53 MEPs support EWL campaign and the Brussels’ Call "Together for a Europe free from prostitution".
Eva-Britt Svensson (former MEP, Sweden, GUE-NGL)
"For me as a feminist, it is clear that prostitution is not compatible with a society fully embracing equality between women and men. We cannot be complacent with a reality in which a group of women, usually with significantly less resources and power, should be available for men to buy for sexual purposes. All women have the right to live lives in dignity and sexual self determination. Feminist political leadership in this area means to take stand against the institutionalization of prostitution markets in Europe, and against legalising brothels and pimping. Instead, I want to see a focus on the buyers, and policies that prohibit the buying of sexual services. I want to see policies and increased financing for social and health services for women in prostitution, and of course, the putting in place of real programmes for women to find alternatives and to exit prostitution. I want a society that respects and give freedom to all women."
Zita Gurmai (Hungary, S&D)
"As a Member of European Parliament and of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I consider it my task and responsibility to work for a Europe where no one is threatened by violence, exclusion and exploitation, where everyone can be safe - and by everyone, I also mean women, who represent 52% of Europe’s population! A fact that is, sadly, often forgotten...
I would like to thank and congratulate the European Women’s Lobby for their campaign to end prostitution in Europe. No matter how hard we, European decision makers work, we have always and will always need the help of dedicated NGOs. There are particularly two areas, where I think the efforts of EWL will make a very positive impact: raising awareness on the reality of prostitution and breaking stereotypes. It’s high time that we start having a discussion in Europe about these issues and I welcome that EWL has taken the initiative to do so. I wish all the best for the campaign to the EWL and I would also like to let you know that you can count on my personal support."
Britta Thomsen (Denmark, S&D)
"I believe prostitution in all its forms is a violation of the basic human rights. In principle prostitution is exploitation and an expression of an unequal power relation. That is why I think it is about time we end the buying of sex! We need to criminalize customers and protect the victims while prevent that more women end up in prostitution. I’m very pleased with EWL’s campaign. It put focus on and debates prostitution which is what we need in order to find durable solutions to end prostitution across the Union. No one should be forced to sell their bodies in the future!"
Anna Hedh (Sweden, S&D)
"Prostitution constitutes a fundamental violation of women’s human rights, and is a form of male violence against women. Furthermore, prostitution is also the major pull factor in Europe’s modern slave trade - human trafficking. If we achieve a society free from prostitution and sexual exploitation of women and girls, we will also get rid of a large share of human trafficking in the EU. In fact, in my view it is impossible to combat human trafficking without addressing the underlying problem: that today there are people that are willing to pay for the bodies of women and girls. But ending prostitution will not happen by itself. I am convinced that we need to focus on the people buying sexual "services", and to raise awareness about the reality behind prostitution to influence decision-makers all over Europe. I am therefore a warm supporter of the European Women’s Lobby’s campaign to end prostitution in Europe. Now is the time for action!"
Emilie Turunen (Denmark, S&D)
"I fully support the campaign against prostitution, and especially trafficking, as these phenomena destroy thousands of lives in and outside of Europe. It is urgent that we open our eyes to the problems in this field and take a clear stand. Should it be legal to buy another person’s body? I don’t think so. We simply MUST discuss the role of the buyer as this is crucial for a real mentality change in our societies."
Mary Honeyball (UK, S&D)
"I fully support the campaign to end prostitution across Europe. Anyone who believes that prostitution has a place within a civilised society is not aware of the reality of the situation; women in prostitution are exploited, vulnerable to violence, they are often victims of abuse, drug dependency, trafficking or coercion. I also believe that the EWL’s focus on engaging with men and changing the attitude of European society is of primary importance. Prostitution is not just a women’s issue, it is an issue for all society and one which affects us more than we realise. In a society where men can expect to purchase women, gender equality will remain a myth. If we want to live in a Europe where women have equal rights and can feel safe and respected, we must work to eliminate prostitution and to create a culture in which it is not permitted or acceptable to purchase the body of another."
Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (France, Greens)
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"As a feminist, I defend an ideal of society where sex doesn’t determine people’s life. This ideal is not compatible with the commodification of women’s body, women being the vast majority of prostituted persons. The system of prostitution as a whole has to be tackled by public policies. This implies: a policy of education to equality and sexuality, the criminalisation of prostitute-users, the support to and reinsertion of prostituted persons, and the fight against trafficking. Prostitution is a form of violence, and doesn’t belong to a society which aspires to equality between women and men."
