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To: Debra Humphris, vice-chancellor, Brighton University
Tomi Ibukun, president, Brighton University Student Union
Amy Jaiteh, VP welfare & campaigns, Brighton University Student Union
Dear Ms Humphris, Mr Ibukun and Ms Jaiteh,
We write to express our concern that a stall run by the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (Swop) was made available to your students during freshers’ week.
Most of the freshers are young, many still teenagers. Many are vulnerable and worried about money. All of these factors can lead young people, especially girls and young women, to consider prostitution as a viable option.
However, research shows that the life of women involved in prostitution is at best unstable, at worst extremely dangerous.
Long-term physical, emotional and psychological consequences are inevitable. This is how one young woman described her recent experience in prostitution.
“People think prostitution is about having consensual sex for money. It’s not. Those men don’t want to pay for that. They paid me and then used me however they wanted. I was beaten with objects until I bled, spat at, anally raped, gang-raped, passed around at sex parties like a toy, men slipping off their condoms. I was shouted at, threatened, choked, told to look like I enjoyed it or he’d take the money back. I was scared every single second.”
How is it ethical to suggest, even obliquely, that this is a reasonable option for a young woman to whom you have a duty of care? Or the corollary — that buying sex — is an acceptable option for a young man?
We understand that the institution’s response was that the stall was aimed at students who are already involved in “sex work” with the aim of making sure they knew where to find support.
This does not really wash because we know from speaking to women currently and previously involved in prostitution that they would never approach such a public stall for fear of being outed to their peers, which could put them in real danger of assault by men.
Swop must be well aware of this dynamic. A genuine effort to reach students currently engaged with prostitution could more appropriately be made discreetly through the student welfare service.
What then was the real purpose of the stall?
It’s hard to see any purpose other than promoting, glamorising and normalising the renting of (mostly) women’s and girls’ bodies to men.
As such the stall would inevitably serve to groom both young women and young men to accept and participate in this most oppressive and inhumane institution that is both a cause and consequence of the gross inequality between the sexes.
One of the many reasons we campaign for the Nordic model, is that it improves boys’ and young men’s attitude to women and girls and encourages them to reject the sex industry and the objectification of women on which it is predicated.
The university has a legal obligation under the Public Sector Equality Duty to consider the impact of its measures on the need to eliminate sexist discrimination and harassment, to advance women’s equality of opportunity and to foster good relations between male and female students and staff. How is allowing a stall that implicitly (if not explicitly) condones and trivialises an institution that feeds male entitlement and entrenches the second-class status of women compatible with that?
We are acutely aware of the devastating poverty that is gripping large sections of the community because of the government’s austerity policies, and the impact of the student fees.
However, there are many other more positive ways to help young people negotiate and survive these problems and we would suggest that this is where you should be aiming your focus.
We urge you to take your responsibilities to young people and to equality between the sexes more seriously in future and to never allow such a thing to happen again.
Nordic Model Now!
Cambridge Women's Rights Action Group
Campaign Against Sex Robots
Campaign to End the Leeds Sex Trade
Cardiff Women’s Aid
Create Women’s Project
Essex Feminist Collective
London Feminist Network
Manchester Feminist Network
Nia — delivering cutting edge services to end violence against women and children
Not Buying It
Not for Sale in Scotland
Resist Porn Culture
Rooms of our Own
Scary Little Girls
The Judith Trust
Women’s Voices Matter
Zero Option Sheffield
ALARM! Gegen Sexkauf und Menschenhandel e.V.
Association for Equality (A4E)
Association of American Trained Nigerian Professionals
Associazione IROKO Onlus
Canadian Feminist Network
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia
Edmonton Small Press Association
EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating)
Hackney Women’s Forum
Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry
La Maison de Mélanie
Montreal Men Against Sexism
National Center on Sexual Exploitation
Native American Warriorz Task Force
Osez le Féminisme!
Prostitution Research & Education, San Francisco
Purple Hearts Missions Possible & Healthy Horizons
Resistanta (Ukrainian Abolition Organisation)
SERP (Sexual Exploitation Research Programme), University College Dublin
Sisters — für den Ausstieg aus der Prostitution! e.V.
The Organization for Prostitution Survivors
Al Garthwaite, I know a number of women who have at one time been involved in prostitution or who still are. It's an appalling life. I am shocked that this stall was allowed.
