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14th September

 Offsite Article: Why the Price of Sex Is Getting Cheaper...

Link Here
alternet logo Hard times have hit the world of sex work.

See article from alternet.org

 

13th September

 Update: Reasonable Suspicion...

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Finland to widen the definition slightly of the offence of buying sex from a suspected pimped or trafficked sex worker
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Finland...Campaign to ban paying for sex
Finland flag Finnish authorities are in general backing the proposal that buying sex from a victim of pimping or sex trafficking would become illegal, even if the buyer is unaware of the sex worker's circumstances. A court could sentence a person paying for sex if it considers that there was reason to suspect that pimping or human trafficking was involved.

The proposal was sparked by a previous ruling by the Supreme Court in 2012 when the court dismissed the charges against a young man suspected of abusing a victim of sex trafficking. According to the court, the accused could not have known for certain that the Estonian woman was a victim of pimping, even though there were many circumstances that pointed to that assumption.

The Supreme Court's ruling raised the threshold for sentencing a person paying for sex so high that the Ministry of Justice decided that a law reform was necessary. The changes would mean that sex workers' customers are liable to prosecution if there is reason to suspect pimping or sex trafficking. The maximum sentence for this offence would go up to a year.

The proposed reform has garnered support from the National Police Board, the Tukinainen support centre for rape victims, the Finnish Bar Association and the Ombudsman for Equality.

 

7th September

 Offsite Article: Criminalising Small Ads in Canada...

Link Here  full story: Human Rights for Sex Workers...Sex workers battle for human rights
Escort Ads Sex workers contribute significantly to the economic health of print publications--and many other industries. How criminalization around sex work hurts everyone

See article from thedailybeast.com

 

29th August

 Update: Running Like Clockwork...


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Drive in booths for Zurich sex workers deemed a success
Link Here  full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths
zurich boxes The world's first drive-thru brothels has been deemed a success by Swiss social services, a year after being created.

The drive-in sex boxes were installed in Zurich last year, offering sex workers a safer place to provide their services rather than the street. Set up on the edge of the city, the facility provides bathrooms, laundry and even has its own security.

The creation cost the government 2million Euros to build and has risen in popularity over the last 12 months. Around 30 to 40 women ply their trade there each night.

Zurich authorities believe the idea has been extremely positive and want prostitution, which has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, to continue running safely. A statement from social services read:

The new regulation of street prostitution has attained its objectives of protecting the population and the sex workers. The first year of the service has been positive.

 

25th August

 Offsite Article: Hidden Surprises...

Link Here
bangkok nightlife Bangkok's underground porn cinemas reveal a secret world of gay sex and trans sex workers

See article from bangkokpost.com

 

24th August

 Update: Flatly Repressive...


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German politicians seek to force sex workers to register, impose a minimum age of 21, and ban flat rate pricing
Link Here  full story: Flat Rates Brothels in Germany...Discount rates spark authorities to raid brothels
Germany flag The ruling coalition of Conservatives and Social Democrats in Germany has agreed on restrictions to the Prostitution Act of 2002.

In the future, sex workers will have to register with the authorities, the owners of brothels will have to submit to reliability checks, and flat rate sex and gang bang parties are going to be outlawed.

Manuela Schwesig , Federal Minister for Family Affairs (Social Democrats), declared that the new regulations meant that for the first time, there would be clear rules for legal prostitution in Germany that will protect the women .

Social Democrats (SPD) and Conservatives (CDU/CSU) still negotiate on other items, including a minimum age for sex workers of 21. Conservatives want to raise the minimum age for sex workers from 18 to 21.

A law demanding mandatory registration would harm the women, criticised Fabienne Freymadl, political spokeswoman of the Professional Organisation for Erotic and Sexual Services (BesD) , where sex workers in Germany are organised{

Especially sex workers who work on a part-time basis do not want to register due to the risk that their data may be passed on to third parties and women could be outed for their stigmatised professionl. If women experienced assaults, they could henceforward not report them to the police anymore, if they weren't registered with the authorities.

The BesD is also critical of the planned statutory permission requirements and reliability checks for brothel owners. According to the new regulations, brothel owners with criminal records can be barred from operating brothels. However, an exemption from the statutory permission requirements is planned, if individual persons sell sex in private apartments. Freymadl said:

Outlawing flat rate sex and so-called gang bang parties showed how moralising the debate actually was. Outlawing certain business models and practices, which the public perceived as particularly demeaning, contributed nothing to fight forced prostitution , since criminals wouldn't heed such bans anyway.

 

The remaining points of contention regarding the reform of the prostitution law are to be clarified in the early fall. The plan of the Conservatives to punish customers of forced prostitutes remains controversial. Critics fear that even less customers would then provide tip-offs to the police about forced prostitution , should they involuntarily encounter such women.

 

20th August

  US Bullies...

US bill attempts to bully countries into criminalising the purchase of sex
Link Here

US Senate Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) and the  Freedom Network (USA) have condemned a new bill, introduced into the US House of Representatives by Congressman Hultgren, which seeks to put pressure on countries that "do not prohibit the purchase of commercial sex acts".

If passed, bill H.R.4703 will amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to demand that the State Department take a country's prostitution laws into consideration when determining its rankings in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Placement in the lowest tier of the Trafficking in Persons Report can trigger sanctions including the reduction or loss of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance.

