Check me out, front and centre! This photo made international news!!
We had a collective of about 20 radical feminists marching for International Women’s Day in Melbourne, and there were enough of us that we could do our own chants and everything (we did a call and response chant of “name the problem” “male violence!”)
There were some anti TERF/SWERFs trying to antagonise us but we just ignored them and stood strong. Really felt like a victory for the radical feminist movement in Australia :~)
Reclaim the Night is this Saturday 19th in London! Assemble at Great College Street, SW1P at 6.30pm (Westminster).
Join us for London Reclaim the Night! Close down central London for women, put your feet on the streets to shout a loud NO to rape and all forms of male violence against women.
Violence against women continues to occur every minute of every day, but women everywhere are making a stand. Join us and join millions across the globe who will be marking the annual United Nations Day to End Violence Against Women (25th November) with demonstrations and marches in their own localities.
With ideological cuts threatening the refuge and rape crisis movements in the UK we need to take back the capital to demonstrate women’s support for essential women’s services, demand justice for survivors and spread the message that no woman is ever to blame for male violence against her.
Bring placards, banners, friends and song. March for your friends and family, your colleagues, your daughters, yourself – march for all of us; march for a better world, free from violence and abuse.
London Reclaim The Night is a women-only march. Men who would like to support the event are encouraged to help organise and join the Men’s Vigil. Details can be found here.
This is so frustrating, because these reports are important (and I will still quote them), but why this insistence on calling sex slavery ‘work’? A raped child is not a worker, a raped adult is not a worker, rape is not a labour issue, it is a sex abuse issue.
Criminal gangs are taking advantage of Europe’s migration crisis to force more people into [commercial sexual exploitation] and other types of slavery, according to an EU report on human trafficking.
Children have become a preferred target for traffickers, the report warns, amid growing concern over the fate of unaccompanied child refugees who have disappeared from official view since arriving in Europe.
Almost 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015, about one-fifth of the total number of child refugees. But at least 10,000 unaccompanied children have dropped off the radar of official agencies since arriving in Europe, the EU police agency reported in January. German authorities reported earlier this year that 4,700 children had been lost to officials, while up to 10 children a week are reported missing in Sweden.
The report from the European commission, which will be published on Thursday, does not attempt to estimate how many may have fallen victim to criminal gangs, but warns that the phenomenon of child trafficking “has been exacerbated by the ongoing migration crisis”. Children are at high risk of being doubly victimised, it says, because they are treated as perpetrators of crimes if they are found by the authorities.
“Organised crime groups choose to traffic children as they are easy to recruit and quick to replace, they can also keep under their control child victims relatively cheaply and discreetly,” states an EU working document seen by the Guardian. Trafficked children aged between six months and 10 years are bought and sold for sums ranging from €4,000 (£3,000) to €8,000, although amounts of up to €40,000 have been reported in some cases.
EU authorities registered 15,846 victims of human trafficking in 2013-14, including 2,375 children, but the report’s authors believe the true number of victims is far higher. More than two-thirds (67%) of people were trafficked into [commercial sexual exploitation]; about one-fifth (21%) were put into forced labour, often as agricultural workers, a form of slavery that disproportionately affected men. The remainder of trafficking victims faced an equally grim catalogue of exploitation, ranging from domestic servitude to forced begging.
Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP, said official statistics on this “vile trade” were just the tip of the iceberg. Victims of trafficking come to official attention when they are arrested or escape, she said. “Very, very few are rescued by the authorities and for me that is shocking.” Too often, police forces “see the crime, not the person, they see them as illegal immigrants”.
The MEP, who spearheaded an anti-trafficking resolution in the European parliament last month, said EU authorities needed to do more to rescue victims and help them recover.
EU law requires countries to provide victims of trafficking with at least 30 days of recovery, including accommodation, medical treatment and legal advice. The UK offers a 45-day “reflection period”, when the person cannot be deported.
