The Wild West of Prostitution

WEBINAR: JULY 9th 2020

Webinar held on Thursday July 9th 2020

1pm New York  |  6pm London  |  7pm Cape Town

Calls to decriminalise the sex trade routinely fail to mention that this includes the full decriminalisation of pimps, brothel keepers and johns. In this webinar we’ll hear from four women with personal experience of both prostitution and frontline service support.

Spanning the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa, we will hear from Cherie Jimenez, Audrey Morrissey, Fiona Broadfoot and Mickey Meji, who’ll be discussing the reality of prostitution from their own perspectives with a focus on the lives of the women and girls they serve.

Decriminalising “all aspects” of prostitution, as currently proposed in numerous regions across the globe, would remove all legal penalties for pimping, procuring, pandering and all forms of sexual exploitation and third-party profiteering. This conversation will lay bare the shape and nature of prostitution as it is envisioned by those who wish to remove every legal penalty associated with it, and will examine the dystopian future under construction by those who wish to recreate and extend what has become known as 'the Wild West of Prostitution.’


Webpic mickeyMickey Meji

From Cape Town, Mickey Meji (Nomonde Mihlali Meji) is a South African survivor of the sex trade and leading human and women’s rights activist. Mickey is passionate about the rights of women and girls in prostitution and strives to abolish prostitution in South Africa and the world. She works with women and young people to raise awareness on the dangers of prostitution.

Webpic cherieCherie Jimenez

Cherie Jimenez, an activist and survivor, has devoted many years to political activism. She founded the EVA Center (Education, Vision and Advocacy), a specialized exit program for trafficked and prostituted women. Ms. Jimenez is a board member of SPACE International and has spoken at various conferences nationally and internationally.

Webpic fionaFiona Broadfoot

Fiona Broadfoot is a sex trade survivor and co-founder of Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE) and Street EXIT, which was formed to offer support to women exiting prostitution. Fiona recently achieved a place on the highly competitive Lloyds School for Social Entrepreneurs and has now started her own social enterprise called the ‘Build a Girl Project’.

Webpic audreyAudrey Morrissey

Audrey Morrissey is the Associate Director of My Life My Choice, a program of Justice Resource Institute. Drawing from her personal experience, Ms. Morrissey seeks to help vulnerable girls avoid being recruited into the commercial sex trade and/or leave exploitation behind them. Ms. Morrissey facilitates My Life My Choice exploitation prevention groups throughout Greater Boston, as well as trains service providers locally and nationally.


Moderated by Rachel Moran

Webpic rachelRachel Moran is the founding member of SPACE International and author of the bestselling ‘Paid For - My Journey Through Prostitution’. Ms. Moran was instrumental in bringing the Abolitionist (Nordic) Model to Ireland in two separate processes on either side of the Irish border.

  • "Remembering friend’s I have lost along the way, and taking a glance at all the violence, rape and inhumane activities, I just can’t help but recognize my luck to alive today."
    - Mickey Meji, Cape Town, South Africa
  • "In many cases we talk about trafficking and we differentiate it from prostitution; there is a linguistic battle around this erroneous distiction. But there is a reality that no one can hide: men who pay for sex do not recognise any difference in this regard. They do not care to know anything about the woman for whom they pay, for them they are all "whores'' - and they justify their violations with that charge, and they use it to strip us of our rights. Both victims of prostitution and victims of trafficking are raped by the same men who pay for sex."
    - Alika Kinan, Cordoba, Argentina
  • "When New Zealand passed full decriminalisation, things changed in unexpected ways and I came to understand that the myths of legal protection, autonomy, increased choice and greater community acceptance were unfounded.. The myth of health being better was proved false in less than 6 months of the law reform. Women were kissing and risking herpes, doing oral sex without condoms with the risk of throat warts, doing rougher and riskier practices just to get the jobs.. I dealt with punters changing expectations. I had no choice but to fight against this model ever spreading to another country."
    - Sabrinna Valisce, Melbourne, Australia
  • "When I look back now I see that prostitutuion lured and consumed those of us who were already marginalised in society. If you were poor, if you were disadvantaged, if you had come from a broken home or had vulnerabilities connected to prior cycles of abuse, especially sexual abuse, prostitution was there waiting for you. Prostitution is a trap, and it’s not a coincidence that all over the world it ensnares those who are already struggling to survive."
    - Rachel Moran, Dublin, Ireland
  • "For me, sexual abuse was a direct route into prostitution. The same kind of destructive abuse chosen by myself, because I knew this feeling and recognised myself in this situation, even though the situation traumatised me over and over again."
    - Tanja Rahm, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • "I was able to exit prostitution and rebuild my life, and with that my education became a tool. I was recognized for my tenacity and my strength and have been able now to be an asset to my community and to my people."
    - Bridget Perrier, Toronto, Canada
  • "Prostitution is the systematic and institutionalized form of Non State Torture and violence primarily against women and children. In it's extreme, it is a form of femicide involving homicide, rape, torture, pornography, violent assaults and the systematic targeting of marginalized persons, but leaves no stone unturned as all societies, and all persons are impacted by the organized crime that prostitution is."
    - Jeanette Westbrook, Kentucky USA
  • "Many people ask me, how did I get into prostitution, was I “trafficked” or was I a willing participant? What many don’t understand is - however we entered - what the act of prostitution does to us; how it slowly strips us of any semblance of ourselves, as we try to sell part of our bodies, while keeping our soul intact. Prostitution preys on the most vulnerable; it takes us places we never intended to go, all driven by those who feel entitled to pay for our bodies. "
    - Cherie Jimenez, Boston, USA
  • "Just because dancing (stripping) is legal does not mean it’s not violence against women - Stripping and prostitution go hand in hand."
    - Vednita Carter, St Paul, USA
  • "After experiencing prostitution in most of its forms, from escorting to the streets, each time my body was bought, whether in a car or in a 5-star hotel, the degradation and shame I felt was the same. The violence and abuse was the same. I don’t believe we should live in a society where women’s bodies are for sale and prostituted promoted as 'sex work."
    - Julie Swede, Bristol, UK
  • "It might surprise you, but it can happen to anyone. No you’re not exempt. I wasn’t."
    - Marian Hatcher, Chicago, USA
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"For me, sexual abuse was a direct route into prostitution. The same kind of destructive abuse chosen by myself, because I knew this feeling and recognised myself in this situation, even though the situation traumatised me over and over again."
- Tanja Rahm, Copenhagen, Denmark
Read more testimonials