Alabama Whitman, Abolitionist
Alan Ferry, Former drugs worker
Alex Kempton, Former University of Brighton student.
Ali Ceesay, Former outreach worker
Alice Bondi, Woman — dealing with sexist attitudes for seven decades
Alisa Bernard, Director of Education and Partnerships, MPAc, Survivor of Prostitution
Alison Garraway, Student ( many years ago). Mother. Have experienced sexual abuse.
Amanda Farinas, Survivor of sexual exploitation and violence
Amanda Frank, Being a member of society makes me an interested party
Anber Raz, Worked with survivors of sex trafficking for many years
Andrea Holland, Mother
Angela Fletcher, Partner of a recovering sex addict
Ann Hall, Meeting survivors of the sex industry and seeing first hand the damage caused to a person as a result of the inherent violence, abuse and exploitation of this industry.
Ann Keeling, Former head Gender Equality Policy UK government with 35 years working in international development including on programmes to prevent violence against women, and mother of two sons.
Anna Borg, Academic
Anna Komissarova, MA, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Anne Kazimirski, I have conducted (published) research on the childhood experiences and mental health of women selling sex (clients of a service supporting women to exit the sex industry), which identified a high level of vulnerability through having experienced child sexual abuse, and a large negative impact of selling sex on their mental health.
Anne Marie Manning, For four years I managed a social work project which provided health care and support to women involved in prostitution. We supported women to leave prostitution when they were ready.
Anne Skjoth, I am an adult human female and have empathy.
Annie Gwillym Walkerc
Benedicte Kaare Fjeld
Bianca Guth, social worker
Billie Wealleans, Campaigning for the Nordic Model on the Holyrood CSE CPG and as a lib/dem to change their policy on this. Also an associate member of WEP who support this policy.
Carell Wingrave, Concerned grandmother
Carol O’Byrne, Unison member
Caroline Hadley, Campaigner against prostitution
Caroline Victoria Hadley
Catherine Etherington, Professional working with sex addicts and partners
Catherine Farrar, Adult Safeguarding professional
Cecile Cardoza, Lawyer
Cecile Werey, Student
Chelsea Geddes, As a prostituted woman who knows first-hand what PTSD from ‘sex work’ can do to your chances of success with higher education, I have to speak out against the sexist assault on young women’s education and futures. Sex is not work.
Christina Parajene, Survivor
Clare, A mother who does not want stalls like this to affect girls.
Clare B Dimyon MBE [LGBT], Survivor of life-threatening physical assault in which I taught a man consent while he was raping me at 18 years old in 1984, 30 years before public discussion of consent
Cllr Louise Paine
Colleen Glynn, I am a woman who has been fighting for women’s rights for decades
Corrine Streetly, MA Women’s Studies
D Barnes, BSc Hons PGCE
Danielle Caswell, I’ve been abused and assaulted. It’s not a choice if there are no other options. Please say no!
Dawn Kuehn, Survivor/lawyer
Debbie Galton, development manager in sexual violence support service
Deborah Berns, woman, mother and grandmother, impossible for our family to send one of our young people to University of Brighton while it engages it normalising the abhorrent practice of prostitution.
Deborah Royle, Post Grad Diploma Social Work
Denise Wightman, CSA survivor
Dmitry G., BA in philosophy
Dr Claire-Marie Malpas, MBBCH
Dr Emma Hilton
Dr Holly Craggs, educational and child psychologist
Dr J Gamble
Dr Jacci Stoyle, ambassador of Cahira House; a safe house for women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation (CSE), member of the Cross Party for CSE in the Scottish Parliament and representative of the Scottish Episcopal Church on the Anti-Trafficking group of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (Acts)
Dr Jane Howcroft
Dr Judith Dodds, medical doctor
Dr Lesley Orr, Gender justice research, teaching and advocacy
Dr Lesley Semmens, Senior Lecturer (retired) Leeds Beckett University
Dr Lynne Harne, I have undertaken research with prostituted women helping them to exit from prostitution
Dr Meagan Tyler, PhD
Dr Monica O'Connor, Researcher
Dr Sasha Rakoff, I have successfully campaigned and raised awareness for 15 years over the harms of the sex trade
Dr Anne Lacey
Dr Katherine Cascio, Psychologist who treats and researches the experiences of women who have been in the sex trade
Dr Simon Peter, European External Action Service, European Commission
Dr BA Reay, I’m a doctor, who has seen the consequences of prostitution
Elda Evans, Support worker for 15 years counselling victims of sexual abuse.
