Actual evidence shows the Nordic model works 

A study commissioned by Norway’s government shows that criminalizing the purchase of sex has decreased trafficking and has not caused violence against women to increase, as some have claimed.

Johns have been criminalized in Norway since 2009, following in Sweden’s footsteps.

Reuters reports:

"The nearly 200-page report is based on six months of research, including interviews with male and female prostitutes, police and support organizations.

The Norwegian law applies to all its citizens anywhere, making it illegal for Norwegians to buy sex even in countries where the activity is accepted.

Penalties for breaking the law are set by local municipalities. In Oslo, Norway’s largest city, convicted sex buyers face a 25,000 crown ($4,000) fine.”

Since criminalizing the purchase of sex in 1999, the number of men who buy sex in Sweden went from one in eight to one in 13.

Opponents of the Nordic model tell us that criminalizing the purchase of sex will make it more dangerous and push the trade “underground.” Despite the fact that there is zero evidence to back up these claims and that, in truth, the “underground”/illegal sex trade thrives under legalization, this myth persists, thanks to this oft-repeated misinformation.

The truth is that criminalizing the purchase of sex makes countries that do so less desirable for pimps, johns, and traffickers. It is no real surprise that organized crime has taken over the trade in places that have legalized — it’s simply easier to buy and sell women in places where the practice is normalized and legal. Women and girls are trafficked because there just aren’t enough of them who enter the trade willingly — demand begets exploitation; reduce demand, reduce exploitation.

Meanwhile, claims that legalizing or decriminalizing the purchase of sex and the exploitation of women would make the trade safer, have not proven to be true. As a result, countries like Germany and New Zealand are reconsidering their laws.

In 2012, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that he didn’t think the Prostitution Law Reform Act 2003 had reduced street prostitution or underage prostitutes, stating:

“The argument was that it would eliminate all the street workers and underage people, particularly girls, and the reports that we see in places like South Auckland is that it hasn’t actually worked… I think it’s been marginally successful, if at all.”

The study is timely as the Canadian government has recently put forward a bill that, if passed (which it most-likely will), will target demand and criminalize pimps and johns.

But I am tired of sitting on this information — information many of us have been hearing about for months, years even — knowing that the victims are out there watching as this man continues to move through leftist circles, writing about progressive politics and even rape culture, now at the head of a leftist publication, while they are abandoned. By us – by feminists, by progressives — by the very people who should be supporting victims, fighting male violence against women, and holding sexist men to account. It makes me physically ill, in part because I’ve experienced it (though perhaps on a smaller scale).

There is no doubt in my mind that the women involved with Ricochet — only too willing to trash and attack me because I refuse to pretend that the sex industry is a site of female empowerment or simply “a job like any other” – are fully aware of these allegations and rumours. I’d like to hear from them on this issue. If they are so willing to speak out against other feminists, they should be willing to speak out against rape culture in their ranks.

Here’s a radical idea: my feminism is one that’s here for women, not abusive men — not pimps, not johns, and most certainly not men who have been accused of abuse and sexual assault. Feminists are free to and always have disagreed on various issues; but the least we could ally on, one would think, is solidarity with women.

Tom’s generous praise — that is he willing to consider fucking a 42-year-old woman who looks like Cameron Diaz — tells us much more about feminism’s failures (or rather, patriarchy’s strength) than it does its successes, despite the fact that he claims it is, in fact, “feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.”

You see, we have not yet managed to understand that women’s power exists outside of fuckability. That a man might be willing to maybe consider a 42-year-old woman attractive enough to fuck is, society believes, feminism’s greatest success. But what Tom understands to be an accomplishment is actually merely significant of the fact that women are still defined and valued based on their relationships to men.

why we care what men who buy sex from vulnerable women think about women’s liberation or gender equality is beyond me because if they had any understanding or concern for women’s human rights and ending patriartchy they wouldn’t be buying sex from prostitutes. Do you know any feminist men who buy sex? Would you laugh in their faces if they told you they desired an end to male power and violence against women just after they’d gotten a bj from an Aboriginal woman on the Downtown Eastside? I would.
Atchison wants the discussion of exploitation and abuse to be about those other johns over there. But too bad! Because prostitution exists upon and because of a foundation of inequality that makes women into things that exist for male pleasure. Some individual johns are more physically violent than others, sure. But we don’t know which ones those are until they become violent, as Trisha Baptie noted in her testimony, nor is physical violence the whole conversation. The fact that prostitutes experience higher rates of PTSD than war veterans do speaks to that.

Happy belated bday to us! 

Oh esteemed readers, apparently we have been so busy over here at Feminist Current that we managed to miss our own bday. But now we are two!

Since our launch on July 1, 2012, Feminist Current has become the most-read feminist blog in Canada, our stats went from averaging 20,000 a month to over 100,000 a month, and we’ve developed an incredible, amazing community of readers and commenters.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of your participation, time, energy, input, feedback, support, and donations. It means so much to me that you would spend your time and energy here and I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from you all.

I’ve said it many times before and it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that Feminist Current commenters are the smartest commenters on the whole internet. I mean, read the comments. Then read the internet. The folks who comment here are truly amazing. I don’t know what I would do without you.

Through the ups and downs many of you have stuck it out here and held me to account as well as offered support. Thank you.

In celebration of our birthday I’m sending you all of my love, respect, strength, and solidarity. We would be nothing without one another.

Until we win.



There is no single argument that could in any way legitimize the idea that men who buy sex from vulnerable and desperate women are an oppressed minority akin to gay people. Also, buying sex is not a sexual identity. Men buy sex because they want to have sex with someone who they don’t have to consider, know, or relate to as a human being. They want their needs met beyond all else and, often, they want someone to use and abuse in a way they can’t get away with in their homes and intimate relationships. That desire has little to do with “sex” if we are talking about “sex” as a thing that is desired and enjoyed by all parties involved — you know, not-rape sex.

Since I’ve been alive and until recently, efforts to disguise and destroy all evidence that women *gasp* grow body hair, just like men, seemed only to increase to points of insanity. Suddenly the only acceptable pubic hair was a creepy-looking Hitler moustache, the merely symbolic “landing strip” – absurd in its purposelessness — or literally none at all, because apparently the prepubescent look is hot (read: men are disgusting).

I’ve announced publicly and privately a number of times that shaving or waxing one’s vagina is gross, unsanitary, and a huge waste of time, money and energy. The upkeep is a daily chore and the results of said chore can result in an itchy, painful, red, ugly, infected mess.

Sometimes when I make such statements I’m told I’m shaming women who shave or that it really isn’t so bad. And honestly, do whatever you want with your body hair. I spend time and money on other ridiculous and unnecessary beauty rituals too, so I’m not here to judge you. But I have to admit that, despite the fact that I don’t think that what women do or don’t do with their body hair should be dictated by fashion or the male gaze, the return of hair feels a little bit thrilling.

We say to the left: in this past decade you have failed to live up to your rhetoric of revolution. You have not reached the people. And we won’t hitch ourselves to your poor donkey. There are millions of women out there desperate enough to rise. Women’s liberation is dynamite. And we have more important things to do than to try to get you to come around. You will come around when you have to, because you need us more than we need you… Fuck off, left. You can examine your navel by yourself from now on. We’re starting our own movement.

- Shulamith Firestone

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