, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
So the news that two young sex workers were jailed for "brothel keeping" in Ireland has exposed the reality that the Nordic Model doesn't actually decriminalise them. But it's exposed something else we need to talk about...
... I mean apart from the fact that the orgs and politicians behind @turnoffRL don't really care about these women. That was obvious from the fact they KNEW sex workers would get done for brothel keeping, and deliberately refused to change the law. There's more.
What is shows is the central fallacy that under the Nordic Model the police can be protectors of sex workers, rather than persecutors. This is a fundamental error which operates on a number of levels.
The basic fact, as much as carceral feminists would like to believe otherwise, is that the police are not a protective institution (at least as regards protecting the ordinary population). That is not why police exist. That is not what they're there for.
Occasionally they may serve a protective function as an incidental result of doing their REAL job, but their real job always comes first.
When the Nordic Model directs police to go after the buyers rather than the sellers in a transactional sex exchange, it's not to "protect" the sellers. It's to use police power towards the goal of eradicating prostitution.
So when you have that power, that goal, and laws that criminalise sex workers for brothel keeping (or anything else), OF COURSE police are still going to use it. They'll use whatever means they have at their disposal to target the industry, including targeting sex workers.
This is happening in literally every country that's adopted the model. Here's Swedish Telegenic Super Cop on how he deals with migrant sex workers:
This is from an open letter by a French organisation called Abolition 2012 (you can't smear THEM as the "pimp lobby"):
And in Norway, there was the notorious "Operation Homeless" campaign, under which sex workers were routinely evicted under threats to prosecute their landlords. A law which, incidentally, TORL tried to bring in here.
And if this is how police behave towards sex workers in the supposedly more progressive and enlightened countries of the Global North ... how do you think this law would work out in the rest of the world?
The idea of police as a benevolent protective institution is such an incredibly white western middle class idea, it's hardly surprising the Nordic Model itself is a non-issue in most of the world - where sex workers primarily need protection FROM police.
(See also the US, where the incidence of rape of sex workers - particularly Black and other WOC sex workers - by police is enormous.)
And you know that @amnesty policy that Nordic Model advocates went ballistic over? You know what it was primarily addressed to? The removal of penalties for sex workers, which is the biggest issue for them around the world.
The amount of the policy that dealt with clients and third parties was tiny. How tiny? Here's a screenshot of the draft policy that was leaked and caused such uproar, with those parts highlighted.
Amnesty is a globally-focused organisation! So of course its policy was focused on the biggest GLOBAL need of sex workers, i.e., decriminalisation of THEM. It could have been a really powerful tool to use to persuade lawmakers around the world to decriminalise sex workers ...
Which Nordic Model advocates claim to support... but for the sake of a FEW LINES in the policy they instead sought to discredit the entire thing. All the sex workers being regularly raped by police around the world, they threw under the bus because punishing clients matters more.
To summarise: where police are tasked with trying to stop sex work from happening, whether under full criminalisation or the Nordic Model, police will continue to target sex workers because THAT IS THEIR JOB. Only moving away from an eradicationalist model can stop this. Sin é.
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