Legitimising Prostitution (ie Pimps & Punters)

The sex trade lobby states prostitution ‘is just work’, stigma is the real issue for those selling sex and any other issues can be minimised through regulation. It calls not just for those selling sex to be decriminalised but for pimps and punters to be decriminalised. These are the consequences:


Evidence across the globe shows that legitimising the sex trade makes it more harmful, not less, with increases in abuse, trafficking, child rape prostitution & more:

Legalising prostitution increases trafficking
Study across 150 countries

Legitimising prostitution increases trafficking
EU report

Why legalising increases abuse
Economic theory and the sex trade

Sex Trafficking harder to prevent when prostitution legitimised

Myths of Prostitution (interviews with survivors)



Some states have ‘legalised’, some ‘decriminalised’ prostitution

Overview: How legitimising the sex trade has failed

Book: ‘Making Sex Work’ in Australia

Simone Watson (survivor/campaigner) explains the harms of the Australian system



Prostitution Legalised (pimps/punters decriminalised, state makes money from it).
Previously Decriminalised (pimps/punters decriminalised, state made no money from it) :

Deaths with 1/2 million in state brothels

Yearly murders/Attempted murders

The truth about Germany’s Mega Brothel

Germany – a key destination for traffickers

Germany – Exploitation and Trafficking

German sex trade – an overview

90% of the prostituted are migrant women


Prostitution legalised

Brothels ‘A failed social experiment’: Mayor of Amsterdam

Holland to criminalise men who buy trafficked women

Trafficking in Holland

Holland moves to end sex trade entirely


Ipswich pre 2006
Penalise the prostituted/legitimise the industry
Both approaches were tried. 5 women murdered by serial killer


Prostitution allowed in a ‘managed zone’

Women selling sex are being criminalised, not punters 

Rapes, murders assaults

The reality of the zone

Holbeck: A case study of hell


Prostitution Legalised

A hub for sex trafficking & murder


New Zealand
Prostitution ‘decriminalised’ (pimps & punters decriminalised, not just those who sell sex, with little state control)


Destination for trafficking & child rape prostitution

A hub for human trafficking

Indigenous women and children the target for traffickers

How Law has increased harm for the prostituted

Analysis of Child sex trafficking in New Zealand

Survivor speaks out against decriminalising pimps

Prime Minister ‘Law hasn’t worked’ [2012]


Pimps and punters legalised 80 years ago, this includes ‘drive thru’ brothels

The Brutal Reality of 80 years of legalisation

A hub for sex trafficking


Although pimping, brothel keeping and kerb crawling are illegal, this is essentially ignored, whilst lap dancing is fully legitimised

UK – a ‘trafficking hub’ for Romanian women
Most women in lap dancing  then sell sex( Home Office, 2019 p27)

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The Wider Impact

Prostitution isn’t just about those in prostitution – it affects us all.

Sex buyers more likely to rape women (prostituted or otherwise)

Sex buyers have increased criminal/violence tendencies against women

Acceptance of prostitution correlates to assessment of sexual harassment 



The Nordic Model: Exit & Prevent

Many human rights groups see prostitution as inherently and overwhelmingly harmful. So they advocate for ending the demand for prostitution (surprisingly easily achieved), criminalising pimps and supporting women out – the ‘Nordic Model’.

Abolitionists call for all prostituted people to be supported out, pimps criminalised and punters deterred.  Where properly implemented, this is hugely successful:

The ‘Nordic’ Model
Criminalise pimps/punters support prostituted out

Comparison of different systems

Decriminalising pimps vs criminalising pimps
70 prostituted women murdered in Germany; zero in Sweden


Research indicates that, when properly implemented, the Nordic Model is a resounding success:

Introduced Nordic Model in 2014 after serial killer targeted native women in the sex trade
Ineffective as Law not properly implemented

Introduced Nordic Model in 2006 following serial murders of women in sex trade
Street Prostitution eradicated

Introduced Nordic Model in 2016
Nearly 400 exit programmes out of prostitution 
Review shows Law effective when implemented properly

Introduced Nordic Model in 2017
Early evidence shows shift to criminalise buyers not sellers (p 12-13)

Introduced Nordic Model in 1999
Large decrease in trafficking, child rape prostitution, violence

The Sex Trade & Covid

Clearly selling sex puts you at high risk of contagion. In countries that have legitimised the sex trade it is  those who sell sex , often through desperation, who are being criminalised during Covid for ‘breaking the rules’.  Meanwhile, ‘Sex Worker Unions’  lead the call for the industry to re-open, even during the midst of the pandemic, instead of demanding women are helped out of a totally unviable industry.