The MEP would like to see a longer period for recovery. Highlighting the plight of people sold into in sex slavery she said: “We are much better now at treating people who are raped and give them the protection of the law, but these girls have been raped night after night after night. I think we should be prepared to give them longer support of reflection and more support in rebuilding their lives.”
She also urged governments to get to grips with the migration crisis. “When the migrants land on Europe’s shores, when they are not properly looked after, they are absolutely ripe victims for the traffickers.”
I am emailing the Guardian again, feel free to use as a template.
I am writing to you, yet again, to complain about the use of the term ‘sex work’ in relation to the commercial sexual exploitation of children (in the article “Human traffickers ‘using migration crisis’ to force more people into slavery” published 19/May/2016).
A raped child is not a ‘worker’, and child rape is not a ‘labour’ issue, calling child rape ‘sex work’ minimises and obfuscates commercialised child sex abuse, and helps legitimise the global sex industry within which such abuse takes place.
There is nothing in the Guardian style guide insisting on calling prostitution or sex slavery ‘sex work’. The guide does say that ‘child pornography’ should be referred to as child abuse images. Therefore a recording of a ‘child sex worker’ doing ‘sex work’ would be an image of abuse, but the creation of that abuse image would just be ‘work’, which is nonsensical.
Earlier this year, Stephen Pritchard, the Observer’s readers editor, altered an article on child exploitation (“10,000 refugee children are missing, says Europol”, published 30/Jan/2016) to remove the term ‘sex work’, stating: “This article was amended on 11 February 2016 to remove the term “sex work” relating to children. Children caught up in the sex trade are victims of abuse.” I hope you will follow the precedent he has set.
Ask the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals to Reject Amnesty International
Librarian organisation CILIP (which stands for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) have got together with human rights campaigners Amnesty International to announce a major new partnership to celebrate human rights in children’s literature.
It’s going to be called the Amnesty CILIP Honour and will span both the Carnegie fiction and the Kate Greenaway picture book awards.
Beginning with the 2016 medals, a title from each of the prestigious shortlists will receive the Amnesty CILIP Honour, a thumbs up for the books that most distinctively illuminate, uphold or celebrate freedoms. The books receiving the commendation will be able to carry an Amnesty CILIP Honour logo.
The first Amnesty CILIP honour judging panel will include last year’s Carnegie medal winner, Tanya Landman whose book Buffalo Soldier dealt with issues including racism, slavery and gender discrimination.
Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker, said: “Books have a unique ability to inspire empathy, broaden horizons and empower young readers. We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”
The winners will be announced at the Medals ceremony in June 2016, look out for our gallery of the longlistees for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway when its announced early next year!
I have drafted an email/letter to send to CILIP, the judges, and the authors listed for the awards (it will need adjusting slightly for the different recipients), please feel free to adapt and use:
I am writing to ask you to reconsider CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International for the awarding of an extra honour to nominees of the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal.
Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, in opposition to established international human rights treaties  demonstrates that they are no longer legitimate as a human rights organisation.
Amnesty International made this decision in advance of consulting their membership , the consultation process was rushed through without giving members time to research and respond , and the information given on the abolitionist approach/Nordic model (which decriminalises the prostitute her or himself, while criminalising buyers and third party sellers) was inaccurate and misleading .
Amnesty International defined ‘sex work’ in such a way as to exclude anyone who had been abused in the industry  , and lied about consulting prostitution survivors . The first version of their ‘sex work’ policy was written by a known pimp  and the vice president of one of the groups Amnesty International took advice from has recently been sentenced in Mexico to 15 years for human trafficking into the sex industry .
Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker has said this about the CILIP award: “We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”
I would like you to consider how a ‘better world’ is compatible with the objectification and commodification of women’s bodies inherent in prostitution, and I ask you to read this critique from Taina Bien-Aimé , Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women :
“What would happen if every country decriminalized prostitution? Not just the few that have already disastrously done so, but what if every government legitimized pimps and brothel owners and failed to hold men accountable for purchasing human beings for sex? Would the United Nations and its member states launch a #2050 Agenda for Investing in the Sex Trade as a Solution and Sustainable Development for Women and Girls, Especially the Most Indigent?
