Pimp confesses to beating and threatening women in German human trafficking trial

Translated from German

Original published at on 27 March 2014 

Brothel owner admits to beating prostitutes

A brothel owner has admitted to the court that he has beaten his prostitutes [sic].

The Schweinfurt brothel owner has stood trial for human trafficking for several months. After prostitutes confirmed many of the charges, the man breaks his silence – and admits: violence was at times a daily occurrence at the brothel.

Schweinfurt – In the trial over human trafficking in a Schweinfurt brothel, the owner has admitted to having consistently beaten prostitutes. It was also intended as a disciplinary measure, the 38-year-old main defendant confirmed on Thursday upon the judges’ inquiry. The extensive trial at Schweinfurt Landgericht [district court] started in mid-December, but the man had kept his silence so far. He denied having threatened women with the death of family members during his confession.

The man is said to have prevented the prostitutes from leaving the brothel with violence and threats. Several alleged victims confirmed the charges in court. He allegedly lured some of them to Germany with false promises.

The man stressed that his online ads had always clearly indicated that it was about prostitution. According to his characterization, the beatings occurred mainly due to annoyance and anger when the women did not follow his rules – for instance if they failed to hide a colleague without valid papers during an inspection. He also consumed a lot of cocaine and alcohol, he said.

“Were you not also trying to make an example of them with this?” asked presiding judge Erik Ohlenschlager. “I suppose I did,” the defendant replied. However, he also stressed that the women were not locked in and that they could have left the brothel. “If one of them felt she absolutely had to leave, she could leave, any time.” When three women disappeared, however, he tried to find them again – and he also admits to having used threats to do so.

The man said little or nothing with regard to the charges against his co-defendant, a brothel guard. A separate trial has meanwhile been initiated against another alleged accomplice because he only participated in a small number of the 40 charges against the brothel owner.


The German Model: Brazil’s new prostitution law

Translated from German

Original published at on 27 March 2014

The German Model…

mulher nao e mercadoria

“Women are not commodities!”

…right on time for German boys. And for other boys. Right on time for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The German Model, which even parts of the international prostitution lobby dislike, because it largely dispenses with any sort of protection for women.

In July 2012, a bill was submitted in Brazil that was explicitly modeled on the German prostitution law (1).

Just like in Germany before 2002, prostitution is largely decriminalized in Brazil, i.e. those who are independently active in prostitution with their own bodies are not penalized for it. Neither are those who buy temporary sexual access to them. However, brothels, pimping and human trafficking are prohibited. This also means that the profits in these areas are illegal. Similar to Germany between 2002 and 2005, when the German prostitution law and amendments to the laws on pimping and human trafficking (2) were introduced, the government is now planning to intervene on behalf of the profits and profiteers of this industry. (3)

Just like the German law, the Brazilian bill consists of few clauses and paragraphs.

What was left to be decided on a case by case basis in Germany, for instance the question when “exploitation” is actually even given legally, has partly been incorporated into this law already. Here in Germany, the courts at some point decided that pimps collecting up to 50% of the earnings of a woman in prostitution – it’s usually a woman – is not exploitation. In the Brazilian bill, this is already given a specific definition, cf. Section 1, Para. 1.

Furthermore the Brazilian definition of “exploitation” includes the use of “severe”/“serious” violence when forcing women (others) into prostitution: “forçar alguém a praticar prostituição mediante grave ameaça ou violência. (Section 2, Para. 3, emphasis mine). It doesn’t say what that is supposed to mean, what actually constitutes “severe” violence and what, then, is comparatively “mild” violence or violence. This too is reminiscent of the German law, which deliberately left gaps and where it was just assumed that the courts would interpret it according to the legislators’ intentions and decide in favor or the women affected. (4)

The Federal Court of Justice has demonstrated rather impressively what this looks like in practice in the area of sexual violence (Section 177 ff.) (5). Due process resting on modal verbs.

The areas of pimping and human trafficking, where amendments in relation to the prostitution law were only made in Germany in the years after 2002 (2), are already included in the Brazilian package: human trafficking, both across borders and within the country, is an “act of solidarity” that mustn’t be criminalized as long as it isn’t done with the aim of sexual exploitation as provided in the definition shown above.

The German section on human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, too, was amended in this respect in 2005. (2)

The reasoning is also taken from the German law: the legalization of exploitation (apart from the especially brutal) makes it safer, condoms cannot be distributed to decriminalized, independent women but rather only to brothels and pimps (okay, it doesn’t say it in those words, but that is the only conclusion that makes any sense…). An expansion of prostitution is not the intention. Sexual exploitation only happens as of now because there is no legal distinction between prostitution and sexual trafficking. (6)

Complementary crocodile tears for the under-18-year-olds are included.

At the same time, the bill concedes that “sex workers currently submit to bad working conditions and suffer from premature aging and a lack of career opportunities while having a career that ends early.” (Atualmente os trabalhadores do sexo sujeitam-se a condições de trabalho aviltantes, sofrem com o envelhecimento precoce e com a  falta  deoportunidades da carreira, que cedo termina. Daí a necessidade do direito  à Aposentadoria Especial, …) Therefore, they have a right to an early retirement pension. This is a point that is not in the German law and that also contradicts the important intention of the German law of having the women in prostitution pay into social security.

And although the law supposedly does not intend an expansion of prostitution, the bill explicitly refers to Brazil as a country with a growing economy, a country hosting two large sporting events that attract millions of tourists. This is also the reason for the pressure to get the law passed before June 12 (start of the FIFA World Cup). It is to come into effect one day after being passed.

Brazil is a country with high poverty. Human trafficking for all kinds of reasons (exploitation in agriculture, as domestic servants and for sexual exploitation) is a big problem. Indigenous peoples are especially affected.

They are trying to raise awareness of their plight on Youtube, Facebook and many social networks. That is how I know about them, and that is also where I found this bill.

I hope Germany gets knocked out in the first round.


(1) The German Text here was generated by Google Translate, and I mostly did not make any corrections. Emphases mine.

(2) See “Gesetze” on this blog []. The links lead to legal websites where you can read about the amendments made. In the case of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, formerly Section 180b of the German Criminal Code and thus in the category of laws on offences against sexual self-determination, now Section 232 (category of offences against personal freedom), “sexual acts” has been qualified with the phrase “through which they are exploited”. “Sexual acts” used to be sufficient.