Elise O, A young woman who is frightened for those easily influenced and vulnerable women at risk of being taken in by an awful trend, that will only end with disastrous results.
Elizabeth Campbell, Teacher, writer
Elizabeth Miller, I am a woman, and all women are harmed by how men’s attitudes towards women and girls are influenced by their experiences with pornography and prostitution, which are consumerised abuse of women and children.
Elizabeth Patterson, Sister of a (so-called) “sex work” survivor
Emma Rompani, Social worker
Erin Tinsley, Compliance/coercion is not consent. Money coerces compliance.
Eve Tidswell, Live near Holbeck Leeds, see evidence every day.
Fiona McAllister, BA Hons MA
Fran Hopwood, Parter of a man with problematic sexual behaviour
Frances Gillard, Ex-social worker ex-foster carer of teenage girls
Frankie Green, Living as a woman for 70 years so #MeToo, and as a campaigner from the Women’s Liberation Movement since 1968 opposing commodification of women’s bodies
Gemma Kelly, Campaigner for the Nordic Model
Georgina Veitch, Specialist Refuge Service Manager
Grossetete Marie Paule, Militante contre la prostitution
Harriet Evans, Survivor of the sex trade
Heather Harvey, Worked on violence against women and girls for 25 years a large part of which has specifically focused on supporting women to exit prostitution
Heather Strohl, One of the exploited class called FEMALE
Helen Mary Jones, Assembly Member, National Assembly of Wales
Henrike van den Hoff
Holly Brewer, Ex-sex industry worker
Isabel Buckley, I graduated from Brighton Uni in 2003 and am deeply shocked that the Student’s Union nowadays is unpolitical, uninformed, naive and downright misogynistic.
Jackie Lynne, I am a survivor/thriver of the sex industry
Jacky Grainger, Therapist who works with survivors of the sex trade
Jade Byng, I am a woman. Stop encouraging misogyny.
Jalna Hanmer, I am a retired academic that has researched and published on violence against women all my working life.
Janaina Roberts, Education professional
Jane Anglin, Rape Crisis Centre Trustee
Jane Ayres, Parent, Socialist, Humanist, Feminist
Jane Harris, PhD
Jane May Morrison, PhD researcher
Janice Hurne, BSc, MSc, C Eng, PgCEd
Jayne Gosnall, I am a survivor of the sex trade
Jennifer Forsyth, MSc Ed Psy, Experience of sexual assault and rape.
Jewell Baraka, Survivor
Jill Gardner, Sexual assault victim
Jill Leigh, Social worker and mental health adviser in university setting
Jo Phaure, Survivor of sexual assault
Joanna Campbell, I was coerced into selling sex by older people when I was a teenager
Joanna Lovett, Senior Research Fellow
Joanna Wilson, Graduate of Brighton University, survivor of sexual violence
Jocelyn Gaskell, Sister to all prostituted women
Jodie Woodward, Senior Manager of Violence against Women and Girls charity
Jonny Rust, Consultant Gynaecologist
Judy Ferguson, I work with women selling sex
Jules Sheridan, Project Manager, supporting women involved in or affected by commercial sexual exploitation
Julia Hopten, Teacher
Julia Marshall, Ex-Police Officer
Julian Vigo, PhD, I am an anthropologist and have worked within these communities.
Kai Haskins, Sexual assault survivor, feminist, ex-student, estranged from family at 16 and left to fend for myself on the streets and in hostels.
Kai-Uwe Bevc, Several sex trade survivors as friends
Kara Newsome, Hypnotherapist focusing on healing women’s trauma (including rape survivors and survivors of the sex industry), woman with lived experience of broken relationships due to the sex industry, misogyny, sexual harassment and being surrounded by sexualisation and objectification of women. Woman with eyes who can see sexual harassment in the local area caused by the presence of brothels, red-light district and strip clubs.
