We Can Celebrate

I am delighted that there been a shift in how the public debate round prostitution is more and more round the human rights of the prostituted, not the civil liberties of the johns.

I believe that part of that shift is the vote to pass Clause 14 of the Policing and Crime Bill in the House of Lords. For the language that lead to this change included –

That the prostituted have little or no choice.

That johns are the ones who have the free choice whether to purchase or not, so it should be his responsibility to know or be made accountable of any exploitation done to the prostitute.

That it is the prostitute who is on the receiving end of exploitation, and that is often next to impossible for her to get justice for rape or any violence done to her.

That the burden of proof should not be on the prostitute who may in danger, but on the buyer who has the freedom to make the decision to buy her.

He must be absolutely sure that the prostituted women he has chosen to buy is not exploited, or take the consequences.

It was said it a form of contemporary slavery.

It was felt that this set a marker, and may help to change attitudes and lead towards that all men that choose to buy prostitutes are criminalise.

That it was about protecting the vulnerable.

That without strict liability, the bill would be pointless. For it not about the civil liberties of johns.

Rather  that it must remembered that for the majority of prostituted women and girls it is an environment of abuse, degradation, humiliation and pain – where the prostituted are compelled, coerced and manacled into the sex trade.

That the pain of the prostituted is very real.

That this bill could send a “chilling effect” to johns, and many of them are cowards so could be reluctant to buy sex.

All this language is wonderful, for I for one never thought that or law-makers would frame prostitution as a human rights issue, and would continue to make it of little importance.

I feel my words and constant fight has help to change attitudes.

I am part of a movement that is going forward.

Because I live with extreme PTSD a lot of the time, I am sometimes unaware of how much I have done.

But when I saw the “Demand Change” video, where I heard an actor say my words, I was shocked and overwhelmed by my own power.

It smashed through my detachment, and I felt the terror, I was nearly sick. I am still shaking through I saw it on Monday.

I speak my truth, and that can slowly move mountains.

But please don’t leave it to exited prostituted women to force this change.

We live inside PTSD. We live with terror, we get continual body memories or illnesses as a result of the hell we have known, we have had our sleep patterns destroyed.

Many of us are determined to eradicate the sex trade – for we do not want more generations of women and girls to know the hell we have known.

But we cannot do it alone, and we mustn’t.

All those who not survivors of the sex trade, who want real change, must take up a lot of the slack.

Fight hard for us, for we are in real pain and grief.

But do celebrate this shift.

Get some ice-cream and jelly, chocolate cake and alcohol.

Darn we must celebrate coz it is a long and very hard road.

3 responses to “We Can Celebrate

  1. This is a brilliant achievement, and you should be proud for your role in it. It’s great to see the beginning of a legal recognition of prostitution as slavery and as violence against women.

    We must keep going!


  2. Knew we could do it with strong women like you in the campaign. Just goes to show that some things are more powerful than money. I am absolutely ecstatic about this, there is so much hope for the future. Bring on the next challenge.


  3. Totally agree Rebecca – this is not the end but the beginning of the end of men’s pseudo right to buy women and girls.

    By all means celebrate everyone but remember the fight will not end until such time as the attempted purchase of any woman or girl is criminalised, meaning of course men are criminalised if they attempt to purchase a woman/girl. Also, the real celebration will be when the UK finally adopts the Nordic model with criminalisation of male buyers, decriminalisation of women and girls involved in prostitution and equally most importantly, long-term extensive funding and facilities to provide medical care, support and assistance to the women and girls involved in prostitution.

    Exit strategies not provision of condoms is the answer – together with criminalising male purchasers.

    Furthermore we must not expect women involved in prostitution to do all the hard work because the pseudo male sex right to women and girls affects all women and girls and has an immense negative impact on all women and girls.

    Well done Rebecca for your forthright and uncompromising stance in respect of the realities of prostitution and debunking innumerable claims ‘Johns are the ones who are exploited and suffer!!


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