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Buying sex should be banned in Australia

Imagine a scenario where prostitution is not restricted or sanctioned but buying sex is banned. Could such an approach work in Australia? It already has elsewhere, and the evidence suggests it’s worth…

There is still almost no serious discussion of the “Nordic Model” for prostitution in Australia. Cedpics

Imagine a scenario where prostitution is not restricted or sanctioned but buying sex is banned. Could such an approach work in Australia? It already has elsewhere, and the evidence suggests it’s worth considering.

This week, French MPs will vote on a raft of measures to curb the sex industry.

Last week, the French lower house passed a motion to prohibit the purchase of sexual services and, in the next few days, further measures to decriminalise people in prostitution and set up government funded exit programs to assist those wishing to leave prostitution will be introduced.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s Women’s Rights Minister, has proudly championed the proposed legislation, declaring that France is “not a country that welcomes prostitution".

Statements such as these are more often associated with conservative and religious movements in popular consciousness, but these laws confound such stereotyping. The proposed legislation is based on policy developed by the Socialist government as part of a wider brief to promote gender equality and reduce violence against women.

These actions make France the latest European nation to move towards the Nordic Model of prostitution policy: a system of partial decriminalisation where those in prostitution are not restricted or sanctioned, but buying sex is banned.

The Nordic Model was devised in Sweden in the 1990s and is now in place in Norway and Iceland. A variation is in operation in Finland as well as England and Wales, while Scotland, Ireland and Israel have all developed proposed legislation based on the Nordic Model in the past 18 months.

The limits of legalisation

One reason the Nordic Model is gaining traction internationally is that traditional criminalisation – where both the buying and selling of sexual services is illegal, and licensing regimes, where governments legalise and regulate certain forms of the sex industry – is increasingly becoming recognised as ineffective and even counter-productive.

The Netherlands and Germany, two nations with (in)famous systems of legalised prostitution, are experiencing heated public debate about the limits of this approach.

rcsmith09

Dutch authorities have essentially conceded that legalisation has been a failure while Germany has found its sex industry unmanageable, with more than 400,000 people in prostitution, “servicing” approximately one million men a day.

It was probably no surprise to authorities in either country when economists in Germany and Britain determined earlier this year that legalising prostitution leads to increased human trafficking inflows.

In contrast, Sweden’s prohibition on the purchase of sexual services has been remarkably successful. According to a variety of NGOs and government agencies, street prostitution virtually disappeared in major cities after the introduction of the ban, and trafficking networks quickly came to view Sweden as a bad market that wasn’t worth the trouble.

More than a decade on, fewer men report buying sex and the total number of people in prostitution is said to have halved, while fears about the law simply pushing prostitution “underground” have not materialised.

Australia ignores the Nordic Model

The Nordic Model may be becoming de rigueur among progressive governments elsewhere in the world, yet there is still almost no serious discussion of this approach in Australia. Existing legislation on prostitution has recently been reconsidered in Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), yet most MPs steadfastly refuse to consider the Nordic Model as a real alternative to existing arrangements.

Indeed, many lawmakers in Australia have continued to overlook evidence of the harms of prostitution while they ignore, dismiss or misrepresent the Nordic Model. In Tasmania, the state’s Attorney General incorrectly claimed in an official paper that sex work is criminalised in Sweden when, in fact, the opposite is the case and sex work is decriminalised; only the buying of sex is illegal.

Further problems of partiality have occurred in the ACT. In 2012, Liberal MP Vicki Dunne, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, took the unusual measure of attaching her dissenting views to the final Inquiry into the Prostitution Act report.

Dunne wrote that she felt the need to do so after other members of the Committee had “played down" the human rights problems associated with the sex industry.

Andrea Marutti

In Queensland, which also has a legalised system of prostitution, the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA) released a discussion paper in 2010, which attempts to discredit the Nordic Model.

Rather than relying on evidence, the paper promotes legalisation while simply disparaging prominent women who have openly supported the Nordic Model in Australia and overseas. (One woman shouldn’t be trusted, we’re told, because she cried when Nordic Model laws were passed in the Norwegian parliament.)

That the PLA chose to release such an attack, disguised as a discussion paper, is particularly interesting given that the Authority has provided only one such publicly available paper in the past ten years.

Debates about prostitution policy in Australia seem to have reached an impasse. As a result, the patchwork of decriminalisation, criminalisation and legalisation across different states and territories remains inconsistent and ineffective.

