Thanks for for inviting me to this event. This is a very important subject. Prostitution is not, has never been, and without real radical change can never be a work issue. It is a human rights emergency.
I speak as an exited prostituted woman who was in indoors prostitution. I am now an Abolitionist, and see the Nordic Approach as the first step to full human rights for all the prostituted.
I will never named prostitution as sex work. This makes the violence and hatred of punters invisible, and allows the continued exploitation of the prostituted by sex trade profiteers. When we say sex work, we are allowing the common violence done to the prostituted to be made unimportant – that is the constant rapes, the constant mental abuse, the gang raping, the constant beatings. We allow the dehumanisation of the prostitution.
Language is important to understand the power structure of the sex trade and the oppresssion of the prostituted. We must see with a clear that the oppressors are those who profiteer or consume theses trade.
I could speak from my personal history, but only to show what is common in many forms of prostitution. I enter the sex trade when I was round 14. The average age of entering the sex trade is between 12 to 17. Like many of the prostituted, I had been sexually and mentally abused as a child. Childhood abuse is one of the many training grounds for prostitution. It teaches the child that she is of no worth apart from being a sex object. Most children survive child abuse by deadening their emotions, and forgetting how it is to be human.
The sex trade feeds on the vulnerability of mostly women and girls. They feed on poverty, feed on under-aged girls, feed on male violence to women, feed on disasters whether man-made or natural. All this supplies the massive market for punters to consume.
Prostitution is not sex, prostitution is not work. We must see prostitution for what it is – not the male fantasy the sextrade want us to believe in.
Many exited women, including myself, see sex as life-enhancing. Sex is joyful when there full consent between adults. That is not prostitution.
Prostitution is to made into sexual goods which will consume by multiple strangers in exchange for money, goods, gifts or an imbalance of power. Punters have full permission to be as violent as their porn-dreams have instructed them
To be prostituted is to become living porn – that is to have no voice, no access to basic human rights and no access to safety. To be prostitutedis to become sub-human. Punters strip the prostituted of all access to their humanity.
This may be done slowly with increasing mental abuse, or done with extreme physical violence. All punters are paying to fully control, have power over and owned the prostituted. That is not sex or work – that is oppression.
To understand prostitution, we must see the punters clearly. They are very ordinary men – they could’ve in your family, could be your friends, may be your work colleagues. Most punters are in good relationships, often in a stable family structure. Punters have made themselves invisible by being ordinary.
A common actor with all punters is their sense of entitlement, which is reinforced by their consumption of porn and hatred of women. Punters believe that the prostituted can never be fully human – therefore it becomes no issue to use all forms of mental, physical or sexual violence on the prostituted. Punters believe their violence is condoned by our society, for there is no serious punishment, or even acknowledgment that they have committed a crime. It is as if nothing is happening to nobody.
Prostitution is not a service or a form of work. In what workplaces, is it common practice for employees to be orally or anally raped? When at work, is it normal for there to high rates of suicide, murders and chronic self-harming? In most workplaces, these forms of violence are reported or there is an inquiry. In prostitution, it is normal that the prostituted just disappear or have a violent death. This goes unreported and unrecorded. It just viewed as the risk of the job.
Thereis no such thing as a safe place for the prostituted, as there is no form of prostitution that can be made safe.
How can there be full safety when a punter cand and will feel entitled to pour all his porn fantasies into the body and mind of the prostituted.
I only did indoors prostitution – the mythical safe way to be prostituted. I found out the hard way it was never safe, just on occasions less bad. To be inside indoors prostitution, is to be placed in a room with a string of entitled strangers. These punters hold all the freedom of choice. He can choose to be violent as he desire, or to pretend he is the nice guy. The punter knows his violence will be of no consequence, and there will no outside interference.
He is paying to consume sexual goods, not a human being. The bodies and minds of the prostituted have to hold all that violence. The prostituted hold al forms of torturing that men have invented. There is no cell in the prostituted body that has not been invaded by male violence.
To survive and somehow hold some sanity, the prostitute must deaden herself. To be prostituted is to become the living dead.
All punters make the choice to be a rapist, many choose to be torturers, and too many choose to become murderers. This is the reality that the prostituted constantly have to block out.
There is a dangerous myth that if the Nordic A pproachwas enforced, that prostitution would just go underground. This is nonsense. The sex trade is only concerned with making a huge profit. To make this profit, it is vital that the punters have quick and easy access to the prostituted. Most punters put minimum effort into finding a prostitute, many just click on a computer or dial up like ordering a pizza. If punters know easy ways to get a prostitute, then law enforcement can follow their trail.
We choose to make invisiblethe violence of sex trade profiteers and punters. We choose to abandon the prostituted to that hell.
Imagine you saw multiple dead bodies of prostituted women and girls floating down a river. Imagine this was on your doorstep, that the flow of bodies was every day and every night. Imagine that all these deaths were from suicide or been murdered.
What would you do? Would you pick out their bodies one by one – saying what did she do to deserve such a violent death? Or would seek out the source of this violence, and the reason so many of the prostituted felt such despair.
In order to give full justice, dignity and humanity to all the prostituted – we must focus on the source of the oppression, that is punters and profiteers, and expose them as criminals. That is the way forward.