LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – The inherent dangers associated with prostitution are enough reason to keep it illegal

After the gruesome murder of 23-year-old Jessica Weyers, the issue of prostitution has been brought back into the spotlight. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, founder and Deputy Chairperson of Embrace Dignity stands for total abolition of prostitution in South Africa because they believe that objectification, exploitation and oppression are inherent in the sex trade. They help women exit the lifestyle and have said that COVID-19 and unemployment put women at greater risk to be sex trafficked. Embrace Dignity is also a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, which draws links between human trafficking and sex work. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2018 global report on human trafficking found that adult women and young girls account for 72% of trafficked persons across the world. More

Netherlands – Mask-wearing law contradicts legalized prostitution

The Netherlands have joined the rest of Europe to make wearing face masks indoors in public places compulsory – Citizens who rebel will be fined 95 euros. Prostitutes, on the other hand, are free to go with their clients and are allowed to remove their masks. Never mind that this contradicts the very goal of maintaining the spread of the virus since one sex worker will see around ten different clients a day. These rendezvous often include consuming drugs and alcohol – a recipe for disaster – if you’re serious about containing the spread of covid-19. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Traumatic Brain Injury in prostituted women

In a 2010 study by Menon et al, Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an “alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.” Violence is pervasive in prostitution and can cause TBI. The study showed that among 66 women and transwomen in prostitution, 95% had sustained head injuries, either by being hit in the head with objects and /or having their heads slammed into objects. The women described acute and chronic symptoms such as dizziness, depressed mood, headache, sleep difficulty, poor concentration, memory problems, difficulty following directions, low frustration tolerance, fatigue and appetite and weight changes. Screening for TBI is crucial to the care of prostituted women. more

South Africa – The truth about human trafficking in South Africa

Whereas most crimes are generally reported to the police, trafficking is not, mainly because victims fear retaliation. Professor Beatri Kruger is a research fellow in the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State and her research spans a decade. She sees more cases are coming to the forefront. For the past five years, the annual US Trafficking in Persons Reports has classified South Africa as a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking. According to police statistics, 2 132 cases were reported to the SAPS from 2015 to 2017. Also the reality is confirmed by an increasing number of trafficking convictions.  If you need information or help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 0800 222 777. more

UK – Headteacher fears for students’ safety in Leeds prostitution zone

A headteacher in Leeds has called for the scrapping of England’s only legal ‘red-light district’ because students have been approached for sex and he fears for their safety. A draft report from 227 pupils and residents have documented concerns about safety and fear of abduction while witnessing prostitutes doing business that have also brought drug dealers to the scene. A survey of 45 local parents by Voice of Holbeck found 53% did not feel safe themselves and 69% did not feel safe for their children. more

South Africa – A study that child trafficking definitely exists in our country.

A peer-reviewed academic paper published in a South African Journal called Child Abuse Research responds to claims made by SWEAT (Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce) and other interest groups. The author of the academic paper is Marcel van der Watt from the Department of Police Practice in the University of South Africa. SWEAT has claimed, among other things, that deception and force used in recruiting persons into prostitution is uncommon, they deny that many child prostitutes exist, and call it a myth to believe that the sex industry is dominated by organised criminal groups, and they also deny that Sex workers are typically controlled through drugs and addiction. However, Marcel’s research lays out numerous studies and statements from SAPS and other experts that brings SWEATs research and statements into question.

While SWEAT convinces the general public and other groups that “there’s nothing to see here” and legalizing prostitution would somehow be a good thing for South Africa (SA), many victims of trafficking stuck in a cycle of forced prostitution are at risk of never being rescued. Why would SA seek to rescue victims of trafficking if they are told there’s no such thing and that all women in prostitution are there because they want to be there? If SWEATs research is swallowed, then criminal activity is free to flourish unhindered. What woman would willingly choose to put herself at risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections with no prospect of retiring or being promoted (assuming prostitution was a real job)? What message would legalised prostitution send to our youth? Would it even let the youth in on everything they can expect from such a ‘profession’?  The fact is, “Over the past 30 years, however, the constellation of successfully prosecuted child trafficking cases, investigative reporting and documentaries, media reports, academic publications, masters and doctoral research, and a number of research reports has suggested, quite convincingly, that child trafficking and children in the sex trade is an indisputable and systemic reality in South Africa.” Read more

South Africa – Beware of human trafficking

Captain Linzi Smith urges young girls and boys to seek advice and do proper research before accepting any offers that seem too good to be true.  In keeping with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Hillcrest SAPS communications officer, Capt. Linzi Smith has once again warned the public to not become victims. “The community, students, learners and parents should be aware of the dangers of trusting strangers who offer them lifts; offer them fast paying jobs or free scholarships. People need to guard themselves and know that if it seems too good to be true, it’s because most often they are,” said Smith.  She encouraged the community to work hand in hand with police in combating the increase in this crime. Read more

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Children, Women Rescued in Ohio Sex Trafficking Raids

Authorities announced the rescue of more than 100 human trafficking victims, including 45 children, as part of a large operation in Ohio. The raids and enforcement actions also led to the arrest of 157 adults seeking sex with the victims.  More than 50 law enforcement agencies took part in Operation Autumn Hope, a state wide effort to tackle sex trafficking.  The operation yielded the arrests of 22 men who were seeking sex with minors. Another 157 would-be Johns were caught looking for sex with adult victims. During a news conference, Ohio Attorney General David Yost said that the difference between human trafficking and prostitution involved the force of a third party–a practice he said was akin to modern slavery. Read more

