Perspectives and information in support of Canada adopting the Nordic Model to address prostitution

Please look for the following articles posted in the dialogue area below:

M.PAULUS : Out of Control. On liberties and criminal developments in the redlight districts of the Federal Republic of Germany. Publié le 2014/05/06 par resources prostitution   
By Manfred Paulus, retired detective chief superintendent, Ulm/Danube, June 2013

Open letter calls for Nordic approach to prostitution in Canada
by Staff,, Apr 23, 2014

Prostitution laws should follow Nordic model, former sex trade worker says
Activist tells Calgary panel discussion Ottawa's new legislation should criminalize the users CBC News, Feb 28, 2014

Province urges feds to use Nordic model on sex trade Targets pimps, johns rather than workers by Mary Agnes Welch, Winnipeg Free Press, 02/15/2014

French go Nordic on prostitution: new report explains why Australia should be next
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia 2 Dec 2013

Feminist Current 10 myths about prostitution, trafficking and the Nordic model
by Meagan Tyler, Dec 8, 2013

Buying sex should be banned in Australia
by Meagan Tyler, The Conversation, 3 December 2013

The Swedish chapter of Amnesty rejects Amnesty International’s proposal to decriminalise the purchase of sex acts
At its annual meeting in Malmö this weekend, the Swedish section will adopt a clear position against legalizing the prostitution system.
by Erik Magnusson, May 8, 2014

Former President Jimmy Carter Condemns Amnesty International UK Document “Decriminalization of Sex Work” & AI Position that Pimps and Johns Should Be “Free from Government Interference”
by Robin Morgan, April 30, 2014

London’s Police Chief Promotes ‘Nordic Model’ Following Human Trafficking Pilot Project
London, Ontario, Canada / (CFPL AM) AM 980
by Natalie Lovie, April 17, 2014

Academics Voice Support for 'Nordic Model' of Prostitution Open Letter
IB TimesBy Hannah Osborne | IB Times – Feb 26, 2014

Uncovered: Shocking investigation reveals sex trade in girls bought in Romania and sold as prostitutes in Britain
Feb 22, 2014 By Matthew Drake

What is the 'Nordic Model'?

Amnesty branches oppose Amnesty International’s sex industry agenda
NORMAC Spokesperson Matthew Holloway May 10, 2014 Tasmania Times

Attacking the demand for child sex trafficking
by Siddharth Kara

REED postcard campaign to support the Nordic Model in Canada "Canada can do better"
April 23rd 2014

and many more ....

Open letter calls for Nordic approach to prostitution in Canada
by Staff,, Apr 23, 2014

Editor's note: The following open letter on the topic of prostitution in Canada has garnered over 800 signatures. It was written in response to another open letter that called for the decriminalization of sex work.

Open letter: 300 researchers call for decriminalization of sex work in Canada
Ottawa eyes Nordic model for prostitution legislation

Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Leader of the
Conservative Party of Canada,
Mr. Thomas Mulcair, MP, Leader of the Official Opposition, the New
Democratic Party of Canada,
Mr. Justin Trudeau, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,
Mr. Jean-François Fortin, MP, Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécois,
Ms. Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada

April 23, 2014

Dear Sirs and Madam,

We—the undersigned—are women who work in different capacities to end violence against women and to protect and advance women’s rights to equality. Prostitution is a practice in which women’s subordination to men is inherent and lived out repeatedly. Consequently, we are writing to you today to urge you to support the “Nordic approach” to legislation on prostitution for Canada, because it includes legislation, intensive social supports, and public education strategies, all designed to reduce and eliminate prostitution.

We are aware of the March 27 open letter from the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative at the University of British Columbia (GSHI), which calls for decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution, including buyers and profiteers, on the grounds that this is the only “evidence‑based” policy option.

The use of the term “evidence-based” has become a smear used by those supporting the sex industry to suggest that those who oppose it in the name of women’s equality are arguing from a position of nothing more than anecdote or opinion.  The list of signatories implies that only those with formal credentials can “research” or interpret evidence.  We reject both of these premises.  Evidence about the harms of prostitution is gathered by academic researchers, survivors of prostitution and those working on the front-line. That evidence proves that prostitution is violence against women.

This is not only a dispute about evidence; it is a dispute about goals and principles, and legislators will have to decide carefully which principles they wish to uphold, and which goals they wish to pursue, for women in Canada. The evidence in the same studies and government reports cited in the GHSI letter supports intensive efforts, worldwide, to reduce and eliminate prostitution. All reports and studies on prostitution confirm that, as the Ontario Court of Appeal said in Bedford, “prostitution is inherently dangerous in virtually any circumstance.”[1] Merely attempting to reduce the ancillary dangers of prostitution is an inadequate, and in our view, discriminatory strategy.

The signatories to the GHSI letter believe that prostitution, or ‘sex work’, is sex between consenting adults; that a bright line can be drawn between ‘sex work’ and trafficking and child prostitution; and that a harm reduction strategy is all that is necessary to moderate the worst effects of the commercial sex industry.  We believe that prostitution constitutes violence against women because it is a practice of subordination and exploitation that is gendered, raced, and classed; that, as the Supreme Court of Canada found in Bedford, most women cannot be said to choose prostitution,[2] and consequently, in the experience of women, any line between prostitution, trafficking and child prostitution is more artificial than real. Therefore, we believe that a strategy that affirms the human dignity of women and girls is essential and the only approach consistent with Canada’s principles of equality.

A Women’s Equality Framework

First of all, any new approach to prostitution must be set in a women’s equality framework and reflect the fact that equality for women is a fundamental principle of Canadian law, enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and set out in human rights legislation that governs employment and services in all jurisdictions in the country.  Prostitution is a social institution that both manifests and embeds the inequality between women and men, perpetuating women’s subordination to men, and their status as sexual commodities for men’s use. In Canada, as elsewhere, men are overwhelmingly buyers and women are the ones being sold. It is not sufficient in the face of these facts to take an approach that might merely reduce the harms that surround prostitution, when prostitution itself is a reinforcement of women’s subordination.

Further, the evidence is clear, including in affidavits filed by both the claimants and the defendants in the Bedford case, that women enter into prostitution because of economic need and profound social disadvantage. As it makes no sense to penalize women for their sexual, social, and economic inequality, we endorse the legislative approach of the Nordic model, that is, to decriminalize those—usually women— who are being bought and sold, but to apply criminal sanctions to buyers, pimps, and those who profit from the sale of women’s bodies. The criminal law by itself is not a solution to the inequality problem that prostitution represents, but it is essential, in our view, that the criminal law convey a clear message about women’s equality in Canada: in this case, the message that men’s purchase of sex is an egregious and impermissible violation of equality rights.

Who is in Prostitution?

Most women in prostitution in Canada are there because of poverty, homelessness, addictions, lack of social supports, racism, and the many harsh impacts of colonialism on Aboriginal communities and families. Aboriginal women and girls are disproportionately represented in street prostitution and among women in prostitution who have been murdered. In British Columbia, as the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution (AWCEP) has documented, Asian women are disproportionately represented in indoor prostitution, in venues such as massage parlours, where they are advertised to clients as ‘exotic.’ Many women enter prostitution as children; many have histories of child sexual abuse. Most say they would leave prostitution if they could.

These are well‑established facts. Prostitution is evidence of, and entrenches, sex, race, and class hierarchies. In the face of this, it is wholly inaccurate to call prostitution sex between consenting adults or to explain women’s presence in prostitution as choice, when the choice of women to be in prostitution, or to leave it, is so heavily constrained.  Prostitution for poor, racialized women in Canada cannot be called liberty.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has made a public call for help to stop the buying and pimping of Aboriginal women, and to stop the poverty and abuse that funnels them into prostitution. NWAC has said that its goal is to “end the prostitution of women and girls through legal and public policy measures that recognize the state’s obligations to 1) provide for basic needs and 2) protect women and girls from male violence.”

The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution (AWCEP) makes the same call. We support NWAC and AWCEP and join our voices to theirs.It is apparent from the facts about women in prostitution that concerted and comprehensive social program intervention is required to prevent women and girls from entering prostitution and to assist them to leave it.  Well‑designed interventions by Canada’s governments, with long‑term commitments to address the social and economic disadvantage of women and girls, and particularly of Aboriginal and other racialized women and girls, will be needed, not just piecemeal short‑term exit services, drop‑in centers, or safe houses. Creating conditions that minimize the risk of women entering prostitution, and genuinely helping them to leave it, requires providing women and girls with adequate alternative sources of income, including social assistance sufficient to meet basic needs, adequate housing, access to all levels of education, decent work, child care, and counseling, addiction, and mental health services.

On this point too we find the Nordic model helpful, because it is clear that criminal law, by itself, is not a sufficient solution to the profound inequality that prostitution represents. Genuine programmatic and budgetary commitments by governments are also necessary to address the deeply rooted social and economic disadvantages of women and the history of sexism, racism, and colonialism that underlie prostitution.  

Why Canada Should Not Legalize Buying, Pimping and Profiting

Legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution has been tried in the Netherlands, Germany, the state of Nevada, some states in Australia, and New Zealand. Such an approach means that governments and societies accept that there is an underclass of women (defined by some combination of poverty, race and addiction) who can continue to be exploited in prostitution, even though prostitution is inherently an institution of sex inequality and violence. We do not agree that prostitution is acceptable for any women, or that the goal of equality between women and men can be abandoned for some women.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) flatly rejects the prospect of indoor prostitution in legalized brothels as an advance for Aboriginal women and girls. They point out that Aboriginal women and girls who are in street prostitution are unlikely to move indoors because poverty and racism keep them in the most dangerous forms of prostitution. Even if this were not the case, NWAC finds that, over time, Aboriginal women and girls have been shifted from institution to institution by settler governments—residential schools, group homes, prisons. The brothel appears to be the most recent institution that is considered better and safer for Aboriginal women. But this is not equality for Aboriginal women and girls. As AWCEP knows from the experience of its members, indoor prostitution is no answer; it merely puts hard walls around the inequality of poor and racialized women, and leaves it unchanged.

Further, legalization and decriminalization, as an approach, renders the men who are buyers, pimps, and prostitution entrepreneurs invisible; their activities become protected, legal, and normalized. 

We believe that this is a wrong approach: men must be held accountable when they subordinate and exploit women. Equality for women cannot be achieved in Canada if we are unwilling to engage with the cruel reality that men exploit women in prostitution. Even within the limited goal that legalization sets for itself – i.e., to reduce the harms that surround prostitution – the evidence does not show that it has succeeded.  The most recent comprehensive study of prostitution and trafficking in one hundred and fifty countries finds that countries that have legalized prostitution show an increased inflow of trafficked persons, and growth in the size of the prostitution industry.[3] Government reports from Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand say that street prostitution persists,[4] and that there is little improvement in the conditions of women in prostitution.[5] The violence inherent in prostitution is accepted by legalization, and the violence regularly associated with prostitution does not disappear.

In addition, what is legalized and normalized is not just individual prostitution transactions, but the prostitution industry. It not only becomes legal for individual men to purchase access to women’s bodies, but also legal to own and run a business that sells access to women’s bodies, or for employers in isolated work locations to provide men access to women for sex as an aspect of employment. For Canada to take this step would be both dangerous and discriminatory.

Where Should Canada Stand?

Canada has a history of commitment to women’s equality, to racial equality, and to vigorous social programs as a means of creating a more egalitarian society in which the basic needs of all Canadians are met. In addition the rights of Aboriginal peoples, and of Aboriginal women to live free from violence, are set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently endorsed by Canada. Consistent with Canada’s long‑standing commitments to equality, we urge you now to support a Nordic‑model approach to new legislative, programmatic, and public education strategies to reduce and eliminate prostitution in Canada.

We do not accept prostitution as a solution to women’s poverty; we want something much better for Canada’s poor and racialized women and girls. We believe you do too, and we urge you to act on your commitments to women and to an egalitarian Canada.  

List of Signatories

    Hamai Abdiwahabu - Bénévole GAP, Chateauguay, QC, Canada
    Saadatou Abdoulkarim - Militante féministe, QC, Canada
    Esohe Aghatise - Executive Director, Associazione Iroko Onlus,

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Torino, Italy
    Ti-Grace Atkinson - Radical feminist, Cambridge, MA, United States
    Michele Audette – President, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Cenen M. Bagon - Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, Vancouver, BC, Cana
    Jane Bailey - B.A.S., M.I.R., LL.B., LL.M. Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Grace Balbutin - Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Sheila Ballantyne - PhD candidate, Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kat Banyard - UK Feminista, United Kingdom
    Trisha Baptie - Formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kathleen Barry - Ph.D. Sociologist, Professor Emerita, Author of: Female Sexual Slavery and Prostitution of Sexuality: Global Exploitation of Women, United States
    Suzanne Baustad - Immigration and Refugee Law Paralegal, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Professor Louise Bélanger Hardy LL.B., LL.M. – University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Ijose Aghatise - Ospedale Amedeo di Savoia, Turin, Italy
    Roseline Iroghama Aghatise - Iroko Charity Organisation, Nigeria
    Isoken Aikpitanyi - Sex Trafficking Survivor and co founder of Associazione Ragazze di Benin City, Italy
    Dr. Ochuko Ajari - Boston, MA, United States
    Soerette Alexandre - Mémorante en linguistique, Militante féministe, Haïti
    Geneviève Allard - Scientfique en environnement, Rimouski, QC, Canada
    Jess Alley - TDEV Concordia University, Montreal QC, Canada
    Gwendoline Allison - Foy Allison Law Group, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Gisèle Ampleman - Membre du comité québécois de conscientisation, QC, Canada
    Rachel Ariey-Jouglard - Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Margaretha Aronson - Member of Fredrika Bremer Förbundet, Sweden
    Association Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir, France
    Gertrud Åström - President, the Swedish Women's Lobby
    Kelsey Atkinson - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Nancy Aubé - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, PQ, Canada
    Professor Constance Backhouse - B.A., LL.B., LL.M., LL.D. (HonsLSUC), LL.D. (Hons U Man), Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Roxanne Badger - Bénévole GAP, Chateaugay, QC, Canada
    Iliana Balabanova-Stoicheva - Coordinator of Bulgarian Women's Lobby, Bulgaria
    Ilaria Baldini - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Gabriela Delgado Ballesteros - Investigadora, Programa Universitario Derechos Humanos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
    Ixtlan Pax Ballesteros - Azusa, CA, United States
    Jose Krisanto Ballesteros - Manila, Philippines
    Pauline Ballesteros - Azusa, CA, United States
    Paula Barber - Toronto, ON, Canada
    Pauline Baril - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Sharon Barnes - Student, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Cassandra Barnaby - Reception, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Claudette Bastien - Présidente du Comité d’action contre la traite humaine interne et internationale, Infirmière semi-retraitée, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Brigitte Martel Baussant - Secrétaire générale de la Coordination française pour le lobby européen des femmes
    Rosalyn Baxandall - Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, SUNY, Old Westbury (now CUNY Labor School), NY, United States
    Rose Beatty - Member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Huguette Beauchamp, S.M. - Travailleuse sociale retraitée mais secrétaire au conseil général des srs. De miséricorde, QC, Canada
    Julie Béchard - Centre Passerelle, Timmins, ON, Canada
    Carole Bédard - QC, Canada
    Hélène Bédard - QC, Canada
    Louise Bégin - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Claire Bélanger - Saint-Nicolas, QC, Canada
    Josée Bélisle - Intervenante communautaire, Amos, QC, Canada
    Janine Benedet - LLB, LLM, SJD, Associate professor of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Sophie Bennett - UK Feminista, United Kingdon
    Christine Bickson - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Taina Bien Aime - Executive Director, Coalition Against the Trafficking in Women
    Geneva Biggers - Women’s peer support group member, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Rebecca Bishop - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Cécile Bisson – QC, Canada
    Mary-Lee Bouma - Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity (REED), Vancouver, BC,
    Axelle Beniey - coordinatrice de projet, Guadeloupe
    Annette Benoit - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Josée Benoit - survivante et militante, Malartic, QC, Canada
    Sarah Benson - Chief Executive Officer, Ruhama: Frontline service to women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, Ireland
    Summer-Rain Bentham - Squamish Nation, Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Kristen Berg - Equality Now, New York, NY, United States
    Samantha Berg - Journalist and organizer,, Portland, OR, United States
    Marina Bergadano - Law Offices, Marina Bergadano & Co., Turin, Italy
    Catie Bergeron – intervenante, CALACS, Charlevoix, QC, Canada
    Jocelyne Bernatchez - Directrice des ventes, Amos, QC, Canada
    Nicole Bernier - Animatrice provinciale, QC, Canada
    Helene Berry - RN, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Julie Bindel - Journalist, author and feminist campaigner, United Kingdom
    Lucie Bilodeau - Aide-jardinière, Ste-Christine, QC, Canada
    Francine Blais - Retraitée en Service social et à mi-temps, coordonnatrice des Ami-e-s de la Famille Internationale de la Miséricorde, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Nadine Blais - Enseignante au cégep de l'Outaouais, Travailleuse sociale de formation (niveau maitrise), Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Stassy Blais - Étudiante en technique de travail social, Amos, QC, Canada
    Annie Blouin - Intervenante sociale au CALACS, Granby, QC, Canada
    Linda Boisclair - Responsable du comité de la condition féminine du Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN, Longueuil, QC, Canada
    Pierrette Boissé - Responsable du dossier sur la traite humaine à la Congrégation de Notre-Dame, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Gabrielle Boissonneault - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, PQ, Canada
    Annick Boissonneault - travailleuse sociale, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Sophie Bolduc - Stagiaire au CALCS de Chateauguay, Montréal, QC, Canada=
    Antonia Bonito - Turin Municipality Police Force, Turin, Italy
    Bernard Bosc - Réseau féministe “Ruptures”, QC, Canada
    Claudia Bouchard - travaille au quotidien avec des femmes qui ont été dans la prostitution, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Diane Bouchard - Retraitée, Charlevoix, QC, Canada
    France Boucher - Avocate et chargée de cours à l’UQAM, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Boucher, Mahara - ASETS Adminstrative Assistant, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Nadjet Bouda - Responsable administrative à la Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Étudiante à la maitrise en science politique à l’UQAM, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Claudie Bougon-Guibert - Conseil national des femmes françaises
    Carole Boulebsol - Sociologue Ma., Montréal, QC, Canada
    Ginette Bourdon - Infirmière retraitée, Brossard, QC, Canada
    Jeannine Bourget - Animatrice, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Nadine Bouteilly-Dupont - President, Libres Mariannes, LMS, Member of the European Women Lobby
    Lise Bouvet - Gender Studies Researcher, Switzerland
    Susan B. Boyd - F.R.S.C. Professor, Chair in Feminist Legal Studies Faculty of Law at Allard Hall, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Christine Boyle - Professor Emeritus States, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Valérie Brancquart - Québec, QC, Canada
    Elizabeth Briemberg - Retired Supreme Court of BC Family Conciliator, Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Pascale Brosseau - Intervenante, Lévis, QC, Canada
    Twiss Butler - Member Abolish Prostitution Now Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW International), National Organization for Women, United States
    Serena Caldarone - Resistenza Femminista, Italy
    Annie Campbell - Director, Women’s Aid Federation, Northern Ireland
    Chiara Carpita - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Francesca Carpita - Italy
    Melina Caudo - Executive Director, Associazione Progettarsì, Turin, Italy
    Martha Centola - Vice President, Associazione Iroko Onlus, Turin, Italy
    Karen Cody - President of the Board of Directors for The Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Seattle, WA, United States
    Mylène Collin - Intervenante, Québec, QC, Canada
    Jennifer Conkie - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Lynda Coplin - retired teacher, Surrey, BC, Canada
    Kelly Coulter - Drug Policy Advocate, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Larissa Crack - Northern Women's Connection, Canada
    Mary DeFusco - Esq. Director of Training and Recruitment, Defender Association of Philadelphia, United States
    Anastasia DeRosa - Front line crisis worker, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Francine Descarries - Ph.D, Professeure et Directrice scientifique du Réseau québécois en études féministes (RéQEF) UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
    Tamar Dina - Music Liberatory, Halifax, NS, Canada
    Dr. Gail Dines - Professor of Sociology, Wheelock College, Boston, MA, United States
    Caryn Duncan - MA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Catherine Dunne - Act to Prevent Trafficking, Ireland
    Anna Edman - Sweden
    Teresa Edwards - B.A., JD. Director, International Affairs and Human Rights, In-House Legal Counsel, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Gunilla S. Ekberg  - Former special advisor on prostitution and human trafficking to the Swedish government, human rights lawyer, Canada and Sweden
    Fiona Elvines - Operations Coordinator, Rape & Sexual Support Centre Croydon, UK
    Jimena Eyzaguirre -  M.Sc., M.R.M. Senior Climate Change Specialist, ESSA Technologies Ltd. Ottawa Chapter Co-chair, Canada-Mathare Education Trust
    Melissa Farley - Ph.D., Prostitution Research & Education, San Francisco, CA, United States
    Colleen Fuller - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Professor Karen Boyle - Chair in Feminist Media Studies, University of Stirling, UK
    Easton Branam - Seattle, WA, United States
    Chantal Brassard - Intervenante sociale au CALACS, Granby, QC, Canada
    Marie-Claude Brault - QC, Canada
    Annick Brazeau - Travailleuse sociale, Baccalauréat en travail social, Diplôme d’études collégiales en techniques policières, Certificat universitaire en développement international, Étudiante à la maîtrise en travail social
    Hélène Brazeau - Professeure au cégep de l'Outaouais, Maîtrise en psychoéducation de l'UQO, Cantley, QC, Canada
    Cathy Brennan - Gender Identity Watch, United States
    Janie Breton - Féministe, QC, Canada
    Judith Bridge - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Dr. Gwen Brodsky - LLB, LLm, PhD, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada
    Cleta Brown - LLB, LLM, member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kimberly Brown - Equality Now, Nairobi, Kenya
    Nancy Brown - SC, OBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Alma Bulawan - President, BUKLOD Survivors' Group, Olongapo, Philippines
    Autumn Burris - Survivors for Solutions, United States
    Dr. Shauna Butterwick - Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Elizabeth Cahill - St John’s, NL, Canada
    Laure Caille - General Secretary, Libres Mariannes, LMS, Member of the European Women Lobby
    Tulsi Callichum - Bénévole GAP, Chateauguay, QC, Canada
    Callie Fleeger – Student, Talent, OR, United States
    Associate Professor Angela Cameron BA, LLB, LLM, PhD – University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Laura Capuzzo - Gruppo Femminile Plurale, Italy
    Marie-Josée Carbonneau - Agente de sécurité, Amos, QC, Canada
    Elda Carly - Équipes d'Action Contre le Proxénétisme, Paris, France
    Chantale Caron - Agricultrice, St-Roch-de-Richelieu, QC, Canada
    Carole Cayer – Intervenante, CALACS de Chateauguay, Mercier, QC, Canada
    Ida Centola - Avigliana, Italy
    Pat Cervelli - Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Tuolumne, CA, United States
    Gaétane Chabot - Saint-Laurent-de-l’île-d'Orléans, QC, Canada
    Maude Chalvin - Chargée de projet intersectionnalité et agente de communication RQCALACS, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Yuly Chan - Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Jaclyn Chang - MA, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Elaine Charkowski – United States
    Emmanuelle Charlebois - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Alexandra Charles - Ordförande, Stockholm, Sweden
    Vanessa Chase - Board Member, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Christiana Cheng - PhD, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Gaétane Chénier - Intervenante communautaire, Amos, QC, Canada
    Missy Chirprin - Radio Host/Producer, United States.
    Youngsook Cho - Korean Women's Association United, South Korea
    Jomini Chu - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kim Chu - University of Calgary Nursing, Vancouver, BC, Canada,
    Mélanie Clément - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Christina Clément - femme, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Conseil national des femmes françaises
    Coordination française pour le lobby européen des femmes
    Jeannine Cornellier - SNJM, Association des religieuses pour les Droits des femmes, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Luce Côté - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Madeleine Côté - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Véronique Couillard – Intervenante, CALACS Charlevoix, Charlevoix, PQ, Canada
    Dr. Maddy Coy - Reader in Sexual Exploitation and Gender Equality, London Metropolitan University, UK
    Annie Crepin - France
    Maisie Faith J. Dagapioso - Woman Health Philippines, Zamboanga City
    Madeleine Dagenais - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Octavia Dahl - United States
    Florence Daigneault - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Lucie Daigneault - Comptable à l'administration locale de la Maison mère des Soeurs de Miséricorde, Laval, QC, Canada
    Mathilde Darton - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, Canada
    Mélissa Dauphin - Artiste engagée, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Jo-Anne David - Centre Colibri, Barrie, ON, Canada
    Stephanie Davies-Arai – United Kingdom.
    Shelagh Day - CM, Director, Poverty and Human Rights Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Docteure Michèle Dayras - présidente de SOS sexisme, France
    Aurora Javate De Dios - Executive Director, Women and Gender Institute, Miriam College, Philippines
    Blathnaid de Faoite - Daughter of a survivor of prostitution, Ireland
    Mia de Faoite - Survivor of Prostitution & Philosophy student at The National University of Ireland, Ireland
    Yolande de La Bruère - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Veronica DeLorme - BA, MA, Retired, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Yvette Delorme - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Theresa Delory – QC, Canada
    Christiane Delteil - Présidente d'honneur du CIDFF 34, Membre du CT de l'Amicale du Nid "La babotte", Montpellier, France
    Line Demers - Adjointe administrative, Diplôme de commis-comptable, Maison d’hébergement pour elles des Deux Vallées, QC, Canada
    Kim Deniger - Policière, DEC en Techniques Policières, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Amelia Denny-Keys - Student, Langley, BC, Canada
    Linda Denny - MSW, RSW, Langley, BC, Canada
    Annie Denoncourt - Criminologue, Intervenante jeunesse, Ste-Brigitte-des-Saults, QC, Canada
    Claire Desaint - Vice-President, Réussir l'égalité femmes-hommes, France=
    Lise Desrochers - Éducatrice retraitée, Ville de Québec, QC, Canada
    Carmen Dion - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, Canada
    Françoise Dion - Donnacona, QC, Canada
    Christine Dionne - Employée du gouvernement du Canada - école de la fonction du Canada, Spécialiste en apprentissage et en développement, Baccalauréat en éducacion de l'anglais langue seconde de l'UQAM, Diplôme d'éducation aux adultes du Collège de Vancouver, Diplôme de business administration du Collège de Kingston, ON, Canada
    Dr. Peggy Dobbins - Port Lavaca, TX, United States
    Winifred Doherty - Good Shepherd Sister and NGO representative to the United Nations
    Isabelle Dostie, intervenante CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Francine Doucette - Secrétaire et aussi amie dans la famille internationale de la miséricorde, St-Eustache, QC, Canada
    Siméon Doucette - Retraité de la compagnie Bell canada et ami dans la fam. Int. De la miséricorde, St-Eustache, QC, Canada
    Jennifer Drew - Consultant to Scottish Women Against Pornography, United Kingdom
    Marie Drouin - Militante et survivante de la prostitution, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Laurie Drummond - Member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kim Dubé - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Geneviève Duché - présidente de l’Amicale du Nid, France
    Micheline Dufour - Retraitée, Charlevoix, PQ, Canada
    Rose Dufour - Anthropologue, Directrice générale et fondatrice de la Maison De Marthe, QC, Canada
    Caroline Dufresne - intervenante CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Nathalie Duhamel - Coordonnatrice RQCALACS, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Monique Dumais - O.S.U., Coordonnatrice pour l'association des religieuses pour les
    Droits des femmes, ARDF
    Claudette Dumont-Smith - Executive Director, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Lyne Duplain - Intervenante CALACS Charlevoix, Charlevoix, PQ, Canada
    Arianne Duplessis - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Genevieve Dupuis - Travailleuse sociale CALACS de l’Outaouais, BAC en travail social, Aylmer, QC, Canada
    Ilaria Durigon - Gruppo Femminile Plurale, Italy
    Lotte Kristine Dysted - Praktikant hos Danners videncenter, NGO Danner, Denmark=
    Eaves For Women, United Kingdom
    Dele Edokpayi - Esq., Dele Edokpayi and Co Law Chambers, Benin City, Nigeria
    F. Elodie Ekobena - Agente de pastorale sociale Villeray, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Vera Chigbufue Elue - Legal Counsel, Chicago Municipality Law Office, Chicago, United States
    Jean Enriquez - Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific
    Priscilla Eppinger - Associate Professor of Religion, Chairperson of the Peace Studies Committee at Graceland University, United States
    Carla Francesca Erie - Linguiste, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Professor Maria Eriksson - Professor of Social Work, School for Health, Care, and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Sweden
    Dr. Elizabeth Evans - Lecturer in Politics, University of Bristol, UK
    Natasha Falle - SEXTRADE101, ON, Canada
    Danielle Fay - BAA, Thérapeute en santé globale et naturelle, St-Alfred, QC, Canada
    Madeleine Ferland - Criminologue, Cowansville, QC, Canada
    Elizabetta Ferrero - Turin, Italy
    Suzanna Finley - Equality Now, New York, NY, United States
    Mia Finn - Mother, Langley, BC, Canada
    Jean Fong – Frontline anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Janick Fontaine - Intervenante sensibilisation, Technicienne en travail social, Thurso, QC, Canada
    Suzanne Fortier - militante, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Mireille Fortin - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Nicole Fortin - Retraitée, Charlevoix, PQ, Canada
    Valérie Fortin - infirmière clinicienne, Brossard, QC, Canada
    Nicole Fouché - Présidente de Réussir l'égalité femmes-hommes, Cherchs associée, CNRS, Céna-mascipo-EHESS, Paris, France
    Isabelle Fournier – Intervenante, CALACS de Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
    Monique Fournier - Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC, Canada
    Lindsey Fox – Victoria, BC, Canada
    Kirsty Foy - Foy Allison Law Group, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Maggie Fredette - Coordonnatrice intervention CALACS, Sherbrooke, PQ, Canada
    Frappier, Julie - travailleuse CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Lina Fucà - Turin, Italy
    Carolyne Gagné - Professeur, Granby, QC, Canada
    Émilie Gagnon - Infographe, Valleyfield, QC, Canada
    Gabrielle Gagnon - Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Jocelyne Gagnon - Retraitée, Charlevoix, PQ, Canada
    Marielle Gagnon - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Mariette Gagnon - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Michèle Garceau - Citoyenne, Lachine, QC, Canada
    Joane Garon - Intervenante CALACS de Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
    Elizabeth Gautchi - Med, member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Chantal Gauthier - Auxilière aux familles à domicile, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Noga Gayle - PhD, member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Angela Gbemisola – United Kingdom
    Yolande Geadah - Author, Montreal, QC, Canada
    Associate Professor Daphne Gilbert BA, LLB, LLM – University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Rosanna Giorgietti - Italy
    Catriona Gold - Executive Member CUPE 2278, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Leah Gruenpeter Gold - PhD Philosophy Dept. Tel Aviv University, Israel
    Tamara Gorin - Port Moody, BC, Canada
    Samantha Grey - Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Associate Professor Vanessa Gruben B.Sc.H, LLB, LLM – University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Jacqueline Gullion - MA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Irit Hakim - Safe World for Women, United Kingdom, Correspondent in Israel
    Carol Hanisch - Editor,, Ellenville, NY, United States
    Hanne Helth - Board Member, Danish Women's Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Terrie Hendrickson - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Mary Honeyball - Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
    Donna M. Hughes - B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Professor & Carlson Endowed Chair, Gender & Women's Studies Program, University of Rhode Island, United States
    Ghada Jabbour - KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, Lebanon
    Professor Martha Jackman - LL.B., LL.M., L.S.M. Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Lone Alice Johansen - Head of Information, The Secretariat of the Shelter Movement, Oslo, Norway
    Hedwig Johl - NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
    Guðrún Jónsdóttir - talskona Stígamóta, Stígamótum, Reykjavík, Iceland
    Helen Kelsey - Status of Women Committee, Surrey Teachers Association, Surrey, BC, Canada
    Hilla Kerner - Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Jennifer Kim - BA Philosophy, Vancouver, BC, CanadA
    Daisy Kler - Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, BC, Canada
    Patsy Kolesar - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Katherine B. Lawrence - J.D. Member, Board of Directors, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jessica Lee - Front-line Crisis Worker, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Dorchen A. Leidholdt - Director, Center for Battered Women's Legal Services, Sanctuary for Families, New York
    Marissa Lorenz - Colorado, United States
    Laura L. Lovett - Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, United States
    Brenda Lucke - RN, BSN, BA, GNC(C), Langley, BC, Canada
    Ilaria Maccaroni - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Ainsley MacGregor - Front-line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, BC, Canada
    Grace Malkihara - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Malka Marcovich - Historian and feminist writer, International consultant, Paris, France
    Ane Mathieson - Fulbright Fellow & Staff with the Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Seattle, Unites States
    Philippe Mayer - Géomaticien, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Paola Mazzei - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Geraldine McCarthy - Act to Prevent Trafficking, Ireland
    Annie McCombs – Kalamazoo, MI, United States
    Maureen McGowan – New York, NY, United States
    Sheila McIntyre - Retired Professor of Law, University of Ottawa; specializing in Constitutional and Human Rights Law, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Nancy J. Meyer - Hyattsville, MD, United States
    Ashley Milbury – MA, Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Michelle Miller - DMin, Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kathy Miriam - PhD, Brooklyn, NY, United States
    Adrienne Montani - Child Rights Advocate, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Michele Morek - PhD. UNANIMA International Inc. an ECOSOC-accredited NGO of the United Nations
    Dr. Helen Mott - Bristol Fawcett, United Kingdom
    Meghan Murphy - Journalist, Canada
    Ana Maria R. Nemenzo - National Coordinator, Woman Health Philippines
    Clare Nolan - Srs of the Good Shepherd, New York, NY, United States
    Celia Nord - Archaeologist, Lee Creek, BC, Canada
    Aibhlín O’Leary - Anti-Trafficking Project Coordinator Immigrant Council of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
    Catherine Olivier - Enseignante au collegial, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Sonia Ossorio - President, National Organization for Women, New York, NY, United States
    Marie-Noël Paradis - Intervenante, Québec, PQ, Canada
    María Paredes - Student, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    So Eyun Park - BMLSc., Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Maggie Parks - Chief Executive, Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Cornwall, UK
    Niovi Patsicakis - B.Ed, M.Ed., Special Education Consultant, SENG-trained facilitator, Canada
    Dr. Jenny Petrak – MSc, PsychD
    Heidi Petrak - Msc. Nursing Professor, BC, Canada
    Kathleen Piovesan – Ph.D. Candidate, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States
    Dianne Post - Attorney, Phoenix Women Take Back the Night, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
    Brittney Powell - Feminist, BA, Nelson, BC, Canada
    Dr. Helen Pringle - School of Social Sciences UNSW, Sydney, Australia
    Chanelle Ram - Feminist nursing student, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Janice G. Raymond - Professor Emerita of Women's Studies and Medical Ethics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, United States
    Yasmin Rehman - Women's rights campaigner, member of the End Violence Against Women Coalition Board, UK
    Sanda Rodgers - Emeritus Professor, University of Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Nina Rose, MD - Vice President, Swedish Medical Women's Association, Sweden
    Isabelle Rouillard - Intervenante, QC, Canada
    Marion Runcie - Vancouver BC, Canada
    Louisa Russell - Front-line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, BC, Canada
    Persia Rutchinski - Sydney, Australia
    Susanne Rutchinski - BA, graphic designer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Valentina S., - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Peggy Sakow - Founding Co-Chair and Member, Temple Committee Against Human
    Trafficking, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal, QC, Canada
    Julieta Montaño Salvatierra - Abogada, Directora de la Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer
    Yolanda Sanchez-Contreras - Communications Coordinator GSIJP Office Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (An NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC, UN)
    Aida F. Santos-Maranan - President & Executive Director, Board of Trustees Consultant on Gender, Development, Human Rights, Philippines
    Emma Scott - Director, Rights of Women, London, UK
    Amy Sebes - Founder, Association of Albanian Girls and Women (AAGW), Albania
    Brittney Sharma - Activist, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Idit Harel Shemesh - Machon Toda'a Awareness Center, Israel
    Sr. Terry Shields - MSHR President, Dawn's Place, Philadelphia, United States
    Associate Professor Penelope Simons – BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Honours: Human Security Fellow 2002-2004 Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
    Ann Simonton - Media Watch, United States
    Stephanie-Grace Skrobisz - Santa Cruz, CA, United States
    Cherry Smiley - Nlaka’pamux/Thompson and Dine’/Navajo Nations, co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry, BC, Canada
    Keira Smith-Tague - Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Linnea W. Smith - MD, North Carolina, United States
    Silvia Elida Ortiz Solis - Representante del Grupo Civil VI.D.A, Torreon, Mexico
    Lisa Sparrow - Skowkale First Nation, Front-line anti-violence worker Chilliwack, BC, Canada
    Emily Spence - BA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ivana Stazio – Italy
    Lisa Steacy - BA, front-line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, BC, Canada
    Terrie Strange - Organizing for Women’s Liberation, Yuma, AZ, United States
    Katie Streibel - Transition House Worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, BC, Canada
    Annie Sugier - President, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, Paris, France
    Eun Soon Suh - Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Eva-Britt Svensson - former Member of the European Parliament, Sweden
    Monina Geaga - Secretary-General, SARILAYA, Philippines
    Jenny Geng - Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Mylène Geoffroy - Intervenante communautaire, Saint-Jean-de-Matha, QC, Canada
    Carol Giardina - Asst Professor, History Dept. Queens College, NY, United States
    Lucia Giffi - Turin, Italy
    Lise Giguère   - QC, Canada
    Marcella Gilardoni - Gilardoni Law Offices, Turin, Italy
    Dr. Aisha K. Gill - Reader in Criminology, University of Roehampton, UK
    Marie-Chanel Gillier – New Delhi, India
    Jay Ginn - Older Feminists Network, United Kingdom
    France Giroux - Coiffeuse, Granby, QC, Canada
    Phyllis Giroux - S.C., M.A.(J), Kelowna, BC, Canada
    Irene  Goodwin - Director, Evidence to Action, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Sonya Grenier - intervenante CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Leanore Gough - Front line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Francine Gravel - Réceptioniste à l'Infirmerie de la Maison mère des Soeurs de Miséricorde, Terrebonne, QC, Canada
    Arlana Green - Victim Services Support worker, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Élaine Grisé - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Catherine Guay-Quirion - Étudiante universitaire à temps plein, Amos, QC, Canada
    Julie Guibord – Intervenante, CALACS de Chateauguay, Valleyfield, QC, Canada
    Joana Guillaume - Professeure de philosophie, Études juridiques, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Susanna Gulin - Finland
    Bernadette Gullion - Educator, BC, Canada
    Czarina M. Gutierrez - B.A., BC, Canada
    Francine Hamel - Retraitée, Diplômes de Maîtrise en littérature et Maîtrise en éducation (counselling de carrière), QC, Canada
    Nicole Hamel – coordonnatrice, CALACS, Lac-à-la-Tortue, PQ, Canada
    Joyce Harris - Chair Sisters of St. Ann B. C. Social Justice Committee, BC, Canada
    Jayme Hass - Junior Policy Analyst / Researcher, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Arnprior, ON
    Karah Hawkins - Victim Advocate CEASE, Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Katherine Hébert-Metthé - Consultante sur l'hypersexualisation, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Orla Hegarty – NL, Canada
    Cathryn Henley - President, Canadian Federation of University Women Cranbrook Club, Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    Céline Héon - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Loralie Hettler – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Christine Honor - Australia
    Myriam Houde - Criminologue au Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Bernett Huang - Archival Studies, Fu Ren University, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jade Hudon - QC, Canada
    Charlotta Huldt-Ramberg - Member of the board or the UN Women National Committee, Sweden
    Jacqui Hunt - Equality Now, London, United Kingdom
    Patricia Hynes - Retired Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University and Director, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Greenfield, MA, United States
    Valentina Iamotti - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Chantal Ismé - Organisatrice communautaire à la Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Cynthia Jacques - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, PQ, Canada
    Suzanne Jay - MA, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Patricia Jean - Linguiste, Féministe, Haïti
    Rhéa Jean - Ph. D in Philosophy (Laval University), Postdoctoral fellow at the
    University of Luxembourg
    Kimberly Jerome - Bookkeeper, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Sonya Johal - BSc, Surrey, BC, Canada
    Natasha Johnson - Graphic Designer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Valerie Judge - MBA, Management Consultant, Ireland
    Justice for Girls, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ludmila Karabaciska  - Étudiante à l’Université Concordia, Applied human science, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Annpôl Kassis - Paris, France
    Soka Handinah Katjasungkana - LBH-Apik, Semarang, Indonesia
    Ranjit Kaur - Ex Magistrate, ex-Director of Rights of Women UK, Lawyer, United Kingdom
    Roisin Kelly - Ireland
    Marilyn Kempf - Équipes d'Action Contre le Proxénétisme, Paris, France
    K. Kilbride - Surrey, BC, Canada
    Morgan King - Australia
    Ann Kirkey – Toronto, ON, Canada
    Antonia Kirkland - Equality Now, New York, United States
    Dr. Renate Klien - Spinifex Press, Australia
    Donée-Maude Kobin - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, PQ, Canada
    Donna Christie Kolkey - member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Monica Krake - Communications Director, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Izabela Krekora - Manager of fund development, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Cathrine Linn Kristiansen – Norway
    Leanne Kwan - PharmD, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Renée Labrie - St-Jean-de-l’île-d'Orléans, QC, Canada
    Sophie Labrie - Intervenante sociale au CALACS, Bromont, QC, Canada
    Maryse Lafleur - QC, Canada
    Isabelle Lafontaine - Étudiante au doctorat en travail social à l’Université de Montréal, Auxiliaire de recherche, Intervenante à l’association des familles monoparentales et recomposées de l’Outaouais, Professeure à la cité collégiale aux programmes de techniques de travail social et d’éducation spécialisée, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Judy Lafontaine, intervenante, CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Allison Laing - BA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jennifer E. Laing - RN, BScN, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Monique, S.M. Lallier - Supérieure générale de l'Institut des Soeurs de miséricorde de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Lee Lakeman - Women’s rights advocate, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ève Lamont - Réalisatrice, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Nancy Langlois - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Catherine Lapointe - Canada
    Ghislaine Laporte - S.N.J.M., QC, Canada
    Marai Larasi - MBE, M.A. Executive Director, Imkaan, UK
    Marilyn Larocque - R.H.S.J.  Kingston, ON, Canada
    Myriam Larocque - Intervenante, Étudiante, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Trine Porret Randahl Larsen - President, Women’s Council in Denmark (Kvinderådet)
    Gemma Laser - Belfast, ME, United States
    Widlande Laurol - Linguiste, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Claudia Lavigueur – Intervenante, CALACS de Chateauguay, Ste-Clotilde, QC, Canada
    Marie-Josée Lavoie - Secrétaire-administratrice RQCALACS, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Annette Lawson - Chair, the National alliance of Women's Organizations, United Kingdom
    M. Paule Lebel - Membre de la coordination du Québec de la marche mondiale des femmes, QC, Canada
    Aurélie Lebrun, PhD - QC, Canada
    Marie-Paule Lebrun - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Brigitte Lechenr - Woman, United Kingdom
    Patricia Leclair - Militante, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Marie Lecomte - Vice President, Libres Mariannes, LMS, Member of the European Women Lobby
    Alice Lee - Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Young Sun Lee - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Éliane Legault-Roy - Responsable des communications à la Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Maitrise en science politique, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Ronitin Lentin - University Professor, Ireland
    Barbara Leon - Watsonville, CA, United States
    Carla Lesh - Kingston, NY, United States
    Constance Létourneau - Membre du Comité de Montréal contre la traite des personnes, QC, Canada
    Guilaine Levesque - Coordonnatrice CALACS, Baie-Comeau, PQ, Canada
    Lévesque, Sandra - intervenante CALACS, Val d'Or, QC, Canada
    Jacqueline Lewis - Emergency Medical Technician & Front line crisis worker at Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Maureen Lewis – Red Deer, AB, Canada
    Raïssa Leyan’Simbi - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Jytte Lindgaard - Lawyer, member of The Danish National Observatory on Violence Against Women
    Linklater, Sheila - Director of Finance, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Pak Ka Liu - Victim Services Medical Support Worker, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Josée Longchamps - Thérapeute, Tingwick, QC, Canada
    Letizia Longo - Accountant, Turin, Italy
    Lovely Jean Louis - Mémorante en lingUnited Statesitique et en études juridiques, Militante féministe, Haïti
    Emma Luke - Occupational Therapist, Australia
    Nathalie Lussier - Secrétaire-comptable, Granby, QC, Canada
    br/>     Linda MacDonald - Persons Against NST, Canada
    R. MacKenzie - Feminist campaigner, Scotland
    Alison Luke - Macquarie University, Sydney,  Australia
    Eliana Maestri - Feminist Group, Birmingham, UK
    Dr. Arianna Maffiotti - Turin Local Health Services, Moncalieri (TO), Italy
    Sarah M. Mah - BSc, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Sylvie Mantha - Chef Division recherche, développement et stratégie organisationnelle du Service de police de Gatineau, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Maude Marcaurelle - Intervenante sociale, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, QC, Canada
    Berthe Marcotte - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Louise Marcotte - Survivante, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Lorna Martin - Executive Assistant, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Angela Martinez - TTS, Coordonatrice des services d’interventions du Calacs francophone d’Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Virginia Martinez - Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Annalise Masear-Gough – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Kristine Massey - Lecturer in Criminal Psychology, Canterbury Christchurch University, UK
    Maureen Master - Human Rights Lawyer, United States
    Jade Mathieu - Intervenante CALACS de Chateauguay, St-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada
    Andrea Matolcsi - Equality Now, London, UK
    Diane Matte - Activiste féministe, Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Maria Grazia Mauti - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    Paula May - Experte en ressources humaines, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Dr. Melanie McCarry - Guild Senior Research Fellow, Connect Centre for International Research on Gender and Harm, University of Central Lancashire, UK
    Caitlin McKellar - Board Member, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Myriam Meilleur – Stagiaire, CALACS Chateauguay, QC, Canada
    Chiara Melloni - Gruppo Femminile Plurale, Italy
    Émilie Mercier-Roy - Survivante de la prostitution et co-fondatrice du Gîte L'Autre porte, Val-d'Or, QC, Canada
    Gunhild Mewes - Germany
    Jodie Millward - MCP, CCC, Aboriginal Family Counselor, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Suzy Mingus - Accountant, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Shiloh Minor - Teacher, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Phyllis Minsky - Teacher and Aboriginal Advocate, Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Surrey, BC, Canada
    Rachel Moran - Founding Member of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment), Ireland
    Magdala Moreau - Mémorante en linguistique, Militante féministe, Haïti
    Marthe Moreau - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Rachael Morgan – Student, Australia
    Émilie Morin-Rivest - Intervenante à la maison d'hébergement pour elles des deux vallées, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Julie Charbonneau Morin - Éducatrice spécialisée, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Marcelle Morin – QC, Canada
    Nathalie Morin - Commis comptable, Amos, QC, Canada
    Libby Morrison - United Kingdom
    Françoise Morvan - Vice-présidente de la Coordination française pour le lobby européen des femmes
    Rebecca Mott - Survivor of indoor prostitution, United Kingdom
    Jeanne Françoise Mouè - La Maison, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Debs Munn - Refugee Settlement Worker, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Lily Munroe - Women’s rights advocate and abolitionist, Australia
    Jeannine Nadeau - Infirmière, Ville de Québec, QC, Canada
    Marie-Michelle Nault - Survivante, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Amy Nahwegahbow - Senior Policy Analyst/ Researcher, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON
    Frederica Newell - Ireland
    Donna-Marie Newfield - Therapist, Canada
    Kendra Newman - Heiltsuk Nation, front line anti-violence worker, Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Liette Nobert - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Jane Norlund – Norway
    Dr. Caroline Norma - Lecturer in Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Australia
    Ana Novakovic – Front-line anti-violence worker, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Zdenka Novakovic - Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Daniella Nunes-Taveira - Intervenante à la maison d'amitié - télécommunications à l'hôpital d'Ottawa, Technique de réadaptation et de justice pénale et présentement à l'université en criminologie, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Dr. Monica O'Connor - Independent Researcher, Ireland
    Maura O’Donohue - Doctor, Ireland
    Katrin Öberg - Sweden
    Lis Ehmer Olesen - Board member of the Women’s Council and The Danish National Observatory on Violence Against Women, Denmark
    Maren Ollman - Turin, Italy
    Kajsa Olsson – Sweden
    Alina Olszewska - Turin, Italy
    Blessing Osatohanmwen - Turin, Italy
    Oti Anukpe Ovrawah - Director, Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Abuja, Nigeria
    Angel Love Owens – Perth, Australia
    Geneviève Pagé - Phd, Professeure de science politique à l’UQAM, Montréal, QC,   Canada
    Karina Painchaud - QC, Canada
    Celeste Pang - Freelance Bookkeeper, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Monique Paradis - Enseignante retraitée, QC, Canada
    Giulia Parm - Turin, Italy
    Carla Pastorino - Genova, Italy
    Kim Pate – Executive Director, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Yolaine Paul - Responsable de bibliothèque, Études administratives et comptable, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Sokie Paulin - Glendale, CA, United States
    Françoise Pellerin - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Gisèle Pellerin - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Céline Pelletier - Maison Interlude, Hawkesbury, ON, Canada
    Lise Perras - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Julie-Anne Perrault - Féministe, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Nathalie Perreault - Travailleuse culturelle et féministe (abolitionniste), Montréal, QC, Canada
    Bridget Perrier - SexTrade101, ON, Canada
    Marisa Perrone - Turin, Italy
    Gaëtane Pharand - Centre Victoria, Sudbury, ON, Canada
    Jacqueline Picard – QC, Canada
    Stéphanie Picard - Intervenante, Rouyn-Noranda, PQ, Canada
    Elizabeth A. Pickett - LL.M, ON, Canada
    Ellen Pilcher – Activist & Writer, United Kingdom
    Candice Pilgrim – Lawyer, Belleville, ON, Canada
    Maudy Piot - Présidente de l'Association Femmes Pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir, France
    Marie-Christine Plante - Ph.D. candidate sociology, UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
    Anne Plourde - Doctorante en science politique UQAM, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, PQ, Canada
    Monique Potin - Bibliothécaire et féministe, Val-d’Or, QC, Canada
    Claudette Poupart - Retraitée, Boucherville, PQ, Canada
    Jalysha Pratap – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Colette Price - Midwife, Feminist, NY, United States
    Claudia Quendo - Turin, Italy
    Marielle Quenneville - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Suzanne Quinn - Réseau femmes sud-ouest, Sarnia, ON, Canada
    Claudia Ramirez - Bénévole GAP, Chateauguay, QC, Canada
    Sandra Ramos - Founder/Executive Director, Strengthen Our Sisters, Shelter and Advocacy for homeless/battered women and children, NJ, United States
    Natalie Ranspot - BA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jody Raphael - Visiting Professor of Law, Depaul University, United States
    Anne Rasmussen - LivaRehab, Denmark
    Christelle Raspolini - Présidente du comité Ni putes ni soumises de Guadeloupe, Le gosier, Guadeloupe
    Anyta Raymond - Reviseur, Cowansville, QC, Canada
    Anber Raz - Equality Now, London, UK
    Sarah Mélodie Razafintsehere - Bénévole GAP, Chateauguay, QC, Canada
    Jennifer Reed - Rain and Thunder Collective, MA, United States
    Stephanie Reifferscheid - BA, Women’s Advocate and counselor for more than 25 years, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jennifer Remnant – United Kingdom
    Sandrine Ricci - Phd Student and Assistant professor (UQAM), Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Hélène Richard - Intervenante auprès des femmes, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Mylène Richer - Éducatrice en garderie, Beauharnois, QC, Canada
    Jenny Rickmann - Nurse, Germany
    Chantelle Rideout - MFA University of New Brunswick, Halifax, NS, Canada
    Nella Righetti - Turin, Italy
    Cossette Rivera - Equality Now, New York, United States
    Haile Rivera - New York, United States
    Chantal Robitaille - Intervenante CALACS Chateauguay, Beauharnois, QC, Canada
    Eleanor Roffman - Ed.D. Professor and Director of Field Training, Division of Counseling and Psychology, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lesley University, MA, United States
    Caitlin Roper - WA State Coordinator, Collective Shout, Australia
    Carissa Ropponen - BA, Executive and Development Assistant, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Garine Roubinian - Rain and Thunder Collective, MA, United States
    Nayiree Roubinian - Rain and Thunder Collective, MA, United States
    Justine Rouse-Lamarre - Étudiante à la maîtrise en histoire à l'UQAM, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
    Gerardine Rowley – Ruhama, Ireland
    Lorraine Roy - Militante et survivante de la prostitution, St-Jérôme, QC, Canada
    Michèle Roy - Organisatrice communautaire, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Sylvie Roy - Désigner, St-Pie, QC, Canada
    Rita Ruel - Enseignante retraitée, QC, Canada
    Assistant Professor Rakhi Ruparelia B.Sc., B.S.W., LL.B.  M.S.W., LL.M. – University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Dr. Emma Rush - Lecturer in Ethics and Philosophy, Charles Stuart University, Australia
    Roweena Russell – United Kingdom
    Marie-Claude Saindon - Intervenante CALACS de Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
    Anaïs Salamon - Bibliothécaire en chef bibliothèque d'études islamiques de l’Université McGill, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Roberta Salper - Resident Scholar, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University Boston, MA, United States
    Myles Sanchez - President, Bagong Kamalayan Prostitution Survivors' Collective, Manila, Philippines
    Mélanie Sarroino - LL.M., Agente de liaison et de promotion RQCALACS (Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel), Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Jeanne Sarson - Persons Against Non-State Torture, Canada
    Katharina Sass - Norway
    Kathryn Scarbrough - PhD, East Brunswick, NJ, United States
    Sarah Schwartz - United States
    Karen Segal - B.A, JD candidate 2014, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Solveig Senft - Abolitionist, Member of Terre des Femmes, Germany
    Jonnie Sharp – NC, United States
    Carole Shea - Militante, Rawdon, QC, Canada
    Professor Elizabeth Sheehy - LLB, LLM, LLD (Hons LSUC), 2014 Recipient of the CBA Ramon Hnatyshyn Award for Law
    Victoria Sherman - Italy
    Maire Ni Shuilleabhain - Support worker with women affected by prostitution and THB, Ireland
    Linda Shuto - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Christiane Sibillotte - Comité justice sociale des soeurs auxiliatrices, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Rachèle Simard - Artiste, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Indrani Sinha - Executive Director, Sanlaap, India
    Georgette Sirois - Infirmière retraitée, Ville de Québec, QC, Canada
    Chris Sitka – Australia
    Shannon Slight – Tasmania, Australia
    Betty M. Smith - Camden, ME, United States
    Peggy R. Smith - Lincolnville, ME, United States
    Joan Smurthwaite - Catholic Women's League WA, Australia
    Mudahogora Solange - Maitrise en sociologie avec spécialisation en études des femmes de l'université d'Ottawa, Représentante de Femmes action en région métropolitaine de Halifax, NS, Canada
    Carole Anne Soong - University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Terre Spencer - United States
    Anne-Marie Spera - Travaillese Sociale, Gatineau, QC, Canada
    Nadine Spuls - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Michèle St-Amand - Sexologue et psychothérapeute, Laval, QC, Canada
    Johanne St-Amour - Féministe, QC, Canada
    Ginette St-Jean - Val Joli, QC, Canada
    Professor Joanne St. Lewis BA, LLB - University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ONCanada
    Cornelia Sternberg - Germany
    Holly Stevens – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Hanne Storset - Analyzer, Social Sciences, Norway
    Johanna Strand - Teacher and feminist, Norway
    Emily Streibel - Raymond, AB, Canada
    Eva  Streibel - Raymond, AB, Canada
    Agnete Strøm - The Women’s Front of Norway, Bergen, Norway
    Leah Strudwick – Student, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Amanda Sullivan - Equality Now, New York, United States
    Doris Sullivan - Militante abolitionniste, Rawdon, QC, Canada
    Rose Sullivan - Militante et survivante de la prostitution, Rawdon, QC, Canada
    Elsie Suréna - Intervenante dans le domaine de la violence contre les femmes, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Jacqueline Sutton - BA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Fumi Suzuki - Executive Director, Space Allies, Japan
    Hélène Sylvain - Conseillère pédagogique, St-Jérome, QC, Canada
    Geneviève Szczepanik - Ph.d., Montréal, QC, Canada
    Carolina Tafuri - Italy
    Mairead Tagg - Clinical Psychologist and specialist in gender based violence, Scotland
    Julie Talbot - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Elsie Tan - MSN, member of University Women’s Club, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Emilia Tedesco - Turin, Italy
    Karin Temerpley – Melbourne, Australia
    Danièle Tessier - Sociologue, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Randi Theil - Head of Secretariat, Women’s Council in Denmark (Kvinderådet)
    Maj Britt Theorin - F. member of European Parliament and chairwomen of the Committee of Women’s Right and Equality
    Carole Thériault - Intervenante sociale au CALACS, St-Alphonse, QC, Canada
    Mélanie Thétrault - Intervenante, Granby, QC, Canada
    Joan Thomas - RN, PhD, Memphis, Tennessee, United States
    Nia Thomas - Artist, London, United Kingdom
    Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer - Executive Director, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Gale Tyler - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Nicolien Van Luijk - MA, PhD (c), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Toni Van Pelt - Public Policy Director, Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc. FL, United States
    Megan Watt - Leduc, AB, Canada
    Karin Werkman - Researcher, the Netherlands
    Chloe Westlake - BA, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
    Dr. Rebecca Whisnant - Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton, United States
    Margareta Winberg - Former deputy prime minister and minister for gender equality, Sweden
    Crystal Wong – Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Jodie Woodward - Head of Operations, Nia Ending Violence, UK
    Linda Thompson - Women's Support Project, Scotland
    Virginie Tiberghien - Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Yvonne Tierney – ON, Canada
    Léa Trahan - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Alice Tremblay - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Karine Tremblay - Agente de liaison RQCALACS, Montréal, PQ, Canada
    Dr. Jill Trenholm - Lecturer/researcher, Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
    Rita Trottier - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Ada Tsang - BSW, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Louise Turmel - Enseignante retraitée, Ville de Québec, QC, Canada
    Jane Turner - Teacher, Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Anna Ulatowshki - Germany
    Sara Ungar – ON, Canada
    Nordic Model Advocates, United Kingdom
    Adina Ungureanu - Ville Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada
    Helen Uwangue - Benin City, Nigeria
    France Vallières - Retraitée, Rive Sud, QC, Canada
    Sylvie Van Brabant - Cinéaste, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Claudette Vandal - Montréal, QC, Canada
    Helen Vasa - Registered Clinical Counsellor, Canada
    Roberta Veenstra - Engaged Citizen, Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    Marie Hélène Veillette - Conseillère en rééducation, Granby, QC, Canada
    Sue Veneer - United Kingdom
    Michèle Vianès - Présidente de regards de femmes, Lyon, France
    Marilou Vidal - Bénévole GAP, Mercier, QC, Canada
    Monique Vigneault - Retraitée, Amos, QC, Canada
    Jeanne Villeneuve - Directrice des institutions patrimoniales Blueland, Conseillère de quartier mairie du 7° arrondissement de Paris, Présidente de l’Association quartier Breteuil de Paris, France
    Ariane Vinet-Bonin - Étudiante à la maîtrise en service social à l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Dr. Judith Walker - Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Megan Walker - Executive Director, London Abused Women's Centre, London, ON, Canada
    Zuilmah Wallis - Ireland
    Dr. Renate Walther - Germany
    Pei-Ju Wang - Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Canada
    Claire Warmels - Étudiante en philosophie à Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Simone Watso - Exited survivor, Australia
    Maureen Watt - Citoyenne, St-Lin-Laurentides, QC, Canada
    Morgan Westcott – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Vicki Wharton - Antipornculture, United Kingdom
    Cindy Wilkinson – ON, Canada
    Jeri Williams - Survivor 2 Survivor, Portland, OR, United States
    Jacqueline Wilson - Businesswoman and Philanthropist, Board Chair, Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ursula Wojciechowski - Translator, Germany
    Elizabeth Wolber – Teacher at Fraser Heights Secondary School, Collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Angela Wong - Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Maria Wong - Front line anti-violence worker Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC, Canada
    Corey Lee Wrenn – founder Vegan Feminist Network, United States
    Pauline Yargeau - Administratrice d’un centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel, Amos, QC, Canada
    Elisabeth Zadnick – QC, Canada
    Kerstin Zander - Re-Empowerment e.V., Deutschland
    Clorinde Zephir - Professeure de littérature française, Directrice d'organisation féministe, Haïti

Men in support of the letter

    Brian Africa – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Dr. Ifode Ajari - Medical doctor, United States
    Iroro Ajari - Nigeria
    Obuks Ajari - Lagos, Nigeria
    Kevin Ault - High School Teacher, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Louis Bélisle - Consultant en développement organisationnel, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Alain Benoit - Travailleur du réseau de la santé, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Bert Bjarland - Vice President, Profeministmiehet, Finland
    Didier Bois - Enseignant, Paris, France
    Andrew Bomberry - Policy Analyst/ Researcher, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Paolo Botti - Executive Director, Associazione Amici di Lazzaro, Italy
    Dr. Christoph Brake – Germany
    Dr. Robert Brannon, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College CUNY.
    National Chairperson, NOMAS Task Group on Pornography, Prostitution, and Sex-Trafficking
    Mordecai Briemberg - Member of, retired College Instructor, Burnaby, BC, Canada
    Stan Burditt - Founder, MAST-Men Against Sexual Trafficking, Canada
    Giorgio Carpita - Italy
    Denis Carrier - QC, Canada
    Philippe Fortier Charette - Travailleur, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
    Mathieu Charland-Faucher - Organisateur communautaire, Granby, QC, Canada
    Gagan Chhabra - Student, Norway
    Alex Coles - BFA Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Guillaume Danis - Militant, Saint-Lin, QC, Canada
    James Darbouze - Enseignant-chercheur, Militant syndical, Port-au-Prince, Haïti
    Jhonson Desir - Linguiste, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Timothy Dickau - DMin, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Martin Dufresne - Journalist, Le COUAC, Canada
    Paul Eid - Professeur au Département de sociologie de l’UQAM, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Pius Elue - Chicago, IL, United States
    Renel Exentus - Militant Assumer Ayiti, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Marco Fasoli - Turin, Italy
    Professor Gene Feder - Professor of Primary Health Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, UK
    Professor Bruce Feldthusen - former Dean, BA Queen’s, JD Michigan, LLB Western and LLM Michigan
    Antonio Chiadò Fiorio Tin - Mayor, Massello Municipality, Province of Turin, Italy
    Joshua Flavell - Sydney, Australia
    Nicolas Flechier - Travailleur social, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Matt Fodor – ON, Canada
    Daniele Gaglianone - Film Producer, Turin, Italy
    Adam Gagnon - Militant, Beauharnois, QC, Canada
    Martin Gallié - Professeur de droit à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, QC, Canada
    Gabriel Garcia - Comptable, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, QC, Canada
    Claude Gendron - Retraité, Responsable des achats à la maison mère des Soeurs de miséricorde, Brossard, QC, Canada
    Ioan Gi-Kwong - Étudiant, Bromont, QC, Canada
    Massimo Gianasso - Turin Municipality Police Force, Turin, Italy
    Maurizio Gili - Accountant, Senior Partner, Maurizio Gili & Co, Turin, Italy
    Azlan Graves - LPN/Outreach nurse, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Chris Green - Director White Ribbon Campaign, UK
    Michael Horowitz - CEO, 21 Century Initiatives, Principal Author of the US Trafficking Victims
    Protection Act
    Benedict Hynes - PhD candidate, Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada
    Biko Ismé-René - Étudiant, Artiste, Travailleur, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Dr. Robert Jensen - University of Texas at Austin, Texas, United States
    Thomas H. Kemsley - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Edoardo Kibongui - Italian Baptist Union of Churches, Turin, Italy
    Anton Klepke - Sweden
    Claude Labrecque - QC, Canada
    Benjamin Lach – Germany
    Marie-Thérèse Lacourse – QC, Canada
    Matthew K. Laing - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Michael Laxer - Toronto City Council Candidate-Ward 6, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Gabriel Legault - Mi-retraité service quincaillerie et ami dans la fam. Int. De la miséricorde, Lachine, QC, Canada
    Gabriele Lenzi - Resistenza femminista, Italy
    David Lohan - Co-Author "Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking & Witchcraft", Ireland
    Oscar Sanchez Viesca Lopez - Miembro activo del grupo civil VI.D.A y amnrdac, Torreon, Mexico
    Eli Mack-Hardiman – NY, United States
    Claudio Magnabosco - Director and co-founder, Associazione Ragazze di Benin City, Italy
    Guy Malette - Responsable des Achats et de la maintenance de la Maison mère des Soeurs de Miséricorde, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Pascal Marcil - Senior specialist, Bromont, QC, Canada
    Dr. Michael Markwick - Capilano University, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Colin Mingus – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Josua Mata - Secretary-General, SENTRO Labor Center, Philippines
    Hugh McElveen - Independent Researcher, Ireland
    David McHugh - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ronald Meyer - Halfmoon Bay, BC, Canada
    Patrick Morin - Militant, Valleyfield, QC, Canada
    Ryan Munn – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jonathan Nambu - Executive Director, Samaritana Transformation Ministries, Inc., Philippines
    Michael Nestor - Australia
    David H. Nguyen - Editor-in-Chief, Cancer InCytes Magazine, USA
    Irwin Oostindie - Media producer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Arinze Orakue - Director of PR, Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Abuja, Nigeria
    Joe Osagie - Greater London City Council, London, UK
    Lucky Oseye - Turin, Italy
    Simeon Pang – Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Pascale Parent - Interventante CALACS de Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
    Dan Peters - Partnership Co-ordinator, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Alain Philoctète - Coordonateur de programmes, Poète, Maîtrise en pratique de recherche et action publique, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Richard Poulin - Professeur émérite département de sociologie et d'anthropologie de l’Université d'Ottawa, Professeur associé à l’Institut de recherches et d'études féministes (IREF) de l’Université du
    Québec à Montréal, Ville Mont-Royal, QC, Canada
    Professor Keith Pringle - Professor of Sociology with a specialism in social work, Uppsala University, Sweden; Adjungeret Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark; and Honorary Professor, University of Warwick, UK
    Fred Robert - Fondateur, Zéromacho
    Vincent Romani - Professeur régulier, département de science politique à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Marc Andris Saint Louis - Travailleur social, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Dario Saluz - Architect, Turin, Italy
    Hugh Samson - B.Sc, P. Geo. Vancouver, BC, Canada
    François Savard - Directeur de la Maison mère des Soeurs de Miséricorde, Montréal, QC, Canada
    Philippe Scelles - Président d'honneur et vice-président de la Fondation Scelles
    Yves Scelles - Vice-président de la Fondation Scelles, France
    Reece K. Sellin - Fort Saskatchewan, AB, Canada
    Marc André Sullivan - Militant, Montréal, QC, Canada
    François Trudel - Directeur d'entreprise Chandelles tradition, St-Constant, QC, Canada
    Elcid Vedinel - Linguiste, Membre d'organisation féministe, Haïti
    Ray Justin Ventura - National Chairperson, Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE), Philippines
    Max Waltman - PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden
    Marv Wheale - Home Health Air, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Jonathan R. Wilson - Ph.D., Carey Theological College, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Carlo Italo Zanotti - Architect, Senior Partner, Artom & Zanotti Associati, Turin, Italy
    David Zimmerman - GEMS Council of Daughters, National Survivor Network, Polaris Project Legislative Circle, United States of America


[1] Canada (Attorney General) v.Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186, para. 117, online at:

[2] Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72, para. 86, online at:

[3] Seo-Young Cho, Axel Dreher, Eric Neumayer,“Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?” World Development, vol. 41, pp. 67–82, 2013.

[4] Ministry of Justice (New Zealand), “Street-Based Workers,” Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, chap. 8, 2008, online at:

[5] Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Germany), Report by the Federal Government on the Impact of the Act Regulating the Legal Situation of Prostitutes (Prostitution Act), July 2007, at 79. online at: See also, Ministry of Security and Justice (The Netherlands), Daalder, A.L., WODC (Research and Documentation Centre), “Conclusions,” Prostitution in the Netherlands since the lifting of the brothel ban, 2007, online at:

Views: 8102

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

YWCA Halifax to offer ‘safe spaces’ to human trafficking victims and survivors
By Taryn GrantStar Halifax, May 4, 2019

HALIFAX—Home can be a place of comfort and refuge, but it can also be used as a tool for exploitation.

Perpetrators of human trafficking often control their victims by controlling their access to shelter and other basic survival needs.

That’s why, according Charlene Gagnon, offering victims and survivors a safe place to live is an essential part of supporting their exit from the exploitive cycle, and it’s why the YWCA Halifax’s latest program will be a milestone in the fight against human trafficking in Nova Scotia.

Gagnon manages anti-trafficking initiatives at the YWCA Halifax and says human trafficking “is not a new issue to Nova Scotia,” but the attention afforded to it has been gradually changing, both locally and across Canada.

In 2005, a trio of amendments to the Criminal Code prohibited human trafficking, specifically, for the first time. Further legislative changes have continued to trickle in since then, and Gagnon says that as laws have emerged to address human trafficking, public awareness has grown.

By shedding more light on the issue, front line workers — like social workers, police, school guidance counsellors — are better able to identify victims. A few years ago, YWCA staff started identifying more and more human trafficking victims, but Gagnon said there was no real system in place to fully respond.

Particularly when it came to safe housing.

“We kind of knew it right from the very beginning, there has been a lack of housing that is specific to this kind of victimization.”

In 2016, the non-profit applied for and was granted federal funding to take a closer look at the issue in Nova Scotia and develop a plan for filling the service gaps. That research wrapped in March 2019 with a plan for a pilot program called Safe Spaces.

The YWCA is aiming for a fall 2019 launch of the program, which will offer emergency housing to youth between 13 and 24 who are fleeing trafficking. As with other trafficking services at the YWCA, police, community agencies and child welfare services anywhere in the province will be able to refer to Safe Spaces.

“It’s pretty critical in those first three to six months of making that transition out for their housing to be really safe and secure,” Gagnon said.

The program will be non-gender-specific, although most trafficking victims are girls and women.

Safe Spaces has funding for four years, part of which was secured earlier this month when Ottawa committed $4.7 million to the Nova Scotia government through the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund.

Despite the name, more than half of the funds for the first two years of the investment are going to human trafficking initiatives. Of more than $820,000, YWCA is receiving more than $183,000 and Nova Scotia RCMP are receiving $243,000 for seconding officers to human trafficking work.

When making the funding announcement in Halifax, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey acknowledged that gun violence has been declining in Nova Scotia, and federal Minister for Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said gangs are less common in Nova Scotia than elsewhere in Canada.

Human trafficking, on the other hand, has been on the rise, according to Furey, and in 2016, Nova Scotia recorded the highest number of trafficking incidents of any Canadian province or territory.

Simultaneous to the research and preparation for the safe housing program, Gagnon and her YWCA colleagues have been leading the Nova Scotia Trafficking Elimination Partnership (NSTEP) with more than a dozen other non-profits, police and the local and provincial governments.

NSTEP started in 2016 and is slated to continue until 2021. Gagnon said that at the end of the partnership, the collaborators intend to table a strategy for addressing human trafficking for the province. In the meantime, support programs have already stemmed from of NSTEP’s work.

Since 2018, the YWCA has added front line workers to directly support youth who are either at risk of being exploited or who are exiting trafficking situations, and a family outreach worker.

Gagnon said collaboration — like the kind seen in NSTEP — is an important part of addressing human trafficking, as there’s a wide variety of perspectives and experiences. When in conflict, they can stymy progress.

Human trafficking and sex work are often conflated, and some members of NSTEP support complete abolition of sex work while others support it as a means of independence and survival.

Consensus on a definition for human trafficking poses a problem for fighting it. A 2018 federal justice committee report on human trafficking recognized “the absence of a common and consistent definition among stakeholders,” and said it can contribute to under-reporting and challenges in collecting evidence for court.

The members of NSTEP, however, did arrive at an eight-point common definition of sexualized human trafficking and exploitation. It acknowledges a spectrum of opinion when it comes to the concept of choice, but unequivocally calls trafficking a form of slavery and a human rights violation.

Gagnon said isolation and control are the hallmarks of trafficking that everyone in the partnership agrees on.

She said the definition is important because “perpetrators have their playbook,” and members of the partnership have to know what they’re targeting.

Correction - May 5, 2019: This article was updated from an earlier version that stated the name of the YWCA program was Safe Landings, when it is in fact Safe Spaces.

FACT: Buying sex makes men more prone to violence against women

Studies of men who buy sex (punters) show that they are significantly more likely than other men to rape and engage in all forms of violence against women. A US study found that punters were nearly eight times more likely to rape than other men.

A UN study of violent men in six countries found that buying sex was the second most significant common factor in the backgrounds and lifestyles of men found guilty of rape, as shown in the following chart (the size of the bubble represents the significance of the factor).
Top three common factors in men who rape (UN study in 6 SE Asian countries)

Research has long found that violence against women is associated with men believing they are superior and entitled to sexual access to women. So it’s not hard to see why buying sex makes men more prone to violence when we think about the reality of prostitution.

This is how one London punter described it when he was being interviewed for a 2012 study:

“Look, men pay for women because he can have whatever and whoever he wants. Lots of men go to prostitutes so they can do things to them that real women would not put up with.”

In the same study, nearly half of the men interviewed believed that once they had paid, they were entitled to do pretty much whatever they wanted to her – regardless what she wants. They held this belief, even while acknowledging that the encounter was damaging to her and that she was probably pimped and coerced. This shows they have little or no empathy for the women involved.

Instead of being an encounter based on mutuality, prostitution is one-sided. He pays precisely because she doesn’t want to have sex with him. She’s doing it because she needs the money.

But it’s a real life encounter. He acts it out in the most intimate way possible on her body. This lays down neurological pathways in his brain. The more he does it, the stronger those pathways get – until the point comes where one-sided sex seems completely normal. And because she appears to consent even while everything in her might be screaming she doesn’t want it, he learns to ignore the signals when someone doesn’t reciprocate his desire, and he comes to think it’s unreasonable if a woman doesn’t let him have his own way.

The implications of this for all women and girls are chilling.

It follows that anything that increases the amount of prostitution that takes place – both in terms of the numbers of punters and the frequency with which they turn to prostitution – will lead to an increase in the amount of male violence in the wider community.

In the UK study mentioned above, a number of men said they first bought sex abroad in countries where prostitution is legal or decriminalised and they continued the practice when they returned to the UK. This illustrates how legal / decriminalised prostitution makes men more likely to buy sex.

We should not be surprised therefore that there was a marked increase in male violence against women and children after they introduced the full decriminalisation of the sex trade in New Zealand – even though it coincided with a general decrease in crime overall.

For a discussion of the data this assertion is based on, see Meme about rape in New Zealand since the full decriminalisation of the sex trade.

There was a similar impact in the area around Holbeck in Leeds, which, at the end of 2014, was designated a “managed area” or zone in which prostitution was effectively decriminalised during certain hours. The number of rapes reported to the police in the area increased almost three fold in the first year and remain much higher than before the zone’s introduction.

These are rapes in the entire community, so the explanation that women involved in prostitution are now more likely to report incidents, does not fully explain the rise. Especially when we consider that charging remains at the pre-zone levels, and local men are being found not guilty of rape after claiming they thought the victim was a prostitute.

Prostitution does not just affect those who are directly involved. It impacts everyone. That is why it cannot be justified simply on the basis of the choices of those directly involved. We think women and girls deserve better choices than the sex trade. That is why we campaign for the Nordic Model and an end to poverty and inequality.

Finally, here is a quote from a study of punters in Lebanon:

“A society that allows women to be prostituted by men, and to be sold and bought as commodities, cannot achieve gender equality. Such a society not only discriminates against but also among women themselves as normalizing prostitution reflects on the overall status of women and creates two groups of women: one that can be bought and another that cannot.”

Sex slaves in almost every Scottish town as gangs force trafficked women into prostitution
Campaigners say organised crime groups are branching out of major cities and setting up secret brothels in rural areas.
by Norman Silvester, 19 MAY 2019

Trafficked women are being sexually exploited in almost every town in the country, a Scottish Government-backed group has claimed.

Campaigners say organised crime groups are branching out of major cities and setting up secret brothels in rural areas.

Trafficking Awareness Raising ­Alliance (TARA) helps women who have been freed from gangs and receives referrals from local ­authorities all around the country.

Counsellors dealt with 44 women who were identified as new victims of sexual slavery between April 2018 and March 2019 – a rise of 42 per cent in the previous 12 months.

The majority of women who said they had been forced into prostitution told TARA that their services had been advertised online.

Sexual exploitation is part of a wider trafficking problem in which men and women are used as forced labour or domestic servants.

Figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that 82 men and women were found to be working as slaves in Scotland in the first three months of this year, compared with 53 in the same period last year, an increase of almost 40 per cent.

Many of the women forced to work as prostitutes can be held captive for years before they escape.

TARA’s operations manager, ­Bronagh Andrew, said: “There are hardly any areas of Scotland that have not had reports of trafficked women being sexually exploited.

“It’s not just a problem in cities, we’re seeing it in rural areas as well. Our concern is that no one knows the real scale of the problem.”

Women who receive help from TARA have usually been rescued by the police or by Border Agency ­officials.

Others have escaped their captors by jumping out of windows or fleeing cars parked at traffic lights.

Thai cops hunt Scot dubbed 'Big Daddy' wanted on charges of human trafficking

The victims can come from as many as 25 countries, with the most ­common being Albania, Vietnam, Romania, China, Nigeria and Namibia.

They have been found in almost 30 towns and cities across Scotland, including Aberdeen, Glasgow, ­Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Inverness.

Victims have also been found in Alva in Clackmananshire, Fort ­William in the Highlands, Larkhall in Lanarkshire and Annan in Dumfries and Galloway.

According to the NCA, there were 150 Scottish trafficking cases in 2016, up 3.4 per cent up on 2015. In 2017, the number of cases rose to 207.

There were a record 222 cases north of the Border last year.

Bronagh revealed that 147 women forced to work as prostitutes had sought their help since 2015. They are now helping 83 victims, their highest number.

Some of the women have also been used as cheap labour in nail bars and cannabis farms.

Bronagh said: “Most of the women we see are aged 25 to 35 but we’ve helped women as young as 18 and others in their late 50s.

“Trafficked victims have asked their customers to try and help them.

“Some men will help, others will just shrug their shoulders and some will tell the ­trafficker what she has said.

“As a result, the women have been assaulted. I cannot think of a single case where a customer has taken a woman to a police station.”

Victims are usually from extreme poverty and have been promised a new life in Britain by the traffickers, who present themselves to their victims as Good Samaritans.

Kids 'at risk' from Paisley pensioner pervert who licked his lips and blew kisses to little girls

Bronagh added: “Women can often be groomed from a young age before they’re trafficked.

“The women can be brought in by plane, train and car. Some are brought in on their own passport, others are given false ­documents or simply smuggled in.

“They think they’re coming here to go to school, to get a job and learn English. Occasionally you will get women who are already working in the sex industry.

“They’ve been told they will make much more money and see fewer punters. It’s all a lie.

“Some of the women we help have been sexually exploited since the age of 13 and 14, which usually begins in their own country.”

TARA works closely with Police Scotland’s trafficking unit at Gartcosh in Lanarkshire.

Bronagh said: “We give women legal advice, accommodation and health care and look after them for 12 to 18 months.

“We also have to help women deal with the long-term psychological trauma of being trafficked. Some of the women we’ve helped have been exploited for decades.”

Last year, TARA and another group helping trafficking victims were given a Government grant of £3million.

Bronagh said: “These women are expected to be available for sex 24/7.

“They’ve no freedom and no control over their own own lives.

“Most women have between two and five men each day.

“Other women talk about double figures on a daily basis. They very rarely get paid.

“We had one woman who was exploited seven days a week and by five men each day.

“Once a month she got £100 from her captors and she thought she was rich.

“Clearly she was not getting ­anything like the money she was ­earning for the traffickers.

“The traffickers take money off for rent, food, website advertising, condoms and laundry costs. They even fine the women if they get a complaint from a punter.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, who has campaigned against the exploitation of women by the sex industry, said: “We’ve prided ourselves on our measures to combat violence against women but we still have a long way to go.

“Our laws penalise those forced into prostitution. They do nothing to ­protect them. Northern Ireland and the Irish republic made the ­purchase of sex an offence and because of that, they are not welcoming to traffickers.

“It is not good enough in 2019 that that this form of violence against women is being effectively actively promoted by sites like Vivastreet.”

Davy Thompson, of White Ribbon Scotland, a charity that works with men to stop violence against women, said: “Trafficking for sexual exploitation is clearly an example of violence against women.

“Sites which carry adverts linked to trafficking should consider that this isn’t sex, it’s rape.”

The evidence we uncovered has been made available to police.

Human trafficking survivor opens transitional house in New York
May 14, 2019 | ​Natasha Ishak | Gender-based violence

Eighteen years ago, Shandra Woworuntu was living a rough life on the streets. An immigrant from Indonesia, she had escaped her kidnapper after being trafficked in the sex industry in New York. Eventually, her traffickers were prosecuted after the FBI took up her case. But life after her harrowing experience as a sex trafficking victim was not any easier. She was unable to find the help that she needed, and lived homeless for three years.

Now, as a prominent activist in the fight against human trafficking, Woworuntu is trying to fill the gap in resources that are available to survivors of trafficking so that they can regain agency of their lives and reintegrate into society.

In 2014, Woworuntu founded Mentari, a nonprofit organization committed to empowering survivors of violence and exploitation. The organization offers a range of services for survivors, including career coaching, support groups, workshops, and lectures. Its most successful program is the Mentari culinary arts program, where professional chefs provide training to survivors for potential employment in the food industry. Ninety-three percent of the program’s participants have gone on to secure jobs as culinary professionals.

Mentari’s most ambitious effort to date is its new transitional house based in Queens, N.Y. Launched in January, the Mentari House is an important new resource for survivors of trafficking in the city.

After getting out of an abusive or exploitative situation, trafficking survivors are often placed in an emergency shelter by the organizations that help them. These shelters are temporary living spaces where survivors are given meals and a place to sleep. However, they often lack the resources needed to prepare survivors to live independently.

Mentari House is not the first transitional home in New York City, but it is the first to provide long-term living space and holistic programming for trafficking survivors — connection to services like financial planning, professional coaching, job assistance, and health care — essential resources that survivors need to rebuild their lives and live independently.

Woworuntu wants to fill the gap between when survivors are living in emergency shelters and when they are able to live independently, a period when former victims are mostly left to figure things out on their own. As a survivor herself, Woworuntu understands how difficult that time can be.

As her trafficking case was being processed, Woworuntu spent time homeless in between shelter stays, often starving because she had no money. At one point she was receiving $25 a month in food vouchers and $150 a month from a victims’ compensation fund. This went on for three years before she was finally able to secure a Social Security ID and other documents to work legally as an immigrant.

“I still say that [survivors who don’t receive proper help] are victims. Because that’s not really surviving,” Woworuntu said of her years being homeless.

Even today, resources that are available for survivors remain limited. Hannah Pennington, assistant commissioner for policy and training at the New York Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), makes it clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for survivors who are escaping a wide spectrum of violence.

“Within any type of victimization, there is never going to be a universal experience,” Pennington said. “People’s experiences vary based on their other identities: their gender identities, their sexual orientation, their race.”

ENDGBV develops and delivers support programs for survivors of violence and abuse and their families. It also consolidates services at the Family Justice Centers (FJCs), which are one-stop service centers for survivors.

The United Nations defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

According to 2016 data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency that promotes social justice for labor forces worldwide, there are 24.9 million people worldwide who are trapped in forced labor; 10 million of those people are exploited in the private and public work sector, while 4.8 million people are forced into the sex trade.

An estimated 14,500–17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year. Last year, the New York Post reported that the New York Police Department had worked 265 sex trafficking cases in 2017 — double the number of cases from the previous year. The department planned to add 25 officers to its unit that deals with cases of human trafficking, and to open up a special hotline to report sex trafficking cases.

While city agencies and law enforcement have ramped up efforts to combat human trafficking, there are still not enough resources to help survivors of exploitation reintegrate into society post-crisis. And despite increased consolidation of resources that do exist, support for survivors of trafficking especially remains limited, even at offices like the ENDGBV. Pennington noted that long-term housing programs in the domestic violence sector are also scarce, with emergency shelters mostly housing survivors only on a temporary basis.

“Trafficking-specific shelter programs and services is something that’s on everybody’s mind, and that’s something that needs to be enhanced because that’s not something that’s currently squarely part of our domestic violence shelter program,” Pennington said.

A survivor’s ability to move forward is often compounded by other issues, like psychological trauma and immigration status. Woworuntu noted that the Mentari House’s all-encompassing setup is meant to help survivors tackle multiple issues they face, but the program’s primary focus is to educate them on how to be financially independent — a key issue for people trying to get back on their feet.

Mentari House plans to work with a number of community groups to provide a full array of services. One group that the organization is already partnering with is the New Life Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Queens. The CDC’s Success Groups is a financial stability program that works on reward-based accountability to help individuals set financial goals and stay on track to reach them. Woworuntu has been working with the CDC to tailor the financial program to accommodate the specific needs of survivors, such as using appropriate language during discussions with survivors.

“We have a heart for the community and helping in whatever problem the community has, like human trafficking,” said New Life CDC team member Aya Sevilla, whose husband, Redd Sevilla, heads the community nonprofit. “We want to partner with people like Shandra, who live in the community and help each other.”

To be accepted into the Mentari House program, applicants must maintain a full-time job or be a student. Screening applicants is important, said Woworuntu, in order to ensure that the house tenants are ready to move their lives forward in a positive direction, yet do not have access to the necessary means.

Survivors may live at the Mentari House for two years, at a limited rent, whereas most shelters and transitional homes typically house survivors between three months and a year. The long-term residency is designed to ensure that survivors have enough time and resources to establish themselves financially. Their rent increases as they become more financially independent, which helps them learn how to manage their finances.

Four women survivors coming from diverse backgrounds are already living in the house, where they share household chores. Lisa, who requested that her real name not be used, pays $250 in monthly rent. Originally from Ivory Coast, she was able to escape a relative who brought her to the U.S. and forced her to work without pay for five years. A graduate of the Mentari culinary program, Lisa is both Mentari House tenant and manager, whose job is to keep the house running smoothly. Outside the house, she has a steady job as a dorm chef in Manhattan.

“I feel like I’m home,” Lisa said of the Mentari House. Before living at the Mentari House, she had moved between shelters.

“Here I have my freedom. I can go out and come anytime I want, as long as I tell Shandra. I can eat whatever I want to. I can do anything. I’m good, I feel happy,” Lisa said. She hopes that living at the Mentari House will help her save enough money to open her own business someday.

“Shandra helps me to be stronger every day,” Lisa said, “to go for my dream and what I want to do for my future.”

Report claims thousands of North Korean women sold into sex slavery in China
by Joshua Berlinger, CNN, May 21, 2019

Thousands of North Korean women and girls are being trafficked and sold into sexual slavery in China, where many are sold as wives to Chinese men while others are forced into prostitution or to live stream sex acts against their will, a new report claims.

The investigation, by the London-based Korea Future Initiative (KFI), includes shocking first-hand reports of girls as young as 12 being raped and women being forced to participate in cybersex for days without eating.

Though female defectors have long been targets of human traffickers, the problem has been exacerbated in recent years due to what the reports claims is a spike in demand inside of China.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There are no official statistics on the number of North Koreans that leave the country and settle outside South Korea. Aid groups have reported that tens of thousands of North Koreans live in China as refugees, according to a 2014 United Nations report. The KFI claims the number could be as high as 200,000.

KFI -- a nonprofit that focuses on North Korean women, children and minorities who are the victims of human rights abuses -- estimates that as many as 60% of female North Korean refugees in China are trafficked into the sex trade.

"At a time when significant global capital is invested in China and, more recently, political capital expended on North Korea, it is a damning indictment that North Korean women and girls are left languishing in the sex trade," the organization said.

"Condemnation is insufficient. Only tangible acts can dismantle China's sex trade, confront a North Korean regime that abhors women, and rescue sex slaves scattered across brothels, remote townships, and cybersex dens in mainland China."

CNN has not been able to independently verify the report's claims.

A 98-page report from Human Rights Watch published in November reached similar conclusions as the Korea Future Initiative regarding the risks female defectors face. The US State Department also acknowledged reports of violence against women defectors in its 2018 report on human rights practices in North Korea.

The Korea Future Initiative's report took two years to compile, the group said. The authors said they interviewed more than 45 survivors and victims of sexual violence whose testimony pieced together a "complex and interconnected illicit industry that accrues vast profits from trafficked women and girls."

North Koreans who flee across the border into China risk their lives to do so. They are not free to leave their country and are severely punished if they do so without permission. The country is separated from China and Russia by a river and armed guards.

If defectors manage to make it into China but are then caught, they are forcibly repatriated, as China considers them economic migrants rather than refugees fleeing persecution. North Koreans who are returned face severe punishment, torture and even execution, according to defectors and rights organizations.
Within China, many North Koreans who avoid the authorities are still not safe, especially women. China's one-child policy, which was relaxed in 2016, has led to a demographic gender imbalance in which men far outnumber women.

Human traffickers have been reported to fill the demand for more women by selling North Korean defectors to Chinese men as wives.

Human Rights Watch said traffickers promise to help defectors make it to South Korea, but then sell the women as brides or into the commercial sex trade.

MYTH: Disabled men have the right to prostitutes

By Jacqueline Gwynne

One of the reasons used to justify prostitution is disabled men’s entitlement to sex with a prostitute. What about the disabled men? Disabled men have the right to sex too, don’t they? people say. Although it’s worth noticing that this is not something argued by disabled people’s organisations but by able-bodied people justifying the sex trade.

I worked as a receptionist in a high-end legal brothel in Victoria, Australia. Prior to that, I would have agreed with this argument, but having seen the inside of the sex industry and how misogynistic and exploitative it is, and how seedy and sleazy brothels are, I see things differently. Now I see this argument as discriminatory and offensive for a multitude of reasons.

It is sexist because it only considers men’s sexual needs and not women’s. It is demeaning and ableist because it implies that disabled people are too grotesque to be sexually attractive and are not capable of sexual expression and forming partnerships with other disabled and able-bodied people. It is exploitative and classist because it requires a class of women to be prostituted. These women are generally socially disadvantaged and many are disabled themselves, often undiagnosed. But that is for another article.

As a receptionist in the brothel, I answered the phones, and took enquiries and bookings. Not once did I take a booking for a disabled man or an enquiry on behalf of one. After I joined the sex trade survivor movement in April 2016, I became curious and started asking questions and researching this claim. I put a call out via my social media networks to gauge what demand there was from disabled men. I also spoke to social workers in Australia.

I got responses from 10 women who had worked in the sex industry, some for decades. They said only about 2-5% of their clients were physically or mentally disabled. Why is this tiny percentage used to justify the entire sex industry?

Carrie* worked as a prostitute for over a decade. She said:

“I saw very few disabled men but actually preferred them as clients because they did not physically threaten me like able bodied men. They were usually brought in by a female carer who, because of a duty of care, stayed to watch while I performed the service.”

“The men were so profoundly physically and/or mentally disabled that I doubt they were capable of consenting to sex.”

If the men weren’t capable of giving consent, what does that make it? Who is deciding for them? Who is paying for it? How degrading it must be for the prostituted woman to have someone watching.

It is common in Australia for female social workers and carers to have to take male clients to prostitutes. It is said that it makes the men easier to manage. But why do only female social workers and carers have to do this? In any other workplace setting, being forced to watch someone have sexual intercourse would be regarded as sexual harassment.

The two social workers I spoke to both said they had no choice but to do it. If they expressed distress about it, they were ostracised or sacked. Lisa* from Melbourne has been sacked twice for opposing the practice because she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of prostitution and the sexual exploitation of women.

Barbara* from Queensland expressed disquiet that the men are not able to give consent but are forced to go to prostitutes:

“Disabled men’s sexuality is considered sacrosanct and takes priority over the rights of a socially disadvantaged prostituted woman and the rights of female social workers. Disabled women, on the other hand are denied any sexuality at all and it is common practice for them to be sterilised. Disabled women are often given a hysterectomy and have their ovaries removed. This is equivalent to castration – cutting a man’s testicles off. It’s considered too cruel to perform on convicted paedophiles but families opt to do this to their own daughters.”

According to Carrie, clients were often unable to climax and seemed uncomfortable being there. If it was not forced upon him by his family or carers, he probably would never have contemplated it. It is sexual abuse if he’s not willingly choosing it.

The average price for a one hour “basic service” booking with a prostitute is approximately $180-200 (Australian). Who pays? Is it government funded? How can that be justified for disabled men when disabled women are denied their sexuality entirely?

wheelchair-6If the disabled men’s families pay, the practice must be confined to affluent families, which makes this whole argument for the necessity of prostitution elitist, classist and absurd.

Sex is not a human right and it is not a life or death matter. A disabled man will not die if he doesn’t have an orgasm.

Male sexual entitlement does not take precedence over women’s rights. Disabled men make up a tiny percentage of prostitution users and it is a myth that is used to justify the entire industry. Men’s sexual needs are not more important than the dignity and safety of female social workers and carers, even if those men are disabled. Disability is never a reason to justify the sexual exploitation of a class of disadvantaged women. To suggest this, is misogynistic, ableist, elitest, classist and downright offensive.

* Names of women interviewed have been changed to protect privacy.

The child sexual abuse hidden behind the ‘sex work’ façade

By Elly Arrow, Nordic Model Now, Dec 17, 2019

This article looks at evidence from Germany and New Zealand that legalising or decriminalising the prostitution of adults creates a façade behind which the prostitution (or paid rape) of children can thrive and weakens men’s individual and collective resistance to sexually abusing children. This suggests that opening up the commercial sex industry will always have profound child safeguarding implications – and gives the lie to assertions to the contrary.

“Any brothel receptionist will tell you that the most common question punters ask is how old is the youngest girl. And they always want the new girls. They like them as young as possible because they are easier to manipulate into doing things they don’t actually want to do.” – Jacqueline Gwynne

Note: Under international human rights law, a child in this context is anyone younger than 18 years, and any third-party involvement in a child’s prostitution automatically falls under the definition of human trafficking, regardless whether any force or coercion was involved.

Children in the legalised regime in Germany

Teenyland is a brothel in Cologne. Its USP is that the women, nicknamed ‘lolitas,’ are all aged 18 or 19, some still at high school, some “only a few days legal.” It is just one of many brothels in Germany where women have to pretend to be children that punters abuse, but it is the most blatant.

It should not surprise us that participating in such playacting can cause young women extreme distress and psychological damage – especially when we consider that research and survivor testimony show that women involved in the sex trade are disproportionately likely to have been sexually abused as children themselves.

It’s claimed that allowing men to playact child sexual abuse (CSA) in this way provides an ‘outlet’ that makes them less likely to sexually abuse actual children. However, the evidence suggests the opposite – that such practices strengthen and reinforce the punter’s sexual response to prepubescent or adolescent children and weakens his resistance to acting on that sexual response.

If seeing a TV ad about a car makes you more likely to buy that car, we can only assume that viewing porn that shows the sexual abuse of children inevitably increases the risk of children in the community being sexually abused. Paying to sexually use and abuse real (or pretend) children in prostitution is likely to have an even stronger effect.

The presence of Teenyland and similar brothels certainly hasn’t kept children out of Germany’s legal brothels. At least nine mega-brothels have been busted for child sex trafficking, and many more cases are likely to have flown under the radar.

It’s usually assumed that legalising the sex trade means the authorities have a clear overview of the market and detailed knowledge of who is prostituting whom, why, where and how. But that’s not how it works in practice.

Until recently, German authorities collected almost no data on the prostitution industry. For example, there was no attempt to track the locations of the apartment brothels nor the constantly changing roster of women on offer at the mega-brothels – even though this information was available on the Internet (because that’s how the punters find them). There was simply a lack of political will to track this data. No one even knows how many people are in prostitution in Germany, and the numbers quoted range from 200,000 to 400,000 or more.

A new law was passed in 2017 with the ostensible aim of correcting some of the negative consequences of the 2001 law that opened up prostitution in Germany to the full fury of market forces. Brothel operators and individuals in prostitution now have to register with the local authorities. So far roughly 1,600 brothels have registered and 33,000 individuals – of whom 76% are 21-44 and 6 % are 18-20. This leaves an estimated 167,000-367,000 people unregistered and an unknown number of brothels without a license and operating illegally, with no government oversight of any kind.

Social workers overseeing the registrations have reported that pimps can often be seen lurking outside the office, waiting for the women and taking them away afterwards – which illustrates that the registration system does little to protect women from pimps.

The majority of the market remains in the dark and registered establishments are still not subject to routine controls. While it is now easier for the police to carry out brothel raids, prosecutions against traffickers still require victims to come forward, which many refuse to do for fear of reprisals, for example. Police investigations into pimping, trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children are currently declining – even though there is no evidence that these crimes are in fact decreasing.

While Germany is called “the brothel of Europe,” Switzerland provides stiff competition. Third-party profiteering from prostitution along with prostitution-buying have been legal in Switzerland since 1992, and even pimping and paying to rape a child of 16 or 17 were completely legal right up to 2013.
What do the punters (johns) say?

According to a Canadian study 15% of men who pay to sexually access adults in prostitution, would also pay for a child. Punters in Germany and Switzerland talk freely about this on the punter forums. Here are a few examples (edited for length):

“I had a few [girls] who supposedly were 18. I let one show me her ID, because she was demanding quite a high price and she justified that with her young age. 18 years and 3 weeks. Can’t get much younger than that. Privately the youngest one was 16 going on 17. I was 28. She pretended to be 18. Too bad, I would have enjoyed the countless inseminations even more had I only known.” – German john, 2018

“There was this girlie of 13-14 years, very childlike. She hadn’t even developed breasts yet and was totally hairless. Her hole was super tight and I couldn’t penetrate her deeply. I hurt her and she pushed me off. Other than that, I was allowed to do anything I wanted to her, whatever came to mind.” – Swiss john, 2016

“The girls there are very pretty. Unfortunately, one slightly injured my precious nuts, because she wore braces. Got nothing else to complain about except that some girls looked like minors, but never mind.” – German john, 2018

But is it any better in New Zealand?

Heralded as revolutionarily different from German and Swiss style legalisation, decriminalisation of the sex trade was introduced in New Zealand (NZ) in the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) and many people hold it up as a better alternative. But what does it mean in regards to the paid rape of children?

The NZ government’s 2008 review of the PRA is often cited as evidence that fears about increased sex trafficking of adults and children have not materialised. But in fact the review raises significant concerns about children exploited in the NZ sex trade.

Although the review committee states that it doesn’t consider sexually exploited children to be “sex workers,” they do in fact refer to them as such in their report.

It’s not a surprise therefore that they refer to those paying to rape these children as “clients” rather than clearly naming them as rapists. If they had named them as rapists, it would have begged the question of what to call men who pay to rape sexually exploited children after they turn 18, or adult women who have been coerced by pimps or financial desperation – and the whole house of cards might have come tumbling down.

The report acknowledges that gathering data on sexually exploited children is always difficult, but that it has got worse under the PRA, not least because there are no systematic efforts to collect such data. Surveys by support agencies disagree about whether there’s been an increase in the prostitution of children, but the report concludes that there hasn’t been. However, the 2012 US Trafficking in Persons Report calls out New Zealand for lax laws regarding human trafficking and warns about the sexual exploitation of children – especially those of indigenous descent.

It is difficult to enforce the law against the prostitution of children:

“Police officers may request, but have no powers to require, age identification documentation from a person they suspect to be an underage person providing commercial sexual services. Police reported that this makes it difficult to proactively protect young people who are involved, or at risk of being involved, in underage prostitution.” […] “Police report difficulties bringing prosecutions relating to the use of under age people in prostitution.” (Page 109)

Sentences for these offences against children are lenient. Although the PRA increased the maximum sentence for paying to rape a child from five to seven years, the longest sentence handed down up to 2008 was only two years and the majority of sentences were mere fines, supervision, community service, or home detention.

Prosecutions are low because the PRA presents real practical barriers to identifying child victims. For example, the police may not enter a brothel without a warrant even if they suspect a child is being exploited there – although they may enter without a warrant to check the establishment’s liquor license.

These measures were designed to decrease opportunities for the police to abuse their power over the women. However, there was no attempt to decrease opportunities for pimps and brothel owners to abuse their power.

Health inspectors are meant to monitor working conditions in brothels and compliance with health and safety standards (although how they are expected to check for compliance with the requirement for condom use is unclear). But it is not their responsibility to verify the age of brothel workers, nor could they if they wanted to, because brothels are not required to keep such records. And anyway health inspections are few and far between.

Even though the study that informed the PRA documented the severe economic desperation of many women in prostitution, the decriminalisation model does not consider poverty to be sufficiently coercive to constitute “forced prostitution.” The review committee only considered the conditions for “forced work” to be met when the victim reported pimp control. They ignored the many ways in which pimp control can be subtle and how victims often cannot recognise the coercion involved.

The decriminalisation model works on the false assumption that the majority of people in the sex trade are consenting adults and that anyone not adult, not consenting, or whose human rights are violated in any way, can turn to support services or law enforcement themselves, or someone else (presumably a punter) will inform the authorities on their behalf – in spite of all the evidence that this is unlikely.

The reviewers even acknowledge that there are problems with waiting for a child to cry for help:

“The prosecution is reliant on under age people giving evidence in Court as witnesses. Under age people may not wish to co-operate with a prosecution as they wish to continue providing commercial sexual services. It is also important to note that under age people may not often see themselves as victims and will therefore not make a complaint.” (Page 109)

But in spite of all of these structural flaws, licensed brothels and strip clubs must pay tax. This means that the NZ government, like the German government, benefits financially from the exploitation of the prostitution of children and vulnerable adults – in violation of obligations under CEDAW. Or to put it more bluntly, the NZ and German governments are pimps and facilitate sex trafficking.
Vested interests and policy capture

Law and policy makers have a duty to ensure they act dispassionately and are not held hostage by those with vested interests, and that they don’t leave gaps that allow vulnerable people to be exploited.

The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) positions themselves as the definitive voice of people in prostitution in NZ while advocating for the full decriminalisation of all aspects of the prostitution industry. The NZPC has been criticised for denying the harms intrinsic to prostitution, hostility towards anyone who disagrees with their position, and for not providing exit opportunities for women and girls wishing to leave the industry – which can have the effect of prolonging involvement in the sex trade.

The review committee appears to have been taken in by the NZPC:

“In relation to street-based under age prostitution, the NZPC does not believe that increased arrests of clients by Police are an appropriate solution. The NZPC argue that increased arrests will merely drive young people somewhere less visible (and consequently less safe) and will not significantly decrease demand.” (Page 110)

Is it conceivable that a formal government review body would report a lobby group’s recommendation that legislation again any other violent crime against children should not be enforced? Let’s try that statement out with another violent crime against children:

“In relation to child battery, the NZPC does not believe that increased arrests of adults who beat children by Police are an appropriate solution. The NZPC argue that increased arrests will merely drive battered children somewhere less visible (and consequently less safe) and will not significantly decrease the crime of child battery.”

How about adults giving drugs to children? Does heroin become any less harmful when the victim is lying in a drug den rather than by the street?

How could the review committee not see the NZPC position as cruel, profoundly irresponsible, and in violation of safeguarding standards? It seems incomprehensible. Until, that is, you understand that the NZPC were an integral part of the review committee itself:

“The NZPC collected information, partnered on the research team appointed by the Ministry of Justice to conduct the research, and ultimately secured seats as evaluators on the Prostitution Law Review Committee charged with assessing the research and making recommendations.” – Janice Raymond

It is true that various anti-violence laws when inadequately approached by law enforcement and institutions can harm victims – but the answer is not to decriminalise the crime, but to improve the training of law enforcement and related services, and to implement preventative measures.

Trends in prostitution-related organized crime are visible to the trained eye by observing the conditions of prostituted women on the streets. One such trend is that pimps and traffickers are not discouraged by legality (quite the opposite). Residents and outreach organizations in NZ report that despite the PRA, horrific crimes against adults and children persist in street prostitution, often in plain sight.

The review committee concluded that the PRA has not encouraged children to enter the sex trade, as most are still primarily motivated by economic desperation, rather than apparent glamour (p. 104).

However, sex trade survivors have long pointed out that narratives in the media and wider society, and how the law frames the issue, do influence children (and adults) and play a role in their entry into the sex trade – even though poverty and discrimination are also factors.

What sex trade survivors say

During a 2018 event, prostitution survivors described how the media and legislation normalize the sex trade in the minds of children and young adults. Sandra Norak, a German prostitution survivor, now law student, who was first introduced to the trade as an 18-year-old explains:

“When this loverboy took me to the brothel for the first time, I just wanted to run away. I was young, unstable and didn’t know what to do. And I didn’t know what kind of dangerous situation I was in.

He said: This is all completely normal. That’s the key word: Normal. Prostitution – supposedly – is normal and a job like any other.

From the perspective of my government, prostitution in our country is just a job. Pimps and brothel owners appear on TV and are treated like business men instead of criminals. The red-light district is described as a place ‘not so bad’. And so – like many other women I could not see that I was about to enter into a criminal milieu and a violent one.

Had society told me: ‘Prostitution is dangerous, violent and a violation of human dignity,’ these traffickers would have had it much harder to entice me to enter prostitution. I would have been warned.”

Prostitution and paedophilia are inseparable
Jewell Baraka is interviewed by Francine Sporenda, Nordic Model Now!

Jewell is a survivor, abolitionist, and writer, who speaks her story to #ChangetheStory of exploitation in our culture. She was exploited for three years in prostitution and three years in porn, from age 11 to 17, in Portland, Oregon (USA). Now she fights alongside other survivors and abolitionists to bring awareness and shift culture. She is walking into a #NewDayRising for herself and reaches for that same reality for our culture, a new day where exploitation is no longer a pervasive, everyday reality. […]

Traduction Française

FS: Could you tell us how you entered prostitution (age, type of prostitution, where, who trafficked you, etc.)?

JB: I was trafficked by my father at 11, and at a brothel type warehouse in Portland, Oregon. I call it a brothel because it was a warehouse filled with temporary walls creating rows of rooms off of hallways. There were probably 50 rooms in total. The warehouse was kind of a cross between an underground, underage brothel and an Asian massage parlour type of prostitution.

On regular working nights we were escorted from the entrance to our room and then the buyers were brought in to us. It’s the guards who took each girl to their rooms for the night and took the money as they brought the men to us. So only they knew the true numbers of men, girls, and the amount of money that flowed through that warehouse. There did seem to be a rotation of girls, meaning we were not all there every night. Still there were a lot of girls involved. They had nights for new buyers where they lined us all up for these men to look and choose and on those nights we were all there. The first time I was in a line-up I was number 87.

I used to focus my gaze intently on the door to my room. All I had to do was make it from the time it opened with another buyer to the time it closed as the guard escorted him out.

FS: You said that your father trafficked you at 11. That’s an especially horrible way to enter prostitution. What type of family were you raised in?

JB: I was raised in a very religious family by appearance, although as you might expect, my father was a sociopath. I say that from my own observation and experience, not from a clinical diagnosis. Of course, he was not the kind of man to go near any type of mental health clinician. I have no idea what made him that way, how he became the man that I knew.

Trafficked can be a broad term so let me clarify what I mean when I say, “my father trafficked me.” My father is the one that struck a deal with these men when I was 11 and he was the one who upheld that deal every night for the next 6 years. I did not live at the warehouse. I went to school and church in the day, but every night two men would come to pick me up. And every night my father would strip me, put an old oil smelling blanket around me, and throw me in the trunk of their car. And then he did the reverse at the end of each night. He never actually went to the warehouse or the studio, but he was certainly the one responsible for my exploitation, which is why I call him my trafficker.

FS: Was it because he wanted the money or because he was a sociopath – or both?

JB: I would say definitely both. I don’t know the backstory on that, but here are the two things I know. I was there when the deal was made for me so I know there was money exchanged. The other thing I know is that my sociopath father was all about his pious image and obviously he was not living that life. So my guess is that the negotiations for me began because they had something on him.

FS: At the brothel, were the other women there very young too? Were they trafficked too? Who were they?

JB: That is the question that haunts me. Who were they? We were not allowed to talk as they escorted us to our rooms, but we would lock eyes. I never knew their names, but I knew their faces and eyes. I remember the terror in their eyes. I often wonder if they are alive and if they are, where they are now?

They were all young, in the same age range as me during that time. I was at the warehouse from 11 to 14.

FS: Were you sexually abused before being trafficked into prostitution?

JB: Yeah, my father’s sexual abuse began when I was 5 with stripping and touching. When I was 7, it escalated off charts. That’s when I saw the man, the sociopath behind the mask. His sexual torture games began that day as he tied me in a closet and stuck a knife inside me. I can only assume he was trying to make my hole bigger so he could insert himself into me more easily. The abuse, rape, and torture continued throughout my childhood until I left home at age 19.

FS: Please let me know if it’s too painful for you to talk about it…

JB: It is ok. I am doing fine. I write about my story all the time so I am used to processing through all of this. I am just not quite as clear and articulate verbally as I am in writing. I am a writer, after all.

FS: Who were the johns?

JB: The buyers came from all walks of life as far as I could tell. I saw the rings so I know many were married. The ones that stuck out were the religious men. I knew them by the crosses they wore around their neck or the priest collars that they still had on when they came through my door. The common thread between all of them is that they were old enough to be my father. There were no men in the 18-25 year old range coming into this warehouse. These were father men coming in to buy 11-14 year old girls. That is what tied all these men together.

FS: Did they talk to you?

JB: No, not really. They were not looking for girlfriends. They were looking for sex with a young girl acted out through some specific picture they had in their mind. Reality was the last thing they wanted in that room. From the moment they walked through that door I was in the middle of an act that would please them. It was never about me at all. Also, profit was the bottom line at the warehouse and they wanted to make a lot of it. So they moved the men in and out very quickly.

FS: Were they mostly interested in you because you were still a child? These men were essentially paedophiles?

JB: Yes, young seemed to be the point of this particular brothel type warehouse. Anybody coming to this warehouse was looking for young girls. There just were no girls older than about 14 or 15 there. Being there for 3 years I watched the cycles of the warehouse. Younger girls came in and girls who were 14 or 15, one night, would suddenly not be there. It was like that for me too. One night when I was 14 they took me to the studio instead of the warehouse and after that I never went back to the warehouse again. I think the demand for young girls is much higher than we imagine here in the United States. And the buyers are not shady looking men stalking playgrounds like they show on television. They are fathers and brothers and husbands from all walks of life.

FS: I suppose that you were so young that you could not set limits? You were there to do absolutely everything they wanted?

JB: Absolutely. We were not allowed to refuse customers, or to refuse even one of their demands. The one time I refused a customer did not go well for me. I remember that night distinctly.

I thought it was gross what he was asking of me and made a face at him, which was enough to incite his rage. He dragged me out of the room down to the hall, to where the boss of the warehouse was sitting. After he had finished ranting to the boss, the boss looked at me and then to one of the guards and just nodded. The guard calmly walked over to me, put a gun to my head and cocked it. As he began to pull the trigger he pulled the gun away from my head and shot it into the outside wall. Then hitting me across the head with the gun, he said, “Never do that again! The next time the bullet goes in.”

I got the message. I learned from that, that we, the prostituted, did not have rights. That was the day I knew that my humanity and all the rights that came with it had been revoked. To survive I knew I had to do and become whatever they wanted me to be. That night, a different type of violation of me began. In order to survive physically, I was forced to betray myself. Our survival instinct takes us down roads we would never take if we were really free. And it becomes another layer of violation. It takes a long time to heal from it but we do heal from it, it just takes time and hard work.

FS: Were the sexual demands of the johns influenced by pornography?

JB: Yes, I have no doubt about that. I was not aware of the influence when I was at the warehouse because I was not watching pornography myself. When I ended up in pornography, though, it all became clear. At the warehouse I remember wondering, “How do men even think of this stuff?” As we began to film in the porn studio, I saw the source of their inspiration clearly. The themes were the same and it was clear that this, porn, was the source of my buyers’ inspiration. Porn was feeding their twisted inspiration and demands.

FS: Do you consider – based on the average age of entry into prostitution being 14 – that prostitution is inseparable from paedophilia?

JB: Yes absolutely. From my experience, I would say that paedophilia is a huge problem here in the United States as well as across the world. Rachel Moran once said, of her time in indoor prostitution, “I have answered phones in enough brothels to know that the number one, question asked by the johns is ‘how old is your youngest girl?’” I resonate with that reality. The father-aged men that came to the warehouse wanted young girls, the younger the better. And the warehouse was a huge money-maker. There were about 50 rooms so you can safely say that hundreds of men came through it a week. Portland then, and I think now, is not even in the top 20 of population in the US—which highlights the unseen problem of paedophilia in America.

FS: I remember reading Rachel Moran’s book “Paid For”, and she said she had the most customers when she was very young, and as she grew older, she got less customers, they were not so interested in her anymore.

JB: Yes, I think that is precisely the reason that they transitioned us out of the warehouse when they did. They made more money with younger girls.

FS: How could such a big operation be overlooked by the police? Do you think they might have been “covered”?

JB: I don’t know how they were not seen or if they were paying somebody off. It felt like a very organized operation so I am sure they had some way of dealing with that. I had quite a few buyers who were religious men, but there may have been a flow of law enforcement through the warehouse too. In any case, the men who ran the warehouse were meticulous about details, details that kept them covered. For instance there were gym like showers that they moved us through at the end of each night. Looking back, it was not to be kind, it was to wash the evidence off of us. Also, we were never allowed to talk to each other so there was no ability to gain support or line up corroborating testimony. We never even knew each other’s names. And I was transported in the trunk of a car so I never knew where the warehouse was located. All I knew was how long it took from my house to the warehouse and a brief glimpse between the trunk and the warehouse door.

FS: To your opinion, what are the motivations and attitude towards women of the men who buy sex?

JB: The men’s motivations for buying sex, for not knowing us, was to be able to use and throw us away without guilt. The point of exploitation in prostitution and porn is to create a disposable population that can be used and abused by men without regard for their humanity. They want to not see us, to pretend as if we, the exploited, are not human.

I did not see them outside the warehouse so I am not sure how they interacted with their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers and co-workers. However, I do not believe you can dehumanize, abuse and rape a girl in one part of your life and not have it affect the way you relate to every other female in your life.

This interview was originally published in French on the Révolution Féministe website.

A review of Exit! by Grizelda Grootboom

January 12, 2019 by Admin

Exit! is the harrowing true story of Grizelda Grootboom’s journey into and through prostitution. Many people justify prostitution on the basis of the prostituted person’s choice. Grizelda’s story reveals the shallow irrelevance of this idea in a life blighted by childhood neglect and abandonment, rape, racism, poverty and lack of opportunity, coercion, betrayal and abduction. While Grizelda’s story is unique, there are many elements that are common to many of those who are prostituted worldwide.

From her earliest infancy Grizelda was cared for by her great grandparents in a lively old house, where her father also lived. Those were good years and Grizelda was happy. But when she was eight, her great grandmother died and the house lost its heart. Shortly afterwards her great grandfather also died and the lovely old house was marked for demolition. Her father was unable to cope and soon abandoned Grizelda.

She went to her mother, who now lived in a township with her new partner and two younger children, both boys. Instead of sending Grizelda to school, her mother treated her like a servant, forcing her to clean and cook, and fetch water from the communal tap. But it was on these trips to the tap that Grizelda managed to make friends with three other little girls and she’d get to play carefree games with balls and cans.

One evening, four youths surrounded the girls, and jostled and dragged them into an empty shack, where one by one, they raped them – starting with the oldest girl, who was 12. At nine, Grizelda was the youngest. She was the last to be raped and was terrified. Afterwards she walked home, blood streaming down her legs. When she got home her mother beat her for being late.

Tragically the ordeal ended the girls friendship – as they all grappled silently with the consequences.

“In the next few days, the playing came to an abrupt end. At the tap, we girls ignored each other.

Ice cold.

We couldn’t even meet each other’s eyes.

For me, not knowing isiXhosa so well, it was all about the body language. Now it was the girls’ body language and the look in their eyes that told me our brief friendship was over. So we never spoke or played together again. I guess we felt that if we ever spoke about our rape, something bad would happen to us, someone would harm us. It was partly the shock, but it was also the girls not wanting to bring shame to their families.

We just stayed afraid.”

I found this one of the most poignant passages in the book, perhaps because it chimed with my own experience. The overwhelming shame I felt after being sexually abused and raped as a girl and young woman isolated me not only from my peers but from anyone who was in any way wholesome. I believed the men’s violence was my fault. It was proof of my own uncleanness and I couldn’t let anyone near me in case they found this out. And this isolation made me a sitting target for further abuse. The stark simplicity of Grizelda words capture this dynamic eloquently.

The same boys raped other girls, gradually becoming more violent as their confidence grew. The community knew exactly what was happening but blamed the girls while exonerating the boys.

Not long afterwards, Grizelda left her mother’s place and for the next seven years lived on the streets and in a series of shelters for homeless girls. She became tough and streetwise but still hankered for love and acceptance and believed her dad would give it to her if only she could find him. When she was 15 she discovered where he was living through a chance encounter with an uncle. A train ride away, she managed to visit her father, only to meet rejection yet again. On the train back to Cape Town she was raped once more.

Over the following months she saw him occasionally and they struck up something of a relationship, but this too was soon snatched away when he died unexpectedly. A short while later her best friend from the shelter was gang raped and stoned to death at a local beauty spot. After visiting the spot, Grizelda got back to the shelter late and found herself locked out. This triggered a return to living on the streets, where she made friends with Ntombi, a middle class girl.

Ntombi gave Grizelda gifts and encouraged her to come to Johannesburg, where she was studying, promising Grizelda could live with her while she got on her feet. To Grizelda, desperate to turn her life around, it seemed like the lucky break she’d been waiting for. But when Ntombi met Grizelda at the station in Johannesburg, instead of taking her to her own lodgings, she delivered Grizelda to sadistic pimps / human traffickers who tied her up, injected her with drugs, sold her to men for brutal sexual use, and left her lying helplessly in her own excrement. After a few weeks another girl arrived and Grizelda was thrown out of the house in the middle of the night.

She was then alone on the streets of Johannesburg, filthy, traumatised, with no money and hardly any clothes; desperate for the drugs she’d become forcibly addicted to.

“I was so numb. But I needed to feel numb. I needed to earn money to buy the drugs that made me numb. I was so desperate for those drugs to take me away from my thoughts.”

An older woman introduced her to the world of street prostitution and taught her the ropes. Prostitution was the only option that presented itself to the homeless Grizelda and the only way of getting the drugs she craved. The prostitution enabled her to survive and to buy drugs but there was never any money over to plan an escape to a better life.

Her dependence on drugs led to being under the power of the ruthless drug dealers who doubled as pimps.

“The minute the pimp buys her a drink in the club, he has already dropped a drug in her drink, and that’s how it starts.”

She describes her struggle to be independent from the pimps while still managing to get a steady supply of drugs. She got a regular bar job and was allowed to sleep in the bar’s storeroom but carried on seeing punters at the weekend. Things were improving and she had some stability at last. But then she fell pregnant. When she told the father, one of her punters, he quickly disappeared. It was too late for an abortion and reluctantly she gave the baby up for adoption.

She returned to the bar job and found a separate place to stay. Grief at giving up the baby added to her heavy load of anguish – and so she went back to prostitution to get the money to buy the drugs that gave her the numbness that was her only relief.

“But here I was in this life where I was paid to connect with people, to satisfy their needs but not my own. And it was all driven by this desperate addiction to drugs – the addiction that kept the cycle going, and which took away all my confidence as a person. The drugs took away my dreams of a better life.”

She started thinking that stripping might be an easier option:

“I knew that training as a stripper would be a bonus for my profession: moving up to working in the safety of a strip club is a major goal for any prostitute. It offered better income opportunities and was a way of avoiding the abusiveness of street pimps. Over the next few years I would come to learn that it had its own dangers, but at the time I thought it was a good option for me.”

She got a job in a strip club. As one of only two black strippers, she stood out to the mainly white punters and she developed routines that emphasised her African body, including one involving hot wax. The punters loved this and she was invited to parties organised by rich men, including government and church ministers. Although illegal in the strip clubs, as usual, prostitution was endemic. Stripping did not provide an escape from that life.

I found the description of the years that followed in that dark world of drugs, prostitution and stripping hard to read. She describes that time as “years lost in a haze of drugs and emotional dislocation.” She explains the perpetual battle to avoid and escape the ruthless pimps who saw her as a meal ticket. She describes the punters who paid her to submit to violent beatings, the white supremacy that imbued the whole scene, and the inescapable requirement to endlessly pander to men’s narcissistic needs no matter what the cost.

But maybe the hardest thing for me as a reader to see was how when all you’ve known from childhood is violence and betrayal and you’ve lost hope of any other kind of life, all of this brutality comes to seem normal – as just how things are – and you concentrate on making the best of things within those terrible parameters. We hear of this dynamic from many women who’ve survived years in prostitution.

When she was 26 Grizelda got pregnant again and started to think about keeping the baby and having a different kind of life. But the owner of the bar where she was working insisted she had an abortion and when Grizelda wouldn’t agree, they drugged her and performed an abortion without her consent or medical assistance.

Later the same day, while still bleeding profusely, she was told to put a sponge in her vagina to absorb the blood and to take a punter. She explained what happened:

“While I was waiting, half naked in my lingerie at the bar, I saw this guy coming towards me. And something in my aching gut just said no.

I just couldn’t do it. And that was the day I said, ‘This is it.’”

Saying no to a pimp is an invitation to get killed (that’s why most of the time the women don’t say no – exactly as the pimps intend). And that occasion was no exception. The bouncers beat her up and dumped her on the street in Johannesburg. She was picked up and taken to hospital. While recovering in hospital she was befriended by a nun who arranged for her to go into drug rehabilitation.

This was the beginning of a realisation that she didn’t want to continue in the life of drugs and prostitution, and that she couldn’t keep running from her pain. If she was to be free, she had to turn and face the agony.

The next chapters cover her struggles to build a new life for herself. This also makes painful reading. The only support that seemed available came from a variety of Christian churches, each with its own brand of hypocrisy and cruelty. For a couple of years she slipped in and out of prostitution and drug running, while she struggled to find another way of supporting herself. She began a relationship with a man from the DRC who seemed gentle and kind. She got pregnant and at his insistence had the baby. But after the baby was born, he became violent and she realised he’d only wanted the child so he could get a South African passport. Another betrayal.

More disjointed years follow but gradually she makes progress. By the end of the book, she has found decent work in a call centre, has connected with Embrace Dignity which provides support to women in prostitution, was enjoying her child, and her relationship with her mother, though not easy, was slowly mending.

Exit! is not an easy read, but it is an important one. Grizelda describes an alienated world reeling from the centuries of colonialism, the decades of apartheid, and the millennia of male supremacy. A world in which prostitution is the paramount relationship between men and women. A world in which men suck women dry and women have to hustle to survive. A world in which predation is the norm.

The ANC has recently resolved to decriminalise the system of prostitution and recognise it as regular work. In a country so ravaged by historical brutality, this is perhaps not surprising. But it is surely a terrible mistake. Oh, South Africa, your girls and young women are your future. They deserve better. And so do your young men. Giving the ruthless sex trade free rein in the current culture would be catastrophe. The sex trade is not reformable. It can never be safe. Listen to the courageous survivors who are speaking out about its brutality. Listen to the magnificent Grizelda Grootboom.

There is a better way. One based on dignity and human rights, and equality between the sexes. It’s called the Nordic Model.

Report finds 90% of sex workers want to leave trade but resources are not there to help them
By Liz Dunphy

January 29, 2020 - 07:03 PM

Vulnerable sex workers have not been given the supports and resources they were promised – supports which could help them leave prostitution and dismantle the illegal sex trade, a new report has found.

An interim review, charting the implementation of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 which changed the law to decriminalise the act of selling sex while criminalising the buyer, found that poverty, homelessness and insecure housing, coercion (by pimps, traffickers or partners), lack of education, psychological trauma, isolation and immigration status keep people trapped in the sex trade.

Additional resources were supposed to accompany the new legislation which would allow vital specialist services like the Women’s Health Service (WHS), Ruhama and other NGOs to support those in prostitution, help them plan new futures and leave it for good.

However, although those extra resources were promised, they were not delivered, leaving both State and NGO services struggling to meet needs, the report found.

According to Ruhama, approximately 90% of women want to exit prostitution at some point but have a perception that there are no viable alternatives for them.

Written by child and family law expert, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the report recommends that the right to protection, accommodation, legal advocacy, exit routes from prostitution and support for victims must be protected and enshrined in Irish policy.

It also says that special effort must be made to help sex workers isolated in rural areas and that workers must be assessed for their potential threat of re-victimisation, trauma and health needs.

It advises that police training must continue, helping Gardaí to understand the vulnerabilities and power dynamics of prostitution.

It also recommends the appointment of an Independent National Rapporteur on gender-based violence and exploitation.

The report says: “Funding should be increased to ensure additional resourcing of services supporting women and offering pathways to exit.

Additional resourcing should be available to ensure legal representation, accommodation, redress, migration advice and representation and access to employment.

Research indicates that 1,000 women work in indoor prostitution in Ireland and more than 800 women are advertised on the internet with sexually explicit pictures and detailed lists of the sexual acts which can be bought.

The latest Trafficking in Persons report published last June referenced 115 investigations into human trafficking in 2017 and 90 in 2016).

It said the government reported 64 investigations in 2018, equal to the number of identified victims and the government initiated each investigation in response to a separate allegation of human trafficking.

Research also shows that 87% - 97% of those involved in prostitution are migrant women aged between 18-58, with fears that girls as young as 16 years could be involved.

Daphne Bramham: Allowing paroled murderers to visit brothels isn't just stupid, it's illegal and deadly

Opinion: It's impossible to understand why Canada's parole board allows men who have killed their intimate partners to go to brothels on day parole.

by Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, January 31, 2020

It is unbelievable that men who have killed their intimate partners would not only be allowed, but encouraged, to go to brothels while they are on parole and out on day passes.

But that’s exactly what Canada’s parole board agreed to last September for Eustachio Gallese, 51, who had brutally murdered his wife in 2004.

He had sexual needs, his caseworker told the board. But because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution to satisfying his “sexual needs.”

It’s a solution that blatantly disregards the fact that buying sexual services is a criminal offence, as is operating a brothel.

But, more tragically, the order was approved with cruel disregard for the unsuspecting women on whom Gallese was set loose.

On Jan. 23 this year, Gallese turned himself in to Quebec City police and pointed them to the hotel room where they found the body of 22-year-old Marylène Lévesque. He’s since been charged with murder.

Lévesque had defensive wounds and had been stabbed, according to Le Journal de Quebec. The newspaper also reported that Lévesque had worked in a massage parlour and that Gallese was a regular customer, and had bought her gifts including a television for Christmas.

Marylène Lévesque was killed in a Sainte-Foy hotel room Jan. 22. Parolee Eustachio Gallese was arrested in connection with the death.

But both the Montreal Gazette and Le Soleil reported that Gallese had been banned from the brothel because he had been violent with several others who worked there.

Lévesque made the mistake of meeting him at a hotel.

In 1997, Gallese was convicted for conjugal violence. Seven years later, Gallese murdered his 32-year-old partner, Chantal Deschênes, beating her first with a hammer and then repeatedly stabbing her.

He was sentenced in 2006 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years, and deemed at high risk of committing violence against a partner a year later.

But, at some point, that risk evaluation was revised to moderate and in 2016 — five years before he was due for parole — Gallese was allowed supervised outings.

Last March, he was released to a halfway house. The parole board denied him full parole last September at a hearing. A written summary of the decision indicates that parole board members were caught off guard when Gallese discussed his interactions with women over the previous six months.

“During the hearing, your parole officer underlined a strategy that was developed with the goal that would allow you to meet women in order to address your sexual needs,” it says.

It went on to say: “The hearing allowed us to realize you managed, and this with the approval of your case-management team, relations with women that the board considers inappropriate.”

It was a strategy, the board noted, that “paradoxically constitutes a worrying and significant risk factor.” It ordered a re-examination of the terms in six months.

Two months shy of that re-evaluation, Lévesque is dead.

How many other parolees, if any, have similar orders in place is not clear. The Parole Board of Canada did not respond to questions before this column’s deadline.

But even if it is a singular case, the decision in Gallese’s case reflects some deeply disturbing notions.

The first is that men — even violent criminals — have a right to satiate their sexual appetites with another person.

The second is the perverse idea that if a violent man is incapable or not ready to form a healthy relationship with another person, it’s OK for him to engage in unhealthy relationships where, as the buyer, he has power over the seller.

Finally, putting the sexual needs of a violent criminal ahead of the safety of other Canadians, including those who do sex work, suggests a grotesque hierarchy that is an affront to the constitutional and moral ideals of equality.

Two former parole board members have posited that the reason Gallese was allowed to visit massage parlours is that 14 of Quebec’s parole board members have less than three years’ experience and several have never dealt with cases involving dangerous offenders.

They suggest that more experienced board members might have challenged the caseworker’s plan.

That may be so. But it does raise questions about what qualifications these government-appointed board members have. One might expect that at the very least they are reasonable people who are reasonably well-informed.

But what reasonable person would knowingly place a violent offender in an illegal brothel to commit the criminal offence of paying for sex?

And it doesn’t seem unreasonable that parole board caseworkers, as well as inexperienced parole board members, ought to know at least something about the murdered and missing Indigenous women, or the epidemic of sexual violence that translates into one death every 36 hours, or the fact that only five per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported, partly because only one in five of those will be dismissed as unfounded by police.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair ordered an investigation by Corrections Canada and the parole board to determine the circumstances of Gallese’s release and provide recommendations for change.

“We want to be clear that the use of sexual services is not a practice we support in the case management of offenders,” Esther Mailhot, Corrections Canada’s communications adviser, said in an emailed response.

Corrections is taking Gallese’s case “very seriously” and “any recommendations … will be reviewed and implemented to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

Why this tragedy happened is simple: The people responsible for keeping the public safe failed.

The more complicated question is, how did the institutions and the culture at both Corrections Canada and the parole board allow those individuals to fail so spectacularly?

Escaping sex trafficking often takes years, new research shows
by Janice Dickson, Globe and Mail, Feb 18, 2020

It often takes years for women and girls who have been sex trafficked in Canada to escape their traffickers due to psychological manipulation, violence and at times a lack of faith in police and the justice system, new research shows.

In many cases, it will take a traumatic event – such as having a friend murdered.

The findings are part of a national research project supported by a team at Covenant House, the country’s largest organization helping homeless, trafficked or vulnerable young people. Researchers conducted interviews in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Thunder Bay, Montreal, Halifax and St. John’s with 201 people who support survivors and 50 individuals who have been sex trafficked.

The study found that most victims are sex trafficked domestically. In Montreal, participants said victims were often moved to other parts of the country, where Quebec culture is considered "exotic.” Others were moved to towns and cities with industries such as oil, fishing or tourism.

Some survivors reported being physically detained and threatened with physical violence, said Amanda Noble, the head researcher at Covenant House and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. But most often it was psychological manipulation that kept them from fleeing.

“There was one survivor that I interviewed that was chained in a basement. Others were kept in rooms or houses, but that was very much not the norm … most of the time it was a process of psychological manipulation and coercion,” Dr. Noble said.

That’s why the initial interaction between a victim trying to escape and an authority figure such as a police officer or medical staff is “crucial,” the report said.

“During this contact, they have a unique opportunity to intervene, develop a relationship, and provide referrals or support,” it noted, adding that out of mistrust of authorities or fear of the trafficker’s retribution, victims are often reluctant to say anything.

Some who were interviewed said they felt the police were non-responsive or judgmental, leaving them feeling betrayed. One survivor told the researchers she was hesitant to turn to police after an experience she had with them.
Open this photo in gallery

“I was raped in my apartment and it was because I would not accept this guy as a client. Did I call the cops? Nope, because I know what would have happened: ‘Are you sure you were raped? Are you sure it wasn’t a client that just didn’t pay you?’”

Story continues below advertisement

The report said encounters with police tended to improve when there was a unit dedicated to sex trafficking or when officers had received special training. Other recommendations include having specialized Crown attorneys and judges preside over sex-trafficking cases; adding lessons about the dangers of sex trafficking to school curriculums; and improving training for health-care providers to recognize the signs of it.

The study has helped inspire a new awareness campaign called “Shoppable Girls.”

“We are attempting to mirror the notion that the traffickers really just view these young women, daughters, sisters, as shoppable, buyable things,” said Julie Neubauer, the manager of Covenant House’s anti-human trafficking team. “People often talk about how sex trafficking is under our noses … I want to bring it where it actually is, which is right in front of our faces.”

The campaign includes the story of a survivor who is sharing her experience publicly for the first time.

The 26-year-old said she had just begun university in Toronto, her mental health deteriorating, when she first engaged in sex work. She was out walking when a car started following her. A man propositioned her, and not wanting him to follow her to her residence, she gave in.

“That resulted in sex work becoming kind of this very infrequent alternative form of self-harm for me, as a way of coping with everything else I was experiencing,” she said.

It was also how she met her trafficker. One night, a man suggested they work together and split the proceeds. Feeling “numb and apathetic,” she agreed.

The relationship quickly grew violent. He would choke her, slap her and slam her head if she disobeyed him. After about two years of trafficking her, he raped her.

The next day, after meeting with her psychiatrist, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. After asking them for help, her doctors and family made a plan, and she told the police. Her trafficker faced numerous charges, including exercising control over her for the purpose of exploitation, receiving material benefit from her exploitation and sexual assault. After a two-year court process, he was acquitted of all charges.

“It’s extremely upsetting and definitely has taken a lot of work on my part to start to be okay with that. I’m not always okay with it,” she said.

Since escaping her trafficker, she has returned to university. She said she hopes other victims speak up.

“I stayed silent. I didn’t say anything when it was happening to me. It really took an effort of a lot of other people to get me out of what I was experiencing."

Reply to Discussion


Violence Prevention List

Click here for violence prevention list

Click on rose


© 2020   Created by ROSE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service