Re: Comment: The Media & List Etiquette

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Sue Metzenrath (
Tue, 26 May 1998 07:49:54 +1000

I can't believe that a list dealing in such a sensitive subject would be
carte blanche open to the media. I agree with Ann that the only possible
interest in the media being able to access the discussion on this list is
to get a story. It certainly makes me aware of my openness on the list.

Sue M

> From: Ann Jordan <>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU>
> Subject: Comment: The Media & List Etiquette
> Date: Tuesday, 26 May 1998 01:49
> i agree with john about the propriety of having the list completely open
> and available to members of the media. my experience has been, on other
> lists, that the media join lists to seek out stories and sources. i have
> been burned once [on another list] and have seen open lists fall apart
> so, quite frankly, am not inclined to speak openly on stop-trafficking or
> any other list any more. i have become a lurker and now contact people
> directly unless the subject is so innocuous that i do not hesitate to
> as for keeping messages within the list. as none of us know who is on
> list and anyone can join, it is essentially open to the world and so, to
> mind, it makes no difference whether people forward messages because
> recipients can simply join if they want to participate/lurk. however,
> netiquette does require seeking the permission of the writer before
> forwarding any messages. perhaps, john and others can simply type in
> letters at the top of their message: NOT FOR FORWARDING, CIRCULATION OR
> ann jordan
From Mon May 25 19:21:11 1998
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Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 01:31:02 +0200
From: marjan wijers <>
Subject: Swedish bill to criminalize clients
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Enclosed the letter we (Foundation Against Trafficking in Women, Holland)
sent to the Swedish parliament concerning the bill to criminalize clients:

Utrecht, May 12, 1998

Re: Bill to criminalize clients, which will be voted on in the Swedish
Parliament on May 28th,1998

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As an organization adressing the issue of trafficking in women, we want to
express our concern about the proposed criminalization of clients. It is
the experience of a great number of NGOs, who for many years have been
addressing the issue of trafficking in women and have been working in
direct contact with the women concerned, as well as the experience of the
women they work with, that repressive legislation on prostitution neither
deters women from entering prostitution, nor protects the fundamental human
rights of women in prostitution.
On the contrary: the clandestine and illegal nature of prostitution as
such, the (by definition) illegal status of women working abroad and the
resulting marginalisation, stigmatisation and isolation, deny women access
to the (legal) instruments to defend themselves against abuse and violence
and allow traffickers, abusive brothel keepers, abusive clients and corrupt
officials to operate with impunity. Criminalization of clients will only
add to the stigmatization and marginalization of prostitutes and will make
working conditions less safe. Moreover, it is our experience that in the
case of trafficked women, clients may play an important role for women as
one of the few contacts to the outside world and as a way to escape the
trafficking situation, for instance by calling in the help of an
organization such as ours. Criminalization of clients will prevent clients
from seeking support in such cases, as they themselves will be criminally

In general, it can be concluded that any form of legislation that results
in the marginalisation and victimisation of women engaged in prostitution
makes them more vulnerable to abuse and violence. Therefore, strategies to
combat violence and abuse should be directed at empowering the women
concerned and strengthening their rights, rather than on the repression of
prostitution (or migration): a widely accepted strategy when dealing with
other areas of violence against women.

These conclusions are supported by extensive research, among which the
investigation conducted by the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women
(STV) in collaboration with the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in
Women at the request of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
("Trafficking in Women, Forced Labour and Slavery-like Practices in
Marriage, Domestic Labour and Prostitution", Marjan Wijers and Lin
Lap-Chew, GAATW/STV, Utrecht, April 1997), and recent research conducted by
Anti-Slavery International in collaboration with the Network of Sex Work
Projects ("Redefining Prostitution as Sex Work on the International
Agenda", Jo Bindman, Anti-Slavery International, with the participation of
Jo Doezema, Network of Sex Work Projects, Anti-Slavery International,
London, 1997).

Over the last years anti-trafficking NGOs and sexworkers organizations have
begun to challenge abolitionist and prohibitive approaches to prostitution.
New approaches are being developed, starting from the point of view of the
women involved. Rather than further criminalize prostitution, they advocate
the decriminalization of sexwork as an essential condition to ensure the
civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the women
involved. Decriminalization would allow prostitutes the same protection
under labour, civil and criminal laws that other citizens and workers are
entitled to. It would enable prostitutes to organise their own businesses,
to exercise the same rights as other workers and citizens and to introduce
the same sort of business standards and labour laws that were developed to
protect workers and improve working conditions in other labour sectors.

We would like to encourage you to include prostitutes and their views and
perspectives in the current debate. Up till now, measures have always
neglected the women workers themselves. Prostitutes have, at best been
ignored; at worst they have been morally reviled, condemned and socially
excluded. We feel it a fundamental principle, guiding any action on women’s
behalf, that the women concerned have a voice and are included in any
debate concerning their situation. This means, among other things, that:
* participation of the women concerned is recognised as essential to the
development of effective strategies and policies
* strategies are directed towards empowering women and facilitating their
speaking up for their own rights.
Excluding the women concerned from the debate not only reinforces
paternalistic attitudes and patriarchal structures but also violates the
right of women to speak up for themselves, to voice their own concerns and
needs and to formulate their own agendas. Moreover, exclusion risks the
promotion of measures which are harmful to the women concerned rather than
in their benefit.
Application of this principle means that the participation of sex workers
organisations must considered essential in any debate on prostitution and
that their views and concerns are given a legitimate place in the debate.
They are the ones who are most directly involved and whose lives are most
directly affected by any measures proposed.

On behalf of the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women,

Ms. Marjan Wijers

Foundation Against Trafficking in Women
Postbox 1455
3500 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands
Phone: + 31 30 2716044
Fax: + 31 30 2716084

Marjan Wijers
Foundation Against Trafficking in Women/ Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel (STV)
P.O.Box 1455
3500 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands
Tel.: + 31 30 2716044
Fax: + 31 30 2716084
Email STV:
Email home:

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