[Brussels, 5 April 2016] On 18 February 2016, Vienna saw the birth of a new platform of associations dedicated to the abolition of the system of prostitution: Initiative Stopp Sexkauf gathers women’s organisations, front-lines NGOs, youth network and men mobilising against the sex trade, all advocating for the Nordic Model in Austria as a way to foster gender equality and reduce sex trafficking.
Hosted by the Swedish Embassy, the event gathered a lot of participants, decision-makers, journalists, professionals and activists, and benefited from the expertise and experience of:
- Rachel Moran, sex trade survivor and co-founder of SPACE international
- Jens Nilsson, Swedish Member of the European Parliament (MEP, S&D)
- Pierrette Pape, Policy and Campaigns Director at the European Women’s Lobby
The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is a partner of Stopp SexKauf, as we believe that the system of prostitution fuels trafficking for sexual exploitation, and is an obstacle to equality between women and men. The EWL is coordinating the Brussels’ Call "Together for a Europe free from prostitution", which gathers more than 200 organisations from all over Europe and beyond, and many MEPs, and aims at raising awareness on the reality of prostitution, learn from other countries’ experience and provoke public debate at European and national level. After the adoption of the European Parliament resolution on prostitution in February 2014, we were delighted to be invited to the launch of this abolitionist platform in Austria!
Members of the Platform were invited to present their views at the event. The frontline NGO Solwodi shared the reality of the women they meet on the streets and in the brothels: up to 95% of them come from poor countries, many have suffered violence in their family, and are responsible for the family livelihood. The men’s group Männer für Geschlechtergleichstellung questioned the so-called ’male need’ for prostitution and called for a change of mentalities. The youth network Freethem highlighted the importance of discussing prostitution and pornography, as young people are very open and eager to discuss these issues and do something about them.
The event got a lot of media coverage (for example in the Salsburger Nachrichten]), and we hope that it will trigger debate about the Austrian system on prostitution and trafficking, and its impact on equality between women and men.
"Prostitution is compensated sexual violation. Using ’sex work’ denies everything I lived for 7 years. The Swedish model recognises prostitution as a violation of human rights and opens up alternatives, and this is why I believe in it." - Rachel Moran
"If you want to fight for gender equality, you have to fight against prostitution. The law is there to have an influence on people’s mind." - Jens Nilsson
"Does Austria want to be the Thailand of Europe? This issue has to do with the society we want, the society we are building for our children, the role models we are providing to them." - Pierrette Pape
Read here the article of the Swedish Embassy on the event (in German).
Read here the article on the website of Stopp Sexkauf (in German).
Watch below a video from the event, with interviews of Rachel Moral and Jens Nilsson (in English).