drug addicts in Dublin. As the study itself says "Numerous studies have highlighted the fact that women working in prostitution who are drug users, particularly intravenous drug users (IDUs), appear to be a different population from those who are non-IDUs." The number of drug addicted prostitutes is a fraction of the total number of prostitutes.

The study was of 77 women. All were drug users. 95% were working on the streets. 45% were homeless. Between 11% and 28% had HIV. 52% had been charged with soliciting. This had resulted in 20% of those women being imprisoned and 12% fined. 29 of the 77 (38%) reported having attempted suicide. 19 of the 77 (25%) suffered from diagnosed depression and had received treatment.
"Living with drugs causes considerable strains. A woman drug user who is also a mother faces specific problems organising her drug-related needs around her commitments as a parent, especially where young children are involved. Another dimension to the drugs issue for women is dealing with the reality of prison sentences for themselves, their partners, their siblings or their adult children. Prison sentences for drug related offences severely cut across family networks and reduce still further levels of support for women." O’ Neill, M. and O Connor, A.M. (1999)
Their problems were numerous: addiction, homelessness, imprisonment, fines, and risk of HIV as well as street prostitution. We know that drugs can increase depression, and people with depression may be more vulnerable to addiction. So to say that a quarter of prostitutes are so unhappy in prostitution that they suffer from depression and that even more attempt suicide is simply wrong. It is a deliberate distortion of research. They have hidden the facts.

What they are doing is using research that applies only to drug addicted street prostitutes and pretending that it applies to all prostitutes. They have used this tactic time and time again. It is dishonest. Another tactic they use is to bury information. Instead of referring us directly to the research which is the source of the statistic, they refer instead to a document that refers to it. Or a document that refers to another document that refers to the research.

So if someone tells you that the number of active sex buyers in Sweden is the lowest in Europe, or that there is no evidence that criminalizing men increases the risk to women, you should remember that you have to trace the evidence back to the original study. They know that most people, no matter how much they say they care, can't be bothered to do that.

The O'Connor 1994 study is interesting, resulting from interviews with 18 street-based sex workers after the introduction of the 1993 law. It says twice that they are not a representative sample of sex workers in Ireland.
"Three (17%) of the women felt very strongly that the new law is leading to the emergence of pimps (male protectors) and therefore, an increase in violence and intimidation on the streets. One said "anyone with enough money to rent an apartment and a mobile phone can go into business as a pimp. These men are offering protection and a "safe house" to women who are working. "They leech (latch) onto the women providing protection and paying bail, that's when the violence comes in"." O'Connor, A.M. (1994)
We know that at least one woman was leeching onto the women and that was Rachel Moran. It seems that sex workers don't hate people like me, they hate people like her.

The only time Moran mentions decriminalisation is when she writes about the Nordic model decriminalising the sale of sex. It doesn't. Prostitutes go to jail under the Nordic model. There is no mention of New Zealand where prostitutes are genuinely decriminalised: they do not go to jail. She is not presenting both sides of the argument. She does not mention the difference between legalisation and decriminalisation.

There is the issue of why do sex workers get paid so much. At the end of Chapter 19 page 204 she writes this: "Their higher pay does not reflect gender parity; it reflects the difficulty involved in earning it". In a way she's right.

Incidentally, on this page she uses her most florid language. Phrases such as 'the decision to sell the flesh on one's bones' and 'to bear the burden of its corruption on their bodies' may go down well with the abolitionist audience and especially the Christians but to me they are laughable.

If you go to Manchester the going rate for half an hour with a sex worker is £35 to £40. If you go to Liverpool it is £70. In Liverpool the going rate for a straight massage with nothing sexual is £25 to £30 for a half hour. The reason why Liverpool sex workers demand more than Manchester sex workers is not because they hate what they are doing more but because the police have a different attitude. In Liverpool women find it more difficult to work and keep themselves safe. It is the police who create the difficulty not the punters.

In the epilogue on page 293 Moran writes that "Prostitution first fell sharply in one place and one place only. That is in the nation which suppressed demand. A global implementation of Sweden's laws, which criminalise demand, is the one thing I'd most like to see before I die." This repeats her statement that "prostitution in Sweden has plummeted" in Chapter 20 page 215. Although there has been an effect on street prostitution, none of the reports from Sweden show an overall reduction in demand. I have devoted a page to this issue, and I have devoted a post to the disaster that is happening now that the Nordic model has come to Ireland, with women being jailed not decriminalised. This dishonest book helped to bring this situation about.