(3) Like many other well-meaning, open-minded people in politics, also among the Greens, the Left, the Social Democrats, I assumed that this law was intended to help those in prostitution and that it would. I still believe many of its supporters when they say that is what they thought. But the more I  research this law, the more bitter I become. Many people want to do good. But we were manipulated by people who wanted to get illegal profits legalized at last and by politicians who wanted to get access to tax money and social contributions. That is the un-sugarcoated truth.

(4) Galen, Margarete, Gräfin von, Rechtsfragen der Prostitution. Das ProstG und seine Auswirkungen. München (C.H. Beck) 2004, p. 25 and 27, partly 31.

(5) There are countless studies on this and increasing pressure on the German Federal Parliament to finally exert some regulatory force and to adapt Section 177 (sexual assault/rape) to European norms and the general sense of justice. But this does not document the misogynistic interpretation of the provisions (especially the force provision for rape, the basically impossible-to-fulfill condition of being “unprotected and at the mercy of the offender”, and the “general extenuating circumstances” in case of longer intimate relationships) as an expression of the German Federal Court of Justice’s ideology. A collection of information on this subject can be found at It is absolutely not advisable to make the safety of women and others in prostitution dependent on the Federal Court of Jusicte’s sense of justice.

(6)  ” Enforcing the marginalization of the segment of society engaged in the sex trade is to allow sexual exploitation to take place as no distinction is currently made between prostitution and sexual exploitation, which are both pushed to the margins and not monitored by the responsible authorities. // Impor a marginalização do segmento da sociedade que lida com o comércio do sexo é permitir que a exploração sexual aconteça, pois atualmente não há distinção entreaprostituição e a exploração sexual (…)”



Open Letter to Amnesty International from Swedish National Committee for UN Women

Translated from Swedish

Original published by the Swedish National Committee for UN Women at on 29 January 2014

Open Letter to Amnesty International

To Amnesty International,

The Swedish National Committee for UN Women has learned that you, as a respected international organization, have started a discussion to affirm prostitution as fully legal employment. To us, this is just as outrageous as if you had endorsed the reintroduction of slavery.

Since time immemorial we have known that it is poverty and patriarchal ruthlessness that drives women and children into the prostitution market. It is not about their free choices. The only one who genuinely has a choice is the buyer!

This is why the UN Women national committee of Sweden wishes to distance itself on the strongest terms from Amnesty International’s ideas about accepting prostitution as a profession. It is not acceptable!

We urge Amnesty International to join us in continuing the fight for human rights.

Margareta Winberg, Chairwoman
Swedish National Committee for UN Women

Interview with Sabine Constabel: “Sex has become consumer goods”

Translated from German

Original by Mathias Bury and Viola Volland published at on 18 March 2014

Interview with Sabine Constabel: “Sex has become consumer goods”

Every day about 500 women in Stuttgart sell their bodies. The conditions in the oldest profession have become harsher. Sabine Constabel, who runs the prostitutes’ café La Strada, calls for legislators to crack down.

Ms. Constabel, prostitution has been the subject of discussion here again for a while, here in Stuttgart, but also in Berlin.

And the most astonishing aspect is that the debate is a long-lasting one. It has tended to be a topic for the summer slump in the media.

Have things become that much worse?

Prostitution has become more visible. The milieu used to be a world closed to the outside, even  though street prostitution existed. But back then, grown women were selling themselves on the streets. Today they’re really young girls, and nearby you can see men who are obviously their pimps. A pimp standing next to an 18-year-old prostitute was something you only saw on TV 15 years ago. That’s where the dismay comes from.

Where are the girls from?

Most of them are from Eastern Europe. We know this from police statistics. 83 percent are foreign nationals, the majority are from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

What are the causes of this change?

On the one hand, the liberalization of the prostitution laws in 2002, and on the other hand the Eastern European expansion of the EU in 2003, which led to a large influx of poor migrants.

Has the inflow increased since Romanians and Bulgarians have been granted free movement of persons in the EU?

No. People from these countries are now also permitted to be in dependent employment in the EU. They were already allowed to be self-employed. And prostitutes are legally speaking self-employed.

Are Eastern European women particularly affected by forced prostitution?

Forced prostitution also exists among German prostitutes. But it is indeed especially common among Eastern Europeans. These girls would not even be able to travel here on their own. They could neither afford the ticket nor could they book a room due to a lack of language skills. The girls are surrounded by a system of men who lead them into prostitution.

How does this system work?

Many women come from large families that are in dire straits. The family decides: we send one girl to Germany – the daughter, the niece, the cousin – and use her to make money. Then one or two family members travel here with her, take her to a brothel or put her on the street.

This connection with their family must make it hard for the women to exit.

Exiting is extremely hard, as is criminal prosecution. Since the amendment of 2002, it doesn’t suffice for the police to know that the woman is constantly giving over her money and not organizing her own activity. Before 2002, they were able to nab the pimp in such a situation. Now the woman is also required to testify, saying she is being sent to prostitute herself by her brother or father or sometimes even by her mother. None of them do that.

What is interacting with the johns like for the women?

The women report that the johns’ demands have become a lot more aggressive and boundless.  The johns don’t seem to think about the fact that they are dealing with human beings with feelings at all. You can tell that many women are forced prostitutes just by looking at them. They have hematomas, they’re crying and showing that they’re unwilling. They cannot hope for mercy. There is even particular demand for a very high degree of docility. That’s repugnant.

What does this life do to the women?

They know that they are being destroyed psychologically. They find their situation horrible, but they say: I do it for my family. Some feel like martyrs because they grew up knowing they have to sacrifice themselves for their family. They do this until they’re so depressed that they don’t make any more money. Many start taking stimulants because they have such long working hours. Very few get by with less than 18 hours.

Because of the price decline on the streets and in the brothels?

The price for a room in the brothels of Stuttgart is high; they’re between 120 and 140 euros a day. The women usually earn that money in increments of 30 euros. That’s how much the johns pay for the services.

What caused this price decline?

