Home   Blog Confronting the Commercial Sex Industry: Many Losses, a Few Bright Spots

Confronting the Commercial Sex Industry: Many Losses, a Few Bright Spots

Dr. Robert Brannon*

The NOMAS National Task Group on Sex-Trafficking, Pornography, & the Commercial Sex Industry attempts to monitor events in this wide range of issues. The National Task Group is Chaired by Dr. Robert Brannon, with the involvement of other NOMAS leaders including Moshe Rozdzial, Phyllis Frank, Chris O’Sullivan, Rose Garrity and others. It has regular exchanges with feminist leaders and activists across North America, and in Europe, Asia, and Australia.1

  1. New Nordic law on Prostitution in France

The best and most important event of the past year received little attention in the U.S.   France, a country that for a century or more has been associated with quite open prostitution, in early April passed a law in Parliament adopting the “Nordic model.” This legal approach, first developed in Sweden, eliminates all arrests of the women, girls, and boys who are being sold, being used in prostitution, and instead, recognizes them as victims, of what it called the “prostitutional system.” It offers victims assistance and support, including social services, housing, financial compensation, and residency permits for foreign victims of sex trafficking. .

Instead, the new law targets all the men who are buying sex, or “Johns”, with legal penalties and significant fines. The French law also mandated the creation of school programs to discuss sexual commodification and exploitation

A survivor of prostitution, Rosen Hicher, walked 800 kilometers across France to raise awareness of the many harms inflicted by prostitution. “Without buyers, the business of prostitution would not exist” she explained. There is clear evidence that the Nordic model has dramatically reduced the prevalence of prostitution in Sweden, and it is now being adopted in various forms across Scandinavia.

Will this remain a law in France, and will it be enforced? Time will tell, but in any case, this was a significant feminist victory.

  1. Media reaction to new French law; a surge in articles pro-legalization

Reactions to the news from France, in newspapers and digital media around the globe, was mixed-to-negative. It was widely called a “controversial law,” and critics were quoted with comments such as: “mis guided do-gooders, influenced by the Christian “rescue industry,” & “the state has no business interfering with whatever a woman wants to do with her own body”.   A group of “johns” was widely quoted, saying “hands-off my whores.” Major media attention was paid to a reported “protest” by a small group claiming to be prostitutes, holding signs like “Don’t liberate me,” Don’t touch our customers, “I’ll take care of myself !”, and “Sex work is work”.     (Such PR events are dubious; a social-science survey of 785 women being used in prostitution, in nine different countries, found that 89% would escape it immediately, if they could (Farley et.al., 2003 ).

At around the same time a rash of articles appeared, in major U.S. newspapers and magazines, advocating legalization of prostitution, with admiring profiles and interviews with “sex workers.” A splashy N.Y.Times Sunday magazine cover-story, titled “Should Prostitution be a Crime?” appeared in May.   It was a heavily biased, mis-leading, and poorly-researched article, promoting and glamorizing “empowered sex workers.” These were almost all white, educated, not controlled by pimps, and had other employment options. They mostly were being paid for dominatrix-fetish scenes with wealthy men. Near the end of the article it was revealed that, even in this small circle of the relatively privileged,” many were paying a grim price. One says that she “hated sex-work, but was doing it to buy heroin….” Others said: “I only care about my kids; this is for providing for them;“Mentally and physically, it’s a lot to carry;“If you don’t want to do this… you shouldn’t have to;”  They would “dissociate,” in order “to get through the time...”

Far from the fun, “empowering” life-style which the Times intimates, being used in prostitution is usually a life-destroying nightmare. The usual age of being forced or seduced into it is sickening: 14 or 15 years old.2 Sexual abuse at home (by fathers, step-fathers, brothers, etc.) was very often the cause of becoming a run-away on the streets, which led quickly to entrapment in prostitution. Murders are commonplace; In one year in New York City, two hundred prostituted women were reported murdered. Seventy five percent in one study had attempted suicide at least once.

Trendy New York Magazine, and several others, had similar articles promoting legalization. It would seem that the liberal, progressive media is currently committed to glamorizing prostitution.

  1. Amnesty International, on legalization of prostitution

Perhaps no recent event was more disheartening to feminists that the decision by the formerly-respected organization Amnesty International to endorse legalized prostitution. They were persuaded by the narrowly-focused “make life better for sex-workers” argument. There was a strong negative reaction by feminist groups world-wide, including NOMAS, and there are reports that their funding has since decreased significantly. There are several efforts underway to convince this misguided organization to reconsider its ill-advised step.

