Prostitution is, after all, commonly referred to as “the

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Helen Pringle is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and canada goose outlet black friday Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

After the Socialist Party was elected to government in France in 2012, the new Minister for Women made a strange proposal. Najat Vallaud Belkacem was reported in the Guardian as seeking the “abolition of prostitution in Europe.

canada goose clearance sale Vallaud canada goose jacket outlet sale Belkacem told the Guardian that she wanted to meet with the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, in order to revive the international abolitionist movement founded in the 1870s by the Victorian canada goose outlet in montreal feminist Josephine Butler: canada goose clearance sale

Canada Goose Jackets “Since the nineteenth century and the role of Josephine Butler, Britain and France have been the core countries in the international mobilisation against prostitution. I really hope that these common roots are still alive.” Canada Goose Jackets

Four years later, on 6 April 2016, canada goose outlet toronto location the French parliament passed the Law to strengthen the fight against the prostitution system, as a step towards the abolition of prostitution.

canada goose To many observers in the media, the announcement of the passing of the law in France seemed to come out of the blue. However, the beginning of the project of the law in its current form can be traced back at least to the early 2000s, after the Swedish law against sex purchase was put in place. canada goose

The process gained momentum in 2011, when the Bousquet Geoffroy report of a cross party commission of the French National Assembly proposed making the purchase of sex unlawful, along the lines of the Swedish or Nordic Model. Acting on the report, a plenary of the National canada goose stockists uk Assembly passed a resolution on 6 canada goose outlet uk sale December 2011 endorsing the goal of a “society without prostitution.” The current law was passed in the National Assembly in December 2013, before being shuttled back and forth to a less favourable Senate, with the final vote in the Assembly taken on Wednesday.

canada goose coats on sale However, to say that what happened here was the passage of a law involving a great deal of canada goose outlet uk preparation, amendment and indeed also obstruction, decisively misses the significance of this law, in France, as a step towards the abolition of prostitution. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose black friday sale The very idea that prostitution might be abolished or that it might be possible to have a “society without prostitution” doubtless sounds strange to many people. Prostitution is, after all, commonly referred to as “the oldest profession in the world” the implication being that it has always been with “us” and, moreover, that it will always be with “us.” That prostitution is inevitable in this way is also often said to involve its role as a hormonal safety valve, for men. Prostitution allows men to fulfil their primeval urges at will and, as a safety valve, this institution that allows men to pay to access the bodies of “those” women means they won’t violate “our” women (the good, the pure, the mothers). canada goose black friday sale

Canada Goose sale If these constraints of male desire and biology are alleged as the ground of discussion about prostitution, then abolition is indeed a pipe dream and “harm reduction” becomes as much as one can hope for. A strategy of harm reduction through decriminalisation or legalisation allows greater intervention by government in prostitution markets, which also then allows governments to canada goose jacket outlet uk play the part of pimps in procuring and monitoring a supply of “clean” women to service the errant sexuality of men. Canada Goose sale

If defences of prostitution are not always put with as much canada goose outlet callousness or cruelty as such terms as these imply, especially in modern medical and public canada goose jacket uk health discourses, nevertheless these are the terms that continue to shadow popular discussions of prostitution. That is: uncontrollable male sexuality lies at the basis of prostitution, which has been and will always be with “us” and should always be with “us” given its usefulness in channelling an canada goose outlet sale otherwise unpredictably bestial sexuality.

The significance of the French legislation is not merely that a law was passed with several provisions in regard to prostitution. The abolitionist goal of the law challenges fundamental understandings of sexuality, suggesting that male sexuality is not natural but takes the form it does because of its social and historical construction. There is nothing natural about the institution of prostitution its artifice being immediately apparent given that it involves payment, usually of money (which does not occur in nature).

buy canada goose jacket cheap A fundamental mistake involved in canada goose outlet niagara falls assumptions concerning the inevitability and naturalness of prostitution lies in the way it is often defended canada goose factory outlet and was defended in the parliamentary and public debates in France by the law’s opponents. Claims about male sexuality are often allied with more philosophical defences where prostitution is depicted as a consensual agreement between individuals, in which one offers sex and the other provides the consideration of payment. buy canada goose jacket cheap

cheap Canada Goose This common picture occludes completely the prostitution industry or as the French usually now call it, le systeme prostitutionnel, the prostitution system. This system stands behind and comes into play in every individual transaction. Discussions of prostitution in the media are almost always accompanied by a photo of a young woman in hot pants and canada goose outlet authentic Pretty Woman boots leaning against a car, or similar. The pictures illustrating articles on prostitution rarely if ever show the buyer, and even more rarely show the procurer, pimp or madam integral to the transaction. cheap Canada Goose