Experiments with legalisation and decriminalisation have unfortunately been exposed as resounding failures while traditional criminalisation has also been rightly criticised as an out-dated approach that wrongly punishes people in prostitution.

Fortunately, we need not choose between the extremes of legalisation and criminalisation.

The Nordic Model offers a new way forward for more comprehensive, cohesive and compassionate prostitution policy in Australia. It’s got all the benefits of Scandinavian design – but now with added French flair.

Join the conversation

85 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Perry Gretton
    Perry Gretton is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer

    I'm missing something here. Selling sex should be legal but not buying it? What kind of a trading model is that?

    Personally, though I've never paid for sex, I see no problems in others doing so. Sex is a generally harmless commodity. If trafficking is an issue, then tackle it through adequate law enforcement.

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  2. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    Isn't this a clever way of banning prostitution?

    Apart from any social/moral questions, this just swaps the penalty from seller to buyer...or am I seeing this wrongly?
    And won't all this action drive it back underground - again.

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  3. Matty Silver
    Matty Silver is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Sex Therapist / Sex Commentator at Self Em

    Dear Meagan,

    Please show us the very old research (10 years) that proves that
    Dutch authorities have essentially conceded that legalisation has been a failure.

    Where is the proof that Germany has found its sex industry unmanageable, with more than 400,000 people in prostitution, “servicing” approximately one million men a day.

    Where do you want those men to be "serviced" (your words) when prostitution is illegal?

    As for Sweden, that's the country where Julian Assange is accused of rape buy not using a condom!

    Making Prostitution illegal is madness - and it certainly won't stop trafficking - as that seems to be your biggest concern.

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    1. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Matty Silver

      The author asks us to "Imagine a scenario where prostitution is not restricted or sanctioned but buying sex is banned. Could such an approach work in Australia?"
      No, because people want to exchange sex and money.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Given that prostitution IS sex for money, this seems like a ridiculous proposition.

      Sex without money is........SEX.

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  4. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Darren G

      logged in via email @yahoo.com

      In reply to Michael Shand

      you must have a short attention span. It means its legal to sell it but legal to sell it. Which means the prostitute wont be prosecuted but the customer will. Which means prostitutes wont hide but the demand should fall. Which makes sense as a clever approach since with less demand there will be less people doing it.

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    2. Darren G

      logged in via email @yahoo.com

      In reply to Darren G

      oops - illegal to buy it...

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    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Darren G

      "It means its legal to sell it but legal to sell it."

      You must have a short attention span

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    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Darren G

      You see I already came to that conclusiong

      "Is it like - it's okay to sell weed but it's illegal to smoke it?

      ie. the opposite of what it is now"

      I don't agree that it makes sense at all, I don't have a problem with prostitution - nor do I have a problem with drugs nor do I have a problem with gay people getting married

      do you know why? because it's none of my god damn business

      you seem pretty keen to stick your nose into other peoples private business though

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    5. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Darren G

      Which is clearly a bad thing, because people to want exchange money and sex. Millions and millions. So clearly the "approach" is daft.

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  5. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    All attempts to ban the world's oldest profession have ultimately failed because there will always be a market, and a market requires both buyers and sellers.

    I'm with Matty silver. Please show us the latest figures.

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  6. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    We should also make selling drugs legal, but keep it illegal to buy them.

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  7. john tons

    retired redundant

    The Nordic idea is clever way to change behaviour; it is reminiscent of Attaturk's strategy to ban the burka - he simply issued a decree that all prostitutes had to wear a burka. Nothing will be 100% effective but you change peole's behaviour by changing the conditions.

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  8. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    "......Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s Women’s Rights Minister, has proudly championed the proposed legislation, declaring that France is “not a country that welcomes prostitution"....."

    Hahahahahahahaha! She's a comedian, right? France doesn't welcome prostitution?

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  9. Jarrod Chestney-Law

    logged in via Facebook

    If trafficking is an issue, put more resources into fixing that. If there are issues surrounding prostitution, fix those rather than this silly measure. People will always visit prostitutes as long as there is someone with a sex drive. Further, what business is it of the governments what two consenting adults do that causes no harm? Again (because I fear the point will be lost), if there are issues such as trafficking, address those. The act of sex under a legal transaction does not fundamentally…

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    1. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Jarrod Chestney-Law

      "If trafficking is an issue" the author would do well do conduct some research into the raving success of criminalisation, and the War on Drugs.

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  10. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    The Nordic model turns the tables and shifts focus from both the workers in the so-called sex industry and the notion that prostitution is a 'natural' and 'normal' operation in any society, to the act of buying sex.

