Why is is this Book Creating so much fuss? Why is the the sex trade trying to shut it down? Here is a clue. It tells the truth…
Prostitution Narratives: Stories in Survival in the Sex Trade, edited by Caroline Norma and Melinda Tankard Reist. Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex, 2016. 238 pages.
A powerful collection of stories written by women from various countries who survived their time in prostitution and are willing to talk about its violence, drug usage, and overall dehumanizing impact.
Australians Caroline Norma and Melinda Reist, a scholar and an activist, both have expertise about sexual violence. They know what prostitution looks like for those involved and have collected twenty stories and three articles to present their viewpoint and expose the seamy underside of the prostitution industry in developed nations.. Their purpose is to share stories that sharply contradict the rosy accounts of prostitution as ordinary work: stories spread by those who profit from it. In deliberate imitation of the American slave narratives, Norma and Reist believe that if the public faces the reality…
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In the spirit of the media’s usual ‘sex workers are under-represented’ stance the media (this time in Daily Life) have published another piece about ‘sex workers being under-represented’. The latest is by Kate Iselin who apart from being a self-described sex worker and published writer is also ‘furious’.
Targeting the Melbourne Writers’ Festival for not having a ‘sex worker’ on the panel ‘Invisible Women’, Iselin wrote a piece titled ‘Sex Workers are not invisible. We’re just being ignored’. No you’re not Kate, pro- sex trade voices are so ubiquitous that even calling prostituted children ‘sex workers’ has become entrenched in the media and public psyche. You are so far from being ignored that when a writer exposing the sex-trade is appearing on a panel to talk about their own book, you get a voice in Daily Life to complain about it. The pro- sex trade are so far from being ignored you have Amnesty International influencing their membership of some 4 million people and every single lefty- neoliberal I come into contact with. All prostitution survivors ever hear from the media and the public is, “But isn’t prostitution actually sex work and just another job? What’s your problem you pearl-clutcher.”
What Iselin really means is that her particular voice and the voices of those who unequivocally support the full-decriminalisation of prostitution are not on the panel.
For the record, as a prostitution survivor featured in one of the books being discussed, Spinifex Press asked if I could be on the panel, the Festival declined.
For the record, the Scarlet Alliance were offered an entire session at MWF but they declined. I guess if it wasn’t a place on a panel where they could have a go at discrediting Tankard Reist and Tyler, the people they claim to represent aren’t really worth the Scarlet Alliance’s time.
Claiming this not the first time a festival has ignored ‘sex workers’ Iselin points to the 2014 Festival of Dangerous Ideas which also did not have an ‘actual sex worker’ on it’s panel ‘Women for Sale’. She uses the example of journalist Elizabeth Pisani giving up part of her time on the panel so a ‘sex worker’ could be allowed a voice . How noble of her. This orchestrated stunt actually gave the audience the voice of then Migrant Project Manager (see sex-trafficking) of the Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim. Kim is indeed now the CEO, replacing Janelle Fawkes who, to my amazement, also calls herself a ‘sex worker’. ( I don’t doubt that some members of the government funded Scarlet Alliance sell sex, or used to, but the media and the public need to be wise to the fact that a lot of them don’t and never have.)
Iselin is not ‘furious’ about there not being a ‘sex worker’ on the panel ‘Invisible Women’, she is merely furious that Melinda Tankard Reist and Dr Meagan Tyler are. (I have not read Wykes book, so won’t comment on Iselin’s statements about her.)
While she pays lip-service to our testimonies in the book Prostitution Narratives, going so far as to say she believes our stories should be ‘amplified’, would Iselin mind having a go at the festival on my behalf? How about a current ‘sex worker’ in New Zealand who agrees with Reist and Tyler that prostitution is a human rights violation. Would Iselin want her on the panel?
You see it is the voices of the prostituted speaking against the expansion of the sex-trade that are actually ‘excluded, stigmatised, and marginalised.’ Voices like Iselin’s and the Scarlet Alliance are not. Iselin is ‘furious’ that our voices got put in a book that doesn’t serve her or the Scarlet Alliance’s agenda. So she pops it in this article instead, shamelessly playing a favourite liberal media trump card – under-represented sex workers. It’s getting old. Iselin is ‘furious’ that a feminist publisher and two editors were brave enough to publish our stories. And believe me, in this pro-sex trade climate it is incredibly brave. In fact those who don’t support the rights of men to buy women to use as their personal sexual devices are vilified ad nauseum by voices like Iselin’s and those she represents.