“What marketing slogans would ensue? Might public agencies launch poverty alleviation campaigns? “First Nations, Indigenous, Aboriginal, African-Americans and Global South Populations: Are you Poor, Young, Incested, Transgendered, Homeless? With our help, the Sex Trade will provide you with shelter, food, free condoms and the opportunity to contribute to your (or a foreign) country’s Gross National Product. No experience or education required.”
“[…] The Afrikaans term apartheid means “apart and aside” and evokes one of the most brutal regimes in modern history. By encouraging governments to enshrine the sex trade as just another potential employer, Amnesty is promoting gender apartheid, the segregation of women between those who deserve access to economic and educational opportunities and those who are condemned to prostitution. Make no mistake: as long as women are for sale, no woman will be viewed as equal in corporate boardrooms, in the halls of legislature, or in the home.”
An early, leaked draft of Amnesty International’s policy paper contained the following claim : ” Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.”
Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells boys that when they grow up, they will have a ‘human right’ to purchase sex?
Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells girls, especially poor girls, that, once they turn eighteen, they will have the right to ‘choose’ prostitution?
I hope you will read my email, and the sources supplied, and re-examine CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
The email address for CILIP is: email@example.com (also copy in firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, who are the publicity contacts for the prize)
They also have a postal address: 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE, UK.
Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive, can be contacted here: email@example.com and is on twitter @NickPoole1
Dawn Finch, President of CILIP, can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org and is on twitter @dawnafinch
Sioned Jacques, chair of the judging panel, can be contacted here: email@example.com and is on twitter @sejbookworm
Tanya Landman, one of the judges, can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org and is on twitter @tanya_landman
The Amnesty CILIP Honour is sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). They can be contacted here: email@example.com
This page has a list of all the nominees for both prizes, I will update contact details in the comments section as I find them:
Neil Gaiman (I already know there is no point in contacting Gaiman, he’s a sex-pozzer)
That page also tells us:
The winners for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal will be announced on Monday 20th June at a lunchtime ceremony at the British Library
In an article posted a few days ago, the commercial sexual exploitation of children was referred to as ‘sex work’.
I am writing to the Guardian to complain, for all the good it will do. Please feel free to use the below message as a template.
I wish to complain about the use of the term ‘sex work’ in a recent article, describing the commercial sexual exploitation of refugee children in Europe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/fears-for-missing-child-refugees).
It is entirely wrong to refer to commercial sexual abuse as ‘work’, no child can legally consent to ‘sex work’ in any part of the world, including in countries that take a decriminalisation approach to prostitution, and being sexually abused is not ‘work’ by any meaningful measure.
By the Guardian’s own guidelines (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c), ‘child pornography’ should be referred to as child abuse images. Therefore a recording of a ‘child sex worker’ doing ‘sex work’ would be an image of abuse, but the creation of that abuse image would just be ‘work’.
Calling the commercial sexual exploitation of children ‘sex work’ stops it being seen as a sex abuse issue, and reduces it to a labour issue. It also helps to make invisible the adults actually doing the abuse, and the demand for child victims.
These are the emails I am going to send it too:
If you are willing to include a name, address, and phone number, a letter to the editor is possible:
(although the article was posted on a Saturday, and has ‘theguardian’ in it’s website address, it appears to be an Observer article)
I will update in the unlikely event I get a response.
EDIT: The author is Mark Townsend, and he is on twitter: @townsendmark
If you are on twitter, please ask him why he is referring to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation as ‘sex workers’, and remind him of the Guardian’s guide lines for reporting other forms of child sexual exploitation (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c)
Britain’s family courts are the backdrop to some of the most traumatic and momentous events of people’s lives. From the removal of children from their birth parents to the denial of a parent’s desire to see their child – these are hard choices.