    So with that focus can males explain away their need? Why do males want to buy sex? Why do they do in secretly? Why do they not develop relationships instead: relationships that do not tie them to any one person for a lifetime of sexual boredom?

    It's a terrific model. As long as males rationalise prostitution, it will be impossible to deal with the negative effects.

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    1. Perry Gretton
      Perry Gretton is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      It's not just males, Jena; but that aside, there are men who for any number of reasons are unable to acquire a 'normal' sexual relationship. Buying sex is the only opportunity they have. However, the sex act isn't always requested. In effect, what is bought is the sex worker's undivided attention for a period of time.

      Or were you advocating sexual services as a free, state-provided service?

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    2. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Perry Gretton

      No Perry I was advocating for the development of relationships and perhaps a more compassionate less regimented society.

      Most of all I would like males to assess their sexuality and to perhaps cease to describe their urges as necessary and uncontrollable i.e., natural and normal.

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    3. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Perry Gretton

      I don't intend to do anything about the way males construct their sexuality as normal. I urge males to do that work themselves.

      In other words, and in the long term, I don't really see that prostitution/sex work is necessary or desirable. As mentioned I like the Nordic model because it shifts focus to the people who buy sex.

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    4. Michael Gormly

      Editor at Superkern Design Pty Ltd

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena isn't your prescription for men's sexuality a bit like men deciding whether women can have abortions? Sex is the driving force of racial survival - it's pretty hard to ignore. If you think celibacy is viable, just look at the Catholic Church.

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    5. Michael Gormly

      Editor at Superkern Design Pty Ltd

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena you ask: "Why do [men] not develop relationships instead: relationships that do not tie them to any one person for a lifetime of sexual boredom?"

      I think you'll find most would if they could. Have you any idea how hard it is for a man to do that? It's for the same reason the sex industry is dominated by men seeking women - a matter of supply and demand. I heard a single male swinger interviewed on RN recently. As he put it, a single guy is "the bottom of the feeding chain" and a single woman is the opposite.

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    6. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      "I urge males to do that work themselves. "

      Thank you, but I think we have, and here's where we are.

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    7. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      All you had to do was ask;

      So with that focus can males explain away their need?

      I don't feel we need to explain away anything and I think sexual desire is pretty much self explanatory, fit individuals of your sexual persuasion are attractive and we want to do something nice involving our genitals - I can go much further without violating community standards

      Why do males want to buy sex? Because it is easier than finding sex, it is the same reason masturbation is sometimes preferable to…

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    8. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      What the Nordic model is doing is denying women their right to earn their living.

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    9. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      "Why do males want to buy sex? Why do they do in secretly? Why do they not develop relationships instead: relationships that do not tie them to any one person for a lifetime of sexual boredom?"
      Jena, for somebody your age, I am speechless at some of the things you come out with about men? I'm being sincere here, do you associate with many men? Any at all?

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  11. Andy Cameron

    Care giver

    Megan, after all that, you still have not told us what anything Nordic has to do with Australia? On dozens of other threads, the Finland love-in is never-ending, and now you're adding Sweden. Yet, we have very, very rare contact, with the Nordic world; we have very different cultures, and aspirations. Oh, and bit of a boo-boo you might want to correct your statement:
    "Statements such as these are more often associated with conservative and religious movements in popular consciousness, but these…

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  12. Tracy Heiss

    logged in via Facebook

    Target the sex slave trade which is already illegal. For every woman or man who freely decides to exchange sex for money, that is their choice.

    I find it bizarre that I could be free to sell my own commodity, yet the government would remove my market by rendering the consumption of my product a crime.

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  13. Craig Miller

    Environmental Consultant

    Ok. So you are proposing a solution. But to what? You haven't specified what the problem is.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Craig Miller

      My view is that the negative effects of prostitution/sex work are a problem and that male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      ".....My view is that the negative effects of prostitution/sex work are a problem..."

      Well yeah - negative effects are always a problem. That's why they are called 'negative effects'.

      "....male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration...."

      Perhaps it isn't men who are the problem Jena - it's you. Maybe you should take a good hard look at your own attitudes to sex.

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    3. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I suspect my views on sexuality are broader, more liberal and much more compassionate than yours Mike. I don't condemn people to secret and sometimes dangerous interactions nor do I wish to see females or males engaged in an activity that merely perpetuates a tradition that favours the exploitation of one's sexual needs so that others can make money.