Iselin’s piece is manipulative and disingenuous. It was offensive and hurtful to read that she doesn’t doubt the veracity of our testimonies but then swipes at us anyway. She did it by attacking the women who listened to survivors, respectfully gathered our stories and wrote about us and our ‘dead friends and colleagues’. Claiming they are just headline grabbers. Reducing their exhaustive research, intelligence and courage to tabloid chasing attention seekers.
But Iselin didn’t stop at that piece of nastiness, in trying to discredit Reist and Tyler through the guise of targeting Melbourne Writers’ Festival, she then went on to use this as a sneaky way to dismiss survivor voices and the stories of our ‘dead friends and colleagues’ as ‘tragedy porn’.
Thanks for that.
In paying us and our testimonies some lip service, Iselin is then able patronise us as sad but unreliable dimwits who fell under the spell of dodgy ‘anti-sex worker’ advocates . I guess our voices shouldn’t be ‘amplified’ after all.
Daily Life certainly fell for you didn’t they Ms Iselin. Quelle Suprise.
Rebecca Mott Speaks. Anger!
I have been struck and very sad.
My work is so hard, and I feel it endless.
I am angry, I am tired, I am feeling vulnerable, but more important I am fighter.
I am English, and my country is a scary place to speak about the realities of prostition – I am sure there is hardly any country where that fear is not known.
My anger is that even within the abolition movement, there is rarely space for exited women to speak to their realities – tell the realities of their prostitution, speak to why it not the same as other forms of violence to women, speak to who punters are.
How to make real change, if we are never allow to truly see and know what we we dealing with.
I want exited women to know it is ok to speak beyond the surface that fit our public…
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I expect this from you too. All of the Transactivists and their Allies
I believe that he has gender dysphoria. I believe that when he looks in the mirror he sees a man and expects to see a woman, and I believe that this situation is extremely uncomfortable. I believe that his decision to live as a woman was not easy nor casual nor malicious.
However, I also believe that he has a responsibility to be kind and empathetic and honest, to women and especially to his wife. I married a person I thought had these qualities. I yoked myself to a person I thought would think as much of me as he thinks of himself.
Because his dysphoria is so uncomfortable, he feels that he has no choice but to live as a woman and no choice but to accept every line of the transgender political movement. How can I expect him to do otherwise, he asks?
The following is what I expect of…
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An Open Letter From Exited Survivors, Germany
Open letter to Left Youth Solid, an official youth organization of the German party The Left, regarding the position paper “Solidarity with Sex Workers – No to the new prostitute protection act – No to paternalism and other-directedness in the sexual service industry” (“Solidarität mit Sexarbeiter*innen – Nein zum neuen Prostituiertenschutzgesetz – Nein zu Bevormundung und Fremdbestimmung im sexuellen Dienstleistungsgewerbe”).
By Huschke Mau and eight other women exited from prostitution
Originally published in German under the title “Die Linke Freude an der Prostitution – Huschke Mau an die Bremer Linksjugend” at sisters-ev.de, 21 April 2016
Dear People of Left Youth Solid,
I want to make it clear that I am addressing those of you who voted for the proposal “Solidarity with Sex Workers – No to the new prostitute protection act – No to paternalism and other-directedness in the sexual service industry” at Left Youth Solid’s federal meeting on…
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Rachel Moran “Listen You Can’t Stop Anything by Encouraging it” Interview.
My guest for today’s episode is Dublin-based, prostitution survivor, feminist and writer, Rachel Moran. Starting at 15 years old, Rachel was prostituted throughout Ireland for seven years. After getting out of the sex industry, Rachel entered Dublin City University where she completed a journalism degree and eventually winning the Hybrid Award for excellence in journalism. Her memoir, “Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution” was published in 2013 and Rachel continues fight for the abolition of prostitution through lectures and campaigns such as Turn Off The Red Light. In 2012, Rachel co-founded Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment, an international organization of prostitution survivors fighting for the end of prostitution and the sex industry.