In the face of such familial destruction, there can only be one guiding principle. It was established in law via the Children Act 1989: that the best interests of the child must be paramount. Even where decisions are made outside the courts, professional conduct by social workers and others must also follow the same rule.
Yet, what today’s new research from charity Women’s Aid, where I am chief executive, shows is that somehow this principle has been eroded.
In cases of domestic violence – long recognised as just as damaging to children as direct abuse – it has been eroded to such an extent that children are being killed.
By uncovering the stories behind these children’s deaths, in the Nineteen Child Homicides report, we were able to identify a pattern.
We found that 19 children from 12 families had been killed in the past 10 years. Each of these children had died at the hands of a parent who was a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.
For seven of the 12 families, the perpetrator’s contact with the child had been ordered through the courts. Not understanding domestic abuse and the ongoing risk it presents, even when a relationship has ended, proved fatal.
Of course, the killings are of these children are the most extreme consequence of unsafe child contact. But the family court process is still traumatising for many who go through it.
Women’s Aid also spoke to survivors of the process. We found that 50 per cent had no access to protection measures (such as separate waiting rooms, and separate exit times) in family courts – something considered standard in criminal courts.
More worryingly, in 44 per cent of cases, contact was granted to the former partner when it was known that children had been directly abused by them.
Domestic abuse is an issue in at least 70 per cent of cases before the family courts. Yet only around one per cent of applications for contact are refused.
The principle of the child’s best interests has been fatally undermined. But it’s not the first time we have had to learn this lesson.
Twelve years ago, Women’s Aid published Twenty-nine Child Homicides, a report showing that in 13 families, children had been killed because a known perpetrator of domestic abuse had convinced the court of his right (because it is usually men) to continue as a parent.
At the time, Lord Justice Wall, the then President of the Family Division, stated: “It is, in my view, high time that the family justice system abandoned any reliance on the proposition that a man can have a history of violence to the mother of his children but, nonetheless, be a good father.”
And yet, more than a decade later, we’re in the same situation.
The report can be read here, there is a summery on page 15, all the ‘parents’ who murdered their children were men, in two cases the mother was killed as well.
To be fair to Neate, towards the end of the article, she does name the problem as male violence, and reiterate that a court bias in mothers’ favor is a myth; and who can blame her for modifying her writing for a (small-c) conservative audience?
To: Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP and District Judges
We are calling on the Government and family courts to ensure there are no further avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact with a perpetrator of domestic abuse. In order for this to happen the family courts must be a safe place for all the children and survivors of domestic abuse that are relying on them to protect them from further harm.
Two ways they can do this are by:
1. Ensuring that domestic abuse is identified and its impact fully considered by the family court judiciary and that child arrangements orders put the best interests of the child(ren) first and protect the well-being of the parent the child(ren) is living with, in accordance with Practice Direction 12 J Child Arrangements & Contact Order: Domestic Violence and Harm.
2. Ensuring survivors of domestic abuse attending the family court have access to protection measures, similar to those available in criminal courts. Survivors of domestic abuse should always have access to a separate waiting room or area and judges must ensure there are separate exit times from court to allow the survivor to leave safely.
Why is this important?
“No parent should have to hold their children and comfort them as they die, or be told that their child has been harmed in an act of revenge or rage. There are often many facets to one family’s breakdown, and all too often children’s voices are not heard or acted upon” (Claire Throssell, mother of Jack and Paul who were killed in October 2014 by their father after he was granted unsupervised contact with them by the family court).
Over 10 years, 19 children and 2 women have died as a result of unsafe child contact, formal or informal, with a parent who is also a perpetrator of domestic abuse. These deaths were avoidable. To protect children, the family courts must put children’s safety at the heart of any decisions they make about contact with a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.
