Prostitution is a worldwide system, arising from slavery, in which men purchase women to use as sex objects. Men are taught via pornography and patriarchal culture to believe that they have a right to sexually access women and children’s bodies. Prostitution eroticises the degradation and oppression of women. It provides a sink for the containment and exploitation of povertised women, absolving states from helping them. Men use prostituted women not only to assert dominion over women, but also to fulfill racist and paedophilic sexual fantasies.
“The presumption is that access to the female body is a male right.”
Andrea Dworkin (1981) Pornography: Men Possessing Women.
Women do not choose to be in prostitution. They are often groomed into it via childhood sexual abuse and/or manipulated by ‘boyfriend’ pimps. Poverty drives women into prostitution as a means of survival. Women in prostitution suffer immense physical and psychological damage – the PTSD alone is comparable with that of a Vietnam war veteran. Prostitution is inherently violent; it is rape on repeat.
We OBJECT to the idea of prostitution. The enslavement of women as sex objects cannot happen in a society where women are liberated and have sex equality.
We want the Nordic Model, which criminalises the abusers (pimps and sex buyers), not prostituted women who should receive support and help to exit if they wish to leave prostitution. This has been shown to reduce the numbers of women in prostitution and to change society’s attitude towards it, making it less normalised and less acceptable.
‘Sex work’ is not real work – it is the only so-called job involving intimate access to the most personal spaces of your body by any man with the money to pay.
OBJECT’s work on PROSTITUTION
2019 OBJECT hosted and supported Fiona Broadfoot and others when she took her landmark case to the London High Court to end the practice of the police recording prostituted child sexual abuse as a crime on the police computer.
2019, 18, 16 We have several times challenged the English Collective of Prostitutes which claims to represent the interests of women in prostitution to come clean about where its money comes from. We offered to pay for an independent transparency organisation to inspect its records to validate this claim. Is the ECP a front for the profit-making side of the sex trade, ie pimps, madams and brothel-owners? We have spoken to prostitution survivors who asked the ECP for help to exit prostitution and were offered nothing.
2019 The Brothel Next Door – OBJECT has supported and publicised members of the public who contact us having become aware of a brothel in their area, encouraging them to keep themselves safe, to keep records and to report to the police. The police just raid (usually with notice) and then ‘service’ resumes as normal.
The 2018 OBJECT Essay Prize was awarded for an essay on the environmental impact of prostitution.
In September 2018, we joined sister organisation Not Buying It (also Fair Play For Women, Nordic Model Now and Women Against State Pension Inequality) in a protest at the Lib Dem Party Conference in Brighton, OBJECTing to its support for pimps, porn and the prostitution industry.
OBJECT supports members of the public who become aware of a brothel in their area, encouraging them to keep themselves safe, keep records, look for evidence of trafficking and report to the police and local councillors. The police raid (usually with notice) and then ‘service’ resumes as normal.
2017 – We co-operated with Nordic Model Now in campaigning against the total decriminalisation of prostitution, speaking up against the ASLEF proposals at TUC Conference and other public meetings.
We challenged the so-called ‘Public Policy Exchange’ (a private company) which marketed one-sided training events on prostitution for public service employees with no speakers for the Nordic Model or exit programmes. These feature speakers from organizations which rely on prostitution for their existence. Despite ‘reducing’ the harms of prostitution they hypocritically do nothing to help women leave if they so wish.
We pressured PPE to include pro-Nordic-model and survivor organizations – Heather Harvey from Eaves, (which works with exiting women), OBJECT board memberDr Heather Brunskell Evans and survivor Sabrinna Valisce of SPACE International, who has worked in New Zealand and debunked the much-vaunted NZ model of decriminalisation.
2016 Challenging Shamnesty International.
Four OBJECT women attended the Amnesty International annual conference to challenge its pro-prostitution line that ‘sex work is real work’. Despite Amnesty doing all it could to keep us quiet, and despite the chair instructing the conference not to vote for our proposal for change, we still won a substantial proportion of the vote.
2016 OBJECT chair Janice Williams gave a talk on Prositution hosted by Nordic Model Now to a packed room at Conway Hall.
Recommended Books on Prostitution
- Banyard, Kat. (2016) Pimp State: Sex, Money and the Future of Equality
- Bindel, Julie. (2017) The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth.
- Dines, Gail. (2011) Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.
- Häggström, Simon. (2016) Shadow’s Law: The True Story of a Swedish Detective Inspector Fighting Prostitution.
- Jeffreys, Sheila. (1997) The Idea of Prostitution.
- Jeffreys, Sheila. (2009) The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade.
- Moran, Rachel. (2013) Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution.
- Raymond, Janice. (2013) Not a Choice, Not a Job: Exposing the Myths about Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.
Recommended Websites on Prostitution
- Nordic Model Now – Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution.
- Space International – ‘Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment’
- Not Buying It – Campaigns against porn, prostitution and ‘sex encounter venues’ – “‘Time’s up’ to men buying women.”
To read OBJECT’s latest blog posts on prostitution, click here.
- Hot Chocolate Doesn’t Help Women Exit Prostitution
- Ten Ways Surrogacy is Like Prostitution
- Prostitution, Neither Sex nor Work