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The system of prostitution is a form of violence against women. The EWL has launched a campaign calling for abolition.

 

Welcome to the webpages of the EWL campaign ’Together for a Europe free from prostitution’

Posted on 27 June 2011

Welcome to the webpages of the EWL campaign ’Together for a Europe free from prostitution’. Throughout the following pages, you will get more information about the EWL campaign, its objectives, tools, supporters and many resources about the issue of prostitution in Europe.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has for years been committed to working towards a Europe free from prostitution, by supporting key abolitionist principles which state that the prostitution of women and girls constitutes a fundamental violation of women’s human rights, a serious form of male violence against women, and a key obstacle to equality between women and men in our societies.

The EWL believes that, to realise a world free from prostitution, we need:

  • To raise awareness, open spaces for debates and questions, allow people to discuss, exchange, learn more about what prostitution really is;
  • To support women survivors of prostitution and make their voices heard;
  • To involve men who are not ‘prostitute-users’ and use peer pressure to encourage positive attitudes towards equality and respect for women’s rights.

In this purpose, the EWL has based its advocacy work on different awareness raising tools. Already in 2006, the EWL’s action focused on making the voices of women survivors of prostitution heard; the video-clip and film ’Not for sale’ was therefore produced and you can watch it below.

In 2011, the EWL wanted to complement its material by addressing the general audience and particularly involving men. This is why the EWL has decided to give visibility to its work through new campaign materials: one of those is the video-clip ’For a change of perspective’ which calls on men to stand up against the system of prostitution by identifying with a male prostitute through a thought-provoking reversion of roles (the majority of prostituted persons being women).

Finally, the new EWL action gives the opportunity for everyone to engage against the system of prostitution by taking a pledge and concretely supporting the campaign. You can take the pledge by signing up below.

Enjoy the EWL webpages of the campaign ’Together for a Europe free from prostitution’!

For a change of perspective

You can watch the clip in English below, but it’s also available in 28 other languages! Click here to watch the clip in your language.

Campaign against the prostitution english version from Black Moon prod on Vimeo.

Not for sale

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I pledge not to engage in the system of prostitution and I call on local, national and European decision-makers to take action towards a Europe free from prostitution!

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Time for a change of perspective

Posted on 17 June 2011

[Brussels, 17 June 2011] ‘If I had to have sex ten times a day with strangers for a living, at what point would I start to feel sick? From the beginning surely.’ So concludes the voice-over of a thought-provoking video clip launched today by the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) as part of its campaign to put an end to prostitution in Europe, which it considers a form of violence against women.

Campaign against the prostitution english version from Black Moon prod on Vimeo.

The one-minute video is available in all EU languages (BG, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FN, FR, HU, IT, MT, NL, POR, RO, SE, TR with voice-overs and/or subtitles in 17 languages and subtitles only in the remaining 11.

The one-minute clip is the work of French film director Frédérique Pollet Rouyer and Belgian film director, Patric Jean, whose 2007 documentary ‘La domination masculine’ won critical acclaim. In the clip, a steady stream of women visit a young male prostitute, leaving money on a table in payment for his submission to their desires. ‘What we are appealing for is a moment of reflection and empathy,’ says Patric Jean. ‘We are asking viewers to imagine themselves in the place of a prostituted person and how it feels to rent out one’s sexuality and body for money. If this basic reality of prostitution makes them feel uncomfortable or worse, they should take a stand against it.’

The EWL campaign, entitled ‘Together for a Europe Free from Prostitution’, calls on individuals, national governments and the European Union to take concrete actions to bring about an end to societal tolerance for widespread sexual and economic exploitation of persons in prostitution, the vast majority of whom are women. ‘As far as the members of the European Women’s Lobby are concerned, the system of prostitution represents a backwater of inequality, a place where violence and oppression are thinly veiled by a distorted image of equality through commercial exchange,’ says Rada Boric, Executive member of the EWL, representing more than 2500 women’s associations throughout 30 countries.

Associations working with women in prostitution and survivors of the system agree and point to pervasive inequality between women and men as the key root cause for prostitution. ‘Society has a duty to find alternatives for women so that they can live in dignity and not fall into prostitution,’ insists Pascale Rouges, a survivor from Belgium. A range of official reports and academic studies back up this harsh assessment. According to the UK Home Office, up to 95% of women in street prostitution are problematic drug users. Nine out of ten women in prostitution would like to exit the system of prostitution but feel unable to do so. In the Netherlands, where procuring was decriminalised in 2000, up to 90% of women working in brothels in 2008 were victims of trafficking. An international study found that 62% of women in prostitution reported having been raped, and 68% of them meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the same range as victims of torture.

‘I am very pleased that the EWL has had the courage and foresight to initiate this campaign’, said Mr Proinsias de Rossa, Member of the European Parliament. ‘It is high time for us to open our eyes to the reality of prostitution in our societies, and to its absolute incompatibility with the values of gender equality and human dignity that the European Union espouses and to which it is legally bound.’

The video clip is available in all European languages and is one of a range of awareness-raising tools unveiled today by the EWL at the campaign launch.

Take the pledge!

I pledge not to engage in the system of prostitution and I call on local, national and European decision-makers to take action towards a Europe free from prostitution!

Click here to sign!

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