Fortunately, for the thousands of women and girls around the world who are trapped in prostitution, Amnesty International has no power to legalize anything, or to do anything more than issue pious statements. But their rejection of numerous feminist protests, and their misguided betrayal of the girls and women being used in prostitution, has been a sad landmark, in the struggle against commercial sexual exploitation.

  1. Increasing Adoption of the term“Sex Worker,” for those being used in Prostitution

Words, and language, can have potent psychological effects. The deceptive, misleading terms “sex worker,” when used to describe   –   not dancers or topless-waitresses   –   but women, girls, and even children being used in prostitution, has done remarkable harm. Its’ use, in this deceptive and misguided way has become commonplace, especially in “progressive” circles. It just sounds so much better, and nicer, than the ugly-sounding word “prostitute.”   Yes, it does sound better. That’s exactly what’s so mis-leading, and harmful about it. It’s a verbal and mental white-wash, which obscures some ugly truths. Using that misleading language it can affect one’s judgement and ethics adversely, as a recent report on children’s use in prostitution in Cambodia clearly shows.

There were a number of little rural villages in Cambodia, consisting largely of brothels, with many young girls from the villages being used in prostitution there for global sex-tourism (Hughes, Wall St. Journal, 2003). Girls as young as 10 or 11, occasionally girls as young as five, were being used for sex, by local men and by affluent men from the West.

Workers funded by a U.S. Agency arrived in these remote villages and began an AIDS-prevention project.   They wrote, and also very clearly thought , of these horribly-exploited little girls as “sex-workers.”   The project’s stated approach was that these children needed to be: “empowered in their work.” The goal was NOT to help the children escape sexual slavery, but to give them AIDS-prevention training. The techniques they taught included “assertiveness training” .   The children could show assertiveness by saying “Oh please wear a condom.”

It was no secret that these children were being held as captives. The researchers wrote:   “Brothel managers retain strict control… Each sex worker is considered to ‘belong’ to her brothel, with severe limitations on her mobility.” A stated goal nonetheless was: “to reduce competition and mistrust between sex-workers and their brothel owners.”

U.S. government money was lavished on these misguided, harmful, and cruel efforts.   The report becomes even more tragic, when we read that just $300 was the average “debt” supposedly owed – which could have bought each of these little girls their freedom. It is clear that these incredible misjudgments were influenced by a distorting psychological mind-set, by the insidious, nice-sounding term “sex work”, which psychologically facilitated seeing sexual abuse as… “work.” Being used in life-destroying prostitution is not “work”.

  1. Facts Vs. Hopes: Our Basic Failure to Slow the Growth Of Trafficking, Prostitution, Internet Pornography, etc.

A core reality that we must face is that almost all efforts to halt, or even to slow down, the world-growth of the commercial sex-industry have been failing. The long-term feminist effort to explain the many and varied harmful effects of misogynistic “pornography” has been, thus far, a dramatic failure. Most of the media now assumes that the issue was settled long ago, and that feminists were totally trounced.

Sex-trafficking today has a “bad public image,” but it is a major source of wealth for the sex-industry, and increases inexorably year by year. The only national U.S. law addressing it, the “TVPA,” has proven totally ineffective. It has a fatal provision: that the victim somehow “PROVE,” in court, under hostile cross-examination, that “force, fraud, or coercion” had been used to pull her into prostitution. One or more of these are truthfully almost always involved, but for a terrified, penniless, uneducated, abused and traumatized young woman, far from home, who may speak little English, this level of courtroom “proof” was a ludicrous requirement. The predictable result has been that very, very, very few prosecutions under the TVPA have taken place.   Articles have appeared in the press, saying that the low number of convictions must mean that the whole sex trafficking issue was imagined or exaggerated, by those crazy feminists.

Prostitution is “technically” illegal in almost all of the U.S., but almost totally ignored by police, except as a “public nuisance” issue. Then (only) the prostitutied women are rounded up, and briefly detained. Meanwhile, “whore-and-pimp” Halloween costumes for young children are being widely sold, and glamorized “happy-hooker” myths are a favorite theme of Hollywood, and of the mass media.

Our feminist struggle with the commercial sex industry continues, but we must confront the plain fact that as of today, it is not going especially well.