That’s also connected with the prostitution law. Since then, the brothels have been allowed to advertise. They market themselves as businesses that offer wellness for men. Prostitution is trivialized, the women are merely consumer goods. And the advertising works. Entire groups of young men go there. Cinema or brothel – for many, there’s not a huge difference. They go where it’s cheapest. That’s the problem. Many say, five euros for oral sex, that’s enough for a Eastern European. A proper German whore wouldn’t do anything for 30 euros; she’d sooner kick the john out.

So the prostitution law of 2002 was where everything went wrong?

The law was focused on the independent German whore [sic]. Instead, lots of forced prostitutes came over here after the eastern expansion of the EU. For them, the law was counterproductive. That’s why the non-independent, Eastern European forced prostitute now has to be the focus.  She benefits from legal force because it targets the pimp. Regulations ease the burden on these women.

Are the conditions especially bad in Stuttgart or are they typical for a big city?

Stuttgart attracts a lot of attention, for example because the brothel Paradise, which advertises aggressively, is nearby, and because the notorious Pussy-Club used to be in Fellbach [town on the border of Stuttgart]. Stuttgart started counteracting very early. La Strada has existed there for 18 years. Social services for prostitutes have existed since 1953. Flat-rate brothels such as the Pussy-Club can be found everywhere, but no longer here. In other cities, they still advertise very differently: a woman, a beer, and a blood sausage – for 14 euros…

Still: what must the city do now?

The inflow of poverty prostitutes must be stemmed. The city can’t do that; the federal legislators have to make those changes. Otherwise the situation will continue to worsen.

But illegal street prostitution is something that could be curbed locally already.

It is being curbed significantly. It used to be a very different picture. Almost everything is closely under control today. Look at street prostitution in Berlin or Frankfurt, it’s worse there; We are complaining despite things being better here than elsewhere.

Okay – so what must the federal government do?

It has to raise the age of entry to at least 21 years. An older woman is more likely to exercise her rights. Mandatory registration for prostitutes needs to be introduced. In Stuttgart we have figures, but they don’t have that on the national level. It’s especially important that the government determines objective elements of an offense so that the women no longer have to testify. This means that criteria are needed in order to determine that exploitation is taking place, such as taking her money or driving her to the brothel. The brothel owners’ authority to give directives also needs to be repealed: since 2002 they have been allowed to dictate working hours. This is the only way the brothels can operate.

So the profiteers of prostitution should be weakened.

This also includes the owners renting out the buildings. For these rooms – officially, there are no brothels –  there are no maximum rent prices. That needs to change. The big profiteers of prostitution are those renting out the premises, those who run the prostitution establishments and the johns. Those who don’t profit are the women.

The coalition agreement says that johns who knowingly and willingly abuse victims of forced prostitution for sexual acts should be punished. Is this a move in the right direction or is it a toothless tiger because this is almost impossible to prove?

It’s the same as with mandatory condom use – there is no officer standing by and monitoring the situation. It’s also about education and about making a statement. And that’s important.

Do you support mandatory condom use for johns?

Yes, that would be sensible. Such a regulation protects the women and strengthens them in getting johns to comply. The state could introduce this via hygiene regulations.

If most of the responsibility is with the federal and state governments: what is left for the city to do?

It can make its position very clear to Berlin. And it can discuss the demand. Prostitution needs to be brought into the public eye. The young men must be made to realize that there are consequences for just going out and using a forced prostitute. It might just be the encounter that breaks her entirely.

The city is planning a media campaign and wants to take it to the schools as well.

That is absolutely sensible. Those who are now 18 have grown up with sex being consumer goods. We have to make visible what prostitution really is. It’s not Pretty Woman. It has tremendously destructive effects on people – not only on the women that are used. If young men make their first sexual experiences via “pay sex”, they will never learn how to see their partners as equals. We have to have a discussion about values: what is sexuality? How should other people be treated? We have come much further with regard to other topics. Nobody would dispute that you don’t just go and buy a poor person’s kidney.

Sometimes it helps to look to other countries. In Sweden, being a john is prohibited. What are the effects of that?

It very much empowers the women. If they go to the police, nothing happens to them. The john, on the other hand, has to be very careful. If that were the case here, many johns would have a problem. It would get quite a few to think. In Sweden, relatively few johns are punished and yet acceptance of prostitution continues to decline every year.

How likely is it that the Swedish model will be introduced here in Germany?

It’s coming. The pressure from Brussels will become too great. The countries around us are regulating. In France, punishment of johns has all but been passed into law now, others are following suit, among them the Netherlands, so Germany can’t continue being the Eldorado of prostitution.

A John Comes Forward: “I don’t see them as people”

Translated from Norwegian

Original published by Martin Gedde-Dahl on on 06 February 2014

A John Comes Forward

Father of two Ottar Stangelang buys sex without feeling any shame.

-If the money doesn’t go to her, at least she got herself some good dick, says Ottar’s friend and laughs loudly and hoarsely at his interjection into the conversation.

Ottar disagrees. He has no illusions about having given the more than 200 – a number he later has doubts about as it is “impossible to keep count” – women he has bought sex from any pleasure.

–I know she gives as little of a damn about me as I give about her, he says.

We are at Grei café in Skippergata, a few blocks further out towards the docks than proper folks normally go. The address was the 1838 site of Henrik Wergeland’s courtship of his would-be wife Amalie Sofie. Today the place serves as the local pub for Oslo’s prostitutes. Meeting here was one of the conditions Ottar had for appearing as a sex buyer with his name and photo: “If it’s to be done, it must be done right.”

“Right” in this context means beer and fernet in a locale mostly populated by Eastern European-looking women in worn bubble jackets.

The initial background was finding a sex buyer’s reply to Danish ex-prostitute Tanja Rahm’s blog entry “To those who buy sex” which was published in Aftenposten and read by more than 500,000 Norwegians over the course of only a few days. Even though the subject is given many column inches and attention in a series of debate shows on TV and radio, there is a group that has remained unheard for the most part: the actual addressee of the text, the sex buyer. 13% of Norwegian men state that they have bought sex, but so far none of them have come forward and answered the accusations. Ottar wants to give “the sex buyer” a face.

I read the introduction aloud: “Dear sex buyer. If you think I ever felt attracted to you, you are terribly wrong.” Ottar responds with a roar of laughter.

