Release of “Last Girl First! Prostitution at the intersection of sex, race & class-based oppressions”, a study by CAP International
On March 22nd, CAP International released its research report “Last Girl First! Prostitution at the intersection of sex, race & class-based oppressions”.
This study is the result of a two-year long research covering 49 countries, mobilising more than 40 survivors of prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation, field experts working with prostituted persons & leaders of the communities most impacted by prostitution, it comprises more than 500 references.
The research explores the overrepresentation of women and girls from the most discriminated communities in prostitution. Everywhere in the world, Indigenous women and girls (First Nations, Maori, Adîvasî), those from the lowest castes (Dalits, Badi), those from ethnic/racial minorities (African American, Roma), migrant, displaced, and poor women are disproportionately targeted by the prostitution system.
The research goes beyond a simple analysis of the prostitution & trafficking systems in terms of sanitary risks as usually done and provides an intersectional approach to the systems of prostitution & trafficking for sexual exploitation. By tracing the roots of these systems, this study highlights the realities of prostitution & trafficking and the insidious way in which broad patterns of domination such as patriarchy, racism, colonialism, imperialism, classism, capitalism, war and militarisation shape them and lead to the sexual exploitation of one part of the population. This part of the population is the women’s political class and particularly women of colour and/or disadvantaged women. They are the ones who have been designated by society as “prostitutable”, having to satisfy the male demand for the exploitation of their bodies.
“The Last Girl” or “the Antyajaa” is a concept originally developed by Ruchira Gupta, a professor, journalist and the president and founder of the Indian NGO Apne Aap. It is rooted in anti-colonial and post-colonial struggles and in the vision of the liberation of the last born, Ambedkar’s Antyaj and Gandhi’s Antyodaya (from the words “Antya” and “Uday” meaning the “emancipation of the last ones”).
This research gives a platform to the voices of the “Last Girls”, the ones who suffer from systemic discriminations, who are primarily targeted by prostitution, the forgotten ones of national and international policies. It is a call to action for a more equal and just society.
CAP International pushing for the abolition of prostitution in Spain
Along with its Spanish members Feminicidio.net and the Comision para la Invistigacion de los Malos Tratos a Mujeres, the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution is increasing its efforts to push for the adoption of the Abolitionist model in the context of the debate on the Law of Sexual Freedom.
On the week of the 14th of March, CAP organized a 2nd Advocacy Tour in Spain, including the mobilization of a delegation of international experts, the co-organisation of a Parliamentarian event at the Congress, an intervention at the national radio and an official hearing of CAP Executive Director in the Equality Committee of the National Congress.
On the morning of 16 March, part of the CAP International delegation spoke on the Spanish national radio RTVE, the country’s main radio station. The delegation alerted to the very high danger for women refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine to be targeted by pimping networks, in particular in countries where prostitution is regulated, such as Germany.
On the 16th, CAP International co-organized with the International Abolitionist School and the Socialist Parliamentarian Group on Wednesday 16 a Parliamentarian event conference named “Neither sex, nor work: Abolition of Prostitution to protect the rights of all women workers!”.
The event featured several deputees of the socialist party, as well as an amazing panel of experts: activist, writer and survivor of prostitution Amelia Tiganus, unionist Sabine Reynosa, activist, writer and survivor of prostitution Rachel Moran, and Dr. in Psychology Ingeborg Kraus.
The inauguration of the event was carried out by Héctor Gómez (Spokesman of the Socialist Parliamentarian Group) and Andrea Fernández (PSOE’s Secretary General of Equality). “Sexual exploitation and prostitution are part of the same violence and domination structure with roots in the structural inequality between men and women”, stated Héctor Fernández, who announced the amendments presented by the socialist party to penalize all forms of pimping, including “Tercería Locativa”, and reasserted the “absolute commitment of the party with the abolition of prostitution”.
