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Saturday, 16th December 2017

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End demand for sexual exploitation – why NUS must join the women’s movement & campaign for the Sex Buyer Law

“Prostitution is, was and always will be an absolute affront to human dignity. I know that because I have lived and witnessed it.” – Mia De Faoite

“Being in a penthouse suite doesn’t soften the blow of rape or of having someone leave bite marks all over your face.” – Diane Martin CBE

“The Sex Buyer Law would mean that the law stands alongside women like me, rather than against us.” – Crystal

End Demand Campaign

A new campaign has been launched calling on the UK government to end demand for sex trafficking and exploitation through prostitution by adopting the Sex Buyer Law.

On Wednesday 3 December, the National Union of Students (NUS) National Executive will debate a very controversial motion which calls for the campaign to ‘End Demand’ for sexual exploitation be opposed. The motion resolves to “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic Model into the UK.”

Student Broad Left calls upon members of the NUS National Executive to reject this motion and instead rally behind the vital ‘End Demand’ campaign instead. As students we should play our part in the movement to end sexual exploitation and the endemic violence against women associated with the ‘sex industry’.

NUS should join the huge number of women’s organisations that support the campaign, including the TUC Women’s Committee, UK Feminista, the End Violence Against Women Coalition, the White Ribbon Campaign and the Fawcett Society.

For more information about the campaign to ‘End Demand’ please click here.

Why Student Broad Left supports the campaign to End Demand

Approximately 80,000 people, mostly women, are involved in prostitution in the UK. The overwhelming majority of people who end up in the prostitution trade are highly vulnerable and suffer acute harms as a result of their involvement. It is estimated that:
• 50% of women in prostitution in the UK started being paid for sex acts before they were 18 years old
• 95% of women in street prostitution are problematic drug users
• Over half of women involved in prostitution in the UK have been raped and/or sexually assaulted – the vast majority of these assaults committed by sex buyers

The trafficking of women and girls in to England and Wales to be brutally exploited through the prostitution trade is worth at least £130 million annually to their abusers.

The Sex Buyer Law or ‘Nordic Model’, as it is often known, requires government to take three crucial actions to tackle this abuse:
1. Decriminalise the sale of sex acts
2. Criminalise the buying of sex acts
3. Provide support and exiting services for those exploited through prostitution

The Sex Buyer Law is a vital tool for preventing commercial sexual exploitation. It has been adopted by three of the four countries with the highest ratings for gender equality worldwide. The Council of Europe has named it “the most effective tool for preventing and combating trafficking in human beings”.

The prostitution trade – and the trafficking of women in to it – is underpinned by the principles of supply and demand. Without the current demand from a minority of men to pay for sex, there would be no ‘supply’ of women and girls in to this exploitative trade. To end the exploitation, we have to end the demand.

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