Germany – How COVID-19 influences prostitutes in Africa

In many places in Africa, sex for money is readily available, cheap, risky, and often illegal. The coronavirus makes it even worse. Gambia’s President ordered the closure of bars and nightclubs. Prostitution is widespread in Gambia but illegal.  SWEAT activist Turner sees the legalization and decriminalization of prostitution as the solution. “The arguments against legalization in South Africa are that prostitution contributes to child trafficking and is the reason for most HIV cases, which is not true,” says Turner. Doctors for Life disagrees with Turner’s belief because prostitution is inherently harmful based on studies done on the topic, and first-hand accounts of former prostitutes. Read more

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

Scotland – Scottish Government could make buying sex illegal

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said prostitution was harming women and a cultural shift was needed so that men who buy sex will change to see it is no longer acceptable.  Government is also looking for ways to support women and help them to exit prostitution, which may be their only real source of income. She said: “Prostitution has wide reaching impacts both on the individuals involved and across Scotland’s communities. “It is sometimes portrayed as glamorous or an easy way to make money, the reality is often very different”.  Behind closed doors and hidden from public view, prostitution can be harmful. Campaigners are hoping the consultation is the first step in Scotland moving towards the criminalisation of sex, as seen in countries such as Sweden, Canada, Iceland and Ireland. Read more

India – Prostitutes in India find better ways to earn amid COVID-19

When India entered its first lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of prostitutes across the country were cut off from their major source of income.   Some of the higher-class-category prostitutes have been able to earn with the use of phone and internet sex. An NGO was able to organize grants for a few women to set up microbusinesses, such as stores for selling dry fish, onions and potatoes, or tea stalls. The women of DMSC (Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee) have been employed in making masks and sanitizers themselves. “In the coming days, we’re also going to start producing PPE kits. As we increase our production, we are planning to sell all these items in the future,” the DMSC adviser Jana said. Read more

LifeAlerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

Canada – Online child exploitation on the rise

Predators and children are both spending more time online due to COVID-19, RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] said. They say victims range in age from 9 to 17 years old.  Sgt. Stephen Rear, director of the internet child exploitation (ICE) unit in Manitoba, said his team has gone from receiving a handful of cases per week to, in recent months, upwards of a dozen cases a week. He attributes the spike to more people — both predators and children — spending more time at home and online due to COVID-19. Parents think even though the kids are in the room with them, that that’s enough.” Read more

USA – He focuses more on Johns.

Just as much as there are misconceptions about how prostitution happens, there is a long-standing myth that we can’t fix the problem. This is an assumption one researcher, Dr. Michael Shively, Senior Advisor on Research and Data Analysis at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), refuses to accept. “Anywhere there is prostitution, there is trafficking.” Where sex is sold, coercion follows. You only generate the supply—the people—if there is demand, and without demand, there is no motivation whatsoever to come up with that supply.”

Fighting sex trafficking needs a multi-faceted solution. Shively said we must continue to rescue victims and hold traffickers accountable, but we cannot ignore the buyers and cultural influences that encourage trafficking. Read more

USA – Amazon is profiting from the sale of sexual exploitation

Amazon, a member of our 2020 Dirty Dozen List, is selling a wide array of sex dolls. Poses of the dolls sometimes feature scenes of bondage and captivity. Some dolls are featured in school girl uniforms or in swimsuits with Disney characters. Some are marketed with images that include pictures of the doll’s genitalia. Many of the dolls have childlike facial features, small waists, and hips, but exaggerated bust sizes. Since launching our campaign some have been removed from the site but many remain. To make your advocacy efforts more seamless, we’ve made an easy-to-use action that allows you to quickly contact Amazon executives and urge them to remove these exploitative objects from their platform. Read more

USA – Governments, Big Tech Team Up Against Online Child Sexual Exploitation

In efforts to prevent child sexual abuse online, the United States, along with the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, have created new voluntary principles that tech companies are promoting. Social media have all endorsed the principles, which ask them to prevent child sexual abuse material from being made available on their platforms, and taking action against advertising, soliciting children, and the livestreaming of child-related sexual abuse.  In 2019, it received 16.9 million reports. In Congress, a group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill on March 5 that would create incentives for companies to “earn” liability protection for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material. “Companies must do more to combat this growing problem on their online platforms.” Read more

USA – He focuses more on Johns.

Just as much as there are misconceptions about how prostitution happens, there is a long-standing myth that we can’t fix the problem. One researcher, Dr. Michael Shively, Senior Advisor on Research and Data Analysis at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), refuses to accept this. “Anywhere there is prostitution, there is trafficking.” Where sex is sold, coercion follows. You only generate the supply—the people—if there is demand, and without demand, there is no motivation whatsoever to come up with that supply.” Fighting sex trafficking needs a multi-faceted solution. Shively said we must continue to rescue victims and hold traffickers accountable, but we cannot ignore the buyers and cultural influences that encourage trafficking. Read more

South Africa – Movement for sex trade survivors protest

Members of the sex-trade survivor movement Kwanele will be protesting outside the court before the appearance of the guilty man who killed, 20-year-old Siam Lee’s. Her remains were found on a farm in New Hanover, in the Midlands.  “We want all the men who buy women to know that it is not okay to buy women for sexual acts. “Women are not commodities to be bought and sold,” said Meji, a survivor of Embrace Dignity project called Kwanele. She said Lee’s murder case revealed that whether or not prostitution was legalised, women in the sex the trade were never safe. “It shows that legalisation and full decriminalisation of prostitution will not make the sex trade safe for prostituted women,”. Read more