The 2016 French law does not criminalise or otherwise adversely target the woman leaning against the car. The main features of the French law are in line with the Nordic Model for the abolition of prostitution. This means, first, the complete decriminalisation of “prostitutes” and abolition of the crime of soliciting (racolage, reinstated as a crime in France under former President Sarkozy). Second, the Nordic Model involves making unlawful the purchase or attempted purchase of sex, and of associated activities of pimping and procuring, including through the internet. Third, the provision of “exit routes” through programs and support for those women who wish to leave the system, canada goose outlet mall with the development of reparation and other remedies for victims of prostitution and trafficking. In France, such measures also include immigration support for prostituted foreign nationals. The French law also mandates programs in educating young people and in raising public awareness that canada goose outlet washington dc prostitution is linked to the commodification of the body as “a form of violence against women.”

canada goose store This legislation which seeks a society without prostitution does not aim at some form of regulation of individual transactions. The law was supported not only by Socialist, Communist and Left groups canada goose parka outlet uk in the National Assembly, but by a large number of non government canada goose outlet toronto address organisations like those gathered in the collective Abolition 2012. Such support from civil society was unwavering in its insistence that there was to be no compromise in the proposed law on the understanding of prostitution as a form of gendered violence, or on the goal of abolition. canada goose store

Canada Goose Parka The emphasis of the proposed law was very deliberately not on trafficking, but on the very core of the system of prostitution as violence, understood in terms of the entitlement of men to impose sex through the exploitation of precarity and vulnerability. There is widespread acknowledgement, of course, that prostitution and acts of prostitution are frequently associated with violence, but the French law is based on the understanding that prostitution is violence against women. The groups supporting the law also were insistent throughout the legislative process that no distinction should be made in the law between “forced” and “chosen” prostitution or acts of prostitution, and no distinction between good “sex work” and bad “trafficking.” Canada Goose Parka

Canada Goose online Such an uncompromising position attracted the criticism of the law’s opponents, who asked why individuals should not be free to make their own bargains in relation to sexual activity. But if the prostitution system is understood as violence (and not merely associated with it), then its operations cannot be defended as freedom. In this sense, the French law understands prostitution along the lines of other forms of commodification of the body like surrogacy (against which France is contemplating legislation), or the trade in organs. The trade in organs is perhaps the closest analogy to the French law’s understanding of prostitution, resting as it does on exploitation given the intrinsically asymmetrical relationship between buyer and seller. The organ trade is an canada goose vest outlet imperfect canada goose outlet reviews analogy with prostitution, however, because the positions of buyer and seller in the prostitution system are comprehensively gendered, with almost all buyers being men, and most “sellers” being women. Canada Goose online

canadian goose jacket The asymmetry of prostitution transactions extends to what is bought and sold. It is impossible to understand prostitution fully unless we recognise at least the possibility that what is being bought is not the same as what is being sold. If we were to concede that the “workers” in prostitution are selling their labour just as they would, say, in a factory there is still a question as to whether buyers are paying for their labour. The answer is no. It is doubtful even if the payment being made in prostitution is for sex, or even for compliance or for consent. The clarification offered by Tom Meagher, now working for abolition in Ireland, perhaps comes closest to the reality: when canada goose outlet store uk a man pays a woman in prostitution, the consideration is not her consent but the suspension of her desire not to consent. canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose Outlet The asymmetry between buyers and sellers in prostitution goes to the heart of individual acts within the prostitution system. Prostitution transactions cannot be considered as in any way aligned with freedom, or with the pleasure and delight that come from and in freely given intimacy. Canada Goose Outlet

This asymmetry in the bargain, the act and the canada goose outlet new york city system, is acknowledged in the asymmetric criminalisation in the French law of the different positions in prostitution. The most remarked upon feature of the French law, and of the Nordic Model generally, is that it makes unlawful, penalises or criminalises purchase. But this means nothing unless the “sellers” and their acts are completely decriminalised. It is the asymmetry of criminalisation in the French law that marks it as a truly revolutionary understanding of prostitution in relation to sex and intimacy.

canada goose clearance It is this asymmetry of the law that makes what happened on France’s Abolition Day so radical: it places the freedom of our hearts and bodies at the centre of considerations of what to do about prostitution, as Josephine Butler and her fellow abolitionists had argued for more than a century ago. canada goose clearance

Helen Pringle is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales. This article was written with input from Dr Meagan Tyler, canada goose outlet usa co convener of the Nordic Model Information Network.