  1. The Feminist-crafted 2009 Nys Anti-trafficking Law…Seemingly Ignored

New York State now has, on paper, the most thoughtful, comprehensive state law against sex trafficking in the United States. Like the Nordic model, it views the victims as deserving help and assistance, not jail or deportation. Its definition of sex trafficking – a serious Class B felony – is based on profiting from prostitution while using any of.. a carefully-crafted list of all the deceitful, fear-inducing, illegal and manipulative tactics that are actually used by pimps and traffickers, to drag women and girls into prostitution. These include, but are not limited to, force, fraud, or coercion. Thus “pimping,” the ancient symbol of predatory male dominance, is now being seriously targeted, for the first time in modern U.S. history. It is in effect, a powerful anti-pimping law.

The law was a victory for the NYS Anti-Trafficking Coalition, a broad alliance of feminist lawyers, Equality Now staff, NOW leaders, grass-roots activists, and media allies that came together to win its passage.

Sadly, this excellent law seems to be virtually unknown to police, to the press, and the general public. Stories about pimps in N.Y. appear with regularity in the N.Y. Post, with never a mention of the Anti-Trafficking law, which makes their actions a serious Class B felony. Even when the state’s former Governor Elliot Spitzer was discovered to be buying women, from a pimp’s open web-site, the law was never invoked or mentioned. (He also combined this with inter-state transporting, thus violating the Mann Act, the only federal law concerning prostitution. He was not charged with that either.)

There have been a few convictions under the 2007 Anti-Trafficking Law, but relatively few. There have been difficulties in getting victims to testify in court, for many reasons. On the positive side, Prosecutors in several parts of the state are increasingly beginning to invoke the 2009 law. But police still often fail to make arrests and report cases, and some social service agencies still do not recognize and report instances of pimped sex trafficking.   Feminist activists in New York, such as Dorchen Leidholdt, Jane Manning, Jessica Neuwirth, and Sonia Ossario, and Taina Bien-Aime are working to make this law more understood and enforced.

  1. Some fears concerning the Clinton administration’s sex-industry policies

Politicians – and their speech-writers – can often produce stirring, eloquent, inspirational speeches. Our historic next President, Hillary Clinton, has made some very fine statements about sex trafficking. (e.g. “Partnering Against Human Trafficking” in 2009, and more recently, “An End to Human Trafficking.”) But what will actually happen in the next four years remains to be seen.

No President has ever had a more powerful and consistent critique of sex trafficking and prostitution than George W. Bush. Bush was no doubt playing to his conservative, middle-America, red-state base, but he made one outstanding decision as well. He chose Congressman John Miller to head a new office addressing sex trafficking. Miller soon became the most effective international voice against sex-trafficking the world had yet seen, a hero to many feminists. He spoke around the world against the “new slavery.” When choosing who to do a government-funded study of prostitution in Nevada, Miller selected feminist scholar Dr. Melissa Farley, the world’s leading authority on this complex subject. Dr. Farley was a keynote speaker at our Anaheim M&M.

But Miller encountered entrenched opposition within the U.S. government in the Department of Justice. It was that bureaucracy of male lawyers who insisted, always, on the near-impossible burden of solid proof in court of “force, fraud, or coercion,” or, no convictions. They also announced a policy of only prosecuting the prostitution of children, not of adult women. Miller later described in the NY Times how the Justice Department seemed to be working to make it harder to prosecute pimps (N.Y.Times, 2008). He described an apparent alliance of: “the department’s lawyers, most of them male, the Erotic Service Providers Union, and the ACLU.”

Thus, a network of male government lawyers, in apparent sympathy with the sex industry, seems to remain in actual charge of real concrete “policy” on trafficking, no matter which party holds the White House, or what the current President is saying.

Barack Obama made an excellent statement:   “… there are thousands who are trapped in various forms of enslavement here in our country, oftentimes young women who are caught up in prostitution. So we’ve got to give prosecutors the tools to crack down on these human trafficking networks. It is a debasement of our common humanity…”   But when Obama became President, he did nothing on this issue

Former President Bill Clinton was not helpful to feminist efforts to stop sex trafficking. His appointees were largely unresponsive to feminist pleas. The only national anti-trafficking law, the TVPA, was rendered ineffective (by requiring proof in court of force, fraud, or coercion), at the insistence of Clinton’s appointees. A defense, for not opposing prostitution that was offered by our State Department was: “to not alienate countries that allow it, such as The Netherlands, and Turkey.” (Washington Post, 2000).

