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Arguing Against the Industry of Prostitution – Beyond the Abolitionist Versus Sex-Worker Binary

Introduction Prostitution has long been a contentious issue in the Women’s Liberation Movement, splitting feminist individuals and groups. This is largely because the debate is often reduced to an either/or argument between what is called ‘harm minimisation’ in a legal ‘sex industry’ – the legalisation argument – and on the other side, arguments for the ...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Jackie Lynne on internalized racism, abuse, and surviving prostitution

Jackie Lynne, a Métis woman, a social worker, and an exited prostitute, who has been researching prostitution academically since 1998, speaks about her experiences of abuse, rape, and internalized racism and how those experiences led to her entry into prostitution. She links the continuum of male violence and colonialism to the current situation of prostitution ...
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Blog

There is no feminist war on sex workers

I’ve become increasingly frustrated by what feels like a barrage of articles coming from self-described progressives claiming that feminists are the real enemy of sex workers. It seems as though some of those who position themselves as ‘sex worker rights activists’ are intent on creating rigid divisions among women, placing the prostituted woman in a ...
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Evidence shows that ending demand works: A response to Noy Thrupkaew and the attack on the Swedish approach to prostitution

Law enforcement, intellectuals, politicians, and activists all over the United States—last month, even President Obama—are discussing legal approaches toward the related scourges of human trafficking and prostitution. Recognizing that prostitution is a form of sex inequality related to gender-based violence, the Swedish approach criminalizes the purchaser, while decriminalizing the prostituted person, and has dramatically reduced ...
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Blog

Gloria Steinem supports the Nordic model

Gloria Steinem recently gave a talk in New Delhi about prostitution and trafficking. Again defying that old trope, forever pushed by advocates for the full decriminalization and/or legalization of prostitution, that pretends abolitionists are concerned with some kind of puritan morality and “sin,” Steinem stated: “Prostitution is not inevitable, it is only about unequal distribution ...
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Who is the real enemy in the prostitution debate? A response to one argument against abolition

Earlier this month, rabble.ca published a response from a sex worker named Sarah M. to, not only the abolitionist argument as a whole, but to me in particular. Having written several blog posts, cross-posted to rabble.ca (as F Word blog posts are) on the topic of prostitution which address and challenge arguments for decriminalization and/or ...
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Who does decriminalization leave out?

This article was originally written for and published in Sister Outsiders, issue #4: What you won’t hear inside the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.   Decriminalization is touted, by many, as the most progressive way to address prostitution. From our local left-wing politicians to feminist academics to the media, this option is often presented as ...
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Partying and playing at Piggy’s Palace: Men’s silence about men’s violence

Jacqueline Guillion is a collective member at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter. This article was originally written for and published in Sister Outsiders, issue #4: What you won’t hear inside the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.   Mainstream media like CBC, The Tyee, Vancouver Sun, and Seattle’s weekly, The Stranger, easily uncovered the fact ...
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Who gets a say? The sex work lobby & the silencing of feminist voices.

It’s become so predictable that, now, I just sit back and wait. I’ve written several pieces about prostitution and the abolitionist movement, and several more that don’t directly address these issues, but perhaps mention the word “prostitution.” And really, that’s all it takes these days. What I’ve come to realize is, no matter what I ...
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Letter to the Feminist Movement

Originally posted on www.lacles.org: La Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES).  CLES is a coalition of organizations and individuals operating out of Quebec, who are critical of the sex industry. This letter was reposted with permission.   Letter to the Feminist Movement Originally circulated in French on June 23, 2011 In the wake of ...
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Blog

Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing: A response to one decriminalization argument

I received a link to this blog post just hours ago via a feminist listserv; a listserv that has, just like much of the feminist community elsewhere has, experienced A LOT of heated debate around prostitution, sex work, abolition, and decriminalization. The author claims to desire a ‘genuine’ answer to some specific questions she puts ...
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A Word or Two on Abolition.

If you don’t look hard enough, it’s easy to feel like the abolition argument has become ‘passe’. As though arguments against sex slavery and violence against women can go out of style. What I mean, I suppose, is that it has become somewhat  unpopular, let’s say, these days, to talk about abolition. The divides between ...
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