Sex workers' rights organization SWAAY isn't happy with some of the nutter groups Google is supporting and has planned to hold a protest outside of Google headquarters.
The protest is in response to Google's announcement of its 2011 corporate giving plan that SWAAY said backs organizations with questionable human rights records.
SWAAY's campaign materials reads:
We applaud Google's desire to fight slavery, forced trafficking, and exploitative labor conditions, but their funding recipients include three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that cause serious harm to sex workers around the world:
International Justice Mission, Polaris Project, and Not for Sale,
As front line sex worker support services struggle for funding to serve their communities, it is offensive to watch Google shower millions upon well-heeled conservative and faith-based groups that fight against rights and safety for sex workers.
SWAAY pointed out that the International Justice Mission is an evangelical NGO who seeks to restore to victims of oppression the things that God intends for them. The so-called rescue work promoted by organizations like IJM translates to actions
that are nothing short of violent, neocolonialist oppression against an easy target: brothel workers in developing countries.
The activist organization further cited International Justice Mission for using its power to pressure governments to crack down on the whole sex industry as an anti-trafficking measure, which leads to violent raids from corrupt police
forces in countries like Cambodia, the Philippines, and India with people being beaten and raped.
The Polaris Project and Not for Sale are also targets. SWAAY said both lobby for the further criminalization of all forms of sex work and the sex industry in America and abroad, regardless of whether the workers are consenting adults. Criminalization isolates and endangers sex workers in serious ways, leading to increased stigma and violence against already-marginalized people. This type of prohibition pushes sex workers away from obtaining the healthcare they need, or from reporting rapes, robberies, and other crimes against them because they fear being arrested themselves.
When United States ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr claimed that 40% of male foreign tourists to the Philippines visited only for sex, the off-the-cuff comment became a diplomatic incident.
Hwever, the Philippine flesh trade catering to foreigners is growing in size and sophistication and by some estimates is starting to rival Thailand as a global sex tourism hub.
Males make up over 65% of all tourist arrivals. A leaked US diplomatic cable identified a number of Philippine sex tourism hubs, including Sabang Beach in Puerto Galera, Mindoro province.
Former labor under secretary Rene Ofreneo recently claimed that the number of Filipinos engaged in the sex trade was likely about the same size as the country's manufacturing workforce of around 850,000 workers. A recent Deutsche Welle special
report claimed that the Philippine sex industry was the fourth-largest contributor to gross national product (GNP).
Economists say that entrenched poverty, where nearly 40% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day according to Asian Development Bank statistics, is a major push factor into the trade. Policy think-tank Ibon Foundation recently
recommended that the government focus on sustainable poverty reduction and additional investments in public education, health, housing and infrastructure to curb the burgeoning sex trade.
Many young Filipino girls end up in so-called KTV bars, nightclubs, restaurants and massage parlors, a number of which are fronts for prostitution dens where customers can have sex for a fee ranging from US$20 to $50. Cash-strapped students are
also turning to prostitution to pay their tuition bills or earn extra money to cover their weekly expenses, according to Asia Times Online interviews. Internet-based sexual services are also extending the trade into once remote rural areas.
Activists against the trade, meanwhile, are fighting a losing battle. The most difficult part is bringing people out of it or deterring others from joining it, said Ostrander. He said one of the most challenging issues of combating sex
tourism is providing those in the industry with real options for other work. Can we offer them jobs?, he asked rhetorically. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
An MDC-T legislator has vowed to continue pushing for the legalisation of prostitution and the inclusion of the pleasure engineers' rights in the country's constitution.
MP Thabitha Khumalo last week signed a petition calling for the decriminalization of the world's oldest profession at an event said to have been attended by scores of working girls from the city. She spoke at the event:
It (prostitution) is here to stay and we need to bite the bullet. Pleasure engineering did not begin in Bulawayo or Zimbabwe. It all began in the Garden of Eden and one of those pleasure engineers was Eve.
Who in their right mind will deny it? We will have to embrace it, whether we like it or not.
Khumalo threatened to expose colleagues using the services of prostitutes if her campaign is not supported in Parliament. She said.
Every time I get a chance to speak in Parliament I will speak of the decriminalisation of prostitution,
If the calls are not heard then we will name and shame some ministers and other officials who have sought the services of pleasure engineers.
A national pilot scheme to help protect sex workers from violent and abusive customers has been launched in the UK.
Sex workers in some parts of the country are already provided with pictures of so-called ugly mugs - men who have in the past been violent or threatening towards prostitutes.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has now launched a 12-month trial costing £ 108,000 to bring together the locally-run ugly mugs schemes under one national online network to gather and distribute
information of abusive customers.
The launch coincides with International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
Think of it as an early Christmas present for the National Women's Council. Irish feminists have long argued that the guards should follow Sweden's example and target men buying sex rather than the prostitutes selling the service, and last week
they got their wish with the charging of 27 men in Limerick District Court with offences under the 1993 Sexual Offences Act.
Twenty-one pleaded guilty and were ordered by Judge Eamon O'Brien to pay the maximum statutory fine of EUR470 to a local charity helping migrants. Six others are to appear in court between now and February.
If that was bad, though, what happened next was even worse, as the names and addresses of the 21 men, aged from 23 to 67, were printed in four national newspapers (the local Limerick Leader resisted the temptation). Was that kind of public
humiliation really necessary? Many of these men live in small communities, where everyone knows one another's business. What purpose is served by holding them up to social embarrassment?