In Chapter 21 page 233 she writes about 'pro-prostitution groups' who march in Gay Pride Festivals around the world. She writes that the gay community is being used and 'the pro-prostitution lobby is trying to pull a fast one here'.

By pro-prostitution groups/advocates/lobby she means people who believe in genuine decriminalisation for sex workers, as happens in New Zealand. They are not 'pro-prostitution', they just don't want sex workers to be arrested for working together for safety. It is the 'abolitionists' who are trying to pull a fast one by pretending that they don't want 'prostituted' women to be arrested. Ruhama is now pretending that they never intended this to happen in Ireland even though this issue was discussed before 2017.

Abolitionists are a threat to gay men and lesbian women. They are a threat to transsexual people. Jim Wells, the Northern Ireland DUP politician, is a Christian. He is a Creationist who has got into trouble with his views on abortion and gay rights.

He was instrumental in getting the Nordic model adopted in Northern Ireland, where the first man to be arrested was arrested along with three women. He used a false statistic to do that. He said in the Northern Ireland Assembly that 127 prostitutes were murdered in the Netherlands after legalisation there.

Rachel Moran repeated this false statistic on radio. Julie Bindel and Kat Banyard quote 'Mr Wells' in their recent books. Banyard uses his false statistic.

So it's not surprising that sex workers and people who genuinely believe in their decriminalisation are welcome at Gay Pride Festivals. Obviously they aren't a sexual minority, but then neither are transsexuals who are also welcome and also threatened by people like 'Mr Wells'. Third-wave sex-positive feminists belong here too.

If the abolitionists don't like it then they can have their own parade. What would that look like? They could have Jim Wells to lead it, but then maybe they would keep him out of sight because you don't want to let the mask slip. But you could have another evangelical like Ian Paisley junior or Gavin Shuker.

The nuns of Ruhama would be there, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters could each have their own floats.

Radical Feminists like Julie Bindel and Kat Banyard would be there. There could be a guest speaker from America, a social conservative who could talk about incarceration of men and women: after all the American model is the same as the Nordic model just without the hypocrisy. Another guest could be an African preacher or politician, one of the ones who put gay men and lesbian women in prison. Maybe someone from the Taliban?

Pride of place would be the survivors. Women like Rachel Moran and Anna, who we are all supposed to be listening to, despite the fact that they tell different stories. Anna's book 'Slave' makes 'Paid For' look like 'Belle de Jour'. Dr Brooke Magnanti wouldn't be invited because she doesn't count as a survivor. Also she's an expert in statistics so she might upset the nuns.

The biggest problem with this book is that the main message is women go into prostitution to avoid poverty. This is different from the 'abolitionist' message and Anna's book which says it is all about violent pimps or traffickers. Also, Moran contradicts her own message when she writes about the 'advantaged middle-class women' that she knew.

A big problem for her message is that if you say that women do it to avoid poverty then you are open to the criticism that most people work to avoid poverty. If your answer to that is saying that you feel offended by someone saying that sex work might have some similarity to working in a factory (even though she compared sex workers to bank robbers) and something about someone putting his penis up your anus (even though no-one put his penis up her anus) it's not convincing.
I found these on a Radical Feminist site

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

two sex workers in their 20s jailed

Adrina P (25) and Ana T (20) were raided in November last year. They were jailed for nine months last week. I haven't given their full names even though they are in the media because this kind of exposure is harmful to sex workers.

This is the reality of the Nordic model, which has been in place in Ireland since 2017. You might say that prostitutes have always been jailed for 'brothel keeping', but the penalties were doubled when the new law came in. This is how the Nordic model was meant to work, they pretend that prostitutes are decriminalized. The welfare of women is a low priority; nothing must get in the way of their futile war against prostitution by any means necessary.

Sex workers say Kildare ‘brothel’ arrests prove law is not fit for purpose Belfast Telegraph June 10 2019 The two women, one of whom is pregnant, were jailed for nine months at Naas District Court last week.

Jailing of sex workers keeping brothel shows law ‘not fit for purpose’ Irish Times June 10 2019 ‘Nordic model’ legislation does not protect those selling sex, says alliance

Feminists, if you support the ‘Nordic’ approach to sex work, you’re co-signing the imprisonment of women The Independent

A change in Irish law was meant to help sex workers. So why are they being jailed? The Guardian June 12 2019

This article is even more recent.

