Category Archives: Media Releases

23/03/17 – White Ribbon Must Oppose Commodification of Women

Today’s White Ribbon Launch of Professor Bob Pease and Dr Ann Carrington’s paper – Men as Allies in preventing Violence Against Women: Principles and Practices for Promoting Accountability (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/white-ribbon-research-launch-tickets-32579163154) will open the opportunity for White Ribbon to oppose all forms of violence to women including the commodification and objectification of women’s bodies in the sex industry including pornography.

Simone Watson, National Director of Nordic Model Australia Coalition said, “until now, White Ribbon Australia has not engaged with survivors of the sex-trade many of whom have suffered appalling violence by sex-buyers and pimps.”

” The commodification and objectification of women is the root cause of male violence to women.”

” White Ribbon need to honestly engage with all issues which are at the core of the epidemic of male violence to women.”

“It is time for White Ribbon Australia to Be Bold for Change and stand alongside their international partners such as White Ribbon in Ireland and the UK who have joined the growing international movement against the global sex-trade and in support Nordic Model laws on prostitution.”

08/03/17 – IWD 2017 forum asks Men to Be Bold for Change

Nordic Model Australia Coalition this year is hosting an International Women’s Day Public Forum on Wednesday 8th March at Parliament House in Hobart from 1-3pm – Men’s Violence to Women – A Broader Conversation.

While International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate women’s achievements it is also a time to reflect on the continuing gap in equality between women and men and how women and especially men need to Be Bold for Change and work to end men’s violence to women.

This year the United Nations IWD theme is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. Some key targets of the UN’s 2030 Agenda are:
· End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
· Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
· Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Within the women’s human rights community nowhere has the debate on women’s socio-economic inequality and lack of work choices been more contested than with the issue of prostitution and the violence to women inherent in the global sex trade.

Speaker at the forum Bob Pease Professor of Social Work at the University of Tasmania said
“it is men’s demand for paid sex that drives the market and if we are to understand the demand, we must interrogate the men who fuel the demand.”

“If we ignore the demand side of prostitution, we cannot address the responsibility men have for perpetuating the problem.”

Professor Pease will explore how men’s views about women in prostitution can be understood in terms of men’s sense of sexual entitlement, which in turn is related to their conception of masculinity and manhood.

NorMAC National Director Simone Watson said “There are practical things men can do to stop prostitution and sex trafficking and on this IWD 2017 we are especially calling on men to step up and Be Bold for Change.”

13/11/16 – Labor to open the door for violence to women by johns, pimps and traffickers

NorMAC was not expecting that the ALP would vote down Young Labor’s motion at the state conference given the lack of information about alternative human rights based approaches to prostitution being discussed either at ALP Branch level or circulated before the debate at the State Conference. The lack of proper consultation with stakeholders that has underpinned this decision is a hallmark of undemocratic processes with all political parties.

“The majority of ALP members in Tasmania do not support full decriminalisation of brothels and understand this will lead to an increase in illegal brothels, trafficking, organised crime and harms to children and women as has been the hallmark of other decriminalised jurisdictions such as New South Wales and New Zealand, ” said NorMAC Director Simone Watson.

“The ALP has ignored the international evidence and excluded being informed by all stakeholders, other than the Scarlet Alliance, especially about the success of Nordic model laws and their emerging global reach.”

Elliott Bell from the Newstead Branch of the ALP opposed the motion and said: “Decriminalisation over time normalises and increases demand for sex work,” he said. “It’s irrefutable that this industry is an industry of exploitation.”

NorMAC are will be giving presentations at ALP branch meetings in the near future and expect a very different motion to go before the ALP State Conference in 2017 before the next State Election.

“The ALP will wear the consequences of ignoring the voices of Survivors with this retrograde decision at the next election, in the interim they will be seen as the party willing to legitimise pimps and profiteers as industrious business owners with a complete blindside of international evidence showing that the sex trade is inherently harmful and causes disability to the majority of women who enter it.” said Simone Watson

For further information contact: Simone Watson (Director of NorMAC and Sex Trade Survivor) – 0477 448 164

12/11/16 – Global call on ALP to reject sex policy

Sex trade lobbyists in Victoria are giving a presentation at this weekend’s ALP State Conference and will be pushing for full decriminalisation of the sex trade in Victoria as part of a national campaign.