‘use bleach and disinfectant’

Canada: Covid outbreak at strip club

Germany: mega brothel shuts

Germany: Prostituted criminalised during lock down

Leeds: Prostituted being criminalised during lock down not pimps or punters

Ireland: Exploitation as Usual

Comprehensive review of the sex trade and Covid

Swiss prostitution restarted before contact sport

Sex Buyers during Covid



Prostitution Inevitable?

The ‘oldest oppression’ is often described as inevitable and unstoppable, so the best we can do is ‘manage’ it. But the reason for its very existence – men’s demand – could easily be eradicated, over night.

Chicago: 90% men deterred by being publicly exposed

France: 80% buyers ‘would never do it again’ after hearing testimony of survivors

Ipswich 2006: policing, zero tolerance, CCTV eradicates kerb crawling within 1 year

Scotland: up to 90% sex buyers deterred by fines/points off driving license



The Human Cost of the Sex Trade

Abuse prior to entry
50% were homeless

70% spent time in care

70% were abused as children

45% were sexually abused as children


Abuse in the sex trade

20-40% globally of those selling sex started as adolescents

up to 50% of women in prostitution started when under 18

95% of women in street prostitution are Class A drug users

70% have PTSD on a par with a torture victim

Women in prostitution with children likely to be living away from them

The mortality rate can be 12 times higher than normal

Women in prostitution up to 18 times more likely to be murdered

90% of women globally want to escape prostitution

The Financial Cost of the Sex Trade

The financial costs of prostitution are astronomical to those in it as well as the state (from the increased cost of social care to the huge criminal costs that go hand-in-hand with the industry)


Cost to Women in the Industry
Long term negative impact on earnings over a lifetime (p20)

France – Cost to the state €1.3 billion/year 

UK Cost to the State – £2 billion/year (p20)

Leeds – prostitution ‘zone’ £200,000/year (p24)



The Cost of Ending Prostitution

Ending the sex trade – getting women out whilst preventing entry through ensuring alternative options and eliminating demand, is hugely cost effective.

Ipswich -Eradicated Street Prostitution
Cost £7,000 per woman per year

€2.35 billion seized within 4 years from pimps, reallocated to victims

UK – APPG Prostitution
2:1 Return on Investment in exiting women and ending demand



The Buyers

Image via Elly Arrow

Apparently it’s not pimps or punters that kill, drive women to suicide or lead them to dissociate or experience PTSD. No. It’s ‘stigma’. Apparently decriminalising pimps and punters ends stigma. But sex buyers in countries that have done this have appalling attitudes towards the women they buy. Legitimising the sex trade does just that – legitimises the sex trade, ie the pimps, the punters, the traffickers & their attitudes, not the women who are bought and sold


Germany’s Punters

Victoria, Australia

Sex Buyers during Covid


Sex Trade Advocates

‘Sex worker’ ‘unions’, human rights groups, academics, funders, even ‘sex work’ outreach groups, anti-trafficking NGOs and ‘Marxists’ are falling over themselves to support the sex trade.

‘Sex Worker’ ‘Unions’ – full of Pimps

Intenational ‘Sex Worker’ Union (NSWP): Led by Pimp and convicted Sex Trafficker

NSWP Mexico: Chairwoman jailed for sex trafficking

‘Sex Worker’ Unions: Full of pimps, not the prostituted

Australia: ‘Erotic Services Provider Union’: Led by a convicted pimp

France: ‘Sex Workers’ group (STRASS): ‘a handful of members’

Germany: Sex Worker Union (BesD): Represents 0.01% of those who sell sex

Holland: ‘Sex Worker’ Group (Red Thread):  Led by academics who minimise harm

Spain: ‘Sex Worker’ Group (Ambit Dona): None of it members had been in prostitution

UK International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW): Run by a pimp


‘Sex Workers’ in other Unions?

