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Common Myths

MYTH: Prostitution is regular ‘work’.

REALITY: Prostitution is violence against women. Giving a person money - or food, accommodation or drugs - on the condition that they perform sex acts is sexual exploitation and abuse.

MYTH: Criminalising paying for sex is pointless because it hasn’t ended demand for prostitution anywhere.

REALITY: Laws against murder and rape have not eradicated those crimes, yet we have laws against them. Laws have a normative effect and criminalising paying for sex is vital for deterring demand for prostitution, holding abusers to account, and enabling women exploited in the sex trade to access justice and support. 

Progressive prostitution legislation, also called the Nordic Model or the Equality Model, has been implemented in countries as diverse as Ireland and France and has been successful in reducing the number of people who purchase sex.

MYTH: Pimping websites make prostitution safer

REALITY: Pimping websites enable and incentivise sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. These commercial websites, which host adverts for prostitution, expand the scale of sexual exploitation, enabling anyone on the internet to anonymously access the phone numbers of women being advertised for prostitution. Pimping websites are routinely used by sex traffickers and there is no realistic way that the website operators can prevent this.

MYTH: Decriminalising the entire sex trade and recognising it as work would enhance women’s safety.

REALITY: Making brothels, pimping and paying for sex legal would state sanction sexual exploitation and abuse, incentivise sex trafficking, and place legal and financial burdens on women exploited through prostitution.

Download the briefing here 

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