Sylvie Guillaume (France, S&D)
"Being an activist for equality between women and men for a long time, I think that it is very important to support the organisations which fight for the respect of fundamental rights, notably those of vulnerable persons. Persons in prostitution are in the vast majority victims of unacceptable violence which most of the time remains unpunished. I believe it is very important to convey the political recommendations of the EWL because I wish that EWL’s campain will open the debate on the abolition of the system of prostitution and the criminalisation of prostitute-users."
Sophie Auconie (France, EPP)
"Prostitution is violence! Being the President of the organisation Femmes au Centre, I cannot but be indignant about all violations of women’s rights. This is the reason why i support the campaign of the European Women’s Lobby. It is not tolerable anymore nowadays to leave some states like France practice a double language on this issue. On the one hand, we prohibit solicitation, and consequently sanction women in prostitution. On the other hand, we tolerate the idea of prostitution through the existence of taxation between the French state and the women. Let us stop hypocrisy! Let us stop political cant! I am convinced that the harmonisation at EU level of policies dealing with prostitution is crucial. It has to go through a reflection on methods for reintegration and support to women willing to exit the system of prostitution."
Kinga Göncz (Hungary, S&D)
"The victims of prostitution are mainly the most vulnerable people of the society, those girls, boys and women who try to, or are forced to escape the hardships of the every-day life by selling their body to a market of increasing demand. The economic crisis has made these groups of people even more vulnerable. The failed policies of right-wing governments add to the problems by criminalizing the social exclusion and by widening the gap between the upper and lower echelons of the society.
Prostitution and sex trafficking go hand in hand. The United Nations estimates that between 800,000 and 4 million men, women and children are deceived, recruited, transported from their homes and sold into slavery around the world each year. Eighty percent are women, girls and young boys trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. Of these, more than 200,000 women and children from Russia and Eastern Europe are forced into prostitution each year. We must not waste time and need to take urgent steps on national and also on European level to end the system of prostitution and fight human trafficking!"
Nathalie Griesbeck (France, ALDE)
"One cannot fight against violence against women without fighting against prostitution, which is without doubt the major form of violence that can target women. It is a fundamental violation of human rights and we have to fight against this form of exploitation, which is absolutely incompatible with the values we defend. Prostitution is a very serious issue as it is a form of violence which is totally trivialised, and I hope that the EWL campaign will allow for a large debate on trafficking in human beings and prostitution in Europe, its causes, its consequences and all inherent challenges, notably the criminalisation of the buying of sex. Therefore, I need to bring my support to the campaign ’Together for a Europe free from prostitution’. The increasing migration flows of women for purposes of prostitution constitutes a real challenge for the European authorities in charge with regards to the fight organised crime, the respect for women’s rights and access to care. We need to act now."
Marielle de Sarnez (France, ALDE)
Constance Le Grip (France, EPP)
"We have to fight against the system of prostitution which is a real violation of women’s and men’s rights. As a member of the European Parliamant, and notably of the Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I therefore fully support EWL’s campaign. It is time to launch a broad reflection at European level on the way we want to abolish the system of prostitution: ending the trivialisation of prostitution, legislating on buyers’ responsibility, fighting against organised crime : here are concrete actions to end trafficking in human beings. Our societies are still too much indulgent with those practices. We have to act now, protect those women -and those men- who are vulnerable and victims of what is often close to modern slavery."
Mikael Gustafsson (Sweden, GUE-NGL)
"I say no to men’s rights to buy women in prostitution. I consider prostitution as a form of violence - against mainly women and girls, but also some boys and men. As such it is incompatible with a society which strives to be based on equality and respect for all. As with all forms of gender-based violence, we must increasingly name and target the perpetrator, the men. There would be no prostitution if men did not buy girls and women for sexual purposes. This is why policies must be addressed at reducing "male demand" in prostitution markets. Any attempts to legalise or institutionalise prostitution activities will only fuel abuse and exploitation.
I say no to men’s rights to buy women in prostitution. I say yes to women’s rights to decide freely over their bodies in all matters. Translated into practical public policy terms this means that women in prostitution must be decriminalised and de-penalised, and that the buyers (men) should be penalised. As in Sweden, we will see very good results if we choose this path. But this path takes a lot of political courage - to challenge the economic interests of the powerful sex industry, and last but not least, to challenge old-fashioned ideas about men’s (and women’s) sexuality."
Nessa Childers (Ireland, S&D)
"Since being elected in 2009, I have always made for equality between women and men a priority, and it is very important to support the organisations which fight for the rights of vulnerable groups. People caught up in prostitution are victims of violence and economic oppression. We must make the buying of sex a crime. I support fully the political recommendations of the EWL and I hope their campaigns will open the debate on prostitution, which in Ireland I know is still very much underground and out-of-sight."
Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria, EPP)
"We are often told that there are two sorts of prostitution: prostitution that is chosen, and forced prostitution. This distinction is an aberration, to me it’s even a serious moral fault. Once there is an exchange of money against a sexual act, there is violence. Any prostituted person, whether s/he decided so or was forced to it, is out of hand placed in a situation of extreme vulnerability towards the person who is buying her/his services. Prostitution is a form of violence, and once there is violence, there is a victim. Fighting prostitution is foremost about helping victims to get out of it, supporting them, taking them out from isolation, helping them to go forward and opening new perspectives for them. But fighting prostitution is also about tackling networks of organised crimes which use the degradation of the human being for their own business. UNODC estimates that in 2010, prostitution networks in Europe made a benefit of 2,5 billion dollars, and that victims of sexual exploitation account to 140 000 persons in Europe! Lastly, fighting prostitution is about criminalising prostitute-users. This issue is a taboo in our societies, but there is no indulgence or excuses to find for prostitute-users. Those people fuel the spiral of trafficking; they are instrumental links in the chain of exploitation and need to understand that through their action they violate the universal fundamental right of human dignity. We have a common responsibility in Europe to regain consciousness about the gravity of the phenomenon and engage towards real measures. EWL’s campaign is going in that direction and this is why I invite everyone to look at it, participate, support and make one’s contribution to it."
Gay Mitchell (Ireland, EPP)
Mairead McGuinness (Ireland, EPP)
"The European Union should be a place in which all people feel safe, respected and equal. Sadly there are many who do not feel safe, experience respect or equality. Throughout my time as an MEP, I have always been a defender of equal rights for men and women. The EU has not yet ratified any binding legislation that directly addresses violence against women despite the fact that violence against women affects approximately 45% of all women across Europe. The struggle to end violence against women cannot be fully achieved unless we also fight the violence of prostitution. Prostitution is one of the main reasons for the trafficking of women and children, with the United Nations estimating that some 80% of persons trafficked are trafficked for sexual exploitation. I fully and wholeheartedly support the campaign to end prostitution across Europe and protect women and children from sexual exploitation."
Phil Prendergast (Ireland, S&D)
"I oppose prostitution not only on principle, but also because of the many ills it hides and entails. Unfortunately, current mainstream culture trends and the media ceaselessly objectify the human body. I reject the commodification of a woman’s body and its justification on the grounds that prostitution is an industry that provides a service just like any other. Selling your body is not, and should not be seen as, any normal business transaction. Scourges like human trafficking, rape, exploitation, abuse and psychological trauma are rampant in what some would call a trade. We need to encourage practices that help alleviate the situation of vulnerable women who engage in prostitution. Looking at it as business as usual is certainly not the way to do it."
Inês Zuber (Portugal, GUE)
Iratxe García Pérez (Spain, S&D)
Ana Gomes (Portugal, S&D)
"Raising awareness on prostitution at sporting events should be an effective way to fight against this hideous form of violence against women. I thus support EWL-sponsored 30th May event. Me, too, I consider prostitution as an obstacle to gender equality. Let’s never forget the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights state that European societies should be characterized by equality between women and men. On the contrary, Europe remains a place where one in ten women is a victim of sexual violence. So the European Union, together with civil society, must do more to change this scandal. Systematic public campaigns such as EWL’s are one great way of dealing with this subject in a comprehensive, lively and appealing way."
Antonyia Parvanova (Bulgaria, ALDE)
"I fully support the EWL’s campaign "Together for a Europe free from prostitution". Prostitution represents one of the most severe violations of human rights and personal dignity, which unfortunately has been widely trivialized and somehow accepted by society. The phenomenon of prostitution should be analysed and tackled as one category of violence against women. We should not forget that women in prostitution are often exploited, abused both psychologically and physically and put in a position inferior to that of men. The existence of such unequal power relations is incompatible with the principles and values of equality and respect to the personal dignity enshrined in the EU’s founding treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It would be a moral failure on behalf of European society not to address comprehensively the phenomenon of prostitution and ignore the gruesome reality in which men pay to use women’s bodies. This is not the Europe of equality, progress and respect we aspire to live in!"
Claude Moraes (UK, S&D)
Fiona Hall (UK, ALDE)
Franziska Brantner (Germany, Greens)
Mojca Kleva (Slovenia, S&D)
Marita Ulvskog (Sweden, S&D)
"Prostitution is exploitation, violence against women and a tool of oppression. The idea that men need a one group of women to be available for their sexual needs is wrong and founded on structural inequality and a view of women being commodities. If we believe in a world where human rights have supremacy and women and men are equals, prostitution must be fought. We need to raise awareness and stir up the debate. The issue of prostitution must be on the agenda of the EU and also globally. Therefore I am a strong supporter of the EWL campaign "Together for a Europe free from prostitution" and the Brussels’ Call."
