Opponents to the Sex Purchase Act write book that impedes our work

RealStars works actively against trafficking, both nationally and internationally. We advocate for reducing the demand and letting the sex purchaser take responsibility for their actions, which in international context is called “the Nordic model”. Prostitution leads to increased trafficking. If the buyer is criminalized, the demand will be reduced, which is an effective way to prevent trafficking and protect victims.

Despite the fact that may countries have followed in Sweden’s footsteps by introducing their own Sex Purchase Acts that criminalize the purchaser, there are other countries that   instead worked for a total decriminalization­­– or a so-called “regulation” of prostitution and sex purchases. The result in these countries has been disastrous according to RealStars and other abolitionary movements, including survivors of prostitution and the Swedish police.

Below Robert Schenk reviews an article that recently was published in the New York Review of Books. In the article, Molly Crabapple who is said to represent a left winged feministic movement, is praising a book by two prostitutes that promotes a decriminalization of prostitution. Unfortunately, it is not unusual that some feminists dismiss the “Nordic model” and support decriminalization. Crabapple gets a lot of room in the article and stands entirely unchallenged. Her view goes completely against the position of RealStars and the Swedish Sex Purchase Act.

Review of Robert Schenck, September 2019

Molly Crabapple (born 1983) is a famous artist and writer in New York. In the reputable New York Review of Books (Volume 66, Number 9, 23 May- 5 June 2019) she has reviewed the book Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights (Verso Books, 2018) by Molly Smith and Juno Mac, two British prostitutes.

The review is not so easily read, but it gives an insight into the reasoning of advocates for a complete decriminalization of prostitution. For example, “the Nordic model” (the Sex Purchase Act) is dismissed in a short section of the article, with unfounded statements and a reference to a quite irrelevant legal case. Nowhere in Crabapples review is there a mention of the survivors’ stories, written by women who has managed to leave prostitution behind.

Molly Smith and Juno Mac who have written the book, say that it has “the perspective of the left contemporary sex worker movement”. The review, the book and the general reasoning made by “sex worker activists” is permeated by the idea that the fight for the rights of prostitutes and for a complete decriminalization is part of the general fight against social injustices and class differences.

Surprisingly, the review mentions that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and World Health Organization is for a complete decriminalization in accordance to the “New Zeeland model”. This is an exacerbating circumstance in the international fight for Sex Purchase regulations, and it is a shame for these well-known and otherwise respected organizations.

Here you can read a short extract from the book Revolting Prostitutes. Unfortunately, the review cannot be read for free on the web (however for a smaller amount during a trial period), but you can read parts of it free of charge here.

Internationally, there are strong forces that oppose the Nordic model, and therefore it is important to know their arguments in order to better be able to respond to them. The following books are reviewed on RealStars’ website and are recommended:

Paid For – My Journey Through Prostitution by Rachel Moran
Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 2013

Pimp State by Kat Banyard
Faber and Faber, London, 2016

The Pimping of Prostitution by Julie Bindel
Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017

The Sex Economy by Monica O’Connor
Agenda Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 2019

Prostitution Narratives, stories of survival in the sex trade by Caroline Norma and Melinda Tankard Reist, ed.

Spinifex Press, North Melbourne, Australia, 2016