France – 5th Global Report

The Fondation Scelles was created with the goal of “knowing, understanding, and fighting” sexual exploitation. Prostitution is a form of violence. Prostituted people display, after a few years, similar marks of trauma to survivors of concentration camps from WWII; those who have managed to escape prostitution refer to themselves as “survivors.” Prostitution is extremely violent and procurers attack vulnerable people. Prostitution is neither work, nor sex. It is the commodification of human beings. The fight against all forms of sexual exploitation must be a clearly defined priority by governments, equipped with the means to meet the challenges. Nevertheless, progress has been made in recent months. It must be continued, invariably in the direction of the abolition of prostitution. Read more

France – 5th Global Report Part III

Public opinion is stirred and authorities are addressing the sexual exploitation issue: governments are commissioning studies, parliaments are setting up thinking committees, media are debating, etc. Beyond these observations, appropriate legislative and judicial responses are emerging and lines of action have been identified. The past few months have reinforced the growing awareness of the online phenomenon which can facilitate the perpetration of these abuses, are now being held liable. In the USA, the adoption of the FOSTA/SESTA law allowed the authorities to seize a website specialized in dating offers and paid sexual acts. An online advertising platform prosecuted for aggravated procuring offences closed its “Encounters” section. These are the first significant milestones towards an authentic governance of the Internet. Read more

USA – America’s Hidden Sex Trafficking Epidemic

In 2019 alone, according to the FBI, 169 individuals were arrested in connection with sex trafficking during an 11-day operation that was undertaken in conjunction with Super Bowl happening in Atlanta. However, as deeply problematic as the trafficking that occurs around large events, the 24/7/365 reality of sex trafficking in the United States is an epidemic of proportions most Americans have not even begun to comprehend.  This lack of awareness is precisely why it’s important that we leverage the increased spotlight that the topic of sex trafficking gets in conjunction with the Super Bowl. In an age of distraction and increased competition for human attention, it is vital that we use opportunities for visibility as opportunities for education. Read more

Child sexual abuse and exploitation: 10 things a new study found

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently released a report on child sexual abuse and exploitation, based on a study of the approach which 40 countries took to such offences. South Africa was one of the countries included in the study. It ranked 15th out of 40 for its measures to protect children against sexual abuse and exploitation. From the report, titled “Out of the Shadows”. We see just over half (21) of the 40 countries analysed have legal protections for boys within their child rape laws. Social stigmas associated with sexual violence against boys discourage formal reporting and are exacerbated by “macho” masculine norms, homophobia and fears of being viewed as feminine, vulnerable or helpless. Read more

Netherlands – Prostitutes should not be a tourist attraction but that’s what happens when legalised

Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema has called for changes to the city’s red light district, arguing that turning prostitution into a tourist attraction is ‘humiliating’ and ‘unacceptable’. There has been growing concern that the number of tourists flocking to the red light district has made it more difficult for prostitutes to work in the area and compromised their safety. An open letter from a cross-party group of young political activists demanded an end to the ‘public meat market’ in the red light district. The group said the exploitation of prostitutes had gone too far. In an opinion piece titled ‘Enough is enough, take action in the Wallen‘, they wrote: ‘We, the youth of Amsterdam, have come to the conclusion that regardless of your point of view on sex work, the current situation cannot be justified. ‘Whether your view of the value of human life is based on humanitarian or confessional ideas, this circus, this public meat market, is humiliating.’ Read more

7 Tactics a Child Predator Uses to Lure Kids: Red Flag Phrases Every Parent Needs to Know

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Protect Young Minds .

by Kimberly King Apr 14, 2020

This is written by Kimberly King, an award-winning author, teacher, and authority on the subject of sexual abuse prevention.

As parents, we all want to keep our kids safe from harm. We teach our kids to wash their hands, cover their mouths, buckle up the seat belts, and always wear a helmet when riding a bike. 

Sexual abuse prevention is a bit more complicated than that. 

The good news is that with investing a minimal amount of time in sexual abuse prevention education, parents and kids can be empowered. Learning about sexual abuse prevention can help parents protect their kids immediately. 

Abusers have specialized methods to choose and manipulate victims through a variety of techniques and tricks. They try to gain the trust of the child and family first and eventually move toward “grooming.” 

Learning about the tactics and tricks child predators use will help parents be more aware. Here are some red flag phrases and tactics abusers may use.

1. “Can you keep a secret?”


Sexual abuse thrives under layers of secrets. If your child hears this phrase from an adult, it is a HUGE red flag. 

A skilled abuser may first ask a child to keep a secret that seems innocent, saying things like

  • “Let’s keep this treat our little secret.”
  • “Don’t tell your mom we got ice cream before dinner.” 

These are small, benign secrets that seem harmless.

When confident the child has kept those types of secrets the abuser will move on to acts of sexual abuse, demanding secrecy about that behavior as well. At that point, the child may feel so guilty and ashamed that he or she feels they cannot tell. 

What you can do:

Tell young children that they must never keep secrets from their parents. 

2. “You’re my special friend.”


Abusers try to build up relationships with kids by promoting common interests. They also try to establish trust with kids by attempting to make children feel special or unique. An abuser will try to gain the affection of his or her intended victim by sharing these likes and things they have in common.

What you can do:

 A good rule of thumb to remember is that kids need age-appropriate friends, and adults need adult friends.

3. “Let’s spend some quality alone time together.”