France's parliament has backed a proposal to make payment for sex a crime punishable by fines and prison.
The National Assembly approved by a show of hands a cross-party, non-binding resolution which is due to be followed by a bill.
Six-month prison sentences and fines of 3,000 Euros ( £ 2,580) are envisaged for customers of prostitutes.
Some campaigners reject the bill, advocating prostitutes' rights instead.
Around 20,000 people are believed to be working as prostitutes in France.
Guy Geoffroy, an MP from the ruling UMP party who sits on the commission, said France's political parties had reached a consensus on the issue because it was a matter of republican ethics . Nine out of 10 prostitutes were victims of
trafficking, he ludicrously claimed. From now on prostitution is regarded from the point of view of violence against women and that has become unacceptable for everyone, Geoffroy added.
Comment: Monsieur Geoffroy le Con
9th December 2011. From Alan
If you're looking for words to describe the absurd M. Geoffroy, twat can usefully be translated as con .
The Qube bar in the nightclub district of Norwich could be run as a daytime salon with topless stylists. Rebecca Bird wants permission from Norwich City Council for change of use.
And of course nutters of Norwich are suitably 'outraged'.
Gary Thompson, of GT barbers near Qube, said: I think it's an absolutely ludicrous idea and I've been speaking to the hairdressing industry here in Norwich and everyone thinks it's ludicrous and hopes it doesn't get the go ahead. I think it's
a gimmick - I can't see the connection between barbering and nudity.
A Facebook group, Against Topless Barbers in Norwich, has also been set up. It claims the salon would damage nearby businesses, negatively change the street's daytime trade and reduce potential business growth.
An anonymous objection submitted to the council states: I believe it will cater to society's lowest common denominator. I believe that any women working there will be at risk from some customers who will infer that they are up for anything.
Norwich people should not have to put up with constant erosion of standards of public decency.
Comments can be made on the proposals until 14 December.
French lawmakers will next week test France's long history of liberal attitudes toward sex by introducing a bill outlawing prostitution.
Lawmakers from all parties represented in the National Assembly, France's lower house, will on Tuesday present the bill to outlaw prostitution, said Guy Geoffroy of the ruling UMP party.
Prostitution is not illegal in France though several linked activities are, including soliciting, procuring and operating a brothel, while paying for sex with someone under the age of 18 is banned.
Sex workers' groups denounced the proposal as an attack on their rights and this week protested in front of the National Assembly against the bill.
The bill follows recommendations from a cross-party parliamentary commission that said criminalisation is the best path to reducing prostitution in France, as countries that have regulated this activity saw it increase . Earlier this year,
the commission recommended imposing sentences of up to six months in prison and a $4,040 fine on clients of prostitutes.
An estimated 20,000 people work as prostitutes in France.
A high-ranking local politician from western Sweden has fallen victim to Sweden's miserable ban on buying sex. Whilst being investigated for buying sex he was also found to have used his office computer to access porn websites.
Until last week, Per Asklund of the Moderate Party served as the chair of the local council in Laholm in western Sweden. But he chose to resign after being charged with purchasing sexual services from a 32-year-old woman following the unmasking
of a suspected prostitution business in central Halmstad.
Asklund was among six men charged with purchasing sex in a business allegedly run out of the apartment of a man who is now facing pimping charges. According to the indictment, he arranged for two women to meet paying customers in his flat. In
addition to the six men charged for buying sex, an additional ten men are suspected of the same.
While Asklund has denied purchasing sex, an examination of his office computer by the municipality's IT department revealed that the politician spent a fair amount of his working day visiting pornographic websites and sites offering escort
East Java Governor Soekarwo last week announced that his administration planned to close down all the 47 red-light districts spread across the province's 33 regencies and municipalities by next year, or before the end of his term in 2014 at the
latest. He also said an unlimited budget would be allocated to realize the plan.
The sooner they are all closed down the better. Morality programs need to be prioritized, he said.
Soekarwo said his administration did not tolerate immoral acts, thus relocation would not be an option in dealing with prostitution. All sex workers would be sent home after being given a dose of religion and appropriate life-skills training,
such as how to sew rice or how to work in a factory. The provincial administration will give them Rp 3 million [US$330] each to start a new life in their respective home villages, he said.
The East Java branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which had for the last few years been running a program called the Association of Preachers for Red-Light Districts will also contribute to life-skills training.
Chairman of the association, Abdussomad Buchori, said of the sex workers sent packing: We give them religious instruction while the administration provides them with skills and funding for a new life .
Provincial councillor Kuswiyanto welcomed the administration's plan but warned that the strategy used must be clearly thought through. We need to talk to all the stakeholders, especially those in the commercial-sex business, he said.
The Swiss People's Party (SVP) has gathered enough signatures to call a cantonal referendum in Zurich on the planned development of a new red-light district in Alstetten, on the outskirts of the city.
By gathering more than the 2,000 signatures needed to call a vote, the SVP hopes to block what it sees as an immoral use of public funds.
Plans to open the new district and end prostitution in the Sihlquai district, behind the main railway station, were scheduled for the spring of 2012. Police and social services had opposed the idea of a referendum, arguing that it would delay the
move out of Sihlquai.
So-called performance stalls , are set to be kitted out with parking spaces and alarm buttons.