Not only are those selling sex not represented by ‘sex worker unions’, they do not join mainstream unions either. That is because joining a union makes it even harder to do the one think they really want – get out

Germany: Trade Union: Membership opened to prostituted – a handful joined

Germany: 1 million in prostitution, 1% registered with Trade Unions

Spain: Existing Trade Union: Membership opened to prostituted – not one joined

Survivor, Hushke Mau: ‘Join a Union & it is impossible to get out of this ‘job”


‘Sex Worker’ ‘Unions’ – Advocate for Pimps

International [NSWP]: Claims their sex trafficker leader is ‘human rights defender’

Sex Worker’ Unions: Murders ignored in places where pimps decriminalised

Sex Worker’ Unions: Uses domestic violence murder to claim ‘stigma kills’

‘Sex Worker’ groups: No support for wiping criminal records for the prostituted

German: Sex Worker support group (SUBWAY): ‘Goal is not to get people out of prostitution’

India: ‘Sex Worker’ NGO (SANGRAM): Cut off from US funding for enabling pimps

New Zealand: (NZPC): Lies & misinformation given to those who sell sex

Survivor speaks out against ‘Sex Worker Unions’


Other Unions
The ‘Sex Worker Unions’ (run by and for pimps) have been busy advocating other unions to support them (ie pimps) and to themselves then lobby for pimps to be decriminalised. Clever, eh?

UK: Junior Doctors: Policy is to lobby BMA to support decriminalising pimps

UK: Nurses Union: Now advocates for decriminalising pimps

UK: GMB, ASLEF, TUC Union: Tactics used by the pimp lobby to ‘woo’ Trade Unions



‘Human Rights Advocates’

UN Aids/UN Women: Adopts policies of known pimp and (since jailed) sex trafficker

UN: Calls for decriminalising pimps & punters

WHO: ‘decriminalise pimps & punters to reduce spread of HIV’

#MeToo and #TimesUp: ‘Survivor’s Agenda’ views pimps as business men

Amnesty International: Policies dictated by UK’s largest pimp

Global Fund for Women: pro prostitution*

CARE International: appears to endorse prostitution*

Human Rights Watch: wants to decriminalise pimps*

Open Society Initiative: Staunchly pro-decriminalising pimps*

*From Julie Bindel’s ‘The Pimping of Prostitution’ Chap 7


Political Institutions

Governments and others: In Denial

European Commission: States can add prostitution ‘revenue’ to GDP

Dutch Government: Founded & funds ‘Red Thread’, a pro pimp NGO

UK: Lib Dems: Pro-pimp, pro-porn, pro-sex trafficking


Political Systems – from the Left to the Liberals
The founding philosophies of the Left (Marx) and Liberals (John Stuart Mill) are fundamentally opposed to prostitution, yet today’s Left (socialists, anti capitalists, anarchists, Marxists) and Liberals avidly support ‘the oldest oppression’

Trafficking rises exponential after collapse in Socialism

Survivors’ open letter to the Left’s love of ‘sex work’

Anti-capitalist but not when it comes to pimps

Prostitution – where anarchists went wrong



Bank Rollers

George Soros: ‘Bankrolling’ the pimp lobby *

Bill & Melinda Gates:eg $1 million to Indian ‘sex worker union’ *

New Zealand State: Funds pro pimp ‘Prostitute Collective’

56 NGOS have funded £8million to pro prostitution projects. Top funders*:

-Ford Foundation: giving, on average, grants of £100,000

-American Jewish World Service: providing £1/2million per year

-Mama Cash

-Open Society Initiative


*From Julie Bindel’s ‘The Pimping of Prostitution’ Chap 7


Child ‘Sex Workers’

The sex trade lobby has done such a good job that not only does it define children who are raped by men for money as ‘sex workers’, but so do those it has lobbied.

