‘I’ve answered phones in enough brothels to know the most common question is always, ‘What age is the youngest girl you have?’ writes Rachel Moran, a survivor of the sex trade and author of must-read memoir Paid For: My Journey through Prostitution.
In response to Amnesty International's decision to legitimise the profiteering from the sale of women in the sex industry, we refer back to our position statement, published below for ease of reference:
We will never work against the women involved in the sex industry. We use the term “women” here to include the smaller number of men who are involved other than as “managers.”
We will work to support women who are or have been involved in the sex industry. We condemn police brutality, state violence and criminal prosecution of women in the sex industry. We are supportive of decriminalisation of the sale of sex and criminalisation of the purchase of it, and of supported exit plans (the “Nordic model”).
We are critical of the sex industry. By this we do not mean that we disapprove of the women involved in it. We are critical of the hypercapitalist industry itself and the unequal position of worker and purchaser. In particular:
We will prioritise the voices of trafficked women. We reject the state position that women “claim” to be trafficked as this is based on structural racism (the assumption that undocumented migrants will say anything to gain the right to remain) and structural sexism (the belief that women “cry rape” at the drop of a hat.)
We will prioritise the voices of women who work or have worked in street prostitution, who are less likely to have the platform of their own website and social media accounts from which to be heard.
We will prioritise the voices of women who are or have been in poverty, women who are or have been drug and alcohol dependant, women who are or have been in prison and women who have been in care.
We do not believe that the purchase of sexual services is a human right.
We believe that the purchase of consent is problematic and contributes to a culture in which men believe that financial expenditure, such as buying dinner, entitles them to sex (rape culture). We do not hold women in the sex industry responsible for this but the industry attitudes.