Feminism in London welcomes the implementation of the Nordic model in France.
Feminism in London welcomes the adoption of the Nordic model in France and sees it as an important step towards tackling violence against women and girls.
The Nordic model of dealing with prostitution, pioneered in Sweden, involves the decriminalisation of anyone selling sex, the criminalisation of anyone buying sex or profiting from it and the provision of supported exit plans.
The Nordic Model is in place in Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and it is the only model proven to simultaneously reduce prostitution and trafficking while also offering viable exit plans to help women out of the sex trade. The impact on societal norms is vitally important: in Sweden, attitudes towards prostitution changed dramatically; it is no longer considered socially acceptable to buy or trade women and girls.
The spread of the Nordic model across Europe is a result of tireless work being done by activists, feminists, abolitionist and in particular, survivors of the sex trade. We hope the move made by France this month will influence policy in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
Feminism in London favours the Nordic model because we regard prostitution as a form of violence against women and girls. This is a view shared by the UK Crown Prosecution Service and the majority of specialist women's rights charities.
Research consistently shows that about 50% of women and girls in prostitution have been raped (many repeatedly), about 70% have been otherwise assaulted, approximately 90% want to exit and the average age to enter the trade is 13-15 years old. Where decriminalisation or legalisation of the sex trade takes place, trafficking rises and more women are coerced into prostitution to meet the demand. These facts must not be ignored when developing policy.
Legalised prostitution zones do not improve safety. Feminism in London is extremely concerned about the implementation of the Leeds "red light zone," in which a 21-year old woman was murdered in December and in which two rapes have been reported. We are also appalled by proposals for such zones to be replicated in London and elsewhere in the UK.
Feminism in London urges the UK government, local councils and police and crime commissioners to take a stand against this abusive trade and adopt the Nordic model across the UK.