The head of Zurich's social affairs department, socialist councillor Martin Waser said he is convinced that citizens will vote clearly in favour of the project because the problems in Sihlquai are well known . The situation
cannot continue, neither for the sake of the prostitutes nor those living in the area.
2.4 million franc ($2.8m) was raised to finance the scheme via a loan. Most parties voted in favour of the loan, but the project met with resistance from the Swiss People's Party (SVP), the Evangelical People's Party (EVP) and the Swiss Democrats
The city council must now decide when the referendum will take place. The earliest possible date will be March 11th 2012.
Weakening demand and an influx of hard up prostitutes from across Europe has impacted prices and job prospects for the increasingly idle sex workers plying their trade in Norway.
Sex workers providing services from camper vans, hotel rooms and private flats are feeling the pinch and complain that there are too many women working in the Norwegian market.
I have not worked in Norway long, but in the past week there have not been many customers, said a 22-year-old French woman to the Dagbladet daily, adding, The prices for sex services are being dumped and the market is very bad.
The Norwegian sex market is described as mobile with the women of organized escort agencies roaming the length and breadth of the country in search of customers.
Despite the recent lull in the market, police say those selling sex still earn far more than they would in the economically depressed southern Europe.
Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter said that under the new Prostitution Bill 2011, brothels would be banned from suburban areas.
Limited prostitution in non-suburban residential areas would be licensed and monitored.
The Government will also create an exit fund for prostitutes seeking to leave the industry.
Attorney General Christian Porter said the Bill had been carefully developed after the release of a draft for community consultation earlier this year. He said:
Prostitution is a controversial issue for any Government to address. Overwhelmingly though, ordinary West Australians do not want prostitution businesses of any size near their homes, in their residential suburbs or near their children's school.
Update: A Dangerous Step Backwards for Health Promotion
The Australian Sex Party has called the WA Prostitution Bill a dangerous step backwards in health promotion. The 2011 Bill, introduced into WA Parliament by Attorney General Christian Porter last week, was developed without proper
consultation with sex workers or sex worker organisations, and acts in direct opposition to the health safety, and best interests of sex workers.
Sex Party Candidate Zahra Stardust says This Bill will severely increase sex workers' likelihood of harassment, vilification and imprisonment and decrease their access to health and support services .
The Bill bans sex work in residential or suburban areas and prohibits escort agencies, forcing sex workers into brothels. The Bill then requires sex workers to disclose their legal names in the workplace, meaning that sex workers are singled out
for surveillance, restricting their opportunities for employment and further education and introducing bias in custody cases. The WA Bill criminalises the clients of sex workers, despite international evidence that this has severe consequences on
the safety of sex workers themselves. The Bill criminalises all street-based sex workers, despite no evidence that they cause adverse societal impact.
The Bill increases police power, despite the finding of the Woods Royal Commission that systemic corruption and misuse of personal information is rife when police act as sex industry regulators. Ms Stardust says, Police powers to issue move-on
notices, stop, detain and search anyone on suspicion that they have breached the law, and to order invasive cavity searches of sex workers, mean that sex workers will be unlikely to seek police assistance in the event of a crime.
She continues, The Bill will be disastrous for sex workers occupational health and safety and industrial rights, as an unlicensed sex worker under the Bill is expressly excluded from accessing Workers' Compensation. The Bill also prohibits
advertising for any staff relating to sex work services, preventing sex workers from advertising for drivers, receptionists or security. This will clearly present obstacles to sex workers' health, safety and access to support.'
Further, the Bill criminalises all migrant sex workers, providing that a licence can only be issued to an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This means that sex workers on student or temporary visas are immediately rendered illegal,
subject to heavy penalties, experience reduced access to health services, are denied access to peer education programs and are increasingly marginalised. The Bill introduces heavy penalties (up to 3 years imprisonment) and fines (up to $50,000)
Low rates of STIs and HIV among sex workers illustrate that sex workers are highly aware of safer sex practices and are skilled at negotiating and managing risks. The recent Law and Sexual Health (LASH) study in Western Australia by the Kirby
Institute states that health promotion for the sex industry is much easier when the target group is not covert and is working without the daily fear of a criminal prosecution. Similarly, the World Health Organisation acknowledges that
'Legislation criminalising prostitution-related activities has frequently been identified as a barrier to the promotion of safer sex practices'.'
The daughter of President Raul Castro is advocating criminalising men who buy sex in Cuba. Mariela Castro claimed:
Sweden has done a really admirable job and even organizations like CENESEX (Cuban National Center for Sex Education) and the Federation of Cuban Women would like to emulate the Swedish experience.
Castro made her remarks following a trip to the Netherlands, where she visited Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District. She said that the Dutch experience cannot be replicated on the communist island, but stressed that Cuba is
considering implementing the Swedish approach, which since 1999 has penalized the client and decriminalized the sex worker.
She noted that the sixth Cuban congress on Sex Education, Sex Therapy and Sexual Orientation would take place January 23-26, just before the Communist Party's convention. It will be a very good opportunity to relaunch the debate on
prostitution, Castro said.
Historically, collectors of old porn have remained underground, afraid that showing an interest in the world of sex would bring shame and mockery to them or their families. That's still often the case, but as porn becomes more mainstream ---
due in part to its near inescapable presence online, more people are becoming comfortable in owning a part of its history, which is driving up the value of those collectibles.
It is, in fact, the factory-like production of much of today's porn that has made some collectors appreciate items of the past.
For the moment , particularly collectible items are one-sheet movie posters and press books (promotional kits with photos and press releases) for porn films from the 1970s and early 1980s.
