The Nordic Model
It's almost time again to start voting for the European parliament in Europe again, so political parties are boosting their marketing campaigns to make a difference in the more than 750 seats in the European parliament. The European parliament however isn't very popular at the moment in Europe anymore. There are simply too many people, from too many different countries, deciding over things people often didn't ask for. A few examples of these are the European constitution (which many people voted against, but still the European parliament accepted), loans to countries in Europe with financial problems (which many people didn't agree on), and of course the Honeyball resolution that not too long ago became accepted by the European parliament.

The Honeyball resolution is a resolution that advises (the European Union cannot make laws for this) countries that are part of Europe to follow the Nordic prostitution model. It comes from a British woman, named Mary Honeyball, and it basically states that all European countries should make clients of prostitutes illegal. This law has already been accepted in Sweden back in 1999, and has become very popular recently among other European countries, among which Holland, who are thinking about adopting this prostitution model.

The idea behind the model is as simple as it is naive, in order to fight human trafficking and forced prostitution, let's just take away the demand for prostitution, and the problem will resolve itself. The big problem of course, is the idea that making things illegal it would automatically stop. Prostitution is with a reason the oldest job in the world, because no matter what you do, there will always be a demand for it.
Think of it like this, did the prohibition of alcohol in the 1930's in the U.S. make people stop drinking alcohol simply because it was illegal? No, in fact, the only thing the prohibition did, was make everything related to alcohol go underground, where no police could find you, and therefore it became attractive for criminals (like Al Capone) to get their hands on it. In short, making things illegal only attracts criminals.

But since the Nordic prostitution model is based on the idea of saving women from forced prostitution and human trafficking, it begs the question how this would help? Because do people not visit prostitutes anymore in Sweden because it's illegal? No! In fact, daily people still visit prostitutes, they just do it out of sight of the police and other authorities, making it more dangerous for both the prostitute and the client.
In fact, the Nordic model even makes it easier for criminals to get involved, since it all happens out of sight of the police, and therefore prostitutes are in more danger of becoming victims of forced prostitution and human trafficking.
As you can see, the Nordic model does opposite of what it claims to do. It doesn't help any victims, since they're all out of sight of the police. And it doesn't help reducing human trafficking, in fact, it makes it easier to happen. In fact, you could even say that the Nordic model supports human trafficking!

Did those people who came up with the idea for the Nordic prostitution model really think a pimp would let a prostitute go, simply because they would make clients illegal? These pimps are criminals, the whole point of a criminal is the fact that they're not scared to do illegal things! Did they really expect those criminals to say to a girl they are forcing: 'Oh, shit, they criminalized your clients. Now we can't make money anymore. Maybe it's better if you go home. No hard feelings, okay?'
Of course not! These pimps have just been given a wild card by those dumb politicians to do whatever they want to do, because nobody can find them anymore, because it's illegal! Just like how the prohibition of alcohol attracted criminals, that's how the Nordic prostitution model attracts pimps. All they did, is make it worse for prostitutes to work. They don't get any protection from the police, since any client they'll receive will automatically be arrested because it's illegal.
And it certainly doesn't stop people from visiting prostitutes. Just because it's illegal, doesn't mean people will stop doing it, how many more times does history have to repeat itself before people will finally understand that! Those people who want to visit a prostitute are still there, now they're just doing it illegal, unsafe and in dangerous places on the street.

I know there are girls in Holland that are working in illegal prostitution and they have no problems with it. They work safe, and they like their job. However I also know girls in Italy, where prostitution is not legal, and there the girls are not that safe. Those girls have to keep moving around through the country, because if they stay too long in one place, pimps will try to take control over them, and force them to pay money for their protection, even if they don't want that. Those pimps are not afraid to use violence, and it's a good example of how working in illegal prostitution is not as safe as working in a country where prostitution is legal, and the prostitutes have rights and have protection from the police and other authorities.

The Nordic model makes it more difficult for victims of forced prostitution and human trafficking to get help, since it happens out of sight and out of reach of the police. It makes the work for free working prostitutes more dangerous, and even can turn them into victims of human trafficking, because of the absence of police, and it also makes it more dangerous for the clients, who now have to deal with pimps in stead of police.
Congratulations Sweden, you've just created a whole new industry for criminals to get their hands on, making women victims of the very thing you where trying to save them from!