Hillary Clinton will of course be a new and entirely different President. But a concern of some feminists is that her “circle of advisors” may be much the same. And, Hillary’s own decisions (and I do not mean e-mails) have sometimes raised concerns. When running for the Senate, her campaign finance director was a man who owned the infamous strip club in Chicago that first introduced nude female lap-dancing.   She has also endorsed plans to combat only “forced” prostitution, allowing what (was purported to be) “voluntary” and “willing”… (this despite a letter of fierce protest from Gloria Steinem, Ellie Smeal, Robin Morgan, Patricia Ireland, and other feminist leaders).

And so, we shall see. Our fingers should all be crossed. But there are reasons for hopeful optimism.

Diana Russell once courageously self-published a book, which no publisher would accept, showing some of the most terrible woman-hating pornography. Dr. Russell was able to get this incendiary book to Al Gore, who gave it to Bill Clinton. A letter soon followed, saying: Dr. Russell, I am grateful for the commitment of individuals like you who educate others about violence and pornography, and the measures necessary for its eradication. Hillary joins me in sending best wishes. Sincerely, Bill Clinton

And Hillary herself gave this response, to the question “Should prostitution Be legal?” “I do not approve of legalized prostitution, or any kind of prostitution. It is something that I personally believe is demeaning to women. I would obviously speak out against prostitution and try to persuade women that it is not… a good way to try to make a living.” (Reno Gazette-Journal, Apr. 29, 2007)

  1. Mis-use of well-intentioned laws: “Sexting” as child pornography ?!

Feminist scholars and activists were leaders in the adoption of current strong laws against child pornography. Diana Russell, Niki Craft and many others contributed greatly to this effort. But in the past few years, we have seen an astonishing mis-use of these laws, by some prosecutors. When the laws against taking, owning, or distributing any sexual image of a child, it was presumed that only perverted old men would be doing such a thing. Legislators did not envision a time when every young teen would carry a smartphone, with a good camera, that could take and email a photograph within seconds; a time when youngsters could impulsively send “naughty snapshots of themselves to one another.

It is ironic that sending such photo, now called “sexting,” is perfectly legal for you or me, for any adult, and there is evidence that many young, and not-so-young adults, are now doing this. . One current pop-musical combo sings, on stage in clubs: “Send me… a dirty picture! …Snap!” (Did you know that) one branch of the AARP has recommended “sexting” to senior citizens, as a way to form or fuel relationships?

But it is teen agers who have adopted the trend most readily. In some high schools, it is said that 20% to 50% of students have been involved in sending or receiving. And when a 14-year old girl sends a naughty photo of herself to a boyfriend, she can be seen (by a moron, at least) as “distributing child pornography”, and him as “possessing child pornography.”

This is not an abstract matter. There are teen-agers in prison today for this ridiculous alleged crime. By 2009, seven years ago, teens in 11 states had been legally charged with sending or possessing child pornography. Some were led in handcuffs from their high school, imprisoned, sentenced to months of community service. Some were told they would now be registered for life as sex offenders.

All of these facts have now been well-documented in a recent book, Sexting Panic (Adele Hasinoff, 2015, ISBN 978-0-252-06062-3). It gives history, charts, data, and all the facts about “sexting.”

  1. Mis-use of well-intentioned laws: gay-male web-site owners as pimps ?!

Even in traditional state laws, “profiting from the prostitution of others,” or pimping, is a more serious crime, with theoretically higher penalties, than for buying sex, or being sold for sex. And yet in practice, pimps are routinely ignored. In one typical year in NY state, there were 14,197 arrests for prostitution: 93% were of the women who were being sold, 5% were of Johns, and (less than) 2% were of all ‟pimps,” even broadly defined to include all guards, drivers, madams, owners, investors, and others who had profited (Barry, 1995).   Pimps often appear on late-night TV talks-shows. Books by pimps such as “Iceberg Slim” (Pimp: The Story of my life, 2011) become big-sellers. Pimps are often visible loitering on some streets in N.Y. city, and in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. One pimp went to court and demanded that his “contract” with one of his “girls” be enforced, and was surprised to be informed that his “profession” was illegal. (He was not arrested, nonetheless; NY Post report).

So it was remarkable when in August 2015, federal authorities burst into the Union Square office of the gay-escort website Rentboy.com, and arrested the chief executive and several employees on charges of promoting and profiting from prostitution, or for pimping. Each now faces up to five years in prison. For many gay activists, this raid had shades of the bathhouse raids, and gay-bar roundups, from decades ago.

On this gay web site, adult gay men who wish to be paid for “companionship” pay a fee to advertise, and other adult gay men can then contact them. No transactions by minors are permitted, and the enterprise is run by and for only the adult gay male community.

