One cop once told me: there are few prostitutes who I will feed from, I need a new car. Law enforcement violence has not disappeared. We are now taking the girls by the hands to the regional department so that they can safely write statements against the policemen who beat and raped them. The regional departments often refuse to accept such statements.
The autumn attempt to direct the Ukrainian sex services market to a legitimate path failed - the people's deputy from the Volya Naroda deputy group, Andrei Nemirovsky, had to withdraw his draft law “On the regulation of prostitution and the activities of sex institutions” less than a month after registration.
The document was criticized by both supporters and opponents of the decriminalization of sex work, however, according to the author, he achieved his goal: he brought up the issue of the status of the “oldest profession” in the field of public discussion. One of them, dedicated to the International Day for the Protection of Sex Workers from Violence, was held last week at the capital's Center for Visual Culture. "HOT-LOVE.INFO" publishes the main points of speakers.
Daphne Rachok, editor of the online publication “Criticism is Political”, gender researcher:
- Discussions about sex work have not subsided for several decades, and it seems that it is still very far from consensus. Let's try to deal with different models of regulating sex work, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. I will make a reservation, by sex work I will primarily mean prostitution, we are unlikely to have time to talk about pornography and other types of sex industry.
The ideas of abolitionism (in relation to prostitution) have their roots in 19th century British feminism. Abolitionists argue that prostitution as a phenomenon is the result of male sexual desire, that no woman will ever agree to engage in prostitution voluntarily, and therefore women who are involved in prostitution must be immediately saved, as they are victims of sexual violence and patriarchy.
Although prostitution is not a crime for abolitionists, it is sex workers who become the main targets: often, as part of an abolitionist policy, they cannot join unions (as this can be regarded as “propaganda of prostitution”) or work together (one of them may be arrested for "pimping").
One of the goals of the advocates of the “Swedish model” is to reduce the number of women involved in prostitution, ideally reducing this figure to zero
Client criminalization policy, also known as the “Scandinavian” or “Swedish model”, can be attributed to modern abolitionism. This approach implies a criminally prohibited ban on the purchase of sex services, while their sale remains legal. The client’s criminalization model is based on the same idea that prostitution is a form of sexual violence and that women do not voluntarily enter the sex industry.
Prostitution is driven by demand - that is, men, advocates of this approach often argue. Prostitutes themselves in this paradigm are seen as victims in need of salvation. Thus, the line between sex by agreement and rape is blurred.
One of the goals of the advocates of the “Swedish model” is to reduce the number of women involved in prostitution, ideally reducing this figure to zero. In particular, there is an opinion that due to the criminalization policy of the client, the number of sex workers in Sweden and Norway has significantly decreased. However, there are actually problems with the numbers - there were few reliable statistics until 1999.
If the client’s criminalization approach does not consider sex work itself a crime, then a full criminalization policy makes both buying and selling sex services illegal. The punishment for breaking the law varies from country to country, and in the USA - from state to state. For example, in Alabama, a sex worker and client can be expected to receive a fine of $ 6 thousand, a year in prison, or both at once, while a pimp or brothel owner will receive a fine of $ 15 thousand and will be given from 1 to 10 years in prison.
In California, a sex worker and client are likely to get off with a fine of $ 1,000, but possibly a year in prison. In Ukraine, where prostitution is criminalized, a sex worker expects a fine of 50 to 500 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens or community service for up to 120 hours. But, most likely, it will end with a police bribe - since in countries where sex work is prohibited, the police often cover brothels and street sex workers.
Legalization assumes that all or some aspects related to sex work become legal and are regulated by the state. Government regulation may mean forced physical examinations of sex workers, registration of brothels and / or sex workers, and regular inspections of brothels.
For example, in most Nevada counties, sex work is legal, but local brothels are predominantly located in remote rural areas, and sex workers are required to use condoms and be checked regularly for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Nevada sex workers work as “independent contractors” without unemployment or sickness benefits, or retirement benefits, but they pay a federal income tax. The system in Nevada is often criticized, as brothel owners are in a more privileged position, and sex workers can hardly change anything in their working conditions.
Sex workers in the Netherlands are forced to rent a workplace - about 80 euros for 10 hours of window rental is not in the best place
In the Netherlands, brothels become legal only after they receive a license from the state. Sex workers can work as “full-time employees” in brothels, but in practice most people prefer to be “independent contractors”. Such a system occasionally raises complaints, since often sex workers do not want to advertise their identity to the brothel owners. In addition, it is not entirely clear what kind of labor relations sex workers and brothel owners consist of. Sex work in the Netherlands is considered the same work as other activities.
Sex workers are required to pay income tax (about 19% of the income from each client) and contributions to pension and insurance funds, and the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions has been accepting sex workers into their ranks since 2000. However, there are also disadvantages: being “independent entrepreneurs”, sex workers are forced to take off their jobs, which in itself is not cheap: about 80 euros for 10 hours of renting a display case is not in the best place. Over the past couple of years, window rental rental prices have risen and sex workers sometimes have to work 17 hours a day - just to cover rental costs and not go into the red.
Another possible way to regulate sex work is to decriminalize it. The essence of decriminalization is that activities related to sex work are fully or partially excluded from the scope of criminal law. Unlike legalization, decriminalization implies less government intervention in the regulation of sex work. This approach considers sex work another type of work.
Independent sex workers who do not work in brothels, but on their own, are perceived as decriminators as freelancers. Often, decriminalization is accompanied not only by the recognition of sex services as work, but also by the care for the health and safety of sex workers. New Zealand became a pioneer in this area - in 2003, its parliament adopted a decree on the reform of prostitution.
According to this law, sex workers are required to use condoms, but a violation of this rule is not considered a criminal act. Moreover, thanks to this law, sex workers are protected by the state law on health and safety in the workplace. The law also distinguishes between voluntary and forced sex work: coercion to provide sex services is prohibited and prosecuted criminally. The disadvantages of the Decree “On the Reform of Prostitution” include the fact that only New Zealand citizens can be involved in sex work, as those who have a temporary visa are prohibited from engaging in sex work.
Oksana Pokalchuk, coordinator of educational programs at Amnesty International in Ukraine:
- This summer, we, Amnesty International, after an internal debate, made a statement on global support for the decriminalization of sex work around the world. I emphasize that it is precisely for decriminalization, and not for legalization.
Decriminalization is the removal of any criminal liability for the provision of services, and it does not provide for any additional state control over the activity.
Amnesty International conducted a huge study interviewing sex workers, anti-trafficking organizations, human rights defenders, and we concluded that decriminalization is the most acceptable and humane way to deal with this issue.
You know, then there was a lot of noise, they said that Amnesty International almost supported human trafficking. No, in no case do we support human trafficking; this is a violation of human rights. Also, we do not support pimps, people who force others to engage in sex work. We are only in favor of ending the criminal prosecution of people who are forced to provide sexual services.