The case for criminalising punters has lately been made by Labour MEP Mary Honeyball whose report on sex work was voted on in European Parliament last month. I watched Honeyball's vote as it streamed online. If you are the sort of person who thinks fans of policy and sausages should not watch the creation of either, I can assure you Brussels is absolutely the Heston Blumenthal of sausage-making: It passed, though it is only a symbolic victory.
It does not have the force of law. It does however signal a move in this country, following Rhoda Grant's failed bill in the Scottish parliament last year, to continue pushing the criminalisation of punters. Do things need to change? Most people on both sides of the issue agree that yes, they do. But what's astounding are the column inches the 'Swedish Model' of criminalising punters has commanded when few if any benefits to public safety have been shown.
For example, both saunas and the percentage of men who have bought sex have gone up since the law was made… oops. Meanwhile, the 'Merseyside Model,' which instead proposes to treat crimes against sex workers as hate crimes, has gained a staggering number of signees to a key petition - over 50, at last count - but very little in the way of mainstream publicity. What the Merseyside police have done since is to categorise any reports of violence against sex workers as hate crimes.
What this has helped achieve is an incredible 67 per cent conviction rate. While some opponents of sex work are happy to categorise all clients of sex workers as potentially dangerous, the truth is that criminals use the stigmatised status to prey on the vulnerable while few real punters "turn violent". And it has often been the case that murderers who whet their blade on women in sex work often go on to threaten other women as well.
This was the crux of the criticism to do with the Jill Meagher case in Australia last year. Meagher, an Irish national who was working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the time, was raped and murdered in Melbourne. It emerged during the trial of her killer Adrian Bayley that he was also responsible for a string of attacks since But because his extensive history of violence was previously against sex workers, some suggested that was why he was never brought to justice before he could murder Jill.
In Melbourne, licensed brothels are legal but working elsewhere is not: Of course, for something like the Merseyside Model to really work, we would need to re-educate law enforcement across the country and make systems where everyone could report attacks in confidence.
It allow information from sex workers about dangerous clients to be passed on to other people who may be affected and to the police, if agreed by the person reporting. However, it suffers from chronic underfunding. Programs like this which seek to prevent crime - not only prosecute it - should be a social priority, and yet, they are not. The focus on who the clients are is a hot topic right now in debates about sex work.
Only a handful of politicians have spoken up for 'New Zealand model' style decriminalisation, such as Jean Urquhart and Margo MacDonald , both in Scotland. But in all the discussion, we risk taking the focus away from the men and women who actually are sex workers and what they are asking for.
Just like Mary Honeyball on Newsnight last month, talking over the only sex worker invited to the debate. This government promised us 'evidence based policy,' and we need to remind them that first-hand experience is the best evidence we have. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Monday 25 June Who exactly are the men who pay for sex? Dr Brooke Magnanti, a former call girl, reports.
Paradise, pictured, is a brothel in Stuttgart. Dominatrix Bedford, one of three current and former sex workers who initiated a challenge to Canada's prostitution laws, reacts at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa The study, which initially conducted surveys and 24 in-depth interviews in , is being updated to cover another surveys and 18 in-depth interviews with the results due to be published later this year.
Read more from Women. I was one of the bigger girls there, and I'd wonder, "How can I ask for the same amount of money as all my skinny-ass co-workers? In that way, prostitution was actually good for my self-esteem. I came into the business with a lot of body-image issues, and previous webcam work only made those worse.
You think cat-calling construction workers are bad? Look at the shit men on the Internet post when they've seen a part of your naked body.
But the guys at the brothel were always very complimentary, and clearly happy to be with me. It illustrated the large gap between "how women look in magazines" and "what guys actually want. I had a friend who did really well.
She was, like, 10 to 12 years younger than I am and would consistently book huge amounts. I finally asked her how she did it, and she told me, "You have to go in there and believe you're worth it. Remember on The Office when Michael Scott handed out pointless awards to all his employees? That exists in the world of whoring.
There's an official group who picks a " Best Legal Courtesan " every year. There's also a " Best Brothel of the Year " award that looks like this:. You know how Borat brags about his sister being the second-best prostitute in Kazakhstan?
As you can imagine, there wasn't a lot of jockeying for the "best hooker" award. There are message boards for the men who use our brothels, and the guys on there would say they didn't want to "date" a winner because that must mean "she's having too much sex. We had meetings every week -- they called them "tea parties," but it was us sitting down with management and talking about numbers.
They'd set sales goals for us, tell us how we should be marketing ourselves -- we were even required to spend unpaid time online in our brothel's forums, talking to the kind of people who visit a brothel's forums. Here's a photo of one such tea party. This is exactly what it looked like, not a marketing shot at all I saw this picture and had flashbacks. I'm not in the photo -- but some of my former co-workers are. The reason those girls are in funny hats is because they do a raffle at every tea party.
What, the word "raffle" isn't the first thing you think of when you hear "brothel"? There's plenty of good old-fashioned office in-fighting, too. There's a fancy parlor area in the front, and the rooms get progressively shittier as you move further from the "showroom. But if you weren't booking enough clients, you got shifted to a punishment room with just a sink.
Dennis Hof is the owner of the brothel I worked at, and the public face of legal prostitution in Nevada. He makes a big point of saying that this is different from illegal prostitution because the girls can choose to say no. We aren't supposed to have pimps forcing clients on us. A third party having control over who you fuck and how long you spend with them is inherently abusive, because of course it is.
The entire rest of the world works that way; legal prostitution is no different. I don't remember hearing about these on Cathouse , but our boss will occasionally issue people cards redeemable for time with the girls.
I knew that when I started, but I didn't know exactly how it worked until our brothel's maintenance man earned one and tried to redeem it on me. He handed it over, so I went down to the cashier and asked what to do. Three hundred bucks won't buy you much , but some guys spend that little. Then she tells me, "You have to let him take as much time as he wants. I had a choice, but that "choice" was to let some guy have his way with me for a price someone else decided The brothels have other ways of screwing us over.
We're independent contractors, even though by definition that means we can't be required to do things like keep a strict schedule or live where we work. But the fact that we're independent means the brothels don't need to worry about health care, or any sort of benefits. I don't want to demonize the brothels. This is a service people will provide and receive no matter what, and there needs to be a clean and safe place to do it. But if we're going to claim these brothels aren't like pimps, they should stop acting like pimps.
In the end, I walked out of my time as a prostitute with one great gift: I can negotiate like a goddamn terror. No car salesman or loan officer has gotten the better of me since. And anyone who thinks what I just described is easy hasn't ever faked a romantic weekend with someone they barely know. Exploitation is a two-way street. Want an inside look at hacking next? For a look at life inside prison, let this link guide your way.
Shipping a package this holiday season? While it is illegal to charge money for sex in most states, you can definitely command a fee for your company Don't make me do this again. Don't have an account? Please enter a Username. I agree to the Terms of Service.. The majority of clients are men - both of male and female sex workers. Red pills for the clap! A new line-up and a star conductor: She failed to complete the Primary School Leaving Examination and has limited job options. Right now Canadian research is being thrown into the spotlight by media, not least because the Supreme Court there recently rules to strike down all existing laws regarding prostitution thanks to the wonderfully coiffed Terri-Jean Bedford and her decade-long legal battle.
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