GAATW and the Freedom Network believe that this move is not about preventing human trafficking or protecting its victims. Under the guise of addressing trafficking in persons, the amendment instead seeks to include efforts to eradicate prostitution. Creating such a strong link between prostitution and trafficking in persons is not uncommon but it is mistaken. GAATW has documented the harm done to sex workers, migrants and to people who have been trafficked by anti-trafficking laws, policies, programmes and initiatives that conflate the two.

There is no evidence that criminalising or otherwise penalising sex workers' clients has reduced either trafficking in persons or sex work. International law on trafficking in persons makes a distinction between prostitution and trafficking. The USA's international anti-trafficking work too makes this distinction plain, as several countries in the top tier of the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report -- i.e. those countries who meet the minimum standards for addressing trafficking -- indeed do not criminalise sex work. If anything, we can look to the 14 years of the Trafficking in Persons Report as the evidentiary link that sex work and trafficking are not connected.

The text of bill H.R.4703 is available here . The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

20th August

 Offsite Article: Sex work in the UK: Just what would decriminalising prostitution mean?...

Link Here  full story: Criminalising Paying for Sex in England and Wales...A selfish campaign to lock up men
brooke magnanti An article in the Economist reignited the debate around legalising prostitution in the UK. Dr Brooke Magnanti explores what decriminalisation would look like and says that we're long overdue a rethink of workers' rights

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

19th August

 Commented: More Norwegians go without a sex life and more innocent people are prosecuted...

But the law against buying sex is at least making miserablists feel better
Link Here  full story: Paying for Sex in Norway...Norway law criminalises paying for sex abroad
Norway flag Norway's ban on buying sex has reduced demand for prostitution and has not increased violence against women, as some had feared, a study commissioned by the government said.

Norway criminalised buying sex in 2009, but critics said the law would push prostitution underground, making women more vulnerable and increasing the likelihood of violence against them.

 The report based on six months of research says:

Street prostitution in Oslo, the country's biggest city, is down between 35-60% from before the ban, while the indoor market has shrunk by 10-20%.

This report does not find any evidence of more violence against prostitutes after the ban on buying sex entered into force.

The enforcement of the law, in combination with the laws against trafficking and pimping, makes Norway a less attractive country for prostitution-based trafficking than what would have been the case if the law had not been adopted.

However, the lower demand has resulted in lower prices, a problem for prostitutes who often come from poor countries and have few other options to earn a living.

Norway's ruling parties have favoured relaxing the law, but said any proposal to change it would be dependent on this study, which would form the backbone of the government's planned white paper, a precursor to any change in the legislation.

Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

19th August 2014. See  article from  nswp.org

nswp logo The Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) has published a statement in response to the recent release of a report by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security following an evaluation of the ban of the purchase of sex which came into force in 2009 in Norway. The report has been heavily criticised by various sex worker rights groups for its poor quality and contradictory claims and findings presented throughout the report's 168 pages. 

The report claims that a number of outcomes identified by researchers are positive (in terms of the stated objective of eliminating sex work) when in fact these outcomes affect the working conditions and incomes of sex workers negatively to an unacceptable degree. 

Some findings of the report include:

  • reduced power for sex workers and more favourable market conditions for clients - sex workers negotiating position has been weakened due to clients' fear of arrest resulting in fewer clients and lower prices. These factors compound to reduce sex workers' incomes and their agency and autonomy with regards their choice of occupation;
  • more police surveillance as police need to find clients who are committing the illegal part of the transaction - sex workers have routinely reported increased police surveillance and harassment (although not considered in this report) in Norway;
  • displacing sex workers from their homes and other places where they work. The police do 'education' of landlords and hospitality managers to allow them to recognise potential sex workers and to evict suspected sex workers summarily from their homes or other rented accommodation;
  • the violence that sex workers are vulnerable to is reported as something that comes with the territory, and according to the authors sex workers are weary to report as it may come back to haunt them (due to the stigma attached to being a sex worker affecting someone's chances of 'improving their  life and situation'). That this is reported in such a tone is heavily problematic and should be of concern to human rights advocates everywhere. It effectively condones violence committed against sex workers as sex workers are involved in an activity that is condemned by the state.
NSWP member, SWOP-NYC said the following about the report: 

The most disturbing parts of the findings were the many noted increases in vulnerability, while acknowledging the on-going need for resources and services. The findings openly state that "there is a need for providing more options for people that want to get out of prostitution. Language classes, work training and work options are considered to have clear positive effects and there is a need for more of such initiatives." But despite this need for more options the study points out that for those in the sex trade, life is harder.

Pye Jakobsson, President of NSWP said:

This report shows the responsibility the police has in terms of the impact of their tactics and policing of the ban. Sex workers face tougher conditions in that outdoor sex work environments have become less favourable; sex workers are more reluctant to report crimes of violence to the police, sex workers' income is reduced due to sex workers now having weaker negotiating power as clients are nervous, want to leave faster, and there are fewer clients. Indoor sex work has also become more difficult as working together for safety is not an option due to third party laws; also distressing is the fact that sex workers working indoors are constantly in danger of being evicted from the premises they are working in due to police 'educating' landlords and hotel managers on how to recognise sex workers and to evict them."

NSWP's statement strongly condemns this report published by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security as it fails to recognise the grave violations to Norwegian sex workers' human rights that are taking place with state impunity under the current model that bans the purchase of sex. The statement further urges the Norwegian Government to listen to the experiences of sex workers and acknowledge that the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in Norway is resulting in health and human rights violations of sex workers. 

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