A big red flag! Adults have adult friends, not “special” kid friends. Any activity that requires an adult to be alone with a child is not safe, especially overnights. Abusers try to normalize certain behaviors and lower inhibitions. So, a situation where a child must change clothing or do a sleepover is inherently risky. 

What you can do:

Implement the rule of three. This rule requires that there should always be at least three people present – one adult and two or more children, or two adults and one child.

4. “Does Somebody need a hug?”


Pats on the back, a hug to say goodbye– may be completely acceptable in many circumstances. Because of this, many predators seek careers where they have easy access to children. Be aware of your child’s reactions to other adults and comfort levels regarding physical affection.

What you can do:

Teach your children that if they ever feel uncomfortable about any physical contact, they need to tell you. Learn about consent and teach body autonomy to your little ones from an early age.

5. “Want to hear a dirty joke?”


An abuser can lure a child closer by using jokes and games. These may start “G” rated. But, soon lead to “dirty” jokes, showing children online pornography, or by introducing sexual games. 

What you can do:

If your child is old enough to have internet access, make sure you are monitoring email and social network messages. A predator may send explicit materials through social media apps. And may ask or demand inappropriate photos from your child. Kids can get easily trapped and scared in this predicament. 

Consider installing Apps like BARK to protect and monitor your child.

6. “Your parents don’t understand you. I know how you feel.”


Sometimes, kids can feel isolated or alone, especially during family duress. Separations, divorce, or other changes in family structure or location can make kids more vulnerable. 

Predators often target kids who feel isolated from their peers by using empathy. 

What you can do:

If your family does go through a stressful period, pay attention. A great family counselor can help get ahead of some of these issues.

7. “Your parents will never forgive you if they find out what we did, you didn’t say No!


A child is not able to give consent in a sexual relationship. The blame/ shame, control game is hard to handle. The predator will use a child’s confusion and fear as they attempt to maintain control over the victim.

What you can do:

Kids need to know that no matter how long any inappropriate contact or abuse has gone on, it is NEVER their fault, and you will always help, protect, and love them. 

A prepared child is less of a target. 

Parents have the immense responsibility of trying to protect their families from sexual abuse. The best way to add a layer of protection is to educate yourself and your kids about sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse can be prevented when parents learn the facts about sexual abuse and minimize the risks for the family. 

Link to Article

The Global Campaign Against Pornhub Explained

The link between pornography and Human Trafficking…

One of the most popular pornographic websites in the world called Pornhub is at the focus of the #Traffickinghub campaign which began getting and widespread awareness in early 2020. The #Traffickinghub campaign is being spearheaded by Laila Mickelwait, Director of Abolition at Exodus Cry, a long-standing and diverse movement against sexual exploitation.

Pornhub is a willing and profiting host to a wide-range of degrading material that includes (but is not limited to) racism, incest, and violence against women. In some cases, Pornhub has brazenly ignored requests to have abusive content removed for months and openly defended incestuous rape-themed content and profited off of the violent torture of women. Worse yet, evidence continues to emerge that Pornhub’s careless, profit-hungry business model has led to child sexual abuse material and content featuring the rape of trafficking victims flourishing on its site.

Earlier this year, the BBC shared the harrowing story of a rape survivor and Pornhub’s repeated refusal to remove content featuring adult men violently raping her when she was just 14-year-old.

Another time, Pornhub refused to remove material by a pornography company, GirlsDoPorn, that was a featured partner on its website even as GirlsDoPorn was facing charges of fraud, coercion, and sex trafficking in court.

It is abundantly clear that there is ample objective, nonreligious, and nonpartisan evidence that shows Pornhub is complicit with the exploitation on its site. Not only that, in many cases Pornhub has actively refused to take action against illegal content when directly confronted by it.

Article link HERE

Bribery, Corruption and Now Prostitution. Is South Africa a Soft Target?