– Who is she talking to? Haha! A sum of money gives me “wham-bam”, miserable sex and unloading. Nobody goes from you feeling pride.

– Surely there are some? Some prostitutes offer a so-called “girlfriend experience”.

– When it comes to feelings I prefer the real deal. But yeah, sure, there are probably those who dig stuff like that. That’s what she doesn’t get: people are different, there’s no such thing as the sex buyer. The same goes for whores, by the way: they are individuals with unique feelings, thoughts and opinions.

He takes a short break, sips his beer and adds:

– But I’m sure as hell not interested in them. They’re not people in my eyes.

Before you write him off as a monster, let me specify: Ottar Stangeland appears to be a good guy. Polite, bright, funny and well-spoken. You would probably like him, at least when he’s not talking about prostitution. You would hardly reject him as being especially evil or stupid, at least not as some kind of social deviant or as somehow incapable of telling right from wrong. The father of two from Stavanger is, on the whole, pretty normal. Aside from some stories of drunk debauchery, a slightly more colorful group of friends and a few more things weighing on his conscience than average. Yes, and a more passionate relationship with buying sex, an interest he has had since he was on a guys’ trip to Denmark at age 17 and paid for sex for the first time.

– We knew there were whores there and we had our minds made up that here we would fuck something that’s not white – try something new! – so we got Thai from the shop. It was a revelation. A hell of a lot better than that fake courtship in the city. I saved myself hours of lying and spending money for maybe being allowed to touch a tit.

Is the reason that you buy sex that you dislike the pickup situation?
– I’ve never had any trouble getting by, but when I pull ladies in the city, I feel like I’m selling myself. I see it from a whore’s perspective, if you will. I’m completely aware that she’s lying, because I do it myself.

 You think buying sex is more honest than one night stands?
– Yes, and you end up spending roughly the same. We can also see it from the other side. You know the saying “all women are whores”? It’s an over the top statement, but there is some truth to it. To stand at the bar and rake in drink after drink from guys who are lying to get to sleep with you – that’s a form of whoring. Just like so many other things people do.

Ottar asks me to clarify that he is currently in a relationship and doesn’t avail himself of prostitutes (“beyond faithful” as he phrases it). He only buys sex when he is single, and preferably abroad. As the singer of the punk band Haggis and with his job as a travel journalist, among others for the men’s magazine Alfa, he has accumulated many days of travel, he says. And wherever he travels, there are temptations.

– They’re everywhere, in different shapes – and I try everything. Street whores, brothels, or whatever there is. I have no preferences.

Don’t you have any criteria? Some say they only buy sex from women who aren’t being exploited.
– Haha! If you want to be sure of that, you have to stop buying sex – and many other things people buy without thinking about it. It’s not my responsibility to ensure the well-being of people I don’t know. I take care of my nearest. The whole point with the whoring is the distance. You buy a service, and done.

And you manage to distance yourself?
– Yes. But I understand that it can be horrible. I have daughters myself, and I wouldn’t wish this profession on them for anything in the world. It’s just the men who sit and grin, the women don’t have it so damn great. That Danish one should walk a few meters in real whore’s shoes. Look at the girls who stand out here teeth chattering waiting to be taken along in those rape vans. Fucking hell. The whole thing is on the shady side, but that’s the stuff that’s really dark.

The reason they are standing out there is that there is a sex market, though. If you agree that they have a horrible life, how can you not feel some responsibility?

– And your clothes are most likely made by small Indian children’s hands. You can say stuff like that about anything. Everything can be dragged into a moral abyss by telling horror stories. That mentality of “if I don’t do it, someone else is going to do it” – well, that is actually the case too. Should we all, like, quit it, then? Stop buying whores?


– That’s a utopia! Like the war on drugs, it’s impossible to win. It’s much better to do it like in Portugal. Let them pay tax! It’s gotta be better for them to become a part of society than to live with fifty other girls in an apartment where they are beat on by some Nigerian baron or something.

Could a happy industry exist? Or is that an inherently boring thing?

– From what I know about women, I don’t think it’s possible to separate sex and feelings one hundred percent. Not over time, and continue to be happy.

You don’t believe in the sex-loving happy hooker?

– She does exist, but she’s the exception that proves the rule.

Ottar’s friend is more optimistic, and starts dishing out about women he knows who thrive in selling sex. Completely ordinary mothers of toddlers who make a year’s earnings by going on a summer tour in a trailer.
– It’s those who are independent and have full control that are happy.

Ottar interrupts.

– They thrive when they’re raking it in, yeah. It’ll be like this for many whores: do they like the men? No. Do they like the job? Meh. Do they like the money? Haha, you bet they do!

What do you think about girls who sell themselves? Do you look down on them?

– Absolutely not! You have a tough profession there, all respect to those who can do it. I know I said I don’t see them as people, but I actually think they are worth as much as everyone else. What I mean is that I don’t see them as my people. I don’t behave towards them like people.

Ottar speaks quickly and animatedly. Every sentence opens up new associations and thoughts that don’t always lead to a conclusion. A parallel between buying sex from trafficking victims and clothes produced with child labor subtly glides into experiences with Colombian street prostitutes and ends in a rant against the Swedish justice minister, Beatrice Ask, who recently came down hard against hash after having been fooled by a false report of a hash overdose with a deadly outcome.

– I mean, she knows nothing! And people like that are supposed to tell us what’s right and wrong. People who haven’t lived a day in their lives. Those who yell the loudest about morals are those I trust the least.

“From the top down” people, he calls them. “Those who declare themselves judge over other people’s actions but don’t want to show their own weaknesses.”

– The only things that are black and white are the keys on the piano, says Ottar.

– At least I’m honest about that shit.

What does the Fox say? Die Strategie eines Super-Zuhälters für Amnesty International

Übersetzt aus dem Englischen
Veröffentlicht im Original von Martin Dufresne auf am 31.1.2014

fr Siehe für viele französische Übersetzungen zum Thema Prostitution/Abolition, Amnesty

What does the Fox say? Die Strategie eines Super-Zuhälters für Amnesty International

In The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women and Men Today, identifiziert Kat Banyard Douglas Fox als „Gründer und Geschäftspartner bei Christony Companions – einer von Großbritanniens größten Escort-Agenturen“ (S. 140). In einer Mitteilung vom April 2008 machte Fox weder einen Hehl aus seinem wachsenden Einfluss innerhalb von Amnesty International noch aus seinen Plänen, sie von der „kompletten Entkriminalisierung“ des Frauen-„Markts“ zu überzeugen – will heißen, Escort-Agenturen, Zuhälter, Prostitutionskäufer, etc.