I spoke with Rachel in December in Vancouver, British Columbia where she was a guest speaker the Montreal Massacre Memorial, an annual gathering organized by Vancouver Rape Relief.
Rachel Moran was prostituted for seven years…
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Scarlet Alliance – the tide has turned
By (*trigger warning*) Simone Watson and (*trigger warning*) references to the Nordic Model
Crikey! The pro-sex trade lobby have been misrepresenting (*trigger warning*) Nordic Model supporters with a renewed vigour.
The “Why be poor?” brigade of alleged “sex workers” certainly know how to spin a yarn but it’s the same old yarn and the public are just not swallowing it. EG.https://twitter.com/vixencollective
After I had a remarkable opportunity to (*Trigger Warning*) speak at Parliament House in Hobart on April 1st at a public forum with (*trigger warning*) Isla MacGregor, Jade Barker of the Scarlet Alliance who attended the forum, wrote a piece for The Mercury
Following this on Tasmanian Times “anonymous”, in a weak attempt, failed to discredit both me and (*TW*) NorMAC as though we really just don’t understand the issues and can’t smell a fraud from a mile off.
It is true it was only after Isla MacGregor and I (*TW*) spoke at the forum, that we were advised that Amy Barrett, the National Organising Manager for Amnesty International, https://au.linkedin.com/in/amy-barrett-88b22b78) had been present at the forum. It was, on reflection, interesting to observe Amy Barrett and Jade Barker chumming it up after the forum. I admit I was (*TW*) curious as to why this woman had her mouth set in such a way author Patrick White once described as “twenty past seven” when she looked at me. But of course (*TW*) Isla had just spoken about the insidious infiltration of Amnesty International by renowned pimp Douglas Fox and dodgy drug-cartel “philanthropist” George Soros amongst others.
Quite a few other names of people (*TW*) identifying as “sex workers” were also outed some of whom have been convicted of sex trafficking and other offences relating to brutal abuse of prostituted people.
I attempted to speak with Amy Barrett after the forum and much to my surprise was received with a very hostile and diffident expression. Surely she (*TW*) cares about women I wondered? Maybe her coldness was indicative of the grim fear that there would be consequences for her from the public outing Amnesty International had received from Isla over their very unethical conduct in development of their ‘sex work’ policy? Surely Amnesty now realised they had stuffed up big time, and are now on the receiving end of a backlash from global human rights groups that they could not have predicted the extent of when undertaking their mock consultation with selected stakeholders?
The Sex trade apologists’ “My Body, My Rights” propaganda ( a tag shamelessly hi-jacked from (*TW*) second wave women liberationists‘ “My Body, My Choice” campaign) has more to do with no choice but Amnesty persisted with its policy direction all the while ignoring the voices of Survivors who were telling them that it is men who commit violence against women in the sextrade – not laws. But let’s not mention the ‘M’ word eh!
Perhaps Amnesty’s National Organising Manager does not care about my voice and experience as a (*TW*) survivor? Once again the double standards operating here are appalling as if I were speaking out as a refugee, or a refugee survivor of sexual abuse in detention, or a survivor of domestic violence it would likely be very different. Presumably, if I was, one would hope Amy Barrett’s door would be open to me at all times. And no doubt a Media Release about my revelations would be pumped out quicker than the (*TW*) bat of an eyelid. (wasn’t sure if that was triggering or not but just to be sure.)
Barker’s piece in The Mercury trots out the usual myths ascribed to pro-Nordic model supporters, although calling some of us (*TW*)‘feminist’ was at least one accurate assertion in the article. But sadly, we read from Barker the same old knee jerk reaction of discrediting us for exposing the lies of the sextrade. The ‘wrong’ sort of feminists!