Media Release Embargo: Immediate release Date: 2016-05-19 Enquiries: Vaughan Luck Cell: 078 748 9884 Office: 032 481 5550 Email: [email protected] South Africa seems to be going in the opposite direction to the rest of the world on the issue of decriminalizing prostitution, meanwhile in South Africa it seems to be gaining momentum and the question Doctors For Life International would like to ask is… “Why?” Billboards put up by the Department of Health in Gauteng a few months ago said “I like to give my clients pleasure, not HIV”. This implies that being a prostitute is a joyful, meaningful experience, given by a lady wanting to provide an all-important service to her client. Isn’t prostitution illegal in South Africa? DFL urgently appeals to the government take a more official and visible stance towards the total abolition of prostitution in order to ensure that our teenagers from the most impoverished communities that flock to Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and other cities, seeking out a better life don’t see prostitution as a viable option of employment. Why would a government that is supposed to have the best interests of its people at heart want to make it acceptable to sell themselves, for sex, on a street corner or under the control of a ruthless pimp in a brothel; to make sexual exploitation, violence and paid rape legal. DFL recommends that a few MP’s from government put themselves in the prostitute’s shoes before making any decisions on whether it should be an option as a profession. The Deputy President said not so long ago that the government wants to start a program to hand out condoms to prostitutes. There is no “condom” for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Condoms are already freely available. This is not going to protect sex workers from physical violence, rape or mental conditions. Numerous studies have shown that programs to promote safe sex practices are notorious for failing in their objectives; 1. There are many STD’s that are transferred by skin contact not body fluids alone. 2. Poor mental health and self-esteem as well as drug habits may actually undermine their motivation and ability to adopt safer sex behaviours. If you feel worthless why bother to protect and look after yourself. 3. Decriminalizing prostitution creates a buyer’s market rather than a seller’s market. Competition for customer’s increases. Consequently, sex workers desperate for cash would be open to offers of more money for unsafe sex practises. There is a reason why more prostitutes suffer with PTSD than war veterans returning home from war (80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} compared to 69{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) and it is not because of the “perks of the job” that’s for sure. Buying a slave a mattress so the slave doesn’t have to sleep on the floor does not take away the fact that the slave is still a slave. No wonder people worked so hard for the total abolition of slavery. Prostitution is illegal in over 90{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the world. Those countries where it has been decriminalized are seeing increases in child sex trafficking and HIV rates and are now pushing for the abolishment of prostitution completely. Germany, for example, has over 400 000 sex workers now, more than half of these workers are from other countries and are there illegally. This is a dramatic increase compared to before it was legal. South Africa has over 150 000 adult sex workers and over 38 000 child prostitutes according to the 19th edition of the South African Health Review. France recently made the buying of sex illegal in an effort to abolish the selling/trafficking of women into sexual slavery. It is just one of a list of countries making prostitution illegal. Pro-decriminalization groups see SA as an easy target, due to the lawless perception we are portraying to the rest of the world. Bribery and corruption seem to have become pillars of South African society. In New South Wales (Australia) where prostitution is legal it is reported that about 10{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the total incidences of STI’s was prostitution derived. This is in a state where less than 0.06{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the females were regularly employed as prostitutes and only 4-5{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the male population were regular customers. This indicates a considerable impact. If you translate those figures to SA where prostitution is rife it demonstrates how making prostitution legal will only help in the further spread of HIV and Aids. To say that by decriminalizing prostitution you are helping is a paradox. The violence against women will not stop, rape will not stop, being held as a sex slave by a pimp will not stop, as can be seen in the comprehensive study; “Prostitution and Trafficking in 9 Countries-An update on Violence and PTSD”. All decriminalization does is say that this now becomes part of the job description. There is a big difference to being able to report rape and stopping it from happening all together. The only way to protect our women and children from prostitution is to stop prostitution from becoming acceptable as a career choice, after all none of us would ever want our children to come home and say; Mommy, Daddy I want to be a prostitute when I grow up.

Doctors For Life International is an association of more than 1600 specialists and medical doctors. Doctors For Life endeavours to promote public health by upholding sound science in the medical profession. For more information, please visit…


Ramaphosa's regressive prostitution statement

in order to bring respect and dignity to them and protect their human rights. In the first place DFL does not see it as the duty or the right of individual members of government to reprimand the police for maintaining law and order. That kind of behaviour would fit in with an autocratic form of government, something of which South Africans have become extremely aware of recently. We would also encourage Mr Ramaphosa to consult with all role players that will represent the whole spectrum of opinions on the matter, before starting to make public statements that create the impression of nullifying existing legislation and create the impression that he is being led by the nose by one or two pressure groups. Keep in mind that The Constitutional Court in S v Jordan and Others in 2002 (6) SA 642 decided that the criminalization of prostitution does not amount to unfair discrimination. It would seem that Mr. Ramaphosa does not trust the findings of the constitutional court. Policy shapers would do well to keep in mind that there are certain “rights” that no decent society would allow individuals to exercise e.g. the right to sell yourself into slavery or the right to sell your organs. The reason being that we do not want to create a society where the poor can be accused of not having tried their best to get out of poverty because they have not yet sold themselves or any of their organs. No wonder, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen stated: “Almost five years after the lifting of the brothel ban, we have to acknowledge that the aims of the law have not been reached.” Instead we find ourselves “in the midst of modern slavery”. In the past 10 years that DFL have been helping women to exit prostitution and provide them with skills training, we have found the reality of prostitution to be very different from the picture Mr Ramaphosa may have. Poverty is by far the most common cause why girls from rural areas are flocking to the cities and selling themselves to ruthless pimps and madams and clients who exploit them. Starting off with R500 per client and soon selling themselves for R10 per client. Once a woman has reached that point they will do anything to make money because they have no other skill and are often addicted to drugs. A client just need to offer R20 for unprotected sex and they will jump for it even if they have a dozen condoms in their pockets. Most of these girls anyway know by then exactly at which filling stations or other public places they can get access to free condoms. PTSD is the most serious mental disorder that psychologists can measure in a human. Numerous studies have come out over the last few decades that demonstrate a relationship between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and prostitution. The prevalence off PTSD furthermore remains consistently between 60{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} and 86{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} whether prostitution is practiced in a legal or illegal setting, with Columbia, one of the countries where it is legal, leading the pack at 86{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}. (Compare this to the prevalence amongst war veterans of maximum 67{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) Linda Fairstein, a Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor, mentioned that studies characterize the violence that emanates from prostitution as “brutal, extreme, common, stunning, normative, and ever-present…”. Indeed, physical and sexual violence across prostitution types is pervasive—whether one is prostituting in Chennai or Chicago, indoors or outdoors, for drugs or to pay the rent, on a street corner, in a car, back alley, brothel, massage parlour, or strip club—both the threat of, as well as actual violence, permeate everyday existence in the zone. As long as this violence is contained within the context of the sex trade, where women and other prostituting persons become public sexual property, their trauma is commonly and conveniently reduced to an “occupational health issue” or “workplace violence.” This is a cruel and unjust euphemism. Imagine what would happen if 25{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}, 50{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}, or 89{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the females working in schools, financial or medical institutions, at your local supermarket, or favourite restaurant were subject to the same kinds of violence. Would the world tolerate the phenomenon, tell women that the violence was merely an on-the job hazard, describe their rape as theft of their sexual services or thrust the responsibility for the violence on them by coaching them on a myriad of methods to reduce the risk of violence? Such a response is unimaginable for women outside the zone of prostitution, but for women and others inside the commercial sex trade such perversity is the stuff of daily life. Without question, the vast majority of physical and sexual violence inflicted on those in the sex trade is perpetrated by those purchasing persons for sex— the sex buyers. While sex buyers may be the principle perpetrators of this savagery, in many cases their exercise of violence is given license by institutions, societies, and governments that establish and endorse various regimes of legal and decriminalized prostitution. Full decriminalization of prostitution, in which the laws regulating the activities of pimps, sex buyers and sellers are eliminated, represents the most egregious and shocking response to the commercial sex trade. Such an approach transforms pimps into entrepreneurs and sex buyers into mere customers. While decriminalization may redefine deviant and criminal behaviour, it is incapable of transforming pimps into caring individuals who have the best interests of prostituting persons at heart, or metamorphosing sex buyers into sensitive, thoughtful, and giving sexual partners. Decriminalization of prostitution is powerless to change the essential, exploitive nature of commercial sex, and tragically grants it free rein. Legalizing sex work as a “job” or a “business” only benefits brothel owners and customers seeking sex making their work easier and granting them a veneer of legitimacy. It will give them “full license” to condone violence, sexual abuse — including rape — and verbal abuse that is commonly perpetuated on vulnerable people. Many women’s rights advocates propose instead a stiffening of penalties for johns and pimps. One wonders whether the handing out of condoms to women caught up in the modern day slavery of prostitution might not be compared to providing slaves with light-weight chains in order to diminish the harm caused by their heavy metal chains. Would it not be more appropriate to get to the condom issue after having dealt thoroughly with the hundreds of thousands of poor rural girls being trafficked daily for sex and having commended and encouraged the police to more vigorously enforce the existing legislation or brought in heavier fines for pimps, madams and clients that are buying sex from these vulnerable girls.   Doctors For Life International is an association of more than 1600 specialists and medical doctors. Doctors For Life endeavors to promote public health by upholding sound science in the medical profession. For more information, please visit]]>