‘Sex Worker’ Unions: Advocate for child ‘sex work’

Unicef:  Uses term ‘child sex worker’

UN Advisor: Advocates for teen prostitution

Europe: ‘Sex Worker’ network (TAMPEP): States pimped teenagers are ‘sex workers’

German: Sex Worker support group (SUBWAY):  States underage boys as ‘sex workers’ who ‘turn tricks’

New Zealand Prostitute Collective (NZPC): Prostituted children are ‘workers’ ‘selling a service’

New Zealand Govt: Children are ‘sex workers’, minimal penalties for their buyers

New Zealand Govt: Thinks glamourisation of prostitution does not encourage girls to enter

UK: Lib Dems: Policy was to allow 16 years olds in porn, still opposes any porn age restrictions



The sex trade lobby misrepresents the industry, stifle those who oppose it, including survivors, whilst promoting the industry’s agenda. The mass media (and social media) then acts as little more than its mouth piece. Survivors invariably testify that media normalising and glamorisation of the sex trade plays a significant role in the ‘choice’ to enter it:

Media pornogander

Lies & manipulation

Survivors on Media Glamourisation

Leeds’ Review of its Prostitution ‘Managed Zone’
More Lies & Manipulation

New York Times: Lies and misinformation

Germany TV & celebs promote ‘peado’ prostitution

Germany – numerous TV shows promote brothels

UK – TV shows promote brothels (‘A Very British Brothel’)

UK- TV promotional shows (‘A Very Yorkshire Brothel’)


What Sex as Work means

Germany: Woman sued for not giving punter orgasm

Australia, Denmark: Men can access prostitution on the public health system

Towns cannot say no to a brothel in countries that legitimise prostitution

The Myth of Unionisation

Porn/Sex Trade pornogander in schools

Lib Dem suggests ‘sex work’ at school career days

Sex Ads Everywhere 


Forms of Prostitution

There might be many different forms of ‘selling sex’ but the entire industry plays by the same rule book & the harm done to those who sell and to the rest of society is the same


Indoor Prostitution

No safer than street prostitution

Harm of indoor prostitution



The Reality – by a survivor

The Truth about ‘Only Fans’

Webcam death by asphyxiation

Myths & Harms of online Sex ‘Work’


‘High Class’ Escorts

It’s often stated that ‘high class’ escorts can make a fortune with little risk. Really? (don’t forget, the men who buy them will be ‘Harvey Weinsteins’)

By a survivor



Sugar Daddy ‘Dating’: Sex is almost always part of the exchange P10 


‘Rooms for Sex’

UK – men take full advantage of the pandemic



The Racism of Prostitution 

(Male) charity workers have long used prostitutes

Google bans ads for all forms of prostitution


More Resources


Demand Change

Demand Abolition

Nordic Model Now


‘The Pimping of Prostitution’ Julie Bindel

‘Making Sex Work: A Failed Experiment’ Mary Lucille Sullivan


Consultation Responses



Holding Pornographers to Account 

Thailand bans porn as a violation of women’s rights

Nepal bans porn after 300% increase in rape

Pornhub investigated by Canadian Parliament

Credit Card companies ban payments to Pornhub

Pornhub forced to remove millions of abuse porn videos

Pornhub sued for £10millions by child rape victims

Twitter sued over child rape porn

Google reclassifying ads for pornography


What Survivors Say

Porn ‘star’ warns against the industry

10 ex porn ‘stars’ speak out

The horrific truth about porn


GirlsDoPorn – $12 million settlement for coercion

GirlsDoPorn – 100 more women claim abuse

Intimidation by porn producers

Porn ‘star’ faces multiple charges


‘Feminist’ Porn?

James Deen ‘feminist’ porn ‘star’- a rapist

James Deen, still a rapist

Feminist pornographer supports rape porn


Porn for Kids

10% 12-13 year olds addicted to porn [NSPCC]


Consultation Responses

Porn & Harassment in Public Spaces:  published by  Women & Equalities Committee [2018]

Porn and Sexual Violence APPG Sexual Violence [2018]   WARNING:UPSETTING CONTENTS

Stop Kids Accessing Online Porn:  Home Office Consultation [2016]

Body Image: Women & Equalities Committee – porn/sex trade must be considered [2020]





Pathways through Prostitution




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