“Anonymous” in Tasmanian Times wildly exaggerates too but goes on to say she “genuinely feels sorry” for me. This lofty condescension indicates little commitment to actually doing something for the vast majority of women who are unable to access exiting services. Perhaps a re-examination of the (*TW*) abject failure of full decriminalisation in New Zealand is in order. With the more than doubling of prostitution happening within the first year that the decriminalised model was implemented, the 400% increase in street prostitution and the explosion in child ‘prostitution’ of mainly Maori and Pacific Islander girls, and first hand accounts of currently prostituted women who have been in the sex-trade since before the decriminalised model was implemented saying it has become worse – this is the model upheld by the sextrade lobby at a time when Germany is fast becoming a (*TW*) huge embarrassment to their floundering cause http://business.time.com/2013/06/18/germany-has-become-the-cut-rate-prostitution-capital-of-the-world/ .
It is obvious the pro-sex trade lobby are trying to avoid their previous endorsement of Germany, and will be further embarrassed by the results in New Zealand too- but apparently not yet. One last try perhaps?
Shouldn’t the focus be on (*TW*) the majority in the sextrade who are on the receiving end of male violence rather than feeling sorry for people like me and yourself – I mean at least we have a voice.
Apparently it is elitist for some to inform others that the majority of the prostituted are impoverished? Did Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch himself not just say, in his support of decriminalising johns and pimps, that poor women should have a right to earn a living ?
And haven’t Amnesty International and the Scarlet Alliance et al ?
Is “anonymous” implying that girls and women have the same access to education as boys and men globally? That it is OK for girls in Thailand to be sold off to city brothels to send money home to their families to pay for their brothers’ education? How opportunist is it that in response to the exorbitant cost of education here in Australia the Scarlet Alliance go on recruitment campaigns widely disseminating their propaganda at Open Days in universities? Should all Australians not be (TW*) demanding support for liveable incomes so they do not become objects for sexual exploitation in order to get an education whether they are domestic or international students?
The argument that somehow (*TW*) Nordic Model supporters and survivors ‘victimise “sex workers” by ‘calling us victims’ is an inverted version of the school-yard shame of not having the ‘right’ shoes. Anyone remember that (*TW*) some people cannot afford things and get teased because of it?
What we are supposed to do is (*TW*) tell the bullies to stop and when we (*TW*) grow up make sure that people have (*TW*) shoes, (or don’t wear shoes if they don’t wish)- not behave like over indulged infants! After all (TRIPLE *TW*) it’s not all about you – except when you are a sextrade apologist!
Wouldn’t it be terrific if stigma really was removed from those being bought for sex?
It would make it easier for people to (*TW*) expose the lies, put the (*TW*) perpetrators through the justice system and ensure proper witness (*TW*) protection for victims.
The cynicism expressed by Ken Roth and Amnesty International is staggering. Is this the aim for human rights? Blow jobs for men are a poor woman’s human right to earn a living? The Scarlet Alliance use the likes of Ken Roth and Amnesty to trumpet their cause.
The tide of public opinion is turning and the Scarlet Alliance like other sextrade front groups are going into damage control in reaction to the latest developments in (*TW*) France. No doubt there will be a new wave of pro ‘sex work’ documentaries saturating late night television funded by those who will lose the most from Nordic model laws being implemented – the traffickers, the pimps and the buyers.
In any case here is the alleged (*TW*)‘NorMAC Nastiness’ :
and a copy of (*TW*) Isla MacGregor’s speech here:
If (*TW*) men taking advantage of (*TW*)female poverty is considered a human right then I can’t imagine what further purpose the Scarlet Alliance or Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch serve than that of capitalist male hegemony.
And if that is (*TW*)‘nasty’ of me to point out, perhaps it is time they were as embarrassed to mention such groups to prove their ‘case’ as I am to ever have supported any of them.
(*TW*) edited version of this article
(*TW*) below :
*Rebecca was unable to attend Australia’s first World’s Oldest Oppression Conference.
As an important contributor to the book Prostitution Narratives,
we all very much wanted her to be there with us.
Here is a copy of the speech she prepared in her unrelenting solidarity.
“It is great to “be” speaking here. I am amazed at the hard work and dedication that has gone into creating this event.
I was up and down about “being” here. This is (because) I find too much of modern feminism is liberal, and speaks the anti-abolitionist language. But I am proud to be “here” – for this conference has made a strong stance for the Nordic Approach, and made it clear this is not a debate with the sex work lobby.