You might begin to wonder whoever came up with the idea of the Nordic prostitution model? Where it pimps, who wanted to get their hands on the other part of prostitution they couldn't get their hands on? Where it political men that enjoy the desperation of women, like some sort of sadistic game, when they are having sex? No, they where feminist groups of women who strongly advocated the Nordic prostitution model, because in their eyes prostitution is by default degrading to women. Feminism on itself has become a growing cancer for prostitutes ever since they've been trying to 'save girls from prostitution', though they never asked any prostitutes if they ever wanted to be saved in the first place. There are many feminists out there today, strongly advocating the Nordic prostitution model, like Rachel Moran in Ireland or Renate van der Zee in Holland itself. They often get help from other media, like Opzij, a feminist magazine in Holland for which unsurprisingly Renate van der Zee often writes columns.

Also today Opzij tries to influence the debate about prostitution, with articles that only talks about the bad sides of prostitution, in stead of the (much larger) good sides of it. A good example of that can be found here, where the claim is that one prostitute makes 21.800 dollars for her pimp. A strange thing if you ask me, because prostitutes make much more money then 22.000 dollars a year. If we would only be working for that money, I wouldn't be doing it.
And let's also think about it. If one girl only makes 21.800 dollar, of which everything goes to the pimp, like the article states, than how can these pimps buy all those expensive cars and houses from that? Even if they have 3 or 4 girls working for them, it would take years before they can buy those expensive things, which is in contrast with the story that gets told in the media, that forced prostitutes would make thousands of Euro's a day. Does this mean those forced prostitutes only work about 22 days a year?
If I would be making 22.000 dollars a year, I couldn't even pay for all the things in my life, like my apartment, my workplace, my food and clothes etc. If that's how much money a pimp makes, I wonder how he can pay for all the things in his life, and still has money left to buy that nice car home?

But of course feminists are not the only ones who support this model. Also Christian groups, who've always been against prostitution since the dawn of time, are supporting this model. A good example of that is the ChristenUnie, a Dutch political party, who launched today 10 points that fight human trafficking, in which they admit being against prostitution, and yet seem to promote the Nordic prostitution model, under the pretense of fighting human trafficking. It's a joined force between feminists and Christians that are trying to criminalize clients, and with that indirectly prostitution. Not in hopes of saving women from being forced, but rather from ending prostitution itself.

Of course it's naive to think you can stop prostitution, like I said in the beginning of this blog, it's the oldest job in the world. What's weird though, is the fact that even though it's the oldest job, it's last job in the world to get good and safe working conditions and to be recognized by countries as a legal job.
The feminists and Christian groups supporting this Nordic model, in fact anyone supporting the Nordic model, can be seen as a someone who promotes human trafficking, by pushing prostitutes into the underground, where criminals can easily take control because of the absence of police.
Christians and feminists will often try to scare people into voting for their Nordic prostitution model, using high numbers of forced prostitution, human trafficking and other false messages. They manipulate the debate around prostitution, stigmatizing prostitutes as victims, and as naive, dumb women who didn't choose for this job, but got forced into it, with only one reason, to slowly kill prostitution.
They don't really care about the safety of women working in prostitution, all they care about is destroying it, even if that means women will become victims of forced prostitution, if it helps their case. They are advocates of human trafficking, disguising themselves as the saviors of prostitutes, while with the other hand pushing them off the cliff.

Dutch version
7 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Anyone who wants to include prostitution policy in their EU vote:

    http://www.votewatch.eu/ is a site where one can check ALL votes per EU member sorted on date, The Honeyball vote was february 24 this year.

    As a left wing voter I had some concerns about the prostitution policy of the SP, GL is more liberal, but I don´t trust them concerning NATO adventures.

    Votewatch did convince me that Dennis de Jong (#1 SP) is a safe and responsible choice, as he voted AGAINST Honeyball!

    Rootman


  2. Anonymous Says:

    How dare you try to dictate what consenting adults can and can't do. Shame on you.


  3. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM
    That's exactly how I feel when people try to tell me what job I should do, like how the people from Sweden would dictate for me what job I should do, and what I can do with my own life.

    But here's my question to you: When did I ever tell people what they can or cannot do? In fact, my whole post is about the freedom for women to become prostitutes if they want to, and the freedom for men to visit them. So why should I be ashamed of myself again? For doing exactly the opposite of what you say I'm doing?


  4. Ivonn Says:

    Once I met a Swedish guy and he said sexworkers still work as it is quite difficult to catch a client and prove he paid for money.

    When I think about the Nordic model I always imagine this situation: I am a client and there is an obviously forced woman in the room. I'm thinking of reporting it to the police but then I get charged or even might go to jail. It is easy to say that no matter the consequence might be, the client has to do what is right and report it, but I'd wonder how many would actually do that. Or what if the situation is not that clear and he might just assume the sexworker is forced - then it's easier for the human mind to think that the sexworker is not forced and his perception was wrong - even if it wasn't. The result is one forced prostitue who won't be reported ever.