„…Wir müssen sie gnadenlos verfolgen und sie auf unsere Seite bringen, eigentlich sind sie das sowieso schon, sie brauchen nur einen kleinen Schubs in die richtige Richtung…“

“Titel: Bericht von der Amnesty-Konferenz
Eintrag von: Douglas am 07. April 2008, 08:24:09
Die Amnesty International Jahreshauptversammlung 2008 in Nottingham.

Für diejenigen, die es nicht wissen, ich bin Mitglied bei Amnesty International und Aktivist in der Amnesty-Gruppe in Newcastle, die meine Kampagne für die Rechte von SexarbeiterInnen sehr unterstützt hat. Dieses Jahr hat unsere Gruppe in Newcastle bei der Konferenz den Antrag gestellt, dass Amnesty sich zu SexarbeiterInnen-Rechten positioniert. Der Antrag rief Amnesty dazu auf, die Europaratsresolution 1579 zu unterstützen, die besagt, Mitgliedstaaten sollen den Unterschied zwischen erzwungener und nicht erzwungener Sexarbeit anerkennen, und sollen außerdem SexarbeiterInnen zu allen Entscheidungen, die sie betreffen, befragen. Dieser Antrag verlangt auch, dass Amnesty SexarbeiterInnen in ihrem Kampf für Entkriminalisierung unterstützt, da dies der einzige Weg ist, SexarbeiterInnen vor den negativen Auswirkungen eines kriminellen Markts zu schützen, der sie stigmatisiert und entfremdet. Um zu zeigen, dass diese Forderung mit den grundlegenden Prinzipien Amnestys in Bezug auf die Gewissensfreiheit und die freie Meinungsäußerung übereinstimmt, habe ich mich auf die Brüsseler Erklärung über die Rechte von SexarbeiterInnen in Europa bezogen, die zur Anerkennung der Menschenrechte von SexarbeiterInnen aufruft. Ich habe mich auch auf Artikel 23 der Menschenrechtserklärung bezogen, der das Recht auf freie Berufswahl, das Recht, Gewerkschaften zu gründen, und das Recht auf Freiheit von Diskriminierung enthält.

All dies sollte für Amnesty eigentlich nicht kontrovers sein, aber Amnesty International hat aufgrund der jüngsten Geschichte zwei Hauptgründe, dies nicht zu bald zu unterstützen. Amnesty hat gerade einen dreijährigen kontroversen Kampf um einen Antrag zur Unterstützung des Rechts auf Abtreibung für Frauen hinter sich. Einige bei Amnesty fanden, dass dies einer Pro-Choice-Haltung gleichkäme und Amnesty wurde von der Katholischen Kirche und muslimischen Gruppen verurteilt. Venezuela und Irland weigerten sich, Kampagnen zu machen, und viele Einzelmitglieder verließen Amnesty. Das Thema wurde bei dieser Konferenz wieder besprochen und wieder war es sehr spaltend. Der Amnesty Verwaltungsrat schlug einen Kompromiss vor (gegen den ich stimmte, da ich pro-choice bin) der besagte, dass Amnesty nur Abtreibung unter bestimmten Umständen befürworten würde und dass einzelne Mitglieder oder sogar Länder sich weigern könnten, sich an Kampagnen zu beteiligen. Dieser Kompromiss wurde letztendlich angenommen. Das zweite Problem ist, dass sich Amnesty (in mancher Hinsicht sehr effektiv) gegen Gewalt gegen Frauen eingesetzt hat. Die Leute, und besonders eine Frau, die an der Spitze dieser Kampagne stehen, haben eine Anti-Escorting-Haltung eingenommen und Melissa Farley und Julie Bindel ausgiebig in ihrer Literatur zitiert. Ich habe diese Haltung und die Statistiken, die sowohl auf der Amnesty-Webseite und auf der Konferenz verwendet wurden, in Frage gestellt und am „Gewalt gegen Frauen“-Stand einen Krawall verursacht. Ich habe die Leiterin der Kampagne in Hinblick auf die Statistiken in Frage gestellt und sie hatte eigentlich keine Antwort.

Dies nun war also der Hintergrund zur Amnesty-Konferenz und so war ich nicht wirklich optimistisch. Um also auf den Punkt zu kommen: Amnesty hält zuerst einmal Workshops, in denen die Anträge diskutiert und abgeändert werden etc. Die Anträge werden dann gegebenenfalls auf der vollen Konferenz weiter diskutiert. Mein Workshop hatte ungefähr 150 Teilnehmer. Ich sprach fast 10 Minuten über den Antrag. Der Amnesty-Rat war nach mir an der Reihe und argumentierte, dass Amnesty keine Position zum Thema Escorting habe und die Deklaration über die Rechte von SexarbeiterInnen in Europa von 2005 sowie die Europaratsresolution 1579 unterstützen solle, aber anstatt die Entkriminalisierung voll zu unterstützen, solle Amnesty zu einer umfassenden Studie zur weltweiten Entkriminalisierung aufrufen.

Ich erhob im Workshop Einspruch gegen diese Änderung, aber sie wurde angenommen während mein Antrag auf Unterstützung der Entkriminalisierung abgelehnt wurde. Ich hatte die Unterstützung von ca. einem Drittel der Arbeitsgruppe.
Der Antrag wurde später auf der Konferenz vorgestellt und ich musste vor der gesamten Konferenz von ca. 5/600 Leuten noch einmal etwa 10 Minuten reden. Der Rat gab wieder dieselbe Änderung ein und wieder erhob ich mit der Begründung, dass viele Mitglieder sie ablehnten, dagegen Einspruch. Es wurde abgestimmt und ich verlor (allerdings hatte ich wieder ca. ein Drittel des Saals auf meiner Seite). Es wurde über die Änderung des Amnesty-Rats abgestimmt und sie wurde mit einer ausreichenden Mehrheit angenommen.
Amnesty haben nun also erklärt, dass sie die Europaratsresolution 1579 unterstützen, und haben erklärt, dass sie die Deklaration über die Rechte von SexarbeiterInnen in Europa von 2005 unterstützen, und haben beschlossen zu einer „umfassenden, weltweiten Studie zum Thema der Entkriminalisierung des Escorting“ aufzurufen. Ich halte das absolut nicht für ein schlechtes Ergebnis.