Police question dozens in prostitution crackdown Independent.ie 14 June 14 2019 Kate McGrew, director of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, said more women had been prosecuted for “so-called” brothel keeping, what she termed working together in safety.

Here are articles which show the introduction of the Nordic model in Ireland has been a disaster.

‘It’s clearly a brothel, yet nothing can be done’ Irish Times 29 July 2017 The vast majority of those targeted for brothel keeping are eastern European women; only three Irish people have been prosecuted in the past three years. The usual penalty is a fine, and about 35 per cent have received jail terms.

Does the Nordic model work? What happened when Ireland criminalised buying sex New Statesman March 26 2018 Another effect of the legislation was to double the punishment for brothel-keeping in an attempt to crack down on pimping. Irish law defines a brothel as a place where two or more people work, meaning women working in pairs for safety reasons can be charged for pimping each other.

Buying sex has been illegal in Ireland for one year but 'very little' has changed thejournal.ie February 23 2018

How the Irish State is Failing Sex Workers Rebel September 13 2018

FactCheck: Would a new government bill really decriminalise sex workers? thejournal.ie 18 September 2016

Man, 65, is the first convicted of buying sex Irish Examiner 22 January 2019 €200 fine

Finally, a couple of good news stories.

Nurses vote to back decriminalisation of prostitution Royal College of Nurses to lobby UK government in move to protect sex workers’ health The Guardian 1 June 2019

Mexico City will decriminalize sex work in move against trafficking The Guardian 20 May 2019

You might think that I am only criticizing the Nordic model because it would stop me from paying for sex. I know enough about it to know that it doesn't stop men from paying for sex. I have read the reports: there is just as much prostitution in Sweden today as there was 20 years ago.

Over the years I have met many women in prostitution and usually they are good people. I don't like the idea that they could be jailed for nine months. People who demonize men like me aren't going to believe that I care more about the welfare of women than they do.

These two young women have had their lives ruined. When they leave prison they will probably be deported. They may never be able to work. Any time anyone Googles their names it will come up 'prostitute'. It would not be surprising if they end up walking the streets at night in a red light district in Bucharest and die of an overdose or are murdered.

You may say they brought it upon themselves by coming to Ireland, selling sex, and trying to keep themselves safe by working together. They won't be doing that again. They brought it upon themselves. They were told though that Ireland had decriminalised prostitutes, that they were regarded as victims. You don't put victims in jail.

It will be Rachel Moran and Frances Fitzgerald who will be responsible for whatever happens to these two women. They are the ones who brought this vicious and hypocritical system to Ireland. Ireland has always had a problem with its 'fallen women' and that continues today. Fitzgerald is the former Minister for Justice and Equality. Where is the justice? Where is the equality?

I will be Googling the names of the jailed women in the years to come because I want to know what happens to them. I won't forget them the way that everyone forgot the three women who were arrested alongside the first punter to be arrested when the Nordic model came to Northern Ireland. If I could find out their names I would Google them too.

We need to record the arrests in Nordic model countries. We need to record if they are male or female, and their ages. How many of the arrests are of women in their 20s? Deportations and evictions should be recorded too.

Moran writes in her book about the decriminalisation of prostitutes in the Nordic model. That's the only time she uses the word. No mention of decriminalisation in the context of New Zealand. There is no proper discussion of the issues in her book.

So you might think that I don't accept the Nordic model. If the Nordic model was applied as it is supposed to be applied I wouldn't have a problem. I could accept the risk of a 200 euro fine. There has only been one punter convicted in Ireland, and he was given a €200 fine. Not much chance of detection then. Even if you are convicted, it just means you've spent more than you anticipated. I'm not bothered if anyone knows what I've been up to either. I wouldn't be deterred.

It's the reality of the Nordic model that I can never accept. I can never accept the jailing of prostitutes, or any of the extra-judicial punishments that they face eg eviction. Theory and practice are two different things, and the system can only spread through deceit.

Make no mistake, the punishment of women under the Nordic model is essential to that system. It's not a hangover from a previous system. It's not an unintended consequence that will be corrected by Moran campaigning for an adjustment and Fitzgerald taking notice. Moran isn't happy with the way the model has turned out in Ireland but she is goading the police into even more repressive measures.