Introduced by Laura Berja, Socialist Group Equality spokesperson, the first part of the session was carried out by Amelia Tiganus (International Abolitionist School) and Sabine Reynosa (CGT France) on the concept of “sex work” as “an ultraliberal violation of the rights of all female workers”. Amelia Tiganus, activist, survivor and author of ‘La Revuelta de las Putas’, highlighted how prostitution is a matter of class and how society’s silence is the industry’s main ally: “Each time I say 60% of the women in prostitution in the wealthy Europe are Romanians, it breaks my heart, and we have to believe that what we are building now is a future for our daughters”. During her intervention, Sabine Reynosa reviewed the theoretical approach of considering prostitution “sex work” and argued against it: “To the law of the market we oppose the principles of inviolability and non-patrimoniality of the human body, which are the corollaries of the respect for the dignity of the person” and recalled that in France the Civil Code “establishes that the human body is inviolable, it is prohibited to make a monetary estimate and, with even more reason, to market it”.
The second part of the event, on the reality and consequences of prostitution, was introduced by Lidia Guinart, spokesperson for the State Pact against Gender-Based Violence of the Socialist Group. Lidia Guinart alluded to the women of Ukraine and recognized the situation of special vulnerability in which they find themselves: “in certain contexts associated with poverty and situations of manifest social, economic or even political vulnerability, the specter of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls arises”.
Rachel Moran (SPACE International and author of ‘Paid For: my journey through prostitution’) narrated her experience in prostitution in Ireland and defended that what she saw during those years in her country was the same thing she has seen all over the world during these last years as an abolitionist activist. “We’re talking about poor girls, African-American girls, Eastern European women… what we see consistently is that it’s the most vulnerable and marginalized women who are being targeted by the sex trade”.
Finally, Dr. Ingerborg Kraus (psychologist, expert on psychotrauma), revealed the effects of the German model, which is “raising hell on earth” for women in Germany and welcomed potential Abolitionist measures in Spain, which would reinforce the abolitionist organizations in Germany to push for a change of the law, where “pimps and johns find their preferred model”. “We have two different models that were established almost at the same time, about 20 years ago, in Europe and we already know the results of each of the models. We no longer have to do any experiments in any country”, explained the psychologist.
The event was closed by Ms Susara Ros, Executive Secretary of the PSOE against Gender Violence, who also affirmed the determination of the PSOE to abolish prostitution.
The following day, CAP International Executive Director Jonathan Machler was invited by the Partido Popular to speak at the official expert hearings of the Equality Commission in the National Assembly (“comparecencias”), in order to express his views on the draft law of integral guarantee on sexual freedom.
CAP Exec. Director advocated for the inclusion of prostitution (and not only “trafficking”) as one of the forms of sexual violence that the law intends to fight, highlighting the intersectionality of the oppressions affecting women in prostitution:
“If prostitution is a “choice”, then it is a choice systematically made by women who are not given any choice. Whether it is obtained by physical coercion, or by socio-economic coercion, the sexual act obtained in the context of prostitution is always coerced. It is the complete opposite of sexual freedom. The repetition of sexual acts without physical desire, but experienced as a consequence of financial need, inequality or as an exploitation of vulnerability, constitutes in itself sexual violence”.
Jonathan Machler also criticized the dissociation between “forced” and “free” prostitution, present in the law:
“The dissociation – purely ideological, not based on any concrete reality – present in this draft bill, between “free” prostitution, which some want to call “sex work”, and “forced” prostitution, which would be called “exploitation”, is completely disconnected from reality. It is a gift to the pimps, who will just have to continue to pretend to have equal commercial relations, based on the services of renting, protecting, connecting, intermediating between “clients” and women in prostitution, who will be forced to present themselves as independent auto-entrepreneurs. Pimps are used to this, it is what happens absolutely everywhere where the myth of a free and independent prostitution is perpetuated, and where it is pretended to fight against trafficking. This law will not bother them at all.”