Hinterher war ich der örtliche Star LOL und ich habe mit so vielen Leuten geredet, die mir Fragen stellen wollten. Es war so frustrierend, denn nachdem ich mit ihnen geredet hatte, sagten sie alle, dass sie für den gesamten Antrag gestimmt hätten, wenn sie das Thema richtig verstanden hätten, und nicht nur für den Kompromiss (so gut dieser auch war). Ich denke, wenn sie das getan hätten, hätte ich gewonnen. Ein weiterer ähnlicher Antrag wird auf der Konferenz nächstes Jahr gemacht werden, und zweifellos wird meine Amnesty-Niederlassung in Newcastle einen ähnlichen Antrag formulieren. Das hier ist eine gewinnbare Kampagne würde ich sagen, aber SexarbeiterInnen müssen bei Amnesty Lobby machen, vor Allem bei der „Gewalt gegen Frauen“ Kampagnengruppe, die aufgrund meines Wutausbruchs auf der Webseite und am Stand gezwungen waren, ein zweiseitiges Dokument mit alternativen Standpunkten zu kopieren und am Stand zu verteilen.
Ich habe später auch noch weniger zornig mit der Gewalt gegen Frauen-Gruppe geredet, und sie waren gewillt, eine Debatte mit mir, der IUSW und anderen SexarbeiterInnen zu eröffnen, um eine ausgewogenere Sicht im Hinblick auf Literatur und auf der AI-Webseite zu haben. Viele verschiedene regionale Amnesty-Gruppen hätten es gerne, dass SexarbeiterInnen mit ihnen sprechen und ihnen unsere Ansichten erklären und ich habe einige gute Gewerkschaftskontakte durch den TUC* geknüpft, die es hoffentlich mir und anderen erlauben werden, im Nordosten [Englands] mit dem TUC zu reden und die Druckergewerkschaft an der Debatte zu beteiligen. Ich oder jemand anderes wurde dazu eingeladen, in Belfast für SexarbeiterInnen-Rechte zu sprechen, da anscheinend dort Gesetzesänderungen vorgeschlagen worden sind und wieder einmal niemand für die SexarbeiterInnen spricht oder zumindest hört man ihnen nicht zu.
Ich habe mit dem Vertreter von Amnesty in Schweden gesprochen und ein paar Kontaktadressen bekommen, die werde ich jetzt also verfolgen LOL und mit der chinesischen Amnesty Hong Kong Gruppe, die mir auch wieder einige Kontakte brachte.

Sam Ruddick (Anita Ruddicks Tochter) sprach auf der Konferenz und hat ein paar interessante Punkte vorgebracht. Ich habe nach ihrer Rede kurz mit ihr geredet und sie hat eingewilligt, sich mit Cath oder mir zu treffen, um Ideen zu besprechen, wie sie der Gewerkschaft behilflich sein kann. Ihre Rede war leider nicht unterstützend, aber das war wahrscheinlich keine Absicht. Sie hat sich auf ihre Kampagnenarbeit gegen Menschenhandel konzentriert, was starker Tobak war, und sie scheint eng mit anderen Gruppen gegen Menschenhandel zusammenzuarbeiten. Als ich mit ihr redete gab ich ihr meine Bedenken bezüglich ihrer Rede zu verstehen und sie erklärte mir, dass sie die Ansicht vertritt, dass die zwei Themen SexarbeiterInnen-Rechte und das Aufhalten des Menschenhandels zwei getrennte Themen sind (und natürlich sind sie das) aber ich glaube nicht, dass ihr das klar ist, wegen den Medien und der zerstörerischen Negativität der Julie-Bindel-Unterstützer ist Menschenhandel in den Köpfen der Leute synonym mit Sexarbeit geworden. Ich wurde wieder und wieder und wieder zu Sorgen gefragt, Unterstützung für SexarbeiterInnen könnte zu einem Anstieg des Menschenhandels führen. Jedoch habe ich sie jedes Mal sehr leicht auf meine Seite gebracht, was wieder zeigt, dass es wichtig es ist, die Presse/Medien auf unsere Seite zu kriegen um Gegenargumente zu bringen.
Abschließend, es ist traurig dass Amnesty sich nicht dafür entschieden haben, morgen schon für die Entkriminalisierung Kampagne zu machen, und vielleicht dauert es noch ein Jahr bevor sie irgendwelche positiven Aussagen machen, aber jetzt haben sie sich der Recherche verschrieben und Amnesty Neuseeland könnte hier durchaus sehr hilfreich sein. Amnesty auf unsere Seite zu kriegen wird einen Riesenschub für unsere Moral und unser Ansehen bedeuten, allerdings müssen wir sie gnadenlos verfolgen und sie auf unsere Seite bringen, eigentlich sind sie das sowieso schon, sie brauchen nur einen kleinen Schubs in die richtige Richtung. Es wäre auch keine schlechte Idee, wenn mehr bekennende SexarbeiterInnen Mitglieder bei verschiedenen Amnesty-Niederlassungen werden.

Douglas Fox”

Und hier ist ein Teil dessen, was Fox geschafft hat, in Amnesty Internationals vorgeschlagene Positionierung zur Prostitution einzubringen:
„…Wie bereits in Amnesty Internationals Grundsatz zur Sexarbeit festgehalten wurde, lehnt die Organisation die Kriminalisierung aller Aktivitäten im Zusammenhang mit dem Kauf und Verkauf von Sex ab. Sexuelles Begehren und sexuelle Aktivität sind ein menschliches Grundbedürfnis. Diejenigen, die nicht in der Lage oder nicht gewillt sind, dieses durch traditioneller anerkannte Methoden zu erfüllen und daher Sex kaufen, zu kriminalisieren, könnte eine Verletzung der Privatsphäre bedeuten und die Rechte auf Meinungsfreiheit und Gesundheit untergraben.“ (, Seite 5, Fußnote 2)

[* TUC: Trades Union Congress, ein gewerkschaftlicher Dachverband in Großbritannien. Er vereint 65 Gewerkschaften mit ca. 6,5 Millionen Mitgliedern.]

