delve a little deeper....
There is some irony that having published a guest blog earlier today from a lovely client that I then read THIS from The Independent by Mary Honeyball, a Labour MEP for London. Said article informs me that actually, my clients are committing violence against me and she is in favour of the Swedish Model.
Yes the Swedish Model which criminalises clients, but not the sex worker (except she uses the term prostitute, natch) which is well documented as dangerous, ineffective and stupid and of no help to sex workers whether they choose to be in the industry or not.
Soooo much has been written regarding the Swedish Model and attempts by other countries to introduce similar models or the criminalisation of clients including me, but far better by Dr Brooke Magnanti- here, Laura Lee here, here by the International Prostitutes Collective, here by Feminist Ire and here is a paper that explains why The Swedish Model has failed. A small drop in the ocean of blogs, newspaper articles and academic papers on the subject.
I read such articles as the one mentioned in my first paragraph and feel angry, ranty and sad. They make me want to shout, I feel frustration, I feel confused why sex workers are not listened to by these people who think they know better what sex workers want or need to operate safely.
I have said before but I truly believe the anti brigade operate on the basis of personal preferences (I don't want to have sex with strange men so why should anyone else), a sense of do good-ing blindness (Oh lucky middle class me, let me rescue some poor people) and possibly fear (These filthy women lure our husbands into dirty vices). Or is it just terribly trendy to come out as anti prostitution? (ooh brave old me, tackling such a gritty grimy subject, I'm just like Princess Di hugging those AIDS children) or simply misguided all men are bastards feminism?
I don't know.
I wanted to tackle what Mary Honeyball has said, but it's been said, over and over and over. Crap stats and skewed studies have been discredited, heck Melissa Farley for starters? Joan Smith, who is referenced in the Honeyball piece was laughed at collectively for her little jaunt to Sweden to sit in cop cars as 'research', but forgot to speak to any actual sex workers... then we get ridiculous TV shows where Jodie Marsh is considered a good idea and "hard hitting" expose documentaries about the seedy side of the industry whitewashed as the *entire* sex industry.
Honeyball starts her piece by referring to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women citing rape, domestic violence and genital mutilation as issues that (rightly) need tackling, then goes on to whine that prostitution isn't considered violence against women and that everyone seems to be mildly amused by it because Russell Brand pays for it! Seriously, you think that?! You don't think there is enough anti sex work propaganda about?! Or maybe, just maybe, many people do actually think that plenty of women do enter prostitution freely, do it happily and not under force or pressure. I do hope Smith reads the comments on her piece which are overwhelmingly negative with regards to her words.
Apart from anything, I don't want want crimes of violence against women shoved to one side and yet another debate on prostitution had. Those who are forced into prostitution are not sex workers, they are as much victims (and survivors) as other women subjected to violence.
Further to that, Honeyball says:
I favour the Swedish Model, a middle way which permits selling sex but criminalises buying it.
Can't you hear the clutching of pearls and smug, holier than thou smile? Aren't I clever, I'm not harming the poor women, just the nice, law abiding clients who pay for their services thus their bills and food on the table and shoes on their children's feet.
Not only has it halved street prostitution...
I think you'll find the advent of the internet did that to the industry from about ooh, what 1999?, Oh yes, by coincidence the year the Swedish Model was introduced. Spooky no?
...but it has also successfully stigmatised using the sex trade...
Ahh yes stigma, we all want more stigma don't we? Why don't we start sending unmarried mothers to the country to be hidden away until their baby is adopted or shall we start putting up signs in pub windows saying 'No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish' ? or why don't we sack women who work as escorts because they get outed by the press? (oh, that happens still).
Yes stigma, it's what made Britain great.
Finally, just in case anyone hasn't got this point:
THERE ARE ALREADY LAWS IN PLACE WHICH COVER THE RAPE, ATTACK, ROBBERY, COERCION OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN. WE DON'T NEED SPECIAL ONES FOR SEX WORKERS THAT STOP US DOING OUR JOBS!