Meanwhile in Tasmania, Survivors, International and National Women’s Human Rights groups and individuals have sent a letter to Tasmanian ALP members calling on them to reject Young Labor’s policy on decriminalisation of the sex trade being debated at the ALP state conference in Queenstown this weekend.

Signatories to the letter opposed any further deregulation of the sex industry. “Contrary to Young Labor’s claims, introduction of legislation allowing brothels in other jurisdictions has resulted in increased violence, degradation and coercion to those in the sex trade, making it more difficult to gain legal justice. This has occurred in Victoria, New South Wales and in New Zealand” NorMAC National Director and Survivor Simone Watson said

“What we know from Survivors and international research is that when third parties can profit from women being bought for sex, violence to women, organised crime and sex trafficking increases. Knowing the truth about the violence to women when being bought for sex – we reject outright the notion that this can be termed ‘sex work’. International developments and research on the global sex trade tells us that it is impossible to achieve what Young Labor are asking for as normal ‘sex worker’ rights. But Young Labor appear intent on ignoring this evidence and meanwhile many rank and file Labor members are in the dark about the success of Nordic model laws.” Said Ms Watson.

The letter states; Having a caste of women set aside for the sexual service of males has a wider impact on men’s attitudes to all women at all levels of society. This was echoed recently when Australian barrister, and human rights and refugee advocate, Julian Burnside AO QC stated; “Prostitution affects all women because it affects the way men regard women”.’

Research by Professor Malamuth from the University of California and Los Angeles, profiled men who buy sex and found a correlation between sexual purchase and other forms of sexual violence. Professor Malamuth, said – ‘Our findings indicate that men who buy sex share certain key characteristics with men who are at risk for committing sexual aggression. Both groups tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification. Those who buy sex, on average, have less empathy for women in prostitution and view them as intrinsically different from other women’.

In November 2013 a petition with 2,910 signatures of formerly prostituted people and their advocates was presented to the NZ Parliament’s Justice and Electoral Committee calling for introduction of Nordic model laws as decriminalisation had failed to protect ‘sex workers’.

By 2014 media reports noted that violence and abuse of women in prostitution had remained a common occurrence in Christchurch despite decriminalisation a decade earlier.

In 2015 reports from New Zealand have also claimed major problems in the area of child prostitution with a lack of prosecutions and a number of claims of police sexually exploiting children in prostitution.

There are no decriminalised jurisdictions where there has been effective oversight of the sex industry.

The experience of decriminalising the sex trade has been one of proliferating both the legal and illegal sex industry which has led to increased criminal activity, trafficking and violence against women.

In contrast to the policy being put forward by the Young Labor branch, we would encourage the Australian Labor Party across Australia to follow its many sister political parties internationally which have introduced or are pursuing legislation based on the Nordic Model.

“We are giving a wake-up call to the ALP across Australia that the doctrine of ‘decriminalisation’ does not work for the sex trade and they need to adopt policies on women that are evidence based not policies contrived for them by ‘sex worker’ front groups,” said Simone Watson.

07/04/16 – France Votes in Nordic Model Laws on Prostitution

MEDIA RELEASE

NorMAC is delighted about yesterday’s historic vote in the French Parliament for adoption of Nordic model laws on prostitution

‘After years of citizenship initiatives and civil actions, French law makers took a critical step to establish gender equality in France by adopting The Nordic Model. On April 6th 2016, the French National Assembly recognized prostitution as one of the worst forms of violence against women and voted the criminalization of the purchase of sex. This vote in favor of criminalization is the fourth and the final draft submitted between 2013 and 2016 (overthrowing three rejections by the Senate), reinforcing the country will to fight sexual exploitation of women in prostitution. Under this law, prostituted women, children and men will not be criminalized. They will receive social support and benefits to exit prostitution while men buying sex will be fined and liable to prosecution.