      Btw I do not believe it is the sex workers who make a lot of the profit - it is the owners of brothels, parlours and the pimps who have sidelines like dealing in heroin and other narcotics.

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    4. Perry Gretton
      Perry Gretton is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      You don't distinguish between legal, regulated brothels and those that aren't. The NSW legal brothel model, for example, has the owners letting rooms for a fixed fee rather than employing sex workers. This was discussed in an ABC radio program (Conversations with Richard Fydler) a few years ago as a way of getting round the 'living off the earnings, etc' illegality.

      It's illegal brothels and street prostitution that you have in mind when mentioning drug dealing.

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    5. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Perry Gretton

      Perry without going into too much detail I have known sex workers in both legal and illegal situations who take drugs simply to go on doing what they do. From whom do these workers buy their drugs and alcohol?

      And we are going off topic a little. The questions raised in the article are not being addressed.

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    6. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena, there are many, many well rounded, intelligent, non-exploited women engaged in the business of sex. .it is akin to the business of psychology or other intimacy related fields. It is the very secretive nature that causes the exploitation. If it were an accepted part of our landscape, exploitation would decrease, just has it has in other employment arenas.

      Why should any man or woman have to be in a relationship in order to experience the intimacy of sex? In a well regulated industry sex workers do indeed make a lot of their own profit. As for the problem of the underbelly of the industry, if anything that's more reason to normalize the industry, rather than keep trying to 'stop' it.

      A person I knew, who was in the industry and is now a professional in another field, told me her experiences with a severely disfigured client (burns victim form Vietnam war) were the most rewarding of all of her careers.

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    7. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      ".... I suspect my views on sexuality are broader, more liberal and much more compassionate than yours Mike...."

      It is a fairly typical characteristic of someone in the sociological field that they draw conclusions and make inferences without the slightest shred of evidence to back them up, based solely on their philosophical leanings.

      And given that you suggested that male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration, the evidence does not support your inferrence.

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    8. Michael Gormly

      Editor at Superkern Design Pty Ltd

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Thanks a lot, Jena. Male sexuality seems to be a problem for you. Maybe that's the problem. Let's reverse your proposition: What if a man published that on a site like this, saying "female sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration". He'd be run out of town.

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    9. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Didn't say that sexuality was a problem Mike and yes I do have evidence, but this forum is not the place for a thesis on the subject. If you want a really good account of the legal repercussions of viewing male sexuality (as constructed by males) in a case of alleged sexual harassment, go to Peggy Phelan's 'Mourning Sex' (1997) and read chapter 5, titled 'Bloody nose, loose noose: hearing Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas.' The chapter discusses how what is normal and reasonable for males has been imposed upon females. The consequences being that the standard tends to be male biased and ignores the experiences of females.

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    10. Michael Gormly

      Editor at Superkern Design Pty Ltd

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena, by making something illegal you condemn it to secrecy! Your stereotyping of exploited sex workers is also sexist, denying all those in the trade any responsibility for their own life decisions.

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    11. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Gormly

      I don't think a male would be run out of town for suggesting that female sexuality is a problem. In fact I think it's a terrific topic for discussion, especially as female sexuality is mostly defined by what males want in the first place.

      Why don't you write an article about it. It's not relevant to this topic though. The topic here is the Nordic model which makes buying sex a crime.

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    12. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      ".....Didn't say that sexuality was a problem Mike..."

      Yes you did Jena - you said this:

      "....male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration...."

      "....and yes I do have evidence,...."

      You have no idea what my views on sexuality are, so no you don't.

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    13. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Gormly

      I have known a great many sex workers. I will stand by my argument that the industry is exploitative. Go to any school and into a year 10 class. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

      If you get anyone to say "I want to be a sex worker" then I will be surprised. I will also assert that sex work is not the first choice of anyone with a number of alternative options. There is a relation here between the private and the socio-political that you seem to be ignoring.

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    14. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      This is a bit unclear Mike so I won't bother trying to decipher it.

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    15. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      Tracy the topic up for discussion is making it illegal to buy sex, NOT sex workers and their experiences.

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    16. Craig Miller

      Environmental Consultant

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Disclosure statement: I am not a prostitute, have never visited a prostitute, nor have benefited financially from the earnings of a prostitute.

      I would agree that the negative effects of prostitution/sex work are a problem and, given that it is legal in Australia, it probably should be covered under workplace health and safety legislation/procedures.

      I am going to be charitable and interpret your statement that "male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration" to mean that you view male sexuality as an interesting area for academic research, and that there might be benefits to male-female or male-male relationships from this understanding. Otherwise, as a small part of the 49%, I might feel worried that a re-education camp is in my future.

