Originally published: 30.11.15
The Nordic Model Information Network is a global alliance of researchers with deep and systematic expertise in researching the dynamics of prostitution and the sex industry, trafficking and violence against women. We write in response to the consultation on the Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill, and we argue for the adoption of the Nordic Model. We do this in accord with the 2014 Resolution 1983 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly “Prostitution, trafficking and modern slavery in Europe”, and the (Honeyball) Resolution of the European Parliament, “Sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact of gender equality”, both of which recommended by overwhelming majorities the approach of addressing demand as best legislative practice throughout the European Union.
Our research is grounded in contemporary evidence including, importantly, the testimony of survivors of the prostitution system, as well as drawing on historical and philosophical inquiry. Many of us have worked directly with prostituted women. We have individual and collective links with a wide variety of organisations working for the abolition of prostitution as an institution of gender inequality and exploitation. We believe it is important to signal very clearly that our position on prostitution is not grounded in a moralistic approach, or in any kind of hostility to women in the prostitution system. Nor is our position linked to considerations about maintaining ‘public order’. Our concern is centrally with the human rights of women in protecting the dignity of all women equally, and with an end to all forms of the subordination and degradation of women.
We unequivocally support the removal of criminal sanctions for women who solicit sex and the strengthening of laws against coercion in the sex industry. On this basis we are in support of law reform that decriminalises solicitation and that focuses on women’s safety. We do not, however, support the general aim of the Bill to reform the law on prostitution in Scotland along the New Zealand model. We set out our reasons for this below. We think it is important from the outset to clarify and correct some of the misinformation, in particular about the Nordic Model, noted in the Consultation Paper.