Women’s Aid’s Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives campaign is calling on the Government and the family courts to protect the children that it has been set up to keep safe. Whilst only a minority of child contact cases, after the parents have separated, are taken to the family courts many of these cases involving domestic abuse result in contact decisions which do not put the children’s safety and best interests first. This can leave them, and their non-abusive, parent in considerable danger.
We need your help so please sign and share this petition widely to ensure that all child contact is safe and there are no further avoidable child deaths.
Visit the Women’s Aid website to find out more about this campaign:
Can you help us to buy a van for outreach work with women involved in prostitution?
On 30 October the women’s charity Eaves closed down. One of their services was the London Exiting and Advocacy (LEA) Project.
The LEA Project offers non-judgemental support to women in prostitution. The barriers for women who want to exit are many and complex. The LEA project helps them access housing and welfare benefits, legal advice, healthcare, drug and alcohol services and specialist counselling. It also supports women to access employment, training, education, volunteering and sustainable employment.
The funders of the service – The Big Lottery, Charles Hayward Foundation and Hounslow council – have agreed to transfer funding to The Nia Project so that this vital service can continue. But the van that was used for night-time outreach work was seized by the administrator when Eaves closed down, so we need to raise the funds to buy a replacement.
Can you help us buy the van so that we can continue to reach women who want to leave prostitution – women who might not otherwise know that there is someone to help them?
If you can spare even £10, it would be a big help. For more information on Nia, visit our website at http://www.niaendingviolence.org.uk or talk to our CEO Karen Ingala Smith or chair Helen Lewis on Twitter.
You’ll be helping us support women like Nicky:
Nicky came onto the LEA outreach van just after midnight. She seemed uneasy, but came on to the van to have a hot chocolate out of the wind and rain. Nicky said it was slow that night. The outreach night time worker explained the services that LEA could offer. Nicky left the van with condoms and sweets and the phonenumber for LEA, she did not give her contact number. Two weeks passed. Then, one lunch time, Nicky called the LEA number from a payphone and told us that she had been beaten up the night before and wanted to talk to someone. The LEA worker called the payphone back and arranged to meet Nicky in a café close to where she was. The LEA worker got to the café within the hour and waited a further 45 minutes. Nicky came in the the café and was wet and cold. Nicky wanted to talk about what had happened and was hungry and needed practical things. She hadn’t had access to her medication in several weeks and was struggling with her mental health. Nicky came back to the service and got a warm coat and some food and was put in emergency accommodation that night. With Nicky’s permission, the LEA worker contacted her mental health support services and ensured that she was able to access the support that she needed. The following day Nicky came back to LEA and told her story and said she wanted to get out. Nicky is still working with the LEA service to exit.
Feminist activists have dyed Trafalgar Square’s fountains red after hundreds of women marched through London’s West End in a noisy protest against cuts to domestic violence services.
The demonstration, styled as a funeral procession for the victims of domestic violence, blocked roads and stopped traffic on a route that took the protesters from Soho to Trafalgar Square.
“They cut we bleed,” chanted marchers.
Saturday’s demonstration took place after George Osborne announced deep cuts to council budgets this week, which activists said would have a disastrous impact on services for women affected by domestic violence.
More than 30 specialist anti-domestic violence services have been forced to shut down since 2010, with many other services taken over by non-specialist providers. Further cuts will put the services that are left at risk, campaigners say.
Sarah Kwei, an activist with Sisters Uncut, the group that called the protest, said: “This is specifically a reaction to the 25 November, when the budget was announced and £4.1bn of cuts. That was the same day as the Elimination of Violence against Women Day.
“These cuts are going to affect women who are trying to flee domestic violence, through their benefits, their housing and their refuges. They are all being cut. We are taking direct action to say we are not going away. When two women a week are being killed by domestic violence, we can’t take it, we can’t accept it.”
Zara Khan, a domestic violence support worker, said: “Every day I fight for women’s lives and now I am fighting for my ability to do that. The government should be making it easier, not more difficult, for women to flee life-threatening violence.”
