Green Party of the United States continues its support of Swedish prostitution law.

An attempt to repeal the Greens’ support for the Nordic Model and replace it with language decriminalizing pimps and sex buyers failed on July 1, 2018.

In its Platform on Social Justice and Civil Rights, the Green Party US states

“The Green Party calls for new U.S. legislation relating to prostitution modeled on the Swedish law passed in 1999, now adopted by other countries and being considered by more, that has drastically reduced human trafficking and prostitution in Sweden.  That law criminalizes the purchase of services from prostitutes, pimps and brothel keepers instead of criminalizing the prostitutes.  The Green Party urges the U.S. to open dialogs and visit with Sweden as a step toward introducing legislation in the U.S. Congress to address the exploitation, violence and harm to women through prostitution.”

I am mightily relieved that the US Green Party has voted to uphold women’s rights to dignified employment.  In taking this decision the Green Party has refused to accept the nonsense that decriminalising pimps and johns is somehow progressive.  All of the representatives of SPACE International have lived the sex trade; we know the ruthless damage done to women and girls by pimps and johns.  They should never be decriminalised; they should be arrested, charged and penalised.  I would like to thank the Green Party members who carried this vote, and for those who voted the wrong way, I would encourage them to look more deeply into this issue, and to listen to the women who’ve lived it.  Across the world we are rising up with one voice to say ‘Shut down the global sex trade.”  Rachel Moran, SPACE International.

While I am grateful we decisively defeated an attempt to repeal the US Greens’ support for the Swedish law – nonetheless the support this measure did receive is indicative of the extent to which a pimp’s perspective has so ubiquitously embedded itself in the rape culture which shapes our public consciousness.  We must do a better job of countering these destructive narratives.  Our Party cannot make its contribution to this movement to end the sexist oppression of women until we do a better job of distinguishing the rhetoric of agency and empowerment abused by the pimp lobby to confuse our discussions about these important questions of public policy. Women and children need, not a right to work in the sex trade; but the right not to. They also need the social services which can make that real.  Hugh Esco, Green Party US.

The Green Party advocates to protect women’s rights, not the perpetrators of violence against women.  The proposal to decriminalize sex buyers and third-party profiteers of prostitution would normalize violence against women, would normalize women and girls as ‘commodities’ that are bought and sold.  To reframe prostitution as a worker’s rights issue rather than the human rights, inequality, racism, and misogyny issue that it is, ignores the research on how prostitution works, who it benefits, who does the perpetrating and who is suffering.  Harm reduction is necessary, but the Nordic model, which the Green Party has supported for years, does that and more.  Instead of comparing prostituted people to drugs and alcohol and other commodities, Green Party leaders need to dig deeper and understand how survivors of prostitution compare to survivors of other traumas and torture.  Proponents of decriminalized prostitution ignored and dismissed the experience of the vast majority of survivors.  We need to be a party that reaches out to women and girls in prostitution and helps them exit, rather than help continue their exploitation and abuse.”  LuAnne Kozma, Green Party US.

The process around this issue speaks to the deep commitment the Party has to confront misogyny and all forms of oppression.  My thanks to all whose vote reflected their values, solid research, and political education with a consciousness of their individual privilege and accountability for that privilege.  Our struggles to find our way given the violent, exploitative and oppressive legacies of this country continue.”  George Friday, Green Party US.

The Green Party US’s understanding of prostitution as sexual exploitation is an inspiration for political parties who seek to implement law and policy on prostitution that reflects the feminist perspective of the Swedish Model including South Korea (2004), Iceland, (2008), Norway (2009), Canada (2014), Northern Ireland (2015), France (2016), and Republic of Ireland (2017). The support of the Black and Latinx Caucuses of the Greens in the US are crucial.” Melissa Farley, Prostitution Research & Education.