Reason, Emotions and Buying Sex in Norway

Translated from Norwegian
Original published by Joacim Lund at on 04 February 2014

 de  German version

Reason, emotions and buying sex

The law against buying sex is an emotional subject. Has it become a fit of moralist panic?

The law against buying sex is condemnable, says Bent Johan Mosfjell of the online magazine Liberaleren. It takes away our agency over our own bodies.

Aksel Braanen Sterri was of the same opinion when he wrote about the surrogacy debate in Morgenbladet one year ago:
“When you sell your time and your labor force, you sell a limited part of your agency over your body and its functions to your employer,” he wrote.

That sounds logical. A carpenter offers his physical labor for money without it being prohibited to buy his services for that reason. What is the difference between him and a prostitute if it isn’t morals?

“The happy hooker”

There are examples of women who thrive in prostitution. Their poster girl in recent years, Hege Grostad, has been given much space in the media. When the Danish former prostitute Tanja Rahm expressed a diametrically opposed (and more representative) view of prostitution in Aftenposten, Grostad called her a moralist.

Technical knockout. The moralist card trumps most debates. Presumably that is why even the Prime Minister is now using it.

Prime Minister is bluffing

“I want to stress that the law against the buying of sex was not a law we introduced for moralist reasons (…). It was not because we got up on our high horse and said that buying sex is wrong or something like that,” said Solberg at the Norwegian parliament’s Q&A hour last Thursday.

A spectacular political bluff. Contributing to a change in attitudes was and is one of the most important objectives of the law. It’s right there in black and white in the introduction to the hearing minutes. For a good reason.

Laws affect morals

University of Oslo researchers Andreas Kotsadam and Niklas Jakobsson wrote this in their 2011 article “Do laws affect attitudes?”, in which they examined Norwegians’ views of the law before and after the law against buying sex was introduced. The young population’s views of buying sex had become more negative; the same applied to the population of Oslo, where prostitution is most visible.

In Norway, the law has worked in a very short time. In Sweden, where there are 15 years of experience with the law, the population has bigger moral qualms when it comes to the purchase of sexual services. According to an official Swedish report (SOU 2010:49), 70 percent where against criminalization in 1996 while 70 percent were for it in 2008.

Signaling effect

The debate around the law against buying sex is complicated. It is perfectly legitimate to discuss to what extent the law is working toward its objectives (experiences from Sweden and international research indicate that it’s working) and who is affected (the law is connected with efforts by the authorities to provide support measures that will get people out of prostitution).

All this should be evaluated. But it’s also a debate about values. The law against buying sex signalizes that purchasing sexual services can never become the same as hiring a carpenter, and that feelings and views belong in this debate. Moralism? Pshaw. Morals? Yes – and yes, please.

Dr. Ingeborg Kraus: “Prostitution and Choice”

Translated from German. 

Original by Dr. Ingeborg Kraus published at on 06 January 2014 via Emma Magazin, 2013.

Prostitution and Choice

Prostitution is often portrayed as a completely normal thing, something that has always existed. This usually involves very little thought of the women in prostitution. If it does, the argument of ‘choice’ is very quickly brought up. Who wants to take on the role of a person who sanctions or judges?

But how does a woman end up in so-called ‘voluntary’ prostitution anyway, and what does it mean for her (and for her children)? Prostitution has become a perfectly normal source of income: the question whether it is a job like any other has been seriously discussed by politicians and unionists in the past years.

In my many years of experience as a psychotherapist, I have supported many prostitutes and become familiar with the backgrounds that led them into prostitution. It became clear in all cases that prostitution was a continuation of experiences of violence in their lives. Either the women themselves were exposed to sexualized violence or they grew up in an environment in which women are systematically degraded. I want to illustrate this using three typical case examples:

A patient of mine, who also referred to herself as a ‘voluntary’ prostitute, grew up with an image of women that was entirely shaped by violence. Her mother was beaten by her father and subsequently raped again and again. Sexuality was tied to violence in her self-image. These scenes repeated themselves over and over. The mother took her desperation out on her daughter by calling her “whore” when she began developing an interest in boys. When she later prostituted herself, she told her mother: “See? I became exactly what you wanted me to become.”

Another prostitute told me that she didn’t feel uncomfortable when she entered a brothel at the age of 19. On the contrary, she said, at least now she was getting paid for “it.” Her life story, too, was shaped by sexual violence in her childhood.

For another client of mine, entry into prostitution had coincided with a combination of other, pre-existing disorders: anorexia and anxiety. She managed to exit prostitution after one year and declared 20 years later that prostitution had been a part of her self-destructive behavior.

To continue to speak of prostitution as ‘normal’ with this knowledge means to acknowledge violence against women as an entirely normal and legitimate thing. These women did not choose prostitution as a ‘job like any other’. They are often women who were put through very painful experiences in their past.

Studies in trauma treatment have found that the traumatized person may feel a compulsion to control the traumatizing events to which they were helplessly exposed. A form of control is repetition: so-called trauma re-enactment. In prostitution, the trauma is placed into a framework in which the prostitute gains a feeling of control over the events.

Women who have experienced physical and sexual violence and/or were raised in an environment in which women are socially degraded often develop feelings of guilt. Unlike men, women are hardly able to repress feelings of guilt, which turn into feelings of self-hate. Women mostly direct the aggression this results in against themselves. In light of this, prostitution appears as an act of self-hate and self-harm. Depth psychologists speak of masochistic reversal: “Now I am exactly what you wanted me to be.” Trauma therapists speak of perpetrator introjects. There are two types of introject, aspects of perpetrator identification and perpetrator loyalty.