Women protested in 50 countries on October 23, united in their opposition to Amnesty International’s recommendation for full decriminalization of the sex industry, including pimps and johns.
The campaign was organized by a coalition of individual women and women’s groups, collectively referred to as Amnesty Action.
In London, police estimated the number of women outside Amnesty International’s headquarters at 200. There were exited women there, with activists, researchers, journalists — all in sisterhood. The youngest were in their twenties, the oldest were in their eighties.
They were later joined by a few men, one of whom said he’d heard about the protest in an Italian Facebook group two hours before and apologized for not having got involved sooner.
The protesters stood alongside the busy road in London’s rush hour and chanted: “Lock up pimps and johns!” “Women’s rights are human rights!” “Women’s bodies are not for sale!” One brought a mobile speaker and played “All Night Wrong,” a protest song written by Jeanette Westbrook.
he Amnesty Action women were in an unexpected position; having to oppose the world’s leading human rights organization in the name of women’s and girls’ rights. Women and girls are human, after all…
It speaks volumes that since Amnesty International agreed to the policy in August. A large number of women’s rights organizations have came out in opposition of the decision and in support of the Nordic model, which decriminalizes only the sale of sex and promotes exit plans to get women out of prostitution.
Amnesty International’s policy lets women and girls down, putting their rights last as it declares that access to sex is a human right.
Actually, the right not to suffer inhuman or degrading treatment is guaranteed by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is also guaranteed under both the Palermo Protocol (the UN Trafficking Protocol) and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), as well as the 1949 Convention, which recognize prostitution as exploitation.
The absurdity of the situation was summed up by Lisa-Marie Taylor, chair of UK women’s rights charity Feminism in London.
“We cannot and will not stand by whilst a human rights organization supports, encourages, and lobbies for the prostitution of women and by extension girls. This flies in the face of the available evidence and we call for human rights organisations to review their position in the light of emerging data from areas that have implemented the model of legalization with appalling consequences,”
Among them were Canadian registered nurses Linda MacDonald and Jeanne Sarson, the world’s leading authorities on Non-State Torture.
The two founders of Persons Against Non-State Torture know that trafficked and prostituted women are extremely vulnerable to acts of torture committed in the private sphere.
“I am here to share the voices of women who talk about the grave suffering they have endured in their ordeals in Non-State Torture, including the torture that happens in prostitution. I want to shout to the roof tops and to Amnesty International that torture is not work,” Linda MacDonald told Feminist Current.
The two women have spent 22 years supporting victims and campaigning for Non-State Torture to be classified as a specific human rights crime.
“We will never shut up about Non-State Torture,” Jeanne Sarson told Feminist Current.
At its International Council Meeting to be held in Dublin, from 7–11 August 2015, Amnesty International will reportedly review an internal circular entitled “Draft Policy on Sex Work,” which endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including the legalization of pimping, brothel owning and the buying of sex.
Medical professionals, the testimonies of survivors and extensive research all demonstrate that the sex industry is predicated on dehumanization, degradation and gender violence that can cause life-long physical and psychological harm to those exploited at the hands of pimps, traffickers and buyers of sex (or “johns”). Prostitution is a harmful practice steeped in gender and economic inequalities that leaves a devastating impact on those sold and exploited in the sex trade.
Former President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center urge AI to consider carefully human rights concerns that arise with the legalization of prostitution. Former President Carter has spoken out on this issue asserting that all forms of commercial sexual exploitation are a profound violation of human rights. He also wrote an open letter to AI Secretary General Salil Shetty in 2014, urging the rejection of the legalization proposal.
The record is clear: wherever prostitution has been legalized, the result is more exploitation and abuse, not less. Alternatives to legalization exist, especially the so-called “Nordic Model”, based on efforts undertaken in Iceland, Norway and particularly Sweden as well as local jurisdictions in a number of other countries. The implementation of the Nordic Model has resulted in a decline in prostitution and trafficking, as well as the promotion of alternative livelihoods for people leaving prostitution.