By adopting this law, France complied with its international and national commitments, including the national law on rape (1981) and the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949). French law defines rape as “any act of penetration imposed on someone by violence, surprise or coercion” and the French National Assembly acknowledges that buying access to a human body via a financial transaction is inherently an act of coercion.

Further, the French National Assembly recognized that prostitution harms all women (in prostitution or not) by undermining their emotional and physical wellbeing, security, health, and fundamental rights as human beings, harming society as a whole. More than a quick-fix to prostitution, the law is ambitious to offer a way-out to women trapped into sexual exploitation and the possibility to prosecute the offenders.

More specifically, when it comes to sexual violence against women, the French National Assembly recognized the tremendous level of violence in prostitution, including assault, rape, physical and psychological torture. The French National Assembly also recognized that the existence of prostitution encourages the transnational trafficking of women and children. This has been demonstrated in countries such as Germany, Spain and New Zealand which tried full regularization of prostitution and yet witnessed sex trafficking surge, with underage and disenfranchised women imported by the thousands to meet the ever increasing demand of sex buyers.

Indeed, while admitting the failure of regularization at an international scale, the Assembly recognized the need to urgently address the demand-side in prostitution. It has been established that sex buyers are responsible for the ever-increasing number of women and children brought into prostitution, as well as the worst form of violence perpetrated against them. Their forums, where they evaluate their preys as goods, details explicitly the hatred, domination and violence they impose on women.

By this historical decision, French law makers confirmed that they heard the voices of hundreds of survivors, as well as women still trapped in the sex industry. They acknowledged that most women in prostitution were groomed while still underage, and that all attempts of legalization led to even more exploitation while failing to offer them any form of safety. Indeed, it is impossible, let alone human, to regularize and streamline pedocriminality, slavery, torture and murder. All countries must take all the steps in their power in order to fight such human rights abuses.

It is with pride and the greatest enthousiasm that we, French feminists and abolitionists, welcome the new legislation, as an effective tool to achieve gender equality. To us, it is more than a step in the right direction: it’s the beginning of a new world.’

“NorMAC is very encouraged by the vote in the French Parliament and will continue with renewed vigour our campaign for introduction of Nordic model laws on prostitution in Australia” said NorMAC National Director Simone Watson.

12/08/2015 – Amnesty International votes for policy calling for decriminalisation of prostitution

MEDIA RELEASE

Amnesty International’s recently released Draft Policy on Sex Work, to be considered at the organisation’s 32nd International Council Meeting (ICM) in Dublin on 7-11 August this year, is a ‘human rights travesty’, said NorMAC director Simone Watson.

‘The language of the draft document is all style and no substance’, said Ms Watson.

The policy document acknowledges that ‘systemic factors and personal circumstances related to poverty, discrimination and gender inequality can have a bearing on some individuals’ decisions to do sex work’, but insists that ‘sex workers’ have ‘agency’ and ‘choice’ when entering ‘sex work’.

‘Apart from the fact that most, not ‘some’ people (mostly women) enter prostitution because they have no other option, Amnesty’s glib recognition of their ‘agency’ is patronising in the extreme’, said Ms Watson.

‘They’re saying to the thousands of women forced into prostitution by these circumstances that even though they are poor, and suffering discrimination, at least they have agency’.

‘Shouldn’t Amnesty be focusing more on ensuring women have a real choice – that they have real agency – by addressing the underlying poverty, discrimination and lack of education that lead women into prostitution?’.

The draft policy also fails to canvass alternative legislative options for ‘sex work’, particularly the Nordic Model – a model that decriminalises ‘sex workers’ but criminalises those that purchase, or procure the purchase of sexual services – the johns, pimps and brothel owners.

‘This model is obliquely referred to in the draft policy document as “overbroad criminalisation of the operational aspects of sex work”, and “indirect criminalisation” of ‘sex workers’. Laws that criminalise the buying of sex are dismissed as compromising the safety of ‘sex workers’, without any evidence or proper analysis’, said Ms Watson.

‘The entire document lacks academic rigour’, she said.