I speak a radical exited woman who cannot debate when I see and know of a constant genocide of the prostituted class being made normal. This is a genocide that is made invisible by the sex trade profiteers who will replace the dead or discarded prostituted by yet more vulnerable women and girls.
The reason I fight so relentlessly is to speak to the source of this genocide – speak to the creators of this genocide, and speak to who gains from silencing of this horror.
In all cases, we must know that the creators and source of this hate and violence to the prostituted is male demand, and those who supply and profiteer from that demand. That is why I and other exited women fully back the Nordic Approach as a first step to full human rights and dignity for all the prostituted.
We must keep our focus on that male demand, and build a culture where it becomes normal that no man has the entitlement to consume another human just for his sexual greed and porn dreams.
We must see our focus is being thrown off-course by the sex work lobby insisting that it all about the individual choices of prostituted women, or it should spoken in the language of agency or empowerment.
If we want real change, we must know male entitlement is the core of the problem. No male orgasm is more important than the basic human rights of the prostituted.
Punters make the choice to consume the prostituted with the knowledge that he has full permission to as violent as he can imagine. Most punters consume porn, and use the prostituted as their personal porn-toy. This means they will torture her, they will rape or gang-rape her, they threaten her with death or actually murder her.
Punters all violence that they do not to be real violence – for they view the prostituted as sub-human sexual goods. It is nothing that is happening to nothing.
Punters are allowed to exist in this bubble, because we allow the sex work lobby to control the language, imagery and culture of how we can speak to prostitution.
I hate the term sex work. It is a lie. It is mental violence to those of us who have the reality of being prostituted inside every cell of our bodies. It is a language that erases male violence, erases how organised the sex trade is, and erases any access to human rights for the prostituted. Alongside the term sex work, are other terms or lies, such as – empowerment, choice and female liberation. These terms are used to create a cloak over the sex trade, making it appear leftist or even feminist. It hides the fact that prostitution is the most vicious form of capitalism that man has ever invented.
All that matters to the sex trade is to make huge profits – it does not give a damn about the safety, human rights or dignity for the prostituted.
To understand prostitution, you must see inside what it is to be prostituted. For that, I will speak to my personal – always knowing that I had thought was my fault is common practice in indoors prostitution.
I could not know my own reality. I like so current prostituted women, spoke to the language of empowerment, to controlling the punters and being content. I could not allow in my reality – a reality of constant violence, a reality of rape after rape after rape, a reality of being mentally suffocated. Like a toddler, I thought if I shut my eyes hard enough – all the bad stuff would disappear.
But if you had see me with clear eyes, and not just listen to my words – you would have seen that my eyes were dead, or seen in those eyes so much pain and grief words could not contain them. You would have how still my body was – like a rabbit staring down a shotgun. Would you see that my words had been force-fed into me by male violence.
I had walked into prostitution.
But I was 14, and had live with mental and sexual violence since before I had words. The only emotions I could relate to was self-hate and fury with no expression.
If you view that as free choice, you are living on a different planet from me.
I survived prostitution by killing all my emotions. I murdered all expressions of pain, grief or confusion. I could not let in the reality of how I was being made sub-human, and was being brought and sold as easy as buying bread. I made myself into a robot, I painted on the Happy Hooker smile and learnt to fake orgasms – and hope I would be killed. It seemed the only escape that I could imagine.
That is indoors prostitution in the raw – but really it is just a tiny glimpse of that hell.
Most exited women live inside extreme complex trauma. It is normal for it to take about 3-7 years to face the reality of being prostituted, and how you were made sub-human. Trauma can be life-long for many exited women, it is a shadow that follows them.
This is where the sheer callousness of the sex trade is to be seen. They used that so exited women have extreme trauma to attack us. They will say we are too damaged or mentally ill to know our own realities. They used that many exited women have fragmented memories to say we are misguided or liars.
These personal attacks show the weakness of their viewpoint – for their “facts” are shown to be full or hole, or bare-faced lies.
Try to read and listen to the language of the sex work lobby with a critical brain.