Perpetrator identification is often a male introject (80 to 90 percent of physical and sexualized violence is perpetrated by men). Perpetrator loyal introjects, often termed female introjects, are incorporated into the victim’s personality if they were exposed to the (adult) perpetrator for long enough. These are thoughts that the perpetrator has about us, sentences he says about us or orders that he gives us. In one form or another, everyone has something like this. In a situation in which we are entirely at the perpetrator’s mercy, we ‘merge’ with him. We adopt the opinion he has of us and begin to think about ourselves the way he does. These are dysfunctional attempts at self-protection: “If I torture myself and beat myself up, then the ‘bad people’ won’t have to do it so much.” Or, “If I do exactly as they say, maybe they will leave me be.” The identification with the perpetrator’s gaze that this causes has a life of its own, changes are perceived as threatening, everything has to stay the way the ‘tormentor’ would have it. A typical example is psychological dependence on a pimp.

Working with perpetrator introjects is an everyday thing in my profession. The history of how my clients came to believe these negative things about themselves is usually not something they themselves are aware of. In addition to a superficially unremarkable and well-adjusted “everyday self”, they may be haunted by unconscious perpetrator-loyal aspects.

Many of my clients suffer from low self-esteem and are very hard on themselves, frequently saying things such as, “I am not enough,” “I can’t do it” or “I am unlovable.” This can go as far as self-hate, hate of their own bodies, of their own vitality – and their own sexuality. Behind the self-assured façade of some prostitutes there are certainly a lot of negative things that are continuing to have an effect internally. One patient phrased it as follows: “I’m not worth anything else, after all.”

In light of this, the concept of ‘choice’ in prostitution and its portrayal as a ‘normal job’ must be questioned. Johns must be educated and made to take responsibility. A society that continues to degrade women to non-human objects, in which sexual exploitation takes place, which stages domination of women in eroticized form, is deeply misogynistic. It perpetuates male supremacy and contains perpetrator structures.

Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, psychological psychotherapist

Further reading: Margarete Mitscherlich: Die friedfertige Frau (S. Fischer), Michaela Huber: Wege der Traumabehandlung. Teil 2 (Junfermann) und Der Feind im Innern (Jungfermann), Ingrid Olbricht: Wege aus der Gewalt gegen Frauen (C.H. Beck)

This article was published in the last issue of Emma 2013.

Amnesty International for Traffickers of Women

Translated from German.

Original published on the website of the German feminist magazine Emma on 30 January 2014.

See Amnesty protest flyers at

See Amnesty protest flyers at

Amnesty International is taking a pro-“sex work” stance, and this also includes brothel owners and pimps. Now resistance has started to form, however, and all hell is loose online. Prostitute’s organizations started an online petition against Amnesty, and Twitter is overflowing with #QuestionsForAmnesty: “Pimping is not a human right!”

The paper reads as though it was dictated by the pro-prostitution lobby: “Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults,” write the London headquarters of the human rights organization in a recent position paper. Those who peruse the eleven-page document will search it in vain for demands to curb the gigantic sex trade with its rampant human rights violations.

Violence? A power differential between the sexes? Of course not, silly. “This analysis largely ignores the complexity of human sexual interactions particularly those that do not fall within the framework of the traditional heterosexual relationships”, Amnesty writes. And anyway, laws against “sex work” are shaped by “confusion, ambivalence, and fear about sex, desire, and women’s sexual autonomy.”

Traffickers? Pimps? Why, no. In Amnesty-speak, they are those who “recruit for or arrange the prostitution of others.” What they do? They “facilitate sex work through the provision of information or assistance.” And thus, Amnesty benevolently includes the profiteers of the sex industry in their decriminalization strategy: “States have a positive obligation to reform their laws and develop and implement systems and policies that eliminate discrimination against those engaging in sex work.”

Their timing is certainly not coincidental. The French National Assembly only just decided to punish johns (and to completely decriminalize the prostituted). And it looks as though the entire EU could fall into line: the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee recently voted through a report demanding that the EU countries adopt the Swedish Model. The pro-prostitution lobby is apparently getting cold feet. And they obviously have good connections in London.

But the human rights organization that evidently takes great interest in men’s rights and very little in women’s is not only being applauded by the sex worker lobby – they are also reaping massive resistance.

On the hashtag #QuestionsForAmnesty, the human rights advocates are being bombarded with questions. “Do you want girls to grow up learning they are a commodity for men?” “Why do Amnesty ignore the effects full legalization has had in Germany?” “Have you ever listened to women in prostitution? They have a lot to tell you!” Indeed.

For instance the organization SPACE (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightment): the formerly prostituted women from several countries started a petition. “We, the members of SPACE International, object in the strongest possible terms to the position of Amnesty International (AI) on the issue of prostitution.(…) It is a policy position that can only be taken if one is willing to ignore the realities of how women and girls end up in prostitution in the first place. (…) For Amnesty International to refer to it as ‘freely chosen gainful work’ is to explicitly ignore that nothing about commercial sexual exploitation is freely chosen.”

The organization Sex Trafficking Survivors United joins in: “We have been disturbed and disappointed to see Amnesty International suggest full decriminalization of pimps and brothel keepers. The general public understands (and as survivors we know) that commercial sexual exploitation is controlled by organized crime. Amnesty’s proposal will only strengthen organized crime’s hold on the exploited and vulnerable communities worldwide. (…) It is simply not credible to suggest prostitution can exist independently of sex trafficking, racism and brutal abuse.”

In the British press, the feminist writer Julie Bindel voices her outrage: “Having researched prostitution, one woman who I interviewed described her life of seeing at least ten male customers a day as ‘a form of torture’. That is just the sort of injustice that Amnesty is meant to be fighting. Yet Amnesty, in an abject inversion of its ethical values, has somehow persuaded itself that surrender to money-driven, masculine sexual aggression represents progress towards liberty.”

But Amnesty’s push is not really surprising. “What is the human rights organization’s position on women’s rights?” Emma asked already in 2010. Back then the head of the ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ campaign, Gita Saghal, had brought a scandal to light: Amnesty had used the self-declared Taliban-follower Moazzam Begg as the poster boy of its anti-Guantanamo campaign. Begg stayed, Saghal was sacked – due to “irreconcilable differences.”

Let’s wait and see whether there is anyone left at Amnesty’s London headquarters who can do any protesting.

Click here for the petition against Amnesty International

See The Invisible Men Project for a look at the men Amnesty are protecting. Warning: graphic content.