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    17. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Sex workers have nothing to do with the topic of making the sale of their commodity illegal? Oh...excuse me for thinking the two were related.

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    18. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      Yes Tracy they are related BUT the article is not about sex workers and the topic has shifted focus from the seller to the buyer.

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    19. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      You are not going to "Cure" male sexuality

      I would suggest you wouldn't be here but for the fact that your father had this so called "Male sexuality"

      to put it more bluntly, your parents are not going to tell you if you were conceived after too many joints one night at a party - they will tell you that a friend introduced you

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    20. Michael Gormly

      Editor at Superkern Design Pty Ltd

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena in Year 10 I had no idea I would end up driving taxis for a while, but I did. Your example is meaningless. Mind you, while driving them, I pondered the idea of exploitation. I was exploiting the passengers as money object, they me as a transport object. It's called a transaction. And yes, I agree with the commenter who complimented your graceful tone in this debate.

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    21. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Gormly

      And in year 10 I wanted to be an artist. I didn't want to be a sex worker or a waitress, dishwasher, toilet cleaner, housemaid, or factory worker.

      My question is not meaningless because I do not believe that any female would say they want to grow up and be a sex worker. My conversations with sex workers imply otherwise.

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    22. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      "My question is not meaningless because I do not believe that any female would say they want to grow up and be a sex worker. My conversations with sex workers imply otherwise."

      I suspect that a good part of the reason for that is because people go around wanting to ban it and make it seem shameful and the worst thing one could do in the world. That, and you know, people don't exactly offer it up at a primary school career expo. When was the last time you saw a "Little Suzy The Prostitute" next to a "Little Suzy the Doctor" book?

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  14. Forth Sadler

    logged in via Facebook

    Yet again, I see a total lack of any evidence that anyone has actually spoken with sex workers. Apparently their views aren't worth taking into account. Yes trafficking is a foul thing which needs to be addressed but sex work can't simply be conflated with trafficking. Sex workers are, in fact, capable adults just like everyone else. If we started listening to them rather than simply trying to "save" them we might achieve more.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Forth Sadler

      And if you ask loggers in rain forests and those who work on oil tankers to find other more productive work what sort of response would you get.

      People who are enmired in a particular profit making enterprise do not see the need for change because their sustainability and existence are threatened.

      There have been many books written by sex workers who rationalise and romanticise their work. It's not a matter of "saving" anybody. The model suggested above calls for a reconsideration of sexuality in general and a male's sexuality in particular.

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  15. Matty Silver
    Matty Silver is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Sex Therapist / Sex Commentator at Self Em

    I am always amazed that it’s so often females who seem to hate ”prostitution” or don’t seem to understand why it has been around for thousands of years.

    Most males who see a sex worker are married or have a partner. I really wished a sex worker would write a book one day about what sort of clients she “services”. Usually, just normal nice guys who for whatever reason sometimes see a sex worker.

    In my opinion, that’s a better idea than for example having an affair.

    Australia does not embrace “infidelity” that’s one reason of the secrecy around prostitution.

    Jena even suggests “males should develop relationships that do not tie them to just one person and a life of sexual boredom”.

    As for Jena’s latest post:

    My view is that the negative effects of prostitution/sex work are a problem and that male sexuality is a problem that needs serious consideration.

    No offence, but you don’t make sense at all and give feminists a bad name.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Matty Silver

      You are misconstruing my view for your own benefit Matte. And I am not offended because your views are inconsequential.

      i'm not making any money out of the sex industry Matte and therefore I can see it with critical distance.

      The model calls for a complete and serious reconsideration of all aspects of sexuality and the way sexuality is expressed. It's a broader topic than just your loss of income.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      She did indeed Stephen. In fact there are a lot of books written by ex-prostitutes.

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    3. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Matty Silver

      Excuse me but you did say that I hated prostitution. This is a lie. And to say that I don't understand why "it" has survived as an industry is an assumption.

      You also said that "you don’t make sense at all and give feminists a bad name."

      Matte what makes you immune to comment while dishing out the insults?

      As a sex therapist you make money? Is that not so? Then why do you complain when I suggest that your industry be given some serious re-consideration? Some sex workers also consider themselves to be therapists.

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  16. Mustafa Epstein

    Political Scientist

    Why stop at sex. We should jail global warming deniers as some academics have suggested, jail people who read Murdoch newspapers, jail anyone who watches Andrew Bolt. There are just so many ways the LEFT can interfere with our lives that they haven't touched yet.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Mustafa Epstein

      This is an absurd remark and does not warrant a comment.

