Holland (JR) – Proponents of legalizing prostitution argue that by regulating the flesh trade, sex workers are better protected. If the trade is underground, academics have shown, prostitutes are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking. A forthcoming paper offers another…
What’s a New Year’s weekend like without a popular lie circling the internet? I ask because it doesn’t appear we’ll ever see a day like that again. Especially with sensationalist partisan rags like the Washington Examiner producing partisan garbage like their most recent: “California Democrats legalize child prostitution”. With cursory research, one finds that couldn’t be much further from the truth.
The article starts out with a line straight out of Fearmongering for Dummies, and states, “Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.” Unfortunately, that’s also wrong. The relevant text of the bill (SB 1322) states:
Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.
In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.
The UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has shaken the country’s political system to its core. However, the long-term consequences remain to be seen.
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)—founded in 2007 by a mutual agreement between the UN and the Guatemalan government—has shaken up the country’s entire political system. The Commission’s original mandate was aimed at dismantling organized criminal bands that ran rampant after the end of the country’s brutal 36-year armed conflict, including training and supporting the Public Ministry, the National Police and other entities of the Guatemalan state. CICIG was also conceived as an international support mission to “build-up” judicial institutions in Guatemala. Since its inception, the Commission has developed into a powerful political force, amassing significant legitimacy in the eyes of many Guatemalans. The commission’s success and prominence was a welcome development, gaining support outside of the elite circles.
The rosy rhetoric that surrounds prostitution policy in New Zealand is being exposed by survivors of the prostitution system and the way that harm is glossed over by defenders of this approach.
Prostitution and trafficking are increasingly contested in international human rights and policy forums, with debates polarised around the question of whether the prostitution system entrenches institutionalised male dominance, or if its harm grows out of associated criminality and stigma. In April 2016 France joined other countries in adopting the approach now often referred to as the Nordic Model – decriminalisation of selling sex alongside exit and support programmes, together with criminalisation of sex purchase. This human rights approach sits in sharp contrast to the endorsement of the New Zealand approach by Amnesty International and in the interim report of the UK Home Affairs Select Committee.
Recent events have reignited the debate around prostitution laws in the UK. Sex workers and human rights groups are calling for policy change, as well as an end to stigmatisation – an issue that particularly harms sex workers who use drugs.
In July 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) published its interim report on prostitution, which advocates the decriminalisation of sex workers soliciting clients and sharing premises. Despite the report being lauded by sex worker rights groups, the validity of its conclusions became shrouded in uncertainty when the HASC Chairman, Keith Vaz, was alleged to have had clandestine involvement with sex workers, including offering to pay for cocaine for them.
READER DISCRETION: In the midnight hours between May 17 and 18, a group of men led by the former kickboxer Viacheslav Datsik forced their way into a brothel in St. Petersburg, smashing a hole in the front door. They then rounded up the women (and one man) they found inside the building (about 11 people, altogether), before shoving them outside and making them march through the streets, completely nude, to a local police station.
When the group arrived at the station, all the officers on duty reportedly stopped what they were doing, hurrying to find clothes for the women and make sense of what was happening. Datsik quietly filed a formal report and slipped out. He and his accomplices then attempted another attack on a second establishment, that same night.
Asked why his men forced their prisoners to walk the streets naked, Datsik sarcastically told the news website Fontanka, “The country should know its heroes.”
According to Fontanka, Datsik even forced his hostages to listen to a lecture about the ills of “paid love,” while ordering them to remove their clothes.