Finally, CAP Exec. Director recommended that the criteria of “exploitation of prostitution” should be replaced by a criteria of “situation of prostitution” regarding the 3 points mentioned in the law:
the repression of pimping,
the granting of rights to victims of sexual violence, by including victims of prostitution,
the objective of prevention and awareness-raising policies, particularly for men.
You can download the entire presentation in French, Spanish & English here:
Come & meet us (online) during the UN 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)!
CAP International will participate in the NGO CSW Forum, a platform to promote the voice of feminist organizations at the international level with the objective of their inclusion in the UN negotiations for gender equality in the scope of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). It will take place from 14 to 25 March 2022.
PARALLEL EVENT: “Neither sex, nor work: abolishing prostitution to promote decent work”
While Member States will be discussing Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work – as CSW review theme, CAP International gathers Survivors leaders, Frontline NGOs, Trade unions & Member States Representatives to share their perspectives on best practices in the fight for decent work and access to dignified livelihoods through the elimination of prostitution systems and sexual exploitation.
Our panelist include: Ms Anna EKSTEDT, Ambassador of Sweden ; Mr Jean-Claude BRUNET, Ambassador of France; Ms Diane MARTIN, Survivor (Scotland), Member of OSCE/ODIHR International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council (ISTAC) ; Ms Esohe AGHATISE, Founder and Executive Director of Iroko Onlus (Italy, Nigeria); Ms Flora Whitfield, Survivor, Communications and Program Manager for Breaking Free (USA); Mr Josua MATA, General-Secretary of Sentro Union, Philippines; Dr Muhammad Hidayat GREENFIELD, Regional Secretary of International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tourism, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) Asia Pacific; Ms Sabine REYNOSA, Member of the Collective « Femmes-Mixité » of Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), France. Moderation by Ms Claire GUIRAUD, Permanent Representation of CAP to the UN.
THEMATIC CONVERSATION CIRCLE: “The shadow war: impacts of Russian aggression on sexual exploitation of Ukrainian women”
As hundreds of thousands of women and children flee Ukraine after Russia’s aggression, the sex industry is already using war and vulnerability to bring them into prostitution. Come to learn & discuss with CAP members from the Baltic States about the situation and possible action.
Monday 21 March at 10m EST / 2pm GMT / 4pm EET
Moderated by Iluta Lāce, Marta Center (Latvia) & Eglé Puidokaite, Klaipeda Social and Psychological Support Center (Lithuania)
CAP International members mobilize to offer conversation circles in English, Arabic, French and Spanish to visitors to know more about CAP & share the realities of prostitution and the abolitionist model.
[English] Thursday 17 March at 9am GMT / 2:30pm IST / 8pm AEDT
Come and meet CAP members to discuss abolition
Moderated by Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Embrace Dignity (South Africa), in English
Supporting the adoption of the Abolitionist model in Spain: CAP International’s Advocacy Tour in Madrid and Catalonia
In the context of a promising move towards the adoption of the Abolitionist model, CAPInternational meets Spanish parliamentarians and NGOs
As Spain is shaken by an Abolitionist momentum driven by the civil society, the feminist movement and Abolitionist political champions, the International Secretariat of CAP International spent a week in the country within the scope of an advocacy tour organised by the International Abolitionist School.
On 13 October, CAP International participated in a conference called “Hacia la Ley Abolicionista de la Prostitución: Una propuesta desde el activismo global” (Towards Abolitionist Prostitution Law: a proposal from global activism), organised by the Parliamentarian group of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE currently in power) and the International Abolitionist School, in the Parliament in Madrid. CAP International along with prominent Abolitionist champions, such as activist and survivor leader Amelia Tiganus, Spanish MP Carmen Calvo, Executive Director of the International Abolitionist School Graciela Atencio and several political leaders from the PSOE, joined voices to call for the adoption of the Abolitionist model in Spain, the most protective and ambitious model for persons in prostitution and victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
CAP International participates in a seminar on Advocacy and good practices to support victims of prostitution at La Ciba
On October 14th CAP International intervened at a seminar focused on sharing expertise on Abolitionist advocacy and good practices to support victims of the prostitution system. The conference, organised by the International Abolitionist School, gathered various experts from civil society and took place at La Ciba, an amazing resources centre for women and a space for social economy, solidarity and feminism located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, an openly Abolitionist municipality in Catalonia near Barcelona.