What Amnesty Did Wrong: by Anna Djinn

Sexual Exploitation:

What Amnesty Did Wrong: by Anna Djinn

At a meeting in Dublin on 11 August 2015, Amnesty International’s International Council adopted a resolution to authorise their International Board to develop and adopt a policy on “sex work”. Here is a quote from their press release: “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse.” The resolution recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.

1. Amnesty ignored international human rights treaties

The 1949 United Nations Convention on the Suppression of the Trafficking in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others states that, “prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community”. This therefore defines prostitution as incompatible with the UN Declaration of Human Rights 1948 which guarantees human dignity and integrity to all.

2. Amnesty presented the arguments dishonestly

Amnesty presented the arguments in such a way that unless you were already well informed, you would get the impression that many people are calling for those involved in prostitution to be criminalized. However, in fact, not a single feminist or human rights group or organisation working in the field is calling for this. This way of arguing is sometimes called a straw man argument and is often the sign of a poor argument or an ulterior motive.

3. The resolution is contradictory

Having presented the proposal as all about “sex workers” rights and about protecting and decriminalising “sex workers” it is extraordinary that the final point of the resolution includes the following: “States can impose legitimate restrictions on the sale of sexual services.” That’s right! Amnesty says states can criminalize selling sex but not buying sex or the “operational aspects” of the industry! This is the exact opposite of what the human rights treaties mentioned above require for compliance and the exact opposite of what the survivor movement and many feminists are calling for.

4. The first version of the policy was written by a pimp

a. If you think that Amnesty, a leading human rights organisation, developed the proposal from a position of protecting the most vulnerable parties – the women and children stuck in prostitution – you would be wrong.

The original policy proposal, from which the resolution developed, was written by Douglas Fox, founder and business partner of Christony Companions – one of the UK’s largest escort agencies – i.e. a pimp who has a powerful vested financial interest in the decriminalisation of pimps and punters.

b. Furthermore, Alejandra Gil the Vice President of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) that officially advised UNAIDS on its prostitution policy was jailed on Thursday 12th March for sex trafficking in Mexico City. Over 200 prostitutes were involved in a prostitution ring she was operating. Amnesty International also reference NSWP and the Advisory Group it co-chaired in its draft policy calling for brothel keeping to be decriminalised. NSWP is no fringe group. In 2009 it was appointed Co-Chair of the UNAIDS ‘Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work’. So why is Amnesty International about to adopt Douglas Fox’s proposals as a pimp as well as those of a foremost “madam” (female pimp)? (See complete article further down which is named Annexure: Full Article for Point 4b)

5. Amnesty’s position was decided in advance

The feminist journalist Julie Bindel obtained notes of an Amnesty International meeting held in the UK in 2013 that show that the International Secretariat (IS) had the clear intention of supporting the full decriminalisation of the sex trade prior to the consultation process. Given that Amnesty International’s Secretariat had decided on their position in advance, it is not a surprise that their consultation was something of a sham.

6. The consultation was a sham

When the draft policy/background paper was leaked in early 2014; many survivor and feminist groups condemned the proposal. Members were then offered three weeks (2-21 April 2014) to provide feedback on the document, although most members did not receive notification of this and that members are spread around the globe in more than 70 countries. It is not uncommon to give more notice for a birthday party. The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) published an open letter signed by over 400 advocates and organisations, condemning “Amnesty’s proposal to adopt a policy that calls for the decriminalization of pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex — the pillars of a $99 billion global sex industry.” Former President Jimmy Carter set up a petition advocating Amnesty to adopt a Nordic Model approach. What is the point of a consultation if you ignore the responses you get?