Most collectibles hover in the $200 to $500 range, but rare items, such as the original poster for 1972's legendary film Deep Throat, sell for up to $5,000.
There are few external clues as to what happens inside Stiletto, billed euphemistically as the world's finest short-stay boutique hotel . It looks like any upmarket retreat but is the latest, most stylish flagship for the legalised sex
industry in Sydney, Australia.
Inside this high-class brothel, which cost more than £ 7million to create, there are Dali-inspired red lips sofas, commissioned artwork, stylists on hand to primp and fuss over the sex workers, who are legally
entitled to run their businesses there, as well as a gym, solarium and spa in which they can pamper themselves between clients.
Water runs gently down a huge curved wall in the lobby while the 12 opulently furnished and themed rooms have spa baths, music and mood lighting. Significantly there are no windows or clocks.
Stiletto has been described as a spectacular, purpose-built, multimillion-dollar adult playground that caters for virtually every legal whim.
Decriminalising brothels could solve problems linked to prostitution, says a Greater Manchester Police chief.
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne said he would welcome a debate about alternative approaches to policing prostitution and sexual exploitation.
Byrne, who leads the policing of prostitution for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), made the comments on the Police Chiefs blog.
He said there was no perfect solution but it had helped in other countries. There is a great amount of academic research available, much of which supports the view that an alternative approach is needed.
While the decriminalisation and regulation of brothels in Australia and New Zealand was not an answer to all related issues, he said it was certainly a solution to some . He added: More of those involved in sex work [there] can now
access health services with ease, whilst maintaining more personal security.
An approach like this would help to bridge the gap between tackling neighbourhood nuisance and the exploitation of sex workers by organised criminals and gangs. Byrne added that policing prostitution needed effective partnerships to
support victimised individuals and communities with appropriate legislation and enforcement resources in order for it to work long term.
The International Union of Sex Workers offers a cautious welcome to the new guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Current law on the sex industry is confusing and complicated: sex workers are at risk of prosecution unless they work indoors in complete isolation. Legislation on brothel keeping and controlling for gain fail to target exploitation or
coercion, but criminalises those working together. For those selling sex onstreet, the definition of persistent soliciting (more than once every three months) means they can have contact with the police four times a year without risk of
We are glad to see ACPO recognise that the safety of people engaged in sex work must be paramount to the police service .
We are also glad to see awareness of the practical work currently underway that increases the protection of people in the sex industry: As currently done by Merseyside Police, to deal with violent and sexual crimes / incidents on sex workers
in the same vein as a 'Hate Crime / Incident' i.e. premium response and service to the victim and ACPO supports the work of the UK Network of Sex Worker Projects, especially in relation to the ongoing development and enhancement of 'Ugly
There is also acknowledgement that Enforcement alone is an inadequate solution, with clear direction to local forces: This strategy supports partner organizations and projects offering support services to sex workers ... Supporting
health, welfare, education and peer-led organisations in promoting safe sex practice by sex workers
However, there remains an inherent contradiction between the police role of protection and enforcement, and sex workers will continue to bear the consequences of this in terms of violence and other abuses.
Taiwan sex workers say that the new law could actually worsen their plight.
Under the law passed by parliament, local governments are allowed to set up special penalty-free sex trade zones, but outside them prostitutes will still be be fined, as, for the first time, will their customers and pimps.
But so far no local authority has yet said it will create a legal prostitution area, leaving streetwalkers fearing they face the worst of both worlds.
A recent survey of 22 local governments by the mass-circulation Apple Daily newspaper found none supporting the plan, 21 rejecting it and only one still undecided.
We will not consider opening a sex trade zone because there is no public consensus on this highly controversial issue, said Edward Zhang, spokesman for the government of Taipei, Taiwan's capital and largest city: Taipei is too crowded
to provide a suitable location away from schools and residential areas .
After being rejected by every billboard company in Los Angeles, the sex workers' rights project SWAAY (Sex Work Activists, Allies, and You) has launched their public awareness campaign with a mobile billboard, which will be running for eight
days between November 1 and November 9, 2011.
SWAAY's text-only billboard reads, Sex worker: a person who consensually exchanges their own sexual labor or sexual performance for compensation. Sex work is not the same as forced sex trafficking or sex slavery. Learn about the people and
facts behind sex work at SWAAY.org.
Any variation of the group's message was banned by Clear Channel, CBS, Lamar, Regency, Van Wagner, Avant Outdoor, LA Transit Authority, and Outdoor Solutions, but was finally picked up by a mobile billboard company.
SWAAY was founded in June of this year to address the public's misconceptions due to the lack of factual and accessible information about sex work, and to fight against the outright lies and junk science statistics pushed by moral and
religious crusaders who advocate for further criminalization and stigmatization of sex workers.
A sex worker is a person who exchanges their own sexual labor or sexual performance for compensation, such as an escort/prostitute, porn star, stripper, dominatrix, phone sex operator, sensual masseuse, or web cam performer. Sex workers are part
of the larger sex industry - which includes adult movie directors, club owners, webmasters, retail stores, and more - but are distinct because their job involves making money off of their own sexual labor, not writing about, photographing,
managing, or selling the sexual labor or performances of others.