Meeting with Núria Parlon, Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenetand Abolitionistchampion
CAP International had the opportunity to meet the Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Núria Parlon, in order to discuss the feminist and Abolitionist policies she is implementing in her municipality. Ms Parlon is also the coordinator of the “Red de Municipios Libres de Trata” (Municipalities free from trafficking), an initiative gathering several municipalities working together to end the prostitution system and trafficking at a local level.
Participating in an Abolitionist march at La Jonquera
On October 16th Feminicidio, with other members of the Spanish Abolitionist movement, organised an Abolitionist march at La Jonquera, one of the hotspots for prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation in Europe. The protest, led by the survivor and Abolitionist leader Amelia Tiganus, confronted the pimps and sex buyers exploiting women in the brothel “Paradise” and demanded the immediate adoption of the Abolitionist model in Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledges to adopt the Abolitionist model in Spain
Empowered by the Abolitionist momentum fostered by the massive and very dynamic Abolitionist movement in the country, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged to adopt the Abolitionist model in Spain at the occasion of the 40th Congress of the PSOE during the weekend. “Prostitution is one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women” stated Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The Spanish and International Abolitionist Movement will now work on supporting these dynamics in order to achieve this historical change in Spain and adopt an Abolitionist law.
CAP International Side Event on Championing the elimination of trafficking in human beings and the exploitation of prostitution
Championing the elimination of trafficking in human beings
and the exploitation of prostitution
Side event Parallel to 47th Human Rights Council & 79th CEDAW Sessions
Co-sponsored by France, Iceland & Sweden – In cooperation with OHCHR & OSCE/ODIHR
On the occasion of the 47th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council and the 79th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva, CAP International gathers States, International organisations and Survivors leaders to highlight international human rights law and good practices to eliminate trafficking in human beings and the exploitation of prostitution.
Trafficking in human beings and the exploitation of prostitution constitute a serious violation of human rights. Most identified victims are women and girls, their sexual exploitation being the purpose of trafficking is linked to organised crime in most cases. The total number of victims has grown considerably following the unprecedented increase in migration and forced displacement, due to armed conflicts, persecution, human rights violations, and the outbreak of COVID-19.
6 months after the adoption of CEDAW General recommendation No. 38 on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration and 2 years after France and Sweden have developed a common strategy for combating human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Europe and globally, this event aims to create a platform to share lessons learned on efforts to eliminate sexual exploitation and to improve cooperation as well as to support advocacy, initiatives and the mobilisation of additional resources.
Ms Anna JARDFELT, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN in Geneva
Ms Tserenchunt BYAMBA-OCHIR, Survivor, Founder and Director of Talita Asia (Mongolia)
Ms Dalia LEINARTE, Former Chair and member of CEDAW Committee
Ms Youla HADDADIN, Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons, OHCHR
Ms Tatiana KOTLYARENKO, Advisor on Anti-Trafficking Issues, OSCE/ODIHR
Ms Sandra NORAK, Survivor (Germany), Member of OSCE/ODIHR International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council (ISTAC)
Ms Anna EKSTEDT, Swedish Ambassador-at-Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons
Mr Jean-Claude BRUNET, French Ambassador-at-Large against Transnational Criminal Threats
Representative of Iceland
Ms Mickey MEJI, Survivor, Founder of Kwanele (South Africa)
Ms Delphine BORIONE, French Ambassador-at-Large for Human rights
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
France and Sweden launch a historic joint diplomatic abolitionist initiative
On International Women’s Day, France and Sweden have announced the launch of a joint diplomatic initiative aimed at eliminating trafficking for sexual exploitation and the exploitation of prostitution of women and girls.