When pimp-controlled prostitution of women and girls is openly advertised on “CraigsList,” widely visible in the city, and widely ignored by police, a raid such as this, on consenting adult gay males is a patent selective misuse of law, in what can only be seen as a homophobic excess.

  1. Failures Right and Left, to see the complexity of “pornography’s” effects In the news recently was the headline that Republicans had adopted an amendment to their platform which said:

   “Pornography, with his harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions. We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace, and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well-being.” The woman who had introduced it stated that pornography: “seems to be for young people, and they do not have the discernment, and become addicted before they have the maturity to understand the consequences.”

The mainstream liberal media was quick to label this “harsh,” and, far-right-wing.

The irony, for feminists, is that much of what the Republicans are saying is TRUE, and, that it corresponds significantly with what feminists have been pointing out. We too see that there are some major public-health issues which surround this topic. The growing clinical problem of pornography “addiction” is one, sex-education effects on young teens is another, laboratory-proven links (of some forms) to male sexual aggression yet another, and there are many more.

A few months earlier, the state of Utah had passed a similar measure, which aimed to: “raise awareness and understanding about the addictive nature of pornography, and the harmful effects it has on individuals, families and society generally.” It said this includes: “objectification of, and violence against women, the ‘hyper-sexualization’ of teens and children… and often serves as a stand-in for young people’s sex education.”

NOMAS was asked to consider endorsing the Utah statement. Sadly, we could not, even while seeing the validity of much of it. These crude, broad-brush kinds of pronouncements harbor many misconceptions. They over-generalize, and over-simplify. They lump all sexually-focused materials, including all “adult entertainment,” together under the broad and ultimately undefinable term “pornography”, with some homophobia and native moralism mixed in.

We cannot be a part of that. Nor can we in conscience join with the many writers on the Left, who see any critical analysis of pornography’s social effects as “censorship” and “trampling the 1st Amendment. Both sides seem mired in simplistic, one-dimensional rhetoric, when pragmatic solutions to real human problems are needed.

Having looked now at a number of rather negative and unfortunate developments, let us turn to a few that potentially more positive.

  1. Awareness of harmful effects such as “pornography addiction” is growing

In the 1950’s, when “pornography” was still hard-to-find, hidden away under the counter, very few men seemed to have an uncontrollable-need to see it. The appearance of the Internet, which makes an infinite amount of vivid, explicit sex acts always available to see, on every computer, tablet, and cellphone screen –   at home, at work, at school, at any time, within seconds – has totally changed that.

Clinician are now seeing a large and growing number of men who are almost unable to resist compulsive viewing of pornography on the web. This includes both straight and gay men .This has become a growing clinical field, with a large literature, titles including: “Men Who Are Not in Control of Their Sexual Behavior,” “Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior,” “Sexual Addiction and Online Pornography,” and “Sex, Porn, and Obsession in the Internet Age.”

It was reported that a Supervisor at the Securities Exchange Commission, whose job it was to oversee Wall Street, was instead watching pornography all day, making over 1,800 hits in one 17-day period. Two dozen other (male) economists at the SEC were also found to be watching pornography while at work (NY Post, 2/3/2010).

Some sex-therapists who once thought it useful to provide explicit pornography to their clients, are now working full-time on problems of pornography-addiction (Maltz & Maltz, The Porn Trap, 2010).

The NOMAS National Council recently received an article by a young man reporting a different harmful effect: impotence, sexual dysfunction, and inability to be aroused by a real woman, after years of constant watching.

The evidence for these, and a number of other harmful effects, on women, on children, and on men, is gradually growing in volume, and scientific credibility.

  1. A British law distinguished (though poorly) among different types of “pornography”

One little-noticed “regulation” crafted in Britain took a small step, in an intelligent direction: recognizing that not everything considered “pornography” is the same, and, that different kinds of materials may have very different effects, on men, and on women.

All too often, people speak glibly of the effects of “pornography,” without recognizing that many very different kinds of portrayals are called “pornography.” Different kinds of such materials have been found to have very, very different effects. We have argued elsewhere (Brannon & Poran, 1996) that two rather different harmful elements may be seen in many sexually explicit portrayals: Sexual objectification, also seen almost everywhere in our popular culture, and the far more harmful (to some men, and to their female victims) element of Erotomysogyny, in which sexually-arousing (to many men) images, are combined with some form of harm to a woman.

Laboratory research (Malamuth et.al. 1980, 1981, 1984,1986) has further shown the especially harmful effects (on some men) of one particular plot-scenario, the “No!…No!… Oh.. .Yes! Yes!! scenario, in which a woman first strongly resists, and then loves what is being done to her.