Amnesty’s supposed research into prostitution in four disparate jurisdictions appears to consist of nothing more than anecdotal evidence, with only 80 or so prostitutes interviewed in total.

‘That’s hardly a representative sample’, said Ms Watson. ‘And were any survivors of prostitution interviewed?’.

NorMAC also notes the document’s mention of the ‘impunity’ offered to perpetrators of assaults against ‘sex workers’ by legislative regimes that criminalise some or all aspects of ‘sex work’, including Nordic model laws.

‘Despite this apparent concern about perpetrators of such assaults being unpunished, the draft policy completely fails to consider any legislative measures that would work to make such offenders (mostly men) routinely accountable’, said Ms Watson.

‘The draft policy also perpetuates several other simplistic notions about prostitution – for example, that consensual ‘sex work’ can be readily distinguished from ‘sex work’ undertaken by trafficked ‘sex workers’, with the latter being something that must definitely be criminalised. And that exploiting a child in prostitution must also be a criminal offence.

Amnesty considers a ‘child’ to be a person under 18, but the policy fails to address a very obvious question – how can a person in prostitution change from someone who must be protected from exploitation to the fullest extent of the law, to someone who has total autonomy to engage in such work simply by the passing of one day?’.

The Draft Policy on Sex Work is nothing more than a series of ‘motherhood’ statements about the human rights of ‘sex workers’, and how the world’s sovereign states should work towards promoting those rights by affording ‘sex workers’ the same workplace rights and remedies as any other worker.

But nothing in the policy truly addresses the reality of prostitution – it naively assumes that decriminalisation of ‘sex work’ will succeed in reducing the many harms of prostitution, including the violence and degradation suffered by prostitutes on a daily basis worldwide, and that ‘sex work’ will henceforth be entirely legitimate. And it makes these assumptions contrary to available evidence in jurisdictions adopting the decriminalised model.

We can only hope the 450 Amnesty delegates attending the ICM next month will call for better evidence and a broader consideration of alternatives before voting on this policy.

‘With its abject failure to address the demand side of the ‘sex work’ contract, one wonders just exactly who will benefit from this policy’, said Ms Watson.

‘And who is driving this push to promote prostitution as a job just like any other, given that around 60 per cent of Amnesty International sections did not submit a response to the original draft decriminalisation policy position on ‘sex work’?’.

‘Does the broader membership support this policy?’.

‘We need to ask why the International Board of Amnesty is continuing to aggressively pursue the adoption of a pro-sex work policy position’.

– See more at: Amnesty International votes for policy calling for decriminalisation of prostitution

13/07/15 – Amnesty International the sex trades new best friend

MEDIA RELEASE

Amnesty International’s recently released Draft Policy on Sex Work, to be considered at the organisation’s 32nd International Council Meeting (ICM) in Dublin on 7-11 August this year, is a ‘human rights travesty’, said NorMAC director Simone Watson.

‘The language of the draft document is all style and no substance’, said Ms Watson.

The policy document acknowledges that ‘systemic factors and personal circumstances related to poverty, discrimination and gender inequality can have a bearing on some individuals’ decisions to do sex work’, but insists that ‘sex workers’ have ‘agency’ and ‘choice’ when entering ‘sex work’.

‘Apart from the fact that most, not ‘some’ people (mostly women) enter prostitution because they have no other option, Amnesty’s glib recognition of their ‘agency’ is patronising in the extreme’, said Ms Watson.

‘They’re saying to the thousands of women forced into prostitution by these circumstances that even though they are poor, and suffering discrimination, at least they have agency’.

‘Shouldn’t Amnesty be focusing more on ensuring women have a real choice – that they have real agency – by addressing the underlying poverty, discrimination and lack of education that lead women into prostitution?’.

The draft policy also fails to canvass alternative legislative options for ‘sex work’, particularly the Nordic Model – a model that decriminalises ‘sex workers’ but criminalises those that purchase, or procure the purchase of sexual services – the johns, pimps and brothel owners.