Bad laws and hurtful social stigmas work together in a vicious cycle that makes life more dangerous and difficult for the people who engage in sex work, says Sabrina Melmoth, a volunteer with the group. SWAAY seeks to chip away at both
problems by sharing non-sensationalized, first-person information about life as a sex worker, and advocating for the full decriminalization of sex work.
The Finnish budget hotel chain Omenahotelli is strengthening its safeguards against prostitution after evidence of the sex trade was uncovered at the company's hotels in several cities.
The company says it will use more security guards and ask cleaners to step up their vigilance. The chain will also co-operate with the National Bureau of Investigation to try and stamp out prostitution.
Omenahotelli runs self-service hotels without reception personnel.
Amsterdam city council's marketing department should stop promoting the red light district as an exciting tourist attraction, a Christian Democratic councillor has said.
Encouraging tourists to visit the area ignores the problems associated with prostitution and tourists should be told the truth about the position of sex workers , CDA councillor Marijke Shahasavari is quoted as saying.
Amsterdam's promotional website Iamsterdam recommends the evening as the best time to visit this famous part of Amsterdam. The website states:
Prostitution has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance in Amsterdam and, as with soft drugs, the Netherlands approach is to legalise the trade and impose regulations.' In addition to preventing forced prostitution, this open and honest approach
means sex-workers here have their own union, plenty of police protection, an information centre (for visitors as well), frequent monitoring and testing and professional standards.
The American organisers of Sugar Daddy Parties , where mutually beneficial arrangements worth tens of thousands of dollars per month are struck over cocktails in New York nightclubs, are now seeking venues in London.
Denying that they are encouraging prostitution, they say they already have thousands of British sugar babies waiting to meet rich patrons. Typically, they are women in their late teens or early twenties seeking to pay university fees or
fund glamorous living.
We have perfected our parties and are now ready to launch in even bigger markets like London, said Brandon Wade, the chief executive of Seeking Arrangement. We are due to start early in 2012.
A recent party at New York's Hudson Terrace bar was attended by about 600 people. Daddies , aged 38 on average, were charged $100 ( £ 62), while babies , typically 12 years younger, paid $40 (
£ 25). Women outnumbered men by two to one, the organisers claimed.
While some guests struck lucrative deals on the spot, others exchanged phone numbers for further negotiations. $500 per date is common, said Wade: But we know of arrangements worth $10,000 and $20,000 per month.
Seeking Arrangement already has thousands of British members on its website, which encourages striking deals online. Male members, many of whom state that they are married, are charged $50 ( £ 31) per month.
Sugar babies can join for nothing.
Vienna has started another attempt to regulate prostitution as a new law on the street sex industry comes into force.
The new bylaw in effect from 1st November bans prostitution from anywhere in the city except five areas where it is permitted. Two of them are situated along the busy Gurtel Road which has been a hotspot for sex on sale, shady night clubs and
exotic massage salons for decades.
The previous law meant offering sex was illegal around kindergartens, schools, churches and cemeteries.
The Greens announced that the new regulation is the least worst law on the issue. The Social Democrats (SPO) said their ambition was to save prostitutes from plying their trade in unlit and unsafe areas. The reform of the prostitution law
features lower fines and less bureaucratic barriers for prostitutes but harsher regulations for pimps and brothels.
Police can fine pimps 500 Euros for getting prostitutes in touch with customers in no-go areas under the new law. Some experts criticised the sum as too low.
There are around 2,200 registered prostitutes in Vienna, according to a profil report. However, twice as many women may be selling sex services in the city. Women willing to do so legally must undergo regular health checks at doctors and notify
The large majority of interviewed migrant workers in the sex industry in London are not forced nor trafficked, says a report.
The research team led by Dr Nick Mai interviewed 100 women, men and transgender people - the largest ever qualitative research into migrants working in the London sex industry.
He discovered 13% of female interviewees felt they had been exploited and only 6% of female interviewees felt they had been deceived and forced into selling sex in circumstances within which they had no share of control or consent .
The research found:
Many migrants prefer working in the sex industry rather than the unrewarding and sometimes exploitative conditions they meet in non-sexual jobs .
Many migrants working in the sex industry send money back to their country of origin, thereby dramatically improving the living conditions of their families .
Police efforts to combat organised crime is undermined by the fact that victims of exploitation cannot be guaranteed indefinite leave to remain in the UK. 'Climate of fear'
The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) welcomed the report. Catherine Stephens, of the IUSW, said:
We will only successfully target trafficking within the sex industry when we make policy based on evidence and in reality.
There is currently a climate of fear amongst London sex workers due to police activity, that is driven by hype and misinformation promoted by NGOs with a financial vested interest in the anti-trafficking industry, who are ideologically opposed
to commercial sex.
Miserable Swedish police and the tax authorities have launched closer surveillance of Thai massage parlours in the country, ludicrously claiming to suspect that the sharp increase in their number indicates sex trafficking.
The police now hope to be able to target possible prostitution by studying their finances, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. Raids on several salons in the Stockholm area revealed serious mismanagement of cash.
We have clear indications that many deal with black money and pay unreasonably low payroll taxes, said Conny Svensson at the Tax Agency (SKatteverket) to the newspaper.
There are currently almost 190 Thai massage salons in Stockholm. In Stockholm, the number of massage parlours in operation has doubled since 1990.
The police are convinced that some of them sell sexual services, including massage that ends with masturbation, but can not prove their suspicions. Ewa Carlenfors, head of the police section against trafficking at Stockholm police said: It is
very difficult for us to prove in court the customers on whom a sexual act was performed.
Due to recent miserable changes in the law, Mumbai bars have had to drop traditional ways for customers to tie up with sex workers. And in an attempt to outfox the police, bar owners have come up with several ingenious methods to keep the ball
Confirming this was the Assistant Commissioner of Police of the special squad of the city police, Vasant Dhoble, who said recent raids on eight city bars over the last month showed the emergence of new, sophisticated trends:
We came across several bars where a ramp was created and the bar girls were asked to do walk on it, similar to what is done at fashion shows. The bar staff made them wear expensive, revealing clothes to attract customers. The customers then make
enquiries and choose a girl. This is a new trend that we have come across in our recent raids on bars. There is a full-fledged thriving prostitution racket going on in bars.
And how does the money change hands? Girls walking the ramp get huge tips from clients and the bar takes a considerable cut out of that as commission .
That's not all. When the cops came calling, they seldom found the girls scurrying into hidden cavities and bunkers. Nowadays, it takes less time to hide girls. During police raids in the past , the security guard used to warn those inside the bar
by pressing a switch on the main door, which either set off an alarm inside or turned lights and off. The girls then used to jump into the bunkers on stand-by. But now, the bars have kept a dedicated waiting man in the bunkers, whose job is to
pull in the girls as soon as the raid begins. This makes it faster to hide the girls.
The police claimed that hidden cavities and bunkers were found at almost all the bars that were raided. During raids, we go around with a sledgehammer and demolish cavities inside the bars. But, they again make new cavities. We have written to
the civic department about this. But no action has been taken yet, said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.
Another new way to outmanoeuvre the eagle-eyed police personnel is to make the bar girls sit down as customers the moment a raid begins. This makes it difficult for the police to establish if the girl is one of the bar's staff or a genuine
customer, said the police officer.
For several years now, the young (37) Amsterdam alderman Lodewijk Asscher has been waging his own crusade against sex workers in Amsterdam. He claims: We have to abandon our romantic view of the red light district.
For many tourists the red light district is a normal stop on their visit to Amsterdam, taking a look at the prostitutes posing in the windows to attract clients. For many visitors the red lights are a symbol of what is possible in the
Netherlands, with its tolerant attitude to sex and drugs.
The Dutch government decided to lift the ban on prostitution in 2000. The introduction of licencing was intended to improve the position of prostitutes.
Hard line Alderman Asscher is politically responsible for the red light district. He regularly makes comments regarded as un-Dutch . He believes it is a national misconception that prostitution belongs in the compass of freedom and
tolerance. The problems, he claims, are grossly underestimated:
Hard-line criminal behaviour is what is happening behind those windows. Women subjected to extremes of exploitation. They have a non-existent debt they have to pay to a pimp by prostituting themselves. They are physically abused if they don't
work hard enough.
It's very difficult to tackle effectively. Very frustrating for the police and the courts. The penalties are often minor. There is also an absence of public indignation. Recently we were dealing with a pimp who had used violent methods to force
110 women into work. The only sign of public anger was when the man escaped.
In his capacity as alderman, he has introduced a number of measures aimed at reducing window prostitution. Amsterdam has been buying up properties previously owned by the sex industry. In February this year more than 60 addresses lost their
prostitution designations. The council is rezoning the whole area. In the future, brothels and coffeeshops will make way for cafes, restaurants and ordinary shops.
Over the next few weeks the Senate will be debating a new prostitution bill. Proposals include discriminating against youg adults by making the minimum age for registered prostitutes 21 instead of 18.
Having sex with a prostitute living in the Netherlands illegally would become a criminal offence.
It's now or never, threatens Lodewijk Asscher. If it can't be regulated, prostitution will have to be made illegal again.
It has been confirmed that prosecutions are being considered against innocent men who unwittingly buy sexual services from trafficking victims in Northern Ireland.
Consultation is ongoing in Northern Ireland about enforcing legislation which makes it an offence to buy prostitution services from a girl if she is under the control of another person.
And the Police Service of Northern Ireland is also studying a Swedish model which has dramatically cut down on human trafficking in that country by banning the purchase of all prostitution services, even between consenting adults.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson, who is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, last night welcomed the news.
Northern Ireland is becoming more and more exposed to this vile crime and I welcome the PSNI and authorities taking any steps which will help victims, he said. Notably not offering any objectivity to the scale of the problem.
Last month the PSNI attended a conference in Dublin organised by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and anti-prostitution group Ruhama, which involved senior members of the Swedish and Norwegian police forces and the Garda. The conference
organisers argued that a law banning the purchase of all sex would reduce sex trafficking of women and girls right across the island of Ireland. A PSNI spokesman told the News Letter afterwards: We are aware of the proposals made at the
conference to change legislation and we are studying them. So do the police decide on the law in Northern Ireland?
The News Letter can also report that criminal justice agencies in Northern Ireland are consulting about enforcing section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act, which came into force last year. Again, do the police decide on the law in
A vigilante group in Iceland called Stora systir (Big Sister) has compiled a list of 56 names, 117 telephone numbers and 29 emails of men who expressed interest in purchasing the services of prostitutes through the websites einkamal.is,
mypurplerabbit.com, raudatorgid.is and classified ads offering massages in daily newspaper Fre'ttabladid. This list was sent to the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police.
The miserable group are campaigning for Swedish style laws criminalising the purchase of sex. At a Reykjavik press conference the klan's spokespersons wore cloaks, hoods and masks to remain anonymous.
The Big Sisters decided to take matters into their own hands after police authorities claimed they neither had the funds nor the manpower to fight prostitution which they conclude is clearly thriving in Iceland in spite of it being illegal.
We advertised at einkamal.is and in the massage columns of the papers and in the beginning it was just to check the reaction, one spokesperson said: The demand proved extensive and so we expanded into Rauda Torgid and Purple Rabbit, for
The movement is demanding various actions, first and foremost that current anti-prostitution laws are complied with, but also shutting down einkamal.is, as well as porn clubs, and that the publication of ads for prostitution in the media in all
forms be stopped.
No one is safe now, Big Sister is everywhere, one spokesperson warned.
I wonder if any trafficked sex workers have ever been found at a major sporting event
Levels of human trafficking may rise during both next summer's Euro 2012 soccer championships in Poland and Ukraine, and the London Olympics, according to European Union officials.
Myria Vassiliadou, the EU's anti-trafficking coordinator, claimed sporting events are a hub for criminal gangs, adding that it appears that similar large sporting events in the past have been accompanied by a spike in prostitution and
trafficking, reported the Associated Press.
Vassiliadou, who was attending an EU conference on human trafficking, said the issue rests largely with EU nations. She added that the EU was nevertheless trying to raise awareness of the problem.
Offsite Comment: Meanwhile at the Indiana Super Bowl
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has a problem: What to do about all the forced prostitution that he's sure will be happening when Indianapolis hosts the Super Bowl this winter on February 6.
Of course, Zoeller's actual problem is that he (and his cadre of advisors and consultants) haven't yet figured out that most of the women involved in prostitution have affirmatively chosen their profession---and that all those statistics he's
been reading about the number of trafficked women and children in the U.S.---he's claiming that as many as 300,000 girls between the ages of 11 and 17 are lured into the United States' sex industry annually ---are staggeringly inflated.
Men who spend money on women during one-night stands might find themselves criminalised under laws targeted at men who buy sex.
It also concluded that criminalising customers of sex workers might divert police resources into investigating the minor offence of buying sex at the expense of pursuing human trafficking gangs.
New Swedish-style laws would grant immunity to women working in prostitution because they would effectively be regarded as exploited under law. The review warned that this labelling would likely lead to objections from sex worker
alliances and representative groups.
The review was based on a visit to Stockholm last year by the Dignity Project and a number of Department of Justice officials. The project's report found enforcing the laws in Sweden had proven very labour-intensive for the police there,
with relatively few prosecutions.
The review found there may also be constitutional difficulties with criminalising one party in a prostitution transaction while granting immunity to another, because Irish citizens had a constitutional right to be treated equally under the
The Dignity Project report, which was published by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, also said legal definitions of sexual service , casual and payment in any new prostitution laws might be problematic: Any offence, for
example, would have to distinguish prostitution from a 'one night stand' . . . where there was consensual sex after a casual meeting and one party has spent money on the other.
The Dignity Project is an EU-funded research project aimed at examining services for victims of human trafficking and advocating best practice in that area.
Shatter said he now intended to arrange a consultation process to help inform the future direction of legislation on prostitution .
A Swedish court has ruled that prostitutes from other European Union countries should not be deported for at least their first three months in Sweden, much to the dismay of the police.
While Sweden has made the buying of sex illegal, the selling of sex is perfectly legal. But it seems that Swedish police have been taking on themselves to deport prostitutes from other EU countries. They have been making up the law for themselves
and claim that sex workers represent a threat to the basic interests of society.
While police and the Migration Court in Gothenburg are in agreement that, in their opinion, prostitution isn't a legitimate way to support oneself, the court has found that the EU directive on the free movement of EU citizens carries more weight.
According to the directive, EU citizens have the right to visit other EU countries for up to three months without any restrictions other than producing identification to confirm their EU citizenship.
Ingemo Melin-Olsson of the border police in Stockholm has been forced to respect the law as written, rather than her moral opinion, and she now admits:
This means that we don't deport EU citizen prostitutes.
On the other hand, we will deport prostitutes from third countries, that is to say, outside the EU-area.
However, police are hopeful that a case involving the deportation of a prostitute who is an EU-citizen currently under review by the ombudsman may eventually provide them with some more solid guidance.
However the police seem to be having difficulty accepting that even the highest authorities in the land have a better grasp of the law than them.
police inspector Marianne Paulsson told Sveriges Radio:
No one really agrees on this, and that makes it easy to get confused.
According to Paulsson, a ruling by the ombudsman is the closest thing to a legal precedent they can get, short of a change in the law:
...BUT... I think they ought to consider that too. I don't think this provides legal certainty
Hawaii is considered a paradise by many people, but at night, it becomes even more fun with the presence of tempting Eves engaged in the oldest profession in the world: prostitution.
However local officials are concerned that the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit this November could spike prostitution, and naturally, they don't want sex tourism to steal the limelight away from the numerous
attractions of the islands.
Local politicians, hoteliers and law enforcement authorities are beefing up security to combat the mythical surge of sex-trade workers who would be flying in from the mainland. According to the usual bollox from an official of the Pacific
Alliance to Stop Slavery, the APEC Leaders' Summit could pose a huge sex-trafficking problem, especially with the military population mixing-in with travelers, all of which make for attractive business opportunities for prostitutes.