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  17. Eva Cox

    Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL at University of Technology, Sydney

    there is a constant confusion between sex work and trafficking and other already illegal acts that exploit sex workers. there are many who choose to do sex work, others who may prefer other jobs, like many other workers. there are good jobs and crappy jobs, why pick on this area?

    Treating them as mindless victims who cannot make their own decisions is not an appropriate feminist stance. Banning customers will only mean sex workers will hide and therefore be more vulnerable to blackmail and violence. not sure how some forms of feminism became so anti sex workers.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Eva Cox

      "them" Eva? that is rather condescending! AND "appropriate feminist stance"? There is a contemporary notion that there is no appropriate feminist stance and that feminisms (plural) is a better description.

      I don't really think you can determine what will happen before it happens. The Nordic model deserves more consideration that you are prepared to give.

      Both the article and the arguments that I have put forward here are definitely not anti sex workers. If you have arrived at this conclusion you have not been paying attention.

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    2. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Perry Gretton

      Perry I am actually saying that the focus has been shifted from the seller to the buyer where it should be.

      Are you saying that sex workers (in Australia) are incapable of re-training and finding other employment?

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    3. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Perry Gretton

      Many others have had to re-train or re-educate when their company or their industry has gone bust. It's a fact of life. The question should be: Why shouldn't they?

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    4. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Eva I do not deny anyone's right and I have not assumed anything. Your comments, however, are based on a naiveté that I find extraordinary coming from someone in your position.

      I do not demean sex workers or "them" as you choose to name people, and the article is not about respect for sex workers it is about proposed changes to the industry and the focus of the industry. I have tried to keep comments on track as it is inappropriate to stray so far away from the topic.

      Having known a great many workers I am obliged to say that you seem to have no idea about that which you assume knowledge. How many sex workers do you know personally Eva and have you ever had a friendship with a sex worker?

      When the sex industry changes, sex workers will also need to change. This happens in all industries.

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    5. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      "The question should be: Why shouldn't they?"

      No, the question is, why should they? I'm still no more enlightened as of to the problems you're seeking to resolve. If they are so severe, it should be easy to outline (and I'm talking about problems prostitution causes directly, not other things such as trafficking that are already illegal and should be more heavily policed). You're suggesting shutting down an industry, denying legal access to intimacy to a good number of people who would otherwise not have access to it and for what? If there's a disabled guy whom women do not find attractive (or the opposite), is it just their lot in life to never have that level of human company?

      Unless you have a solution that would see these people able to still have human contact legally, I'm not sure how your solution is better.

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    6. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Seeing as you know so much about sex workers but raise questions about why men would enter a brothel (We have your comment earlier so do not deny it)

      Maybe it would be helpful if you spent a bit of time talking to the patrons, you know, to clear up all this confusion you have

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  18. Al Harris

    Media Officer

    I have to say that I'm in awe of Jena Zelezny's patience in dealing with the comments to this article; she has maintained great decorum and intellectual integrity in the face of some fairly rude and dismissive assumptions and misrepresentations from other commentators. I am personally not convinced about the benefit of the "Scandinavian model" but welcome discussion around this difficult subject, particularly discussion that maintains some respect for all participants - so often lacking in online debate! Jena's patient responses are a breath of fresh air! My sense of this initiative is that it reflects the fact that for so long it was only the "sellers" of sex who were criminalised while the "buyers" generally suffered no consequences.

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Al Harris

      Oh I agree Al - when Jena said that male sexuality was a problem that needs serious consideration, or that her views on sexuality were broader, more liberal and much more compassionate than mine I was also impressed by her intellectual integrity and great decorum.

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    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Al Harris

      The fact that an ignorant person is polite is not that much of a credit to them

      On all accounts George Bush was very friendly and hitler got along famously well with his body gaurd who praised him as kind and compassionate

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    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena the comments are right there for everyone to read, stop and think before dismissing someone else

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    4. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I wish people would read Michael. It'd save me from repeating myself.

      Why don't you read the article and make some suggestions?

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  19. Sarah Ettienne
    Sarah Ettienne is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Nutritionist

    What is it with 'sociology' studies department writers for the Conversation and anti porn/prostitution crusades? Out of touch with reality, and out of touch with women's rights. There are genuine issues with parts of the sex industry, but the loudest voices heeded by governments when it comes to tackling these are usually the least helpful.

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