7. Listening to “sex workers” – but only if they agree

In the run up to the vote in Dublin on 11 August 2015, Amnesty emphasized the importance of listening to “sex workers”. But what does that mean when, as Douglas Fox explained in his interview with Julie Bindel and Cath Elliott, many pimps and brothel owners describe themselves as “sex workers”? And, as Raquel Rosario Sanchez eloquently explains in ‘How to manufacture consent in the sex trade debate’, people who describe themselves as “sex workers” are, almost by definition, in favour of decriminalisation of the sex industry. Amnesty appears to have deliberately ignored the voices of survivors. And also of the women in prostitution who do not agree with full decriminalisation. Most people in prostitution are marginalised and ignorant of the possible approaches, including that of the Nordic Model.

8. Amnesty’s proposal is based on a false premise

The sex industry is a $99 BILLLION money making machine. It requires a continuous stream of new blood – because women get used up and men demand new faces. But women who have real choices – for example, for decent well-paid work in the computer industry, medicine, nursing, banking or academia – do not usually choose prostitution. Prostitution is not on the menu of career options given to girls from comfortable middle class homes.

9. Conflicts of interest

As mentioned earlier, there is evidence that pimps and others who profit from the sex trade have joined Amnesty in order to influence its policy on prostitution. But there are other powerful vested interests at play. Amnesty receives significant funding from George Soros and the Open Society Foundation, both of whom lobby for the decriminalisation of the sex industry. In addition there is evidence that Amnesty has received funding from governments, including the UK and US governments, both of which support the neoliberal project of maximising profits at more or less any cost. But the conflict of interest goes deeper than funding. It goes to the root of the relationship between the sexes in our patriarchal capitalist society.

10. Amnesty’s research was flawed

Amnesty conducted research in 4 countries (Papua New Guinea, Norway, Argentina and Hong Kong) that have a variety of legislative approaches to prostitution, including one country (Norway) that has implemented the Nordic Model. Amnesty did not make the full reports publicly available but the leaked final draft policy includes a summary of the “overarching” research findings. This states that they interviewed “80 sex workers” – i.e. an average of 20 in each of the four countries, which is too small a sample to draw conclusive results. Also, as we saw earlier, the “sex worker” term may include pimps and others with vested interests in the decriminalised approach that Amnesty recommends. The research purports to show “the human rights impact of criminalization of sex work.” However, they did not conduct research in a country (like Holland or Germany) that has implemented a fully decriminalised approach. To show that full decriminalisation is the solution to the problems that they observed, they would need to show that these problems are not present in countries that have implemented that solution.

11. Amnesty is silent on how to address trafficking and child sexual exploitation

Amnesty’s resolution mentions the obligation that states have to prevent and combat sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation. But they are silent about how states should go about this. This is a huge and glaring omission. The reality is that sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation are driven by the enormous profits that can so easily be made. The profits come because large numbers of men are prepared to pay large amounts of money to buy (mainly) women and children for sex. In the UK we regularly hear that traffickers and pimps sell girls and young women for £500-£600 an hour. Anything that legitimizes prostitution inevitably leads to an increase in this demand from men.

12. Amnesty lied about who they’d consulted

In an email response to a protest about Amnesty’s proposed policy, Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada, said the following: “Internationally, Amnesty International has held discussions with hundreds of organizations and many more individuals.” Rachel Moran, survivor of prostitution and co-founder of SPACE International, confirmed in a tweet that in spite of pledging to consult with them in a Committee for Justice Meeting of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 30 January 2014, Amnesty did not in fact consult with SPACE International. Resources Prostitution, a feminist campaigning organisation, confirmed in a tweet that after months of calling Amnesty begging to talk to them about their proposals, Amnesty responded after the crucial vote on 11 August.

13. So what should Amnesty do now?

It is not too late for Amnesty to admit that it has made very many, very serious mistakes in this matter, not least in allowing itself to be influenced by powerful vested interests. And it is not too late for Amnesty to abandon its current proposals. I sincerely urge Amnesty to do this as a matter of urgency.  
  Reference: for Points 1 – 13 Annexure: Full Article for Point 4b