‘This model is obliquely referred to in the draft policy document as “overbroad criminalisation of the operational aspects of sex work”, and “indirect criminalisation” of ‘sex workers’. Laws that criminalise the buying of sex are dismissed as compromising the safety of ‘sex workers’, without any evidence or proper analysis’, said Ms Watson.

‘The entire document lacks academic rigour’, she said.

Amnesty’s supposed research into prostitution in four disparate jurisdictions appears to consist of nothing more than anecdotal evidence, with only 80 or so prostitutes interviewed in total.

‘That’s hardly a representative sample’, said Ms Watson. ‘And were any survivors of prostitution interviewed?’.

NorMAC also notes the document’s mention of the ‘impunity’ offered to perpetrators of assaults against ‘sex workers’ by legislative regimes that criminalise some or all aspects of ‘sex work’, including Nordic model laws.

‘Despite this apparent concern about perpetrators of such assaults being unpunished, the draft policy completely fails to consider any legislative measures that would work to make such offenders (mostly men) routinely accountable’, said Ms Watson.

‘The draft policy also perpetuates several other simplistic notions about prostitution – for example, that consensual ‘sex work’ can be readily distinguished from ‘sex work’ undertaken by trafficked ‘sex workers’, with the latter being something that must definitely be criminalised. And that exploiting a child in prostitution must also be a criminal offence.

Amnesty considers a ‘child’ to be a person under 18, but the policy fails to address a very obvious question – how can a person in prostitution change from someone who must be protected from exploitation to the fullest extent of the law, to someone who has total autonomy to engage in such work simply by the passing of one day?’.

The Draft Policy on Sex Work is nothing more than a series of ‘motherhood’ statements about the human rights of ‘sex workers’, and how the world’s sovereign states should work towards promoting those rights by affording ‘sex workers’ the same workplace rights and remedies as any other worker.

But nothing in the policy truly addresses the reality of prostitution – it naively assumes that decriminalisation of ‘sex work’ will succeed in reducing the many harms of prostitution, including the violence and degradation suffered by prostitutes on a daily basis worldwide, and that ‘sex work’ will henceforth be entirely legitimate. And it makes these assumptions contrary to available evidence in jurisdictions adopting the decriminalised model.

We can only hope the 450 Amnesty delegates attending the ICM next month will call for better evidence and a broader consideration of alternatives before voting on this policy.

‘With its abject failure to address the demand side of the ‘sex work’ contract, one wonders just exactly who will benefit from this policy’, said Ms Watson.

‘And who is driving this push to promote prostitution as a job just like any other, given that around 60 per cent of Amnesty International sections did not submit a response to the original draft decriminalisation policy position on ‘sex work’?’.

‘Does the broader membership support this policy?’.

‘We need to ask why the International Board of Amnesty is continuing to aggressively pursue the adoption of a pro-sex work policy position’.

– See more at: Amnesty International the sex trades new best friend

07/07/15 – Amnesty International condemned over fast tracking of sex laws policy

MEDIA RELEASE

Human Rights and Womens groups along with Survivors have been outraged over the continued attempt by Amnesty International to rail road through their policy on prostitution after being exposed for failing to properly consult with their international membership base and stakeholders.

The proposed Amnesty International International Council policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work released at the Amnesty International Australia AGM held in Sydney last weekend, has been roundly condemned by human rights, womens’ and Survivor groups and Amnesty members all over the world.

The policy will be decided on by the International Board at a meeting in Dublin in August.

This is an appalling abuse of due process by the Amnesty International Council and for an organisation that has become increasingly top down in its consultation processes with members. The International Secretariat previously admitted after receiving responses in 2013 to their Sex Work policy discussion paper that…

‘There is no question that the consultation process could have been handled much better.’ “

Of the 29 Sections which submitted consultation responses nearly all were from Europe and North America but few responses were received from sections in developing nations or those where indigenous populations have proved to be at high risk of human rights abuses in the sex trade.

With just under 60% of Amnesty International Sections not submitting any response on the Sex Work Policy and only 4 Sections giving support to the policy, it is appalling that Amnesty persists with their policy direction.

