Interesting. It seems that those states that have yet to fully legalise or decriminalise prostitution are really forceful about pushing it through right now.
It is a very timely call to action in this article! I wish more people were listening and that the political parties were braver.
Thank you Joanna!Posted by Andrea on 12/07/18 at 06:55 AM
Yes, thankyou Joanna and Simone, for the wise words.
This week’s theme for NAIDOC week is “Because of her we can”. All the best therefore to Ms Simone Watson for her leadership at the forthcoming conference Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation.
Wake up everyone. Yes, it’s fine to rally to end live exports in sheep, however how about some concern for the human rights of women and children?Posted by Annie on 12/07/18 at 10:11 AM
Thanks for continuing to speak out on this issue Joanna.
As a human rights activist and someone active in the Tasmanian Greens, I’m so glad you are there pushing them to a genuinely progressive stance in this issue. It seems ironic that the Greens are currently speaking out about men’s attitudes towards women, particularly comments from patriarchal dinosaurs in the parliament such as David Leyonhjelm.
Yet they line up alongside these very same conservative sexists to defend men’s rights to purchase sex for fear of being seen as anything other than a libertarian neo-liberal defending a (primarily) women’s right to overcome poverty through selling sex.
The left’s stance on this human rights issue in Australia is particularly skewed against women in favour of sexual buyers and sex industry profiteers. Surely you can’t address inequality by backing legislation that further entrenches it,Posted by Matt Holloway on 13/07/18 at 01:02 AM
Thank you Matt. I will continue speaking about it within the Greens’ supporters. I do know some begun to look at the Nordic Model, and more generally the sex trade industry and how it works, but haven’t yet mastered the courage to vocally speak against through fear of being criticised.
Courage and clarity is needed to understand and discuss the mechanics of prostitution and the sex trade, how it works and who and under which legislation makes the most money from it, as well what happens to women in prostitution after a time of being pimped and bought.
We need an honest account and appropriate laws to prevent exploitation. At the moment these are invisible to most.Posted by Joanna Pinkiewicz on 13/07/18 at 01:42 PM
The United Tasmania Group (UTG) is in the process of adopting the ‘Nordic’ model because of: (1) the direct link between sex trafficking and prostitution; (2) in order to support the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially Women and Children (known as the ‘Palermo Protocol’); (3) the emotional suffering (PTSD) of women in the sex industry; and (4) in order to attempt to address pornography that is one of the main drivers of the denigration of all women.
Geoff Holloway, Secretary, UTG.Posted by Geoff Holloway on 16/07/18 at 05:31 PM
I’m pleased to see another Tasmanian Greens’ activist taking the time to write an article supporting the Nordic Model
Does the model currently apply in Tasmania? From a look at the legislation, it appears to me that work off the street is legal, on the street is illegal and buyers and third parties are illegal. This fits generally within the Nordic Plan template. But Tasmanian law makes no mention of social support services for prostitutes who wish to quit their work and gain an income in some other way. Still, there are similar elements. Someone with experience in reading and interpreting the law could help us here.
Plainly, Taswegia is not Sweden, whose social democracy provides organised support for prostitutes and punters who may wish to change their behaviour.
The Nordic Plan has its drawbacks, even in Sweden. One added element thrown into the mix is the development of Airbnb, which has been shown to be used in Sweden and elsewhere for short-term workplaces which move from one area to another, and are thus able to stay ahead of enforcement.
The UK, in their review of exploitation in England and Wales, ‘Behind Closed Doors’, also expresses concern about Airbnb and Boooking.com: “Organised crime groups move women around as a way of controlling women and evading the police.” (p17).
The review recommends “The Government should establish a national register of landlords and issue guidance on preventing sexual exploitation for the short-term letting sector.” (page 24) and that seems like a good idea to me. If I had an Airbnb rental property I would not want it used for such business.
I can almost hear some readers asking me: what’s wrong with working as a prostitute? It is a matter of personal opinion. I would not want either of my children, or any of my loved ones, working as a prostitute. Even for the hypothetical successful entrepreneur, health and safety risks are very high. That’s not where I want my loved ones to be.
The easily Googled statistic is that 80% or more of prostitutes, by far the majority being women, would rather do something else to support themselves and their dependents. How does that statistic support a free-enterprise model of a majority of successful industry entrepreneurs in the community?
It’s interesting to look back on the free enterprise, complete decriminalisation scenario. It has been operating for some time in several places, but only in 2015 was it advocated by Amnesty International. What really surprised me about this advocacy is that it was supported by the globally prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. An editorial there, published in August of 2015, advocates for full decriminalisation. It says:
“Conflation of sex work with trafficking is common but it ignores the evidence and clouds the issue of safety for sex workers - female, male, or transgender adults who exchange consensual sex for money and choose their profession without coercion.”
A letter in reply, authored by Taina Bien-Aimé, CEO of Coalition against Trafficking in Women, argues that “Conflation of sex work with trafficking is common but it ignores the evidence and clouds the issue of safety for sex workers - female, male, or transgender adults who exchange consensual sex for money and choose their profession without coercion.”
Bien-Aimé argues strongly against the idea of conflation: ” ... we vehemently disagree that the wholesale decriminalisation of the sex industry, which effectively decriminalises pimps, brothel owners, and sex buyers, will protect the health and human rights of people engaged in selling sex. Linking the sex trade and sex trafficking is not conflation; instead it points out the inextricable connection between a means and an end.”
And that was the historical end of the discussion in the pages of The Lancet.
Ms Bien-Aimé‘s letter in The Lancet references a letter, signed by over 600 individuals and groups, to Amnesty International.
The authors of that letter argue, “Growing evidence shows the catastrophic effects of decriminalisation of the sex trade.” and she gives some statistics, as they were available in 2015.
I worry that legalisation has served us poorly in Australian states like Victoria. My interpretation of the research is that the Nordic model offers more safety to prostitutes and poses more risk to buyers, third parties and organised crime. A range of readable, peer-reviewed articles arguing resonant viewpoints are available here: ‘Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence’
I hope all political parties in Australia endorse the Nordic system as a means of minimising the harm caused by the sex industry, and work toward its effective implementation.Posted by Robert Rands on 16/07/18 at 08:36 PM
Thank you Robert, for your interest and research in the matter.
The problem with the legislation in Tasmania is that the police force does not stop brothel owners and brothels from operating. Police do not enforce the law to investigate trafficking and pimping of Asian women which is advertised in weekend newspaper and on-line. Hotels in Launceston and in Hobart make money out of Asian women, as well as those who bring them there, and those who charge for advertising, and of course those who buy them.
I spoke to Ivan Dean on this matter http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/pimp-porn-inquiry-needed-in-tasmania/ and he admitted that police know where and how existing brothels operate. I’m not suggesting raiding the brothels and persecuting the women. I’m talking about enacting the law to stop profiteering and mistreatment from pimps and punters. Tas police does not enforce its own laws. Another matter is funding and running of exit programs for those in the sex trade and education campaign that changes the way we view buying people for sex.
I greatly appreciate your interest in this topic. Addressing the mechanics of the sex trade, and its historical exploitation of women, is a most important political and cultural act to change things for women.Posted by Joanna on 27/07/18 at 04:00 PM