Karen Cayer, I was an original founding staff of Passages, a programme for girls under 18 who are selling their bodies for sex in Montreal. I pulled 15 year-old-girls out of strip clubs. I’ve stood between pimps and these children. Today Passages programme is for women over 18 years of age. There is no programme for girls but there remains a need to protect our most vulnerable.
Karen Davies, Survivor
Karrie Payne, Survivor
Kate Morrissey, Counsellor and social worker
Katherine Brierly, Social worker
Kathleen Richardson, Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI, and founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots
Kathy Cohn, Survivor
Kathy Parker, I worked for many years, with survivors in housing support.
Kylee Gregg, Child-sex trafficking survivor
Kym Barlow, Worked to provide an exit for women in the sex industry.
Laura Wingham, Secondary school teacher
Lesley Boyes, Survivor of previous involvement in prostitution
Lesley McLarty, Friends have been raped, sexually assaulted, murdered through their reluctant involvement in the sex trade, with some ultimately committing suicide. Paying (mostly) women to let (mostly) men fuck their body is not something that should ever be held up as work, because it’s not. It’s exploitation of people in need.
Liliana Forero, Activist
Lily, I’m an exited woman. I was trafficked from the ages of four to 22 by my family and ex-partners. There is no real line between trafficking and prostitution. The violence, the entitlement to women’s bodies, the fear and the risk of death is all the same and claiming a distinction based on who gets the money completely misses the experience of most prostituted women where pimps take that money. Young women in a scary, vulnerable and financially unstable position do not need to be exposed to the lies of the ‘sex work is empowering’ industry which is predominantly run and managed by pimps and those with very limited experience of direct prostitution and trafficking. The impact is immeasurable but let me try. Several years on disability benefits — unable to work, live a normal life or engage with society. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds on trauma therapy — and that’s with a good therapist, there’s just so much trauma to deal with. Lifelong physical and emotional effects — including for me a dissociative disorder, traumatic stress, anxiety, chronic migraines and knee injuries. The impact never goes away.
Liudmyla Antonets, I’m a survivor of rape
Liz Swanson, Psychotherapist
Lois Bernard, Survivor of the sex trade, Clinical Social Worker
Lorna Ward, Woman who cares about other women
Lorraine Busby, Former worker in child protection
Louise Franklin, Used to work with a charity that helped street sex workers
Louise Somerville, Mother of three sons
Louise Wild, Social Worker
Lynda Murphy, Survivor
Lynn Alderson, I have close relatives who have been pushed by our appalling benefits system to consider prostitution because of poverty. This should never happen. It is a very damaging lifestyle. To encourage young women to think in this way is tantamount to grooming.
Lynn Maloney, Survivor of the sex trade
Mags Cross, Survivor of abuse
Manon Marie Josée Michaud, Survivor of the sex trade
Maria de la Paz Romero Sanchez,
Marie-Eve Martel, BSc Criminology & MA Woman and Child Abuse
Marta Iris Lopez C
Martin Dufresne, Awareness-raising speaker about sexism and prostitution
Martina Farrugia, Women’s & Gender Rights Activist working on the issue of prostitution in my country.
Matthew Gough, A parent helping daughters consider universities
Maureen O'Hara, Senior lecturer in law, carrying out research into sexual exploitation
Meagen Renea Baumann, Rape survivor
Mélanie Carpentier, I’m a survivor
Melanie Stratten, Sibling of survivors of childhood sexual abuse
Melissa Farley, PhD, Author of 37 peer reviewed publications on the topic of prostitution, sexual violence, trafficking, and PTSD. Recent research available on request regarding “seeking arrangement” and “sugar dating” which is pimp targeting of college aged young women.
Michaela-Clare Addison, MA Women and Child student. Young women’s advocate at a women’s organisation
Morven Magari, Mental health advocate
Mr Frederice O Uyigue
Mrs J Lane
Natascha Verbrakel, I was once prostitute
Nicola D’Costa, Support worker
Nusha Yonkova, Support work of migrant women survivors of sex trade
Olena Zaitseva, Lawyer
Olha Tverdokhlib, Feminist
Patrick Trueman, Former Chief Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, US Department of Justice
Pauline Spinazze, Feminist and abolitionist activist
Penny White, I am a survivor of cruel sexual exploitation, and I have dear friends who are survivors of the sex trade.