A Human Rights Scandal: by Kat Banyard

The Vice President of a group that officially advised a top UN body on its prostitution policy was jailed earlier this year for sex trafficking. So why is Amnesty International about to adopt their policy proposals?
On Thursday 12th March 2015, 64 year old Alejandra Gil was convicted in Mexico City of trafficking and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Gil reportedly controlled a pimping operation that exploited around 200 women. Known as the “Madam of Sullivan”, she was one of the most powerful pimps of Sullivan Street, an area of Mexico City notorious for prostitution. Gil and her son were connected with trafficking networks in Tlaxcala state – site of Mexico’s “epicenter for sex trafficking.” Madai, a twenty-four year old woman who was trafficked to Mexico City, was one of those who gave evidence against Gil. Speaking to a reporter in Mexico she said, “[Gil’s] job was to watch us from the car. Her son or her took us to hotels and charged us fees. She kept records. She had a list where she kept records of everything. She even wrote down how long you took”. Madai met her trafficker when she was 19 years old. “He wooed me, made me fall in love, and I believed everything he told me. That I would go live with him, that he was going to marry me… He was the one who took me to Alejandra Gil and her son”. Héctor Pérez, the lawyer representing the victims in Gil’s case, told me Gil was handed a fifteen year sentence because, “she received trafficked victims and deceived to exploit them through the exercise of [prostitution].” In addition to her daily pimping duties, Alejandra Gil side-lined as President of Aproase, an NGO that supposedly advocated for the rights of people in prostitution, but in practice functioned as a useful cover for her pimping operation. And until Gil’s arrest last year, the “Madam of Sullivan” was Vice President of an organisation called the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). NSWP is no fringe group. In 2009 it was appointed Co-Chair of the UNAIDS ‘Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work’. UNAIDS is the international body responsible for leading global efforts to reverse the spread of HIV, and the advisory group was established to “review and participate in the development of UNAIDS policy, programme or advocacy documents, or statements.” Alejandra Gil is also personally acknowledged in a 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report about the sex trade as one of the “experts” who dedicated her “time and expertise” to developing its recommendations. NSWP’s logo is on the front cover, alongside the logos of WHO, UNAIDS and the United Nations Population Fund. Amnesty International also reference NSWP and the Advisory Group it co-chaired in its draft policy calling for brothel keeping to be decriminalised – a proposal that has been condemned by prostitution survivors and equality groups around the world, including SPACE International, Women’s Aid and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Amnesty’s policy, due to be finalised this month, cites “human rights organisations” that endorse their proposal: “Most significantly,” they write, “a large number of sex worker organisations and networks, including the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, support the decriminalisation of sex work”. How could this happen? How could a pimp wind up second in command at a global organisation that officially advised UN agencies on prostitution policy and that is referenced in Amnesty International’s draft policy? And did the “Madam of Sullivan” divorce her interests as a pimp when she was putting demands to governments and global institutions on behalf of NSWP? She didn’t have to. NSWP campaigned for “third parties” in prostitution to be decriminalised. This, they state, includes “managers, brothel keepers… and anyone else who is seen as facilitating sex work”[i]. The organisation also insists that “Sex workers can be employees, employers, or participate in a range of other work related relationships.”[ii] According to NSWP policy, as a pimp Alejandra Gil was a “sex worker” who’s precise role was a “manager” in the trade. The organisation lobbies for pimping and brothel keeping to be legally recognized as legitimate work. To fulfil her role as Vice President of NSWP, Gil didn’t have to mask her vested interests as a pimp; she had a mandate to pursue them. Those interests have been pursued with startling success through some of the world’s top human rights institutions. What happened in 2007 is key to understanding how Gil’s group pulled it off. That year UNAIDS published a ‘Guidance Note‘ on how countries should respond to the HIV crisis in the context of a prostitution trade. They rightly concluded that to tackle the HIV crisis it was important to tackle demand for prostitution: “it is possible and timely to achieve social change, and consequently behavioral change among men, to reduce the demand for sex work.” Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go down well with Gil’s organisation, which expressed its “concern”, via a working group, about the report’s “emphasis on reducing commercial sex”[iii]. Inexplicably, UNAIDS responded by appointing NSWP – which openly promotes pimping and brothel keeping as ordinary ‘work’ – as Co-Chairs of its new Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work. A revised version of UNAIDS’ Guidance Note was duly published, this time carrying an annex prepared by the Advisory Group. It recommends: “States should move away from criminalizing sex work or activities associated with it. Decriminalisation of sex work should include removing criminal laws and penalties for purchase and sale of sex, management of sex workers and brothels, and other activities related to sex work.” That report is now a go-to reference for groups lobbying governments to make pimping and brothel keeping legal. It is the legal model advocated by NSWP – full decriminalisation of the sex trade – that Amnesty International’s leadership voted in August to endorse, and plans to adopt as official policy this month. Amnesty maintains their policy is the result of two years research and is the best option available to protect the human rights of people that some men pay for sex. Having myself spent the last two years researching the sex trade for a book, I can confidently say that to suggest Amnesty’s researchers ‘missed a bit’ doesn’t even come close to accounting for the travesty that is the organization’s draft policy. Brothel keeping, pimping, paying for sex: these are forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Amnesty International is about to call for a form of violence against women to be decriminalised, allowing states to take on a role akin to a pimp: sanctioning and licensing brothels, and taxing the women in them. As Esohe Aghatise, Anti-Trafficking Manager at Equality Now, says “It is shocking that a convicted trafficker would influence policy, which is, in itself, incompatible with human rights and international law. We need to end the demand which fuels sex trafficking, rather than decriminalize those who benefit from the exploitation of others. UN agencies need to urgently clarify their position on the sex trade – particularly in light of this new damning evidence”. Without question, those who are paid for sex should be completely decriminalised. But those who sexually exploit – pimps, brothel keepers and sex buyers – should not. They are perpetrators – not entrepreneurs or consumers. Mia de Faoite, a survivor of prostitution, told me, “I left prostitution utterly destroyed as a human being and I cannot fathom how that level of violence could ever be sanctioned and classed as ‘work’.” That convicted trafficker Alejandra Gil and her group have been so closely involved in UN agencies’ policy making on prostitution is nothing short of a human rights scandal. Clearly, UNAIDS must urgently conduct a thorough, transparent review of all policies NSWP has advised it on and investigate how this could have happened. As for Amnesty International, it would be abhorrent to see the organisation proceed with its call for full decriminalisation of the sex trade – because it really doesn’t take a conviction for trafficking by a leading proponent to work out who benefits most when states make brothel-keeping and pimping legal.]]>