In their joint declaration, Ministers Le Drian and Wallström explain how their States intend to promote the abolitionist model as the best response to trafficking for sexual exploitation: “The main focus of our common strategy will be the need to reduce the demand for girls and women in prostitution, in Europe and globally. The reason for this is the clear nexus between trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution. A nexus that is well described in numerous studies and also highlighted by the European Parliament in resolution (2013/2103(INI)) on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality. Trafficking for sexual exploitation will continue as long as there is a demand for girls and women in prostitution. Therefore, focusing on reducing demand will be an important measure for combating trafficking for sexual exploitation, for combating violence against women and children and for enhanced gender equality”.
CAP international has worked for a long time with these two countries and welcomes this historic step towards a global abolitionist movement against the sexual exploitation of women and girls.
Positive impact on G7 Gender Equality recommendations
On the 23rd of August 2019, the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) released its final report to G7 leaders. The Advisory Council has identified 79 best practices in gender equality laws in 4 sectors (violence, economic empowerment, education and health, discrimination) and in all regions of the world. It calls on the leaders of the G7 and other countries to commit themselves, through the “Biarritz Partnership”, to adopt and implement progressive legislative frameworks for gender equality, drawing on its recommendations. The report identifies the Nordic Model as one of the most progressive laws for women’s rights globally. This report was handed over to the G7 leaders and will be promoted during UNGA 2019 and in the perspective of Beijing +25.
The Executive director of CAP intl, Grégoire Théry, was appointed by President Macron in January 2019 as member of the GEAC and rapporteur of its working group on “eliminating gender based violence”.
The report is endorsed by the 34 members of the Council, including the Executive director of UN Women, 2 Nobel Peace Prizes, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, Emma Watson etc…
After Paris (2014) and New-Delhi (2017), CAP international and its 27 member organisations from 22 countries will hold their 3rd World Congress against the sexual exploitation of women and girls in Mainz.
This Congress is hosted by SOLWODI, German member organisation of CAP intl, Armut und Gesundheit e.V., and organised with the support and participation of the whole abolitionist movement in Germany.
The Congress will be opened by a Survivors’ Day on the 2nd of April in the afternoon. An extraordinary group of prostitution survivors from Germany and all over the world will call on German’s authorities to fully revisit their harmful public policies on prostitution. An international public conference will then gather, on the 3rd and 4th, 300 participants and 40 speakers from 30 countries, including:
– Survivors of prostitution and trafficking,
– Representatives of domestic, regional and international abolitionist NGOs
– Renowned academics and journalists
– Ministers and Members of Parliaments
– Representatives of Intergovernmental organisations
This public conference will address the realities of prostitution and sexual exploitation in the world, their severe impact on health, and their consequences on sexual violence and gender inequalities. It will also highlight the extremely preoccupying situation in Germany, the “brothel of Europe”. With this World Congress, the organizers aim to raise awareness and empathy in order to break the isolation, indifference, exploitation and discrimination faced by hundred of thousands victims of prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
International and German NGOs will formulate together concrete recommendations to put an end to the exceptionally high level of impunity enjoyed by sexual exploiters and abusers and to create the conditions for prostitution and exploitation-free societies.
Meeting with the French President in support to the action of Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize 2018
Since February 2015, CAP international has been acting in solidarity with the victims of the Yazidi genocide perpetrated by ISIS in Sinjar. In particular, the executive director of CAP international has been providing direct high level advocacy support to Nadia Murad.
On the 25th of October 2018, CAP international has facilitated a second meeting between the French President Emmanuel Macron and the new Nobel Peace Prize 2018, Nadia Murad.
This meeting had a direct and powerful impact, as illustrated in the following video of Nadia Murad, right after her meeting with the President.
Geneva: UN Human Rights Council participation and co-sponsorship of side event
On 22 June, CAP International co-sponsored and participated in a Human Rights Council (38th session) side event held at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Organised by Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII (APG23), the event covered “The Nordic (Equality) Model – a good practice to counter sexual exploitation and human trafficking”.