I am delighted that there been a shift in how the public debate round prostitution is more and more round the human rights of the prostituted, not the civil liberties of the johns.
I believe that part of that shift is the vote to pass Clause 14 of the Policing and Crime Bill in the House of Lords. For the language that lead to this change included –
That the prostituted have little or no choice.
That johns are the ones who have the free choice whether to purchase or not, so it should be his responsibility to know or be made accountable of any exploitation done to the prostitute.
That it is the prostitute who is on the receiving end of exploitation, and that is often next to impossible for her to get justice for rape or any violence done to her.
That the burden of proof should not be on the prostitute who may in danger, but on the buyer who has the freedom to make the decision to buy her.
He must be absolutely sure that the prostituted women he has chosen to buy is not exploited, or take the consequences.
It was said it a form of contemporary slavery.
It was felt that this set a marker, and may help to change attitudes and lead towards that all men that choose to buy prostitutes are criminalise.
That it was about protecting the vulnerable.
That without strict liability, the bill would be pointless. For it not about the civil liberties of johns.
Rather that it must remembered that for the majority of prostituted women and girls it is an environment of abuse, degradation, humiliation and pain – where the prostituted are compelled, coerced and manacled into the sex trade.
That the pain of the prostituted is very real.
That this bill could send a “chilling effect” to johns, and many of them are cowards so could be reluctant to buy sex.
All this language is wonderful, for I for one never thought that or law-makers would frame prostitution as a human rights issue, and would continue to make it of little importance.
I feel my words and constant fight has help to change attitudes.
I am part of a movement that is going forward.
Because I live with extreme PTSD a lot of the time, I am sometimes unaware of how much I have done.
But when I saw the “Demand Change” video, where I heard an actor say my words, I was shocked and overwhelmed by my own power.
It smashed through my detachment, and I felt the terror, I was nearly sick. I am still shaking through I saw it on Monday.
I speak my truth, and that can slowly move mountains.
But please don’t leave it to exited prostituted women to force this change.
We live inside PTSD. We live with terror, we get continual body memories or illnesses as a result of the hell we have known, we have had our sleep patterns destroyed.
Many of us are determined to eradicate the sex trade – for we do not want more generations of women and girls to know the hell we have known.
But we cannot do it alone, and we mustn’t.
All those who not survivors of the sex trade, who want real change, must take up a lot of the slack.
Fight hard for us, for we are in real pain and grief.
But do celebrate this shift.
Get some ice-cream and jelly, chocolate cake and alcohol.
Darn we must celebrate coz it is a long and very hard road.