There are political parties in Nordic model countries who want to get rid of the system. One way to do that would be to say "We don't want to get rid of the Nordic model, we want to implement the REAL Nordic model, one where women is their 20s don't get arrested". They would gain a lot of support, but of course people like Julie Bindel wouldn't be happy about that.

Radical Feminists like Bindel wouldn't be happy, but just as many feminists are third-wave sex positive feminists. Why should they be ignored? I'd like to see what answer Bindel could come up with if progressive parties in northern and southern Ireland campaigned for the true decriminalisation of prostitutes.

Frances Fitzgerald has said not prosecuting women would be a 'legal loophole'. The 'Nordic Model Now!' site state this:-

"Legalising small groups of prostituted women operating from the same premises would serve to legitimise prostitution and put the “right” of men to buy sexual access and the “right” of prostituted women to operate in groups above the rights of all women and girls to not be commercially sexually exploited, and to be free from sexual violence, and of communities to dignity and safety for their most vulnerable members."

So they know about the issue but don't believe that women have a right to work together. So they don't believe in decriminalisation for prostitutes. They believe they should be jailed because of 'dignity and safety'! I've got a better idea. Instead of jailing them, just re-open the old Magdalene Laundries. They can wash their sins away the Ruhama way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

book review: Revolting Prostitutes

I have been reading a new book about prostitution called "Revolting Prostitutes: The fight for sex worker's rights" by Juno Mac and Molly Smith, who are both sex workers. They come to roughly the same conclusion as I do: decriminalisation is the best way forward. The Nordic model is shown to be no improvement for sex workers, they still get arrested and there have been no extra funds from the state to help them. Legalisation is shown not to be a good model either.

I have quoted two paragraphs below, chapter 4 page 114, about arrests of sex workers.
In the aftermath of the arrests in Swindon, sex workers organised to stop the deportations of the Romanian women. Most anti-prostitution feminists made no comment, but one speculated that maybe the Romanian women were pimps after all. The idea that a workplace might have three managers and no workers, and moreover that the 'managers' would all be migrant women in their twenties advertising their own sexual services online is patently absurd. Its absurdity speaks, as gender studies academic Alison Phipps has noted, to just 'how far people will go to avoid extending solidarity to those they disapprove of'. 
Almost everybody with any flavour of feminist politics proclaims not to want those who sell sex to be arrested. However, that sex workers patently are arrested as a result of brothel-keeping laws is, for most anti-prostitution feminists, unmentionable - because the legal model they are pushing for retains and even strengthens these exact same laws (see chapter 6). The fundamental awkwardness of this truth - one that ultimately reveals dedication to something other than sex working women's welfare - creates a frustrating culture of unseeing and unknowing among the feminist left. They stick their fingers into their ears while sex workers try, with increasing frustration, to make the impact of criminalisation clear to them.
Sex workers often like to work together for safety, but that doesn't mean that sex work is inherently violent. As the authors write "After the presumed murder of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in 1986, estate agents were advised to work in pairs where possible or have a 'buddy' keep track of their whereabouts". The same with nurses and social workers. Sex workers are prevented from keeping themselves safe, unlike estate agents, nurses and social workers. The Nordic model doesn't change that, it makes it worse.

Some people believe that when a man pays for sex he can 'do what he likes with her body in the time he has purchased it'. I've never purchased a woman or a woman's body but I have paid for sex many times and I know that sex workers will tell you what they will do and will not do. In my experience anal sex is rarely available. Oral sex usually is but with a condom. Sometimes a sex worker might be willing to do oral sex without a condom but it costs more money. Even then it's probably not going to be 'cum in mouth'.

The authors explain this, and it's quite important because it is relevant to issues of consent, boundaries, and whether sex work can be considered to be work.

Some people believe that sex should be reserved for relationships, and dislike prostitution for that reason. People who feel this way are entitled to their opinion and can live their lives how they choose. The authors explain "Yet for many people, sex can indeed be recreational, casual, or in some way 'meaningless'. The meaning and purpose of sex varies wildly for different people in different contexts or at different times in their lives".

The authors state repeatedly that prostitution is a survival strategy. However, they give examples of women who have used domestic servitude, laundry work and cleaning jobs for survival then used prostitution when they wanted something more than survival. Prostitution may be survival for drug addicts and undocumented migrants but in countries like Britain they are a minority.