    Furthermore it is absolutely offending my human rights. Who are they to tell me if having sex for money is harmful? Isn't it me who should decide it?! As a feminist myself I find it a bit weird that some other feminists want to decide if something is good for me or not.

    Also I understand the concept of it as it is true that there are more female sexworkers than male and more male clients than females. I also can accept that this might be caused by the unequality between men and women. But it doesn't mean sexwork is bad. In fact, I think that if there is real equality, there will be more male sexworkers and female clients.


  5. Unknown Says:

    Swede here, and I was interested by your opinion on this topic. While I'm on the fence on being pro- or against prostitution (though probably an inclination towards the latter), there are some things I really wonder about.

    Is it really sensible to assume that just because you legalize something, you automatically remove criminality from that industry? After all, if there are unregistered prostitutes in Sweden, why can't there be unregistered prostitutes in Amsterdam, such as trafficking victims outside of the system?

    "Of course not! These pimps have just been given a wild card by those dumb politicians to do whatever they want to do, because nobody can find them anymore, because it's illegal!"

    How do you find a pimp in the Netherlands? Or was it so that they all evaporated with the legalization? Why would legalization necessarily and absolutely exclude the possibility of an dark side that is unregulated and uncontrolled?


  6. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Unknown December 30, 2015 at 6:11 AM
    You're absolutely right! There are prostitutes working outside of the registered system. And most victims that are found, come from there, as also research by the Dutch government states.

    This is also why I support more the idea of decriminalization, in stead of regulation like how they did in The Netherlands.

    How do you find a pimp in The Netherlands? I don't know. If I ever meet one, I'll ask him. I never claimed legalizing something was the perfect solution, or that it would vaporize trafficking. I think I've often enough wrote about 'the dark side' on this blog, so it's not like I'm trying to hide it or something.

    However, it's better to have the ability to work legal, and out of that 'dark side', rather than only having the option to work illegal and in the 'dark side'. Wouldn't you agree?


  7. @Felicia Anna
    Thanks for the reply. I don't agree with the notion that all prostitutes are victims; we're adults, and we all have some sort of skill or asset that we can use to sell. Whether it's sex or not doesn't really matter.

    But it also makes me wonder: If legalization is totally irrelevant to the criminal underworld as it will always be around, and the legal side is only there to serve the prostitutes who "want" to go into the business, then is it even worth pursuing at all? After all, the argument should be about whether or not the legislation is surrounding prostitution actually reduces trafficking or not. That's it, that's all that matters, in my opinion.

    With that in mind, is there no merit to the idea that legalizing prostitution increases the demand? Sure, it's the world's "oldest profession", true and it may never go away no matter how authorities may intervene, but by criminalizing it here in Sweden, we're saying that "you should never ever buy the services of a prostitute, because chances are they're a victim of trafficking." As a born swede, I would never buy prostitution due to the culture I've been raised in that tells me this (plus a bunch of other reasons, namely money, STDs and whatnot). As I've been taught this, the risk that I might buy the services of someone forced into the industry is lessened.

    Had I been born in Amsterdam and raised there, I might've thought differently. I might've purchased services from prostitutes regularly, thinking "as long as it's not from someone that's a victim of trafficking." But that also assumes that I'm a responsible consumer, and are consumers of prostitution really responsible enough to only buy services from legal agencies/brothels? I'd argue that maybe most of them would be responsible, sure, but there would always be those that are indifferent and don't care. So I'd argue that if we make the reality of purchasing sex okay through law, then we also make the culture in which the law is accepted to also encourage sex-purchase. What follows is an increase in demand, and potentially the demand of illicit sex work. Thus, we increase the demand and risk of more people being trafficked into the sex industry. And that's not considering the idea that some might be able to rig the legal system somehow and have an illicit business underneath some sort of front.

    The legislation surrounding prostitution probably has a very little effect on the issue of trafficking compared to other factors. But as I see it, if it helps even a little bit, it's worth it.

    You also speak as if there are always prostitutes who want to prostitute, regardless of legislation. It's a job like any other, is it not? If we banned all store clerks, then those working as store clerks would just try and find other jobs, wouldn't they? What if it was between keeping your job as a prostitute (with the assumed consequences on trafficking in mind), or working with something else that earns way less money in an environment like Sweden, what would you choose? Would it not be worth giving up the freedom to prostitute in favor of saving a few lives from the trafficking industry?

    On a final note, I'm not nearly as well informed on how prostitution works in the Netherlands, or the subject in general compared to yourself. It's an excellent blog that makes for an interesting read. I don't feel that strongly on the subject enough to never consider legalized prostitution: I'm just interested in having a discussion about this, and learning things.


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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.