To end, I would say read and listen more to exited women. We are carriers of dangerous truths – truths that will shake the foundations of the sex trade until it becomes dust. Our words, our experiences, and our ability to see and know connections – that is the dynamite that will bring about justice and full human rights for all the prostituted.”
Solidarity and love to you Rebecca Mott. Your voice, as ever, is invaluable.
This week, the French National Assembly passed laws criminalising the purchase of sexual services. Under the new legislation, prostituted women, children and men will not be criminalised, but will receive social support and benefits to exit prostitution. Men buying sex will be liable for prosecution, and will be fined.
This is the Nordic Model of legislation for prostitution.
The overwhelming majority of prostituted persons worldwide are women, and most are trafficked or coerced into prostitution by poverty and lack of educational opportunity and viable work options.
When we speak of the human rights of Tasmanian ‘sex workers’, how can we ignore the one factor common to their industry and the exponential expansion of the worldwide sex trade – male demand for commercial sex?
‘Sex worker’ lobby groups like the Scarlet Alliance caution us against conflating sex trafficking with ‘legitimate sex work’, but how can we not when both exist only because men demand that sex be a commodity they can purchase?
The French parliament has joined an increasing number of sovereign governments in recognising the gender inequality inherent in prostitution and the harm its continued expansion inflicts on all women.
Their legislation, like the groundbreaking Swedish laws of 1999 (the first Nordic Model laws), seeks to promote a shift in cultural attitudes that acknowledges women as equal humans, rather than a ‘less than’ sub-species that can be bought and sold by men for their own financial reward and sexual gratification.
Jade Barker of the Tasmanian Scarlet Alliance refers to the need ‘to combat the stigma, discrimination and, at times, hateful rhetoric about sex workers’.
There is no element of stigma, discrimination, or hateful rhetoric in the philosophical and ideological rationale for the Nordic Model, and this is clear from its expression in the laws of those states where it is currently in place.
Rather, it is the men who purchase sexual services who are guilty of these offences to the human rights of ‘sex workers’. They are the ones who treat ‘sex workers’ as nothing more than a body to be used, in ways they would not dream of using their wives or girlfriends, or wish on their mothers, sisters or daughters.
They are the ones who set ‘sex workers’ apart from other women, and denigrate them freely, both personally and publicly, and in the most offensive, hateful language if they don’t measure up.
The Scarlet Alliance and its compatriot ‘sex worker’ representative organisations around the world insist that full decriminalisation of the sex trade is the best – indeed, the only – way to assure the human rights of those in prostitution.
Ms Barker notes in her recent article that a ‘decriminalised sex industry means it is covered under the same regulatory framework as other industries, including rights and obligations in terms of workplace health and safety, industrial relations and general legal rights’.
Perhaps a brief perusal of submissions to the recent NSW Inquiry into the Regulation of Brothels might be in order (see http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/regulationofbrothels).
The inquiry received several submissions from local councils charged with regulating and monitoring the sex industry in their respective jurisdictions, and all were struggling with a burgeoning illegal sector and blatant non-compliance with regulations. Trafficking of women into both legal and illegal establishments was also identified.
Other jurisdictions that have legalised or decriminalised prostitution, both in Australia and worldwide, have shown similar, and even more disturbing, growth in the number of women trafficked and available for purchase.
Germany, for example, took a hands-off approach to the sex trade and legalised prostitution in 2002. There are now around 400 000 prostituted (mainly) women , many of whom are trafficked from Eastern Europe to work in multi-storey ‘mega-brothels’.
Their workplace ‘rights’ are non-existent – they work only to satisfy the sexual needs of the male buyers, and the financial greed of the brothel operators (see http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/human-trafficking-persists-despite-legality-of-prostitution-in-germany-a-902533.html).
The Scarlet Alliance wants a message sent to the community that ‘sex workers’ have the same rights as other workers. That prostitution is a job like any other.
How, exactly, does decriminalisation of the sex industry achieve that when its documented outcome is an unconscionable increase in the number of women exploited and trafficked into a ‘job’ where the customers require ever more degrading, porn-fuelled ‘services’ and ever more (usually) women to do it?
*here are some links to the harms of the legal and decriminalised sex trade: