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2022: April-June

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Nasty Sweden...

Sex workers take action against a parliamentary move to introduce manadatory jail for men caught paying for sex

Link Here6th May 2022
Full story: Sex Work in Sweden...Criminalised purchase of sex

The European Sex Worker Alliance (ESWA) is circulating a petition in solidarity with Swedish sex worker activists fighting a politically motivated attempt to require mandatory jail time for their clients.

In a letter to the Swedish Parliament published in English and Sweden, the ESWA addressed the upcoming May 31 vote on a proposal to increase the minimum punishment for the purchase of sexual services from a fine to a prison sentence.

The group urged Swedish politicians who are threatening the livelihoods of the country's sex workers to listen to sex workers, to consider current, as well as upcoming, research on the matter and to take into account the countless recommendations from organizations, including the sex worker-led organization Red Umbrella Sweden, to start committing to supporting a legal framework for people working in the sex trade, that protects and affirms those individuals' human rights.

The letter reads:

It has come to our attention that there will be a vote on the 31st of May on a proposal to increase the minimum punishment for the purchase of sexual services from a fine to a prison sentence. 

Sex workers in Sweden, as in many countries in Europe and globally, are amongst the most marginalised and discriminated against members of society, and experience high levels of violence and human rights violations.

We urge you to listen to sex workers, to consider current, as well as upcoming, research on the matter, and to take into account the countless recommendations from organisations, including the sex worker-led organisation Red Umbrella Sweden, to start committing to supporting a legal framework for people working in the sex trade, that protects and affirms those individuals’ human rights.

We are deeply concerned that research indicates that the current Swedish government’s "pursuit of sex buyers and combatting sex trafficking functions as punitive and racialised policing, targeting people in the sex trade and resulting in forced evictions, deportations, and police harassment. This increases their vulnerability for violence and experiences of stigma".

It is also very alarming to hear that the Swedish government is positioning themselves to support this, when there are many recommendations that Sweden should be adapting the approach and policy making regarding sex work and people in the sex trade. From WHO, Amnesty International, UNAIDS, ILGA Europe, ESWA, NSWP, La Strada International, the Global Alliance Against Traffic In Women, TGEU and independent researchers, there is a clear recommendation to decriminalise sex work, because of the negative effects of any form of criminalisation of sex workers and their environments. The European Convention on Human Rights recognises, under Article 11, the fundamental right to form and to join trade unions, making unionisation an established right that applies across the member states of the Council of Europe.



A nonsense idea usually championed by US religious nutters...

Council of Europe calls for porn blocking software to be installed on all personal devices

Link Here 27th April 2022
The Council of Europe is the Europe-wide (beyond the EU) organisation most well known for running the European Court of Human Rights.

Now the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a resolution urging European nations to mandate online filters for pornographic materials on all devices, to be systematically activated in public spaces, such as schools, libraries and youth clubs.

The parliamentarians expressed deep concern at:

The unprecedented exposure of children to pornographic imagery, which is detrimental to their psychological and physical development. This exposure brings increased risks of harmful gender stereotyping, addiction to pornography and early, unhealthy sex.

The parliamentarians didn't offer any definitions of what they consider unhealthy sex or pornographic materials, nor did they explain how these mandatory filters would be coded and by whom.

The  Council's statement nvites member states to examine the existing means and provisions to combat children's exposure to pornographic content and address the gaps in relevant legislation and practice with a view to better protecting children. It calls for relevant legislation to ensure that both dedicated websites hosting adult content and mainstream and social media which include adult content, are obliged to use age verification tools.

\The resolution also advocates the introduction of an alert button or similar solutions for children to report accidental access to pornographic content, and envisages follow-up actions, such as warnings or penalties for relevant websites.



Hard lessons...

US college offers a class to study porn

Link Here25th April 2022
Utah's Westminster College is offering a porn class where students will watch pornographic films together. The College said the class allows students to analyze social issues . The class, is titled Film 300O Porn and the class information says that hardcore pornography is more popular than Sunday night American football. The description states:

Hard core pornography is as American as apple pie and more popular than Sunday night football. Our approach to this billion-dollar industry is as both a cultural phenomenon that reflects and reinforces sexual inequalities (but holds the potential to challenge sexual and gender norms) and as an art form that requires serious contemplation.

We will watch pornographic films together and discuss the sexualization of race, class, and gender and as an experimental, radical art form.



Hitting people when they are down...

Edinburgh Council moralists trash the jobs of people working in the lap dancing trade

Link Here2nd April 2022
Edinburgh's moralist councillors have voted to ban lap dancing clubs. The city's regulatory committee voted to ban sexual entertainment clubs in the city from April next year by a majority of five to four.

Councillor Cameron Rose claimed that the Scottish government's policy of preventing violence against women and girls gave a national definition which included commercial sexual exploitation, defined as lap and pole-dancing as well as stripping.

Performers and managers from Edinburgh clubs gave evidence at the online meeting. Alexis, who has worked as a dancer for 15 years, said she was proud of her job and did not want to find another job because being a performer did not fit into the committee's moral values. (We are) educated women making educated decisions about what's best for our lives , she said.

United Voices of the World, a union representing exotic performers, said it would go to court in a bid to overturn the decision, and said it would request a judicial review.

Danielle Worden, legal case worker for the union, said:

The union is extremely disappointed that the council has chosen to disregard its legal obligations and the relevant evidence by adopting a policy that discriminates against women.

Not only does this violate the Equality Act 2010, it is an act of cruelty to remove the livelihoods of hundreds of workers as we enter the worst economic crisis since the 1970s.

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