Professor Kathleen Lynch, BSocSc, MSocSc PhD, Professor of Equality Studies (Sociologist), University College Dublin
Professor Kirstein Rummery, Academic concerned with student wellbeing and gender equality
Professor Richard Byng, Medical professional working with disadvantaged groups including prostitutes
Rachel Bell, Modern Slavery Support Worker, Ambassador to domestic abuse service and journalist
Rachel White, MA Women & Gender Studies
Raphaëlle Rémy-Leleu, Feminist & University Chief of Staff
Rebecca Brueton, Brighton University Alumni
Rebecca Harrison, MA, DipSW
Rebecca Mott, I did indoors prostitution
Rebecca Whisnant, Professor and chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Dayton
Rev Hamilton, I am a survivor of the sex trade and an outreach worker for other survivors
Rita Rake, A woman who has had the good fortune not to be placed in the position of being desperate enough to consider prostitution. Who has never suffered the terror or sexual violence that prostitution brings with it. A mother who would never want this life for her daughter and who has taught her son to have respect for women. He is 23 and appalled by this.
Robin Fessey Holmes, BSc Sociology student at the LSE, radical feminist and campaigner for the Nordic model
Rodrigo Montero, Gender Adviser at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Rosa Del Fresno
RoseAnn Cameron, BA Hons Criminology
Rossella Renosto, Call centre adviser and feminist
Ryan, Friend of former sex worker
S. Bondarchuk, Researcher; ally to exited women & men
Sally Ann Hart, Teacher & Trainer in Protective Behaviours
Sam Batista, Have had friends involved in the sex trade
Samantha Pollock, A former female student of the University of Brighton, and a mother who is horrified at this wholly inappropriate stall
Sara Stewart, Worker in a hostel for women involved in criminal justice system. Many of these women were sex workers.
Sarah, My best friend growing up became an escort and was very excited about the money but a week or two into doing it she was assaulted on the job. The bodyguard that was charged with her safety could not prevent the assault. The escort agency had already coached her on how to keep herself as safe as possible and it didn’t prevent anything. The agency had a no drugs policy but she was still able to do and sell ecstasy while working. After quitting she owed money to a drug dealer. He beat her and threatened to pimp her to repay the money and felt he could be successful in coercing her because she had already done sex work. Fortunately he was wrong. She then went into stripping. Eventually her lifestyle led to her overdosing on drugs, being raped while overdosing, losing access to her child and a string of abusive relationships. I believe her involvement in prostitution was one of a short list of factors that lead to her being unable to live without self-medicating. She is now an anti-prostitution activist and has a degree in social work. I also have personal experience with self-objectification but am unable to disclose the details.
Sarah Bowden, I am a woman and mother and I have thought about this.
Sarah Gamble, MA student
Sarah Mathewson, Labour rights advocate
Shabanah Fazal, Retired teacher
Shally Shefer, Worried mother of a student
Sharon Allen, Qualified social worker, Housing BA Hons, MBA
Shawnee Love HHD, PhD
Shernaz Dinshaw, I worked on several projects with CSW’s in Kamatipura, Mumbai as a co-ordinator with an NGO in the early ’90s
Sibyl Grundberg, DO
Simone Freeman, Teacher BSc Hons
Solveig Senft, Engaged in helping women to exit prostitution
Staci Sprout, Sold for sex as a child
Steffen Radtke, Engaging with Sisters, a German organisation which supports prostitutes who want to leave prostitution, from them I know how much women suffer when they are paid for sex
Stephanie Davies-Arai, Mother of daughter and sons
Sue Laughlin, Former Health service representative on Routes out of Prostitution social inclusion project, Glasgow
Sue Peters, Human rights activist
Susan Austin, I once prostituted myself when I was recovering form a major bout of depression
Susan Bewley, Doctor, academic, previous sexual offences examiner
Susan Houston, Midwife, teacher, mental health worker
Susan Moffat, Years of working in the NHS to tackle violence against women
Suzzan Blac, I am a survivor of the sex trade
Thain Parnell, Feminist Activist and Writer
The Reverend Claudia Neely, Survivor
Toby Lindsay, MSc
Tracy Allard, Survivor of the sex trade, poor
Tracy Earnshaw, Independent Domestic Abuse Adviser
Trish Black, Survivor of rape and sexual assault
Yaroslava Mykhailova, I had experience working as a hostess in a brothel
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