It’s the fourth anniversary of implementing the Nordic Model for prostitution in Northern Ireland & will soon be the second anniversary for the Nordic Model in the rest of Ireland. With the intention of lowering demand, the Nordic Model criminalizes the purchase of sex but not the prostitute. Those retrograde, near imbecilic political forces campaigning for the complete decriminalization of prostitution are out in force with articles about how the Nordic Model has failed in Northern Ireland. Mountains & decades of research would demolish all their claims to a pile of steaming horse manure.
What these apologists for the oppression of women do not see is that the same political forces who lobbied against the Nordic Model–the pimps, traffickers, & call girls who thrive from turning women & children into commodities–are the exact same people that media sources are citing to prove the Nordic Model is a failure. One source they cite for statistics is Ugly Mugs, an internet site run by one of the biggest pimps in Ireland & the other is a prostitute named Kate McGrew who speaks for a group of prostitutes which may not include any actual members. You cannot tell the difference in the campaign to prevent the Nordic Model from the recent spate of articles proclaiming its failure. But if you’re trying to document your prejudices, that kind of research is good enough.
There are problems with the Nordic Model & not just in Ireland but Norway & elsewhere. That problem is that the police do not enforce the law by arresting those trying to buy sex, including from trafficked children. There have been no prosecutions of any kind in all of Ireland for pimps, traffickers, brothel owners, or johns. Using sophistry, the proponents of a complete free-for-all in prostitution try to distinguish between trafficking & paid sex between ‘consenting adults’. But pimping is on a continuum with trafficking. Declassed women & certainly children are not free agents when most of them are trafficked, addled with drug addiction, or coping in a self-destructive way with child sexual assault which is true for a majority of prostitutes.
The argument that prostitution is just a job ignores the homicide, rape, & violence rate involved in prostitution. It ignores the commodification of women & children, the reduction of their humanity to the equivalent of soybeans or pork bellies. Meanwhile the trafficking of women & children continues to grow exponentially in every country & fundamental to trafficking is pedophilia, racism, hatred for & violence against women. Those who call it sex work to sanitize its image claim it is patronizing & sex-negative to consider prostitution a scourge on humanity, a debasement of womanhood. Do they seriously want to argue that furtive sex with strangers in an alleyway or at a truck stop is sex positive? Would the middle-class proponents of decriminalizing prostitution want such a degrading, dangerous occupation for their own daughters? Prostitution is not the oldest profession but it is certainly one of the oldest oppressions despite being glorified in art & film.
(Photo is the real faces of prostitution from women arrested in New Haven, CT 2016)