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.
CAP International’s members on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis
The 33 member organisations of CAP international are working in support of more than 15,000 prostituted persons and victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, in 27 countries. They see on a daily basis how women and girls who are economically and sexually exploited by the prostitution system are being hit hard by the current crisis.
The COVID-19 virus seems to affect first and foremost, and more seriously, men, especially older men.
However, the accompanying health, economic and social crisis is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable groups in our societies and, as a result, women and girls belonging to the most discriminated communities. Women and girls who are migrants, refugees, displaced persons, indigenous people, ethnic and religious minorities, from the lowest castes, from rural communities, but also the poorest women and girls, the youngest, the homeless, victims of prior sexual violence are both the first victims of economic and sexual exploitation and the first victims of the current crisis.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, these women and children, often without residency statutes, housing, income and very often without access to minimum social rights, were surviving in prostitution. They did not live off it, they survived it. As all the investigative police forces in the world have shown, the income of people exploited in prostitution is indeed almost or entirely confiscated by pimps, traffickers, smugglers, landlords and many other predators.
Today, many of these women and children do not even have enough money to survive. This is why our grassroots associations are on the front line to offer the minimum necessities of life to as many people as possible: access to information about the virus, food and shelter.
In every country of our coalition, our members are on the field providing support to victims of prostitution during the pandemic :
➡️ In Colombia, Iniciativa ProEquidad offered recommendations to local authorities before lockdown started, and its members distribute food, and provide emergency rent money to at least 600 women and families in 4 cities. A survivor led NGO even set up a shelter during the pandemia.
➡️In India our member Apne Aap distributes cooked meals to more than 2500 families living in the red-light areas of Kolkata, Delhi & Bihar during lockdown.
➡️In the USA our member Breaking Free provides hot meals & basic necessities for women & girls in prostitution and their families. Their shelters serve 55 families during the crisis.
➡️In BelgiumIsala asbl has launched a fundraising campaign to assist vulnerable women and girls. isala has been assisting more than 50 women by phone during the lockdown. The money from the solidarity fund has been distributed to several families in the form of food stamps.
➡️In LebanonKAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation provides socio-legal advice to women in prostitution through their helpline. It is also providing financial assistance, emergency shelter, and medical support to victims of prostitution and ensure the most vulnerable among them have access to Covid19 tests.
➡️In FranceMouvement du Nid France is continuing its ground work and provides phone assistance to women and girls in prostitution in addition to providing financial help and psychological support. It advocates for 3 rights & dignity guarantees at the national level : regular stay, resources & accommodation to leave no one below the poverty line.
➡️In IrelandRuhama distributes emergency packs (with vouchers, food, hygiene products and sexual health and safety supplies) in all of Ireland for women & girls in prostitution who are particularly vulnerable during the crisis.
➡️In PalestineSawa Organization مؤسسة سوا مؤسسة سوا ‘s free helpline operating through health professionals, counselors and lawyers to provide support for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and others for women & girls has received more than 1064 phone calls in the first 4 weeks of the sanitary crisis.
➡️In IcelandStígamót is supporting women and girls in prostitution and victims of violence by phone during the lockdown. They have been able to financially support women in need for them to be able to manage their rent, have access to food and medicine.
➡️In LatviaMARTA‘s social workers are operating by phone and messages to bring support to victims of sexual exploitation during the sanitary crisis. They have published a video with useful resources for women victims of violence in their country
Embrace Dignity distributing food parcels in South Africa
EXIT campaign in Portugal: training for young abolitionists in Portugal
From the 4th to the 6th of July, CAP international has been invited to participate in a training for Young Abolitionists hold in Setubal, Portugal. The training was organised by our strategic partner Plataforma Portuguesa para os Direitos das Mulheres, in cooperation with the movement Generation Abolition.
Our Portuguese member organisation O’ Ninho also participated in the training session. More than 50 young abolitionists from Portugal, Brazil and Sao Tome and Principe attended the training.
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.
#MeToo and Prostitution: Survivors of the Sex Trade Break Silence!
Friday 23 November 7pm to 9.30pm
Room Jean Dame, Paris 2ème arrondissement
CAP intl, SPACE intl, Mouvement du Nid and Osez le Féminisme ! organise in Paris a world première event dedicated to “#MeToo and prostitution”, where survivors of the sex trade will break the silence on the daily and inherent violence of the prostitution system.
The event will help to understand that prostitution is part of a continuum of sexual violence and abuse and cannot be dissociated from other forms of sexual abuses which are growingly being exposed and denounced in the context of #MeToo.
Together with Ashley Judd, co-host and keynote speaker of the event, the organizers will moderate an outstanding panel of speakers and will provide a space for new survivors to speak out for the first time.
Co-host, keynote speaker and moderator
Ashley Judd: Feminist social justice humanitarian, activist, actress, author. Me Too key figure and founding member of Time’s Up.
Rachel Moran: Feminist and abolitionist activist, Founder of SPACE intl (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightment), and author of best seller “Paid For – My Journey Through prostitution”.
Mickey Meji: Abolitionist leader and founder of KWANELE, the first sex trade survivors movement in South Africa, advocacy director for Embrace Dignity.
Rosen Hicher: Abolitionist activist. Initiated and walked 800 kms’ for the Marche de Rosen pour l’abolition de la prostitution. Co-founder of the Mouvement français des Survivantes de la prostitution. Trainer in French « John schools ».
Anne Darbes: Author of the autobiographical novel, « Le visage de l’autre », Anne Darbes has been affected by prostitution as a man, and later on, as a woman.
Ruchira Gupta: Awarded journalist and leading feminist and abolitionist activist, founder and president of the Indian abolitionist movement Apne Aap. Board member of CAP international.
Co-organizers and moderators
Grégoire Théry, co-founder and director of CAP intl
Claire Quidet, Board member and spokesperson of Mouvement du Nid
Celine Piques and Raphaëlle Rémy-Leleu, spokespersons of Osez le Féminisme !