Of the 40% of sections who submitted written feedback to the policy, all supported decriminalisation of sex workers.

28% of sections that responded said they needed more research to be conducted by Amnesty to inform their views. And further, 38% of respondents had called for an extension to the consultation process. Others found the consultation process to be flawed.

During the previous 2013 consultation period on the Amnesty Sex Work Policy, some Amnesty Sections notified the International Secretariat that the policy was deficient in its ‘rationale and evidence base’ .

The International Secretariat also realised that the Sex Work Policy may have detrimental impacts on the organisation:
‘Amnesty International must consider the risks incurred by adopting a policy on sex work, including with regard to the organization’s credibility, funding, membership, and partner relationships.’

NORMAC understands that many Amnesty members have been devastated that this entire process has been fast tracked and that a more impartial approach to the various human rights approaches was not taken by Amnesty, as has been done by many jurisdictions recently when researching the broader human right implications of prostitution and its conflation with gender inequality, child abuse and sex trafficking globally

– See more at: Amnesty International condemned over fast tracking of sex laws policy

03/05/15 – Tom Meagher launches anti-prostitution campaign in Ireland

MEDIA RELEASE

NorMAC (Nordic Model Australia Coalition) welcomes the involvement of Tom Meagher in the launch this week of the Irish campaign, Prostitution: We Don’t Buy It.

Following the rape and murder of his wife, Jill Meagher, in Melbourne in September 2012, Mr Meagher has emerged as a tireless campaigner against all forms of violence endured by women.

‘Mr Meagher’s activism on this issue is a positive way of honoring his wife’s memory’, said NorMAC spokesperson, Matthew Holloway.

‘His thoughtful contributions to the discourse on male violence against women are an example to all men’, he said.

Speaking at the campaign launch, Mr Meagher condemned the attitude that tempts men into using prostitutes by promoting prostitution as a mutually consensual arrangement. He said the notion that prostitution is about sexual freedom or liberation is a lie that needs to stop.

‘If you pay for sex, your money’s not buying consent, it’s paying for the temporary suspension of her desire not to consent’, said Mr Meagher.

‘NorMAC will shortly be launching the Prostitution: We Don’t Buy It campaign in Australia’, said Mr Holloway.

Mr Meagher is leading by example for caring, respectful men. Many men don’t buy prostitutes, but they need to speak up against normalisation of the exploitation inherent in prostitution and the myth of choice perpetuated by the sex industry lobby.

Links:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/husband-of-jill-meagher-cried-for-hours-when-he-learned-of-karens-death-31164692.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-18/meagher-the-danger-of-the-monster-myth/5399108

http://www.womenlobby.org/spip.php?article7195&lang=fr

– See more at: Tom Meagher launches anti-prostitution campaign in Ireland

– Listen to Matthew Holloway’s radio interview on the issue: Alternative prostitution laws take aim male clients

29/04/15 – Wicked Campers out in the cold says Lonely Planet

MEDIA RELEASE

NorMAC (Nordic Model Australia Coalition) welcomes the decision by the world’s largest travel guide company, Lonely Planet, to remove Wicked Campers from the next edition of Lonely Planet Australia.

Sydney mother Paula Orbea began a campaign against the often sexist and offensive slogans on Wicked Campers’ vans in July last year after her 11-year old daughter was confronted with the message – ‘Inside every princess is a little slut who wants to try it just once’ – on a Wicked camper van.

Her campaign attracted significant support and Wicked Campers promised to remove the offending material.

The company’s failure to honour that promise was the catalyst for Lonely Planet’s recent action.

‘We want to thank Paula for her initiative and persistence’, said NorMAC director, Simone Watson. ‘Wicked Campers’ cavalier attitude toward the offence caused by their misogynist artwork deserves an appropriate response, and NorMAC congratulates Lonely Planet on their stance’.

Ms Orbea isn’t finished with Wicked Campers. She is now lobbying for legislation that would penalise offenders like Wicked Campers for breaching advertising standards.

‘NorMAC fully supports Ms Orbea’, said Ms Watson.

SIGN PETITION – Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery