Yesterday, Coventry Women’s Voices blogged about the fantastic work of, Ruth Jacobs, writer and campaigner, who, throughout the month, has conducted interviews with a variety of campaigners, survivors and exited prostituted women for Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Today we will share Ruth’s thought provoking interview with Nicole Rowe, Anti-Sex Trade Activist and Co-Founder of Nordic Model Advocates (NorMAs), in which she speaks of the circumstances that led to the formation on NorMAs, the work she is involved in and the legal improvements she feels need to be made in order to abolish prostitution.
How did you become involved in supporting the abolition of prostitution?
As a feminist activist, you have to be wilfully blind to ignore the sex trade. I was planning a one-off activist stunt around sex trafficking at a UK activist training event, and was fortunate that those I met were passionate and dedicated enough to want to form an organisation with me to tackle the foundation that holds trafficking up – prostitution. If we lived in a world where women’s bodies were not for sale, then sex traffickers would not be able to operate. So, the best place to start alleviating the problem of trafficking is with prostitution.
What draws you to support and advocate for people in prostitution?
Largely, the lack of people doing so, and my outrage at that. Put simply, we live under a capitalist, patriarchal system, which means profit comes before people. For those at the receiving end of the profit, this is, of course, brilliant. For those who aren’t, they can become the capital. These are likely to be the most disenfranchised members of society – and under gender inequality, which manifests itself in all sorts of sexual exploitation, those are likely to be women, or actually, girls. The average age of entry in prostitution varies ever so slightly from country to country or from study to study, but from what I have read, it is consistently between eleven and thirteen. Worldwide figures about the human rights abuse of violence against women should be shocking us into action. Instead, it is under-funded. Prostitution is doubly neglected because it is ‘too controversial’. I went to a recent human rights conference about the Istanbul Convention (an international convention to commit member states of the Council of Europe to act against violence against women) where they flatly admitted this. They immediately discounted prostitution, although it fits legal definitions of violence against women – purely because they knew it was divisive and they needed to be productive within a limited time. So, women in prostitution, who are eighteen times more likely to be murdered than the average population and who face all kinds of verbal, physical and sexual violence are swept under the carpet. We are bowing to the profit-makers, to the pimps and the capitalists who see women as commodities. This needs to be discussed, or those interested in profit will win, as they are winning now, because neo-liberal capitalism lets them.
To read the full interview, click here………..