It's curious that this book is available in ordinary bookshops, whereas Julie Bindel's recent book on the same subject isn't. Yet if you go into the left-wing bookshop in Bold Street in Liverpool, Bindel's book is there but Mac and Smith's book isn't, despite the fact that Mac and Smith are very left-wing. They wan't to see an end to capitalism and borders - and an end to prostitution. So you would think that Revolting Prostitutes would be on their shelves. Could it be that the people who run the bookshop don't want people to know that not all left-wing feminists believe in the Nordic model?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sex, Lies, and Paperbacks

I heard the feminist Julie Bindel recently on the radio talking about prostitution. I thought it would be interesting to read her new book and was delighted to find that no one seems to have a copy. I could get one off Amazon of course but I'm not going to pay for it. I've asked in libraries and been told I can request it, which I don't want to do. It's not in bookshops. There is a feminist/socialist bookshop in Bold Street in Liverpool and they had a copy but it wasn't on the shelf and they had to look for it.

So even though she's had free publicity for her book from Woman's Hour and free publicity from The Guardian it doesn't look as if many people are going to read it. I could get the gist of what she's saying from the radio programme and the newspaper article. I was pleased to see that she's no longer claiming that when she went to Nevada they found learning disabled women who were being double pimped.

She had claimed that on an earlier appearance on Woman's Hour, although that hadn't been in her report. The report said that one learning disabled woman had been found, which is one too many obviously, but hardly any indication of what will happen here if we legalize brothels.

In her Guardian article she makes no claim that there is less prostitution in Sweden now because of the law criminalizing men for paying for sex. She writes that prostitution is 'a consequence of women’s inequality' and that 'it should be possible to eradicate it'. Yet Sweden is held up as the best example of an equal society, and after 18 years of the law they haven't eradicated it.

While looking for her book I came across a similar book by Kat Banyard called Pimp Nation. I read Chapter 5 in the bookshop and was annoyed that she is repeating a false statistic that I've seen before. Around the year 2000 prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands, but in Sweden they began to prosecute men for paying for sex. Banyard writes that 127 prostitutes were killed in the Netherlands during that time but only one in Sweden.

I heard Rachel Moran state this on Woman's Hour, and it's false. The 127 prostitutes were killed over a 30 year period, not 15 years, and most of them were killed before prostitution was legalized not after. So it looks as if fewer women are being killed in the Netherlands now than before legalization. Not more, which is what they are trying to pretend.

What's more, no prostitutes were killed in Sweden in the 9 years before the new law prosecuting punters. Banyard tries to dismiss the one killing since 2000 as 'domestic'. It wasn't domestic, the authorities handed over Petite Jasmine's kids to a violent ex-partner because she was a prostitute, who then killed her. This is what the authorities in Sweden do. They take away their children. They also deport them or get them evicted.

Banyard doesn't mention this in her book of course. She's happy to point out that in New Zealand prostitution might not be called fully decriminalized because prostitutes aren't allowed to solicit near schools, but she doesn't mention the extra-judicial punishments of prostitutes in Sweden. She doesn't mention that two women who choose to work together for safety can be arrested in Sweden, as also happens in Britain.

Prostitutes can be treated like pimps, as can their landlords if they don't cooperate with the police to evict them. I would like to know if it is men or women who are prosecuted, and if it is women whether they are younger or older. My guess is that it is women in their 20s and 30s who get prosecuted, not so much men or older women.

There are police in Sweden (and Norway) whose job it is to identify prostitutes, find out who their landlords are, contact them, and get the women evicted. Or deport them, or take their children away. Then they tell the world that they treat prostitutes as victims. Victims, yes, but of the police. 'Violence against women', yes, but it is this Nordic model which is violence against women, not prostitution.

Woman's Hour has got a lot to answer for. They let Julie Bindel pretend that she'd found learning disabled women (in the plural) being double pimped in Nevada. They let Rachel Moran state the false 127 statistic. Then Bindel again plugging her new book.

I used to like Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour until she started having a go at the transsexual woman guest whose only crime was to contradict Murray by saying she didn't think it was too much of an imposition for a top hotel to require their female employees to shave their legs when in skirts with bare legs. Jenni later came out with a statement stating that trans women aren't really women, that they can't understand what it's like to be a woman. I think that it's Jenny who is the one who is out of touch with how most women feel.