Such effects of arousing-&-abusive sex materials are not unlike certain drugs, which have very harmful effects on some, but not on all people. Society quite reasonably regulates the availability of particular drugs which can be dangerous, if misused, to prevent at-risk people from ingesting them. We may, at some point, recognize that certain sexually-explicit scenarios are in some ways analogous to such drugs, and need to be treated by society with greater-than-usual caution.

Consenting adults, just as now, would be free to DO whatever they wished, in private; but commercial films which are sexually arousing might not be entirely free to feature certain patterns of behavior, like the “No!…No!… Oh.. .Yes! Yes!! scenario, which are scientifically known to have harmful effects, on some male viewers.

Feminist social scientists would like to design intelligent social mechanisms using scientific research findings, to protect the public from predictable harms, while still allowing freedom of expression, and of choice. The British “regulation” did not achieve that goal. It did describe certain “content that is not acceptable”, thus barring those acts from being depicted by British pornography-producers.

Some of these were reasonably-arguable:   Humiliation, Penetration by any object “associated with violence”, Strangulation, Physical restraint, Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), & Role-playing as non-adults (i.e. sexualizing children). Some others were more dubious, including some unusual but likely-harmless sexual acts. (“Urolagnia (“water sports”), Female ejaculation, Aggressive-Whipping, Spanking, Face-sitting, Caning, & Fisting” (don’t ask).

Media press accounts of the British effort were highly predictable: “Censorship!! Suppression of artistic expression! Imposing of moralistic, prudish, old-fashioned values! Restricting alternate-sexualities! Disallowing women’s sexual choices!,” etc. But this early effort at distinguishing the harmful, from the harmless, was an intelligent step in a positive direction.

  1. An Important New Journal: Dignity

Donna Hughes is Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island, and a long-time leader in the feminist confrontation of sex trafficking. She discovered, as have we and others, that it is very difficult to get papers accepted for publication that are critical of the sex industry, even those reporting solid new empirical research. As a result, Dr. Hughes has recently launched a new on-line journal, called Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence. It will be an open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal, and will accept quality materials that are critical of prostitution, pornography, trafficking, and the sex industry, among other issues. In addition to researcher and scholars, it will be an arena for practitioners, advocates and service providers. A full description of the Journal Dignity, and of how to submit manuscripts, may be found at http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/

14. Links with other active Feminist Anti-Prostitution organizations

In the past year NOMAS has interacted with two other feminist organizations concerned with ending prostitution. Demand Abolition is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is led by Suanee Hunt, a Professor at Harvard, and former Ambassador, who is deeply committed to this cause. Demand Abolition has a working staff, and recently issued an RFP offering grants, to projects designed to decrease demand for paid sex. They write: We’re spearheading a national movement to support demand-reduction initiatives, and understand the importance of cultivating a national coalition of male allies to eliminate this systematic abuse. We hope to meet with Demand Abolition in the near future.

We recently met Peter Qualliotone, who was a Presenter at NOMAS M&M 21, in Portland, Oregon in 1996.   He is now Director of Men’s Accountability at Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) in Seattle. The OPS web site states:

  Prostitution is a Men’s Issue   Like Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, prostitution is a form of gender based violence and is driven by men’s feelings of entitlement to the bodies of women, children and sometimes other men.

   Men’s Entitlement First and foremost, prostitution is an issue of men’s entitlement. Unfortunately, men’s entitlement is largely invisible to men until they are made aware of it. Men are socialized to believe that they are entitled to more privilege and power than women. There is little in our society that challenges this core belief.

   Men’s Accountability The cure for entitlement is accountability. Rather than believing that a man can force sex or buy sex or have power over an intimate partner or otherwise benefit from Rape Culture, a man who is accountable recognizes that he has privilege and power, simply by being a man in male supremacy.

We look forward to future collaboration with both of these groups.

*Presentation to NOMAS M&M Conference, July 28, 2016, Nyack, N.Y.

1 NOMAS has a clearly abolitionist position, as detailed at www.Nomas.org, NOMAS Positions on Prostitution by Moshe Rozdzial and the NOMAS National Council. Most of the facts and studies cited here are referenced in a useful 11-page resource, NOMAS Policy Position on Issues of Prostitution, available at www.Nomas.org.

2 The facts and studies cited here are referenced in detail in the document NOMAS Policy Position on Issues of Prostitution, available at www.Nomas.org.



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