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Carnival

BBC World Service Documentary About Prostitution in Europe

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There's a potentially interesting documentary about sex work throughout Europe which will be broadcast tomorrow (Sunday) on the BBC World Service at 4:05 am  (for anyone awake at that time!) and again at 2:05 pm.

Here's the programme blurb:

Red Lights and Red Lines

Despite both liberal and conservative reforms in different countries being hailed as the answer to stamping it out, Europe seems to be losing the battle against sex trafficking. Why do these countries, which work successfully together against other crimes, struggle to combat sexual exploitation and forced prostitution?

Is it because there is no uniform policy to deal with prostitution? Made up of different faiths, traditions and cultures, Europe has a variety of attitudes to sex work. In some countries in Eastern Europe it is completely forbidden and punishable with a prison sentence. In other countries like the UK it is legal in private between consenting adults but brothels and soliciting for sex are illegal. In Germany and Switzerland prostitution is legal and regulated.

Are the different approaches creating an eco-system in which abuse can flourish with traffickers working the systems to their advantage, slipping through the net and escaping prosecution?

Annalisa Piras speaks to sex workers and others involved in the industry across Europe, from politicians and from those tasked with implementing the different laws. Do Europe’s politicians and law enforcers have what it takes to really beat the traffickers?

I believe it will include a contribution from Laura Lee, talking about why the Nordic model doesn't work.

 

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Thanks for telling us about this programme Carnival.

I thought this was a well-balanced piece of reporting. The anti brigade trotted out the same tired arguments about prostitution being rape and how the Swedish model is the way forward etc. This was countered by academics, who pointed out that the evidence does not support criminalisation and some who really know the industry, like Laura Lee, who gave a good case for the de-criminalisation of sex work. Where the programme fell down was that it blurred the issues of sex work (with consent) and trafficking, but the point was well made that some trafficking is quite subtle - eg. a girl goes to Germany, for example, with someone who she thinks he is her 'boyfriend' and he then pressures her to work in a brothel. Germany is apparently introducing a registration system for sex workers, which will include an interview and access to support services. It sounds like this will be a positive move to prevent trafficking (which I think we all oppose), but we will have to see if this works in practice.

At other parts of the programme, some the anti-brigade admitted that their real aim was the total elimination of prostitution, but they cloak this with supposed concern for the women in the industry (no mention of male sex workers BTW), fighting trafficking etc.

 

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Does anybody have a link to this documentary, please?

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