Michèle Striffler (France, EPP)
Christel Schaldemose (Denmark, S&D)
Emer Costello (Ireland, S&D)
"As a former Lord Mayor of Dublin and Dublin City Councillor, I have long campaigned against the exploitation of women and in particular on the issue of prostitution. I am a firm supporter of the work of the "Turn Off the Red Light" campaign in Ireland which is seeking to bring about both legal and societal change in relation to prostitution. I also fully support the work being done on a European level by the EWL. Prostitution is a form of degradation of women and is completely incompatible with the principle of equality between men and women. I believe that the best way to deal with the issue is to tackle demand. I fully support the call to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence. Moreover, additional supports need to be put in place to help women exit prostitution. Prostitution is not a lifestyle choice and indeed those caught up in it would state that they have had very few choices in life."
Catherine Bearder (UK, ALDE)
Ivailo Kalfin (Bulgaria, S&D)
Alf Svensson (Sweden, EPP)
"Prostitution reflects a consumerism built on contempt for human rights and human dignity, it does absolutely not belong in a society based on the principle of everyone’s equal worth."
Carl Schlyter (Sweden, Greens)
Jens Nilsson (Sweden, S&D)
"Prostitution is a form of male violence against women and constitutes a fundamental violation of women’s human rights. Clearly, prostitution is also the major pull factor in Europe’s modern day slave trade - human trafficking. I have long been convinced that we need to focus legislation on the people buying sexual "services". I also believe that we need to raise awareness about the reality behind prostitution in order to influence decision-makers all over Europe."
Göran Färm (Sweden, S&D)
"I give my full support to the EWL campaign and the work against prostitution. We need to focus more on how to combat the demand for prostitution and we cannot accept the fact that people in 2012 can be treated as commodities. I believe in an equal society and as long as prostitution exists we cannot be satisfied and content. Prostitution in the EU is a big problem and is one of the main reasons for the rising numbers in human trafficking. That is why we need to raise the issue of prostitution at all levels of society, within the EU as well as globally. Prostitution is an issue that is depending on imbalances in power between women and men and the work towards a gender equal society is a major part of the progress we need. My belief is that if we unite we can tackle the demand and put an end to prostitution and all forms of human trafficking."
Åsa Westlund (Sweden, S&D)
"I fully support the EWL’s campaign "Together for a Europe free from prostitution". Prostitution is a violent exploitation of a person’s body; it reinforces inequality, and promotes a lack of dignity and respect. Our societies must resolutely reject the idea that it is ok to purchase people as commodities for sexual use; consequently buying sex should be criminalized. The argument of prostitution being a proper job is false. A parent would never recommend their children to prostitute themselves."
Cecilia Wikström (Sweden, ALDE)
Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (France, EPP)
Catherine Trautmann (France, S&D)
Joanna Senyszyn (Poland, S&D)
"I sign the Brussels’ Call because both forced prostitution and trafficking in human beings are serious violations of human rights and criminal offences. Each year hundreds of thousands of women are abused in the European sex industry. Trafficking in women goes beyond borders; therefore, a global European response to this issue is urgently needed, with special emphasis on prevention and victim protection."
Siiri Oviir (Estonia, ALDE)
In general, a woman’s decision to work as a prostitute is due to the poverty.
That’s why in developed European countries have prostitutes mainly from very poor countries.
I consider those women as victims.
Prostitution is closely linked to organised crime (including drug addiction and money laundering).
I support the criminalization of buying sex.
Véronique de Keyser (Belgium, S&D)
Olle Ludvigsson (Sweden, S&D)
"I support the EWL campaign "Together for a Europe free from prostitution" and the Brussels’ Call because the fact that men can buy women for sex is wrong and reinforces a perception of women being commodities that is detrimental to equal rights and all women. Accepting prostitution is accepting a structure that is reflecting and maintaining inequality between men and women. That has to be changed. We need to make sure that the issue of prostitution reaches the agenda within the EU and that the discussion will lead to a Europe free from prostitution."
Kent Johansson (Sweden, ALDE)
Silvia Costa (Italy, S&D)
Silvana Koch-Mehrin (Germany, ALDE)
"I fully endorse the EWL campaign to end prostitution. As Member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, I continuously support policies aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. Prostitution is a clear violation of a person’s dignity and human rights. It is incompatible with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and poses a hidden threat to our society. It reinforces the dominant position of men over women and prohibits the building of an egalitarian and modern society."
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (Poland, S&D)
Krisztina Morvai (Hungary, NI)
Marian Harkin (Ireland, ALDE)
Isabella Lövin (Sweden, Greens)
Olle Schmidt (Sweden, ALDE)