According to the campaigner's propaganda, sex workers are brought in from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Atlanta by pimps, who also pick up local runaways and girls with misdemeanors and send them to work as sex slaves in other states.
Some visitors have voiced their concern about the blatant soliciting by prostitutes working the streets. Wearing their killer stiletto heels, skimpy shorts or skirts and barely-there tops, these women walk the streets and loiter along boutiques,
hotels, shopping centers and business establishments, with some even doing it a block from police substations.
Lawmakers are now proposing stiffer penalties for men who hire prostitutes within 750 feet of schools or public parks. The proposed law, said local authorities, will mainly target customers and not the sex workers, since many of them are either
supposed victims of sex traffickers or simply do it for survival.
An anonymous snitch shopped an undercover sex party at the clubhouse of one of Philadelphia's famed Mummers brigades. Two club officials and 11 others were arrested by killjoy police.
As part of a six-week investigation, undercover policemen went to the Downtowners Fancy Brigade, one of the clubs that parades through the city on New Year's Day.
The police were told by a snitch that there were prostitutes at the clubhouse on the second Tuesday of every month. When the policemen arrived, they were charged a $30 cover charge for beer and other refreshments and found 50 to 60 men and about
15 to 20 women inside, with many of the women naked or partially naked and performing sex acts, according to police.
The policeman were offered sex for money and sex acts were being performed in public view, with the women charging $30 to $100, police said.
Two victims of the police raid were a club steward and the club's financial secretary. They face charges for liquor violations and criminal conspiracy; the club did not have a liquor license, police said. Ten women were arrested on prostitution
The Mummers Parade, often called Philadelphia's Mardi Gras, is a century-old Philadelphia tradition in which costumed revellers march through the city on January 1. The parade is composed of elaborately festooned musicians, comics and other
performers from different clubs that compete for prizes and bragging rights.
A 71-year-old Swede caught paying for sex has been fined around 50,000 kronor ( £ 4800).
Swedish police were carrying out surveillance against a suspected brothel in Bromma, a suburb of Stockholm, where they suspected that several Romanian women were working as prostitutes.
The officers witnessed the 71-year-old leave his car and enter the brothel. After a while the police heard panting and creaking noises through the letterbox. When the man left the premises he was promptly arrested, but would only admit to attempting
to pay for sex.
Police have vowed to eradicate human trafficking after securing the first sentencing for the crime in Scottish history.
Stephen Craig was jailed for three years and four months for arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for 14 women.
His co-accused, Sarah Beukan, was jailed for a year and a half for her part in his human trafficking network.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland called it a landmark case , while Detective Inspector Stephen Grant said it should act as a warning to others who are involved in this abhorrent way of life that we are coming to get you .
BUT... then proceed to describe the case further explaining that
Sheriff Sam Cathcart accepted that no pressure or force or threat was directed at any of the individuals involved.
The 23 sex workers involved with Craig's business were from Brazil, Bolivia, Nigeria, Fife, Glasgow, Inverness, Airdrie and elsewhere in the UK. Craig had no part in bringing in the girls in from abroad.
In fact is believed the prostitutes were previously working independently as sex workers before being recruited by the pair.
Craig merely arranged accommodation and travel for the girls to work in his business. Pre-paid credit cards were used to transfer money and pay for the rental of properties, so the women would not carry cash when they travelled. They also
provided accommodation for them to work from, put advertisements in newspapers and online.
In return for this, the sex workers gave Craig a reasonable one third of their earnings.
Craig and Beukan had been running four brothels in Glasgow, at Argyll Street, Wallace Street, Newton Terrace, and Clyde Street. They also ran a brothel in Aberdeen, at James Street, and one in Queens Square, Belfast.
But the prosecutors had the last nasty words:
Sheriff Sam Cathcart told Craig and Beukan there was no alternative to custody. He said that, by their actions, they had exerted control, direction or influence over the movements of the women, but accepted that no pressure or force or
threat was directed at any of the individuals involved.
DI Grant, of Strathclyde Police, said that Craig and Beukan were despicable individuals . Human beings are not products which can ever be bought and sold, and this will never be tolerated.
Frank Mulholland, QC, said: This is a landmark conviction for human trafficking in Scotland and represents the success of close working between police and prosecutors across the UK.
Offsite Comment: Is there really a sex-trafficking epidemic?
Last week Stephen Craig and Sarah Beukan, the first people to be convicted of human trafficking in Scotland, were given the short jail sentences of 40 months and 18 months respectively.
For many of those who followed the case -- which exposed a vice ring that moved prostitutes round the country, between brothels in Glasgow, Belfast and Aberdeen -- it seemed a puzzling conclusion.
In the lead up to the sentencing there were reports of threats and intimidation; a police debriefing described how one witness said Craig had threatened to pour boiling water down her throat . But last Monday, based on the facts provided
to him by the Crown, the presiding sheriff stated that there was no pressure, force or threat on the women. Rather, the pair pled guilty to, and were convicted of, arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for around 15 prostitutes.
It was an offence that was hardly, as Ken Waddell, the solicitor for Stephen Craig points out, what most people consider to be trafficking.
A man convicted of running a brothel (with an unlikely sounding link to trafficking) has been ordered to pay £ 45,000, the Crown Office said.
Lindsey Miller, head of the serious and organised crime division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: Stephen Craig took part in a criminal prostitution operation that spanned the United Kingdom. Today's confiscation order
for £ 45,000 represents the full amount which is available to us at this time from Stephen Craig.