Kat Banyard got the false statistic from Jim Wells, who was a politician in Northern Ireland (before he started making homophobic comments). He's a Protestant Christian so he together with Catholics in the south of Ireland have campaigned to ban sex work. Radical feminists like Kat Banyard ally themselves with social conservatives like Jim Wells, she quotes him in her book.

She thinks that if a man pays for sex with a woman then he can do anything he wants with her during that time, and that men like nothing better than asphyxiating prostitutes by forcing their erect penises down their throats. That's why she thinks sex work can't be a real job, because you can't be taught that. The reality is a sex worker will tell her clients what she will and will not accept: most that I've encountered don't allow kissing, fingering, oral sex without a condom or anal sex (or asphyxiation). She can even tell her client she doesn't want him to get on top of her if he's too big (that has happened to me twice, I'm tall and slightly overweight: I respected what they wanted).

This blog allies itself with sex workers, transexuals and gay men. Not that I think these three groups have anything in common except that they are under threat by people like Jim Wells. It allies itself with sex-positive feminists, as opposed to radical feminists like Bindel and Banyard.

I ally myself with sex workers like Laura Lee who after she was presented with the false 127 statistic at the Northern Ireland Assembly found out the truth about it. I ally myself with all the sex workers who are arrested just for trying to make themselves safe by working together, and the ones targeted by the punishment squads in Sweden and Norway. I ally myself with transsexuals and support their right to be who they really are. I ally myself with gay men and women and believe they can make parents who are just as good as heterosexual couples. Jim Wells - who doesn't believe that - can keep his opinions to himself. So can all the liars with their false statistics and their hidden agendas. I know what side I'm on.

I realize that many will doubt that sex workers are arrested and evicted in Sweden and Norway. The whole idea of the Nordic Model is that prostitutes aren't punished. Bindel said in her recent Woman's Hour appearance "They shouldn't be arrested - ever". I have collected all the evidence on my blog page The truth about the Swedish Model. Even more on my new page don't erase or edit out Petite Jasmine. You can also read my An Open Letter to Rachel Moran for more information about the 127 statistic. You may want to read my review of feminist Natasha Walter's book Living Dolls where I expose her false statistics.

UPDATE: After reading more about Petite Jasmine I can see that there are people who are trying to say that she didn't have her children taken away because she was a sex worker. There is no evidence that she was drinking and taking drugs, although she was accused of these things.

Jasmine wrote in a letter to a Swedish MP after her house had been stormed by social workers and her children forcibly taken into custody "I was subjected to an investigation which in a desperate way tried to find all those signs that they already from the start were convinced would be there, because I had been selling sex. Drug abuse, sexual abuse, emotional disturbance. They had a difficult time finding any of this, but it should certainly be known that they tried." So before she died, she herself had said that it was because she was a sex worker, and I believe her.

Someone asked why we don't mention the four women who have been killed in New Zealand since their change of law in 2002. We have no reason to believe that these four women (Mellory, Suzie, Anna, and Sky) would have not died if New Zealand had different laws. It isn't the policies of the New Zealand government that have resulted in the deaths of these four women, but it is the policies of the Swedish government that have resulted in the death of Petite Jasmine. That is why we protest at the policies of the Swedish government.

Sweden has not reduced prostitution. Neither can they claim that their policies have resulted in an end to the murder of sex workers. There were no murders in the nine years before the introduction of the new law. They want us to believe that the Swedish law has stopped women from being killed because prostitution is no longer tolerated there. They want us to believe that prostitutes are treated nicely there. All three of these are false: there has been no reduction in deaths, prostitution is just a common as before, and women are persecuted.

It wasn't just Petite Jasmine who was the victim. Her children witnessed their father stab and murder her, and stab and seriously injure a social worker. I want to leave you with more of what Petite Jasmine has written. I do this not to use emotion to promote my point of view, but to show what she was like and as a tribute to this brave woman. It is a translation from the Swedish so it might not be always grammatical.

"After one year and three months finally see her standing in front of me. The feeling when she runs into my arms and hug me, to get sniff her hair immediately becomes soaking wet of my tears, drag your finger along her small nose and chin, stroking her little hand and hold on her tiny body hard in my embrace and kiss her eleven thousand times in the forehead. To finally get to see her in the eye and say seventeen thousand times how missed and loved she is. And never want to let go again, but must. Created by my body when we two have been and we are part of each other forever. The love for my children is indescribable. (And justice system as said joint custody and half the time, where were you when everything was going on?)"