I found this article chilling but then looked to see who wrote it and immediately felt suspicious. The author’s writing is generally extremely biased with a common theme: women are victims and men are monsters. True, in this article some men are victims as well. I have stated before, I am against the de-stigmatisation of prostitution as I would not want anyone I care about to become a prostitute. J B writes as if the women have no agency. Are there no madams – women running bordellos? She writes powerfully but uniformatively. Her extreme bias means she fails to explore the complexities of issues. Prostitution and addiction go hand in hand. A relative of mine was a heroin addict. She managed after two failed attempts and a final successful attempt at rehab to break free of the addiction. She told me what made her seek help, want to quit, was that she knew the next step for her was prostitution (she had conned a lot of people to obtain money for heroin) and for her that was completely unacceptable – a consequence of being raised a Catholic; she had long since rejected Catholicism but instilled attitudes remained. In rehab she learned that her attitude to prostitution was wrong and she condemned Catholicism for its stigmatising stances. She said she was now capable of prostituting herself but chose not to. I was intrigued by the paradox. She abhorred that which saved her.
Indeed. Just one look at link to the new report (page header: ABOLISH PROSTITUTION AND PROVIDE REAL ALTERNATIVES), or the speaker list at the presenting conference, shows that this is not a research report. It is campaign organisation propaganda, about as reliable as Blair’s WMD claims for Iraq. That does not mean that the contents are necessarily wrong, of course, but it does mean we can pretty much discount the report in the absence of evidence from a more neutral source.
The You Know Whos did this to these European women starting in 1948 after the show trials, as an eternal blood-libel. If we get rid of ls reeI then Germany would not be in this dilemma.
You are so indirect that I do not understand you. Presumably what you have to say would get you condemned by most people – and the moderators – if you said it directly? You have something against ‘is reel’, perhaps? There is an ism for that.
Dirty Dave needs a visit from Mossad.
For some reason I am unable to comment independently at the moment, but your comment is close to my own thoughts and feelings. I don’t trust the author either, to the point that I rarely read her articles. I find prostitution difficult to be catagorical about. The few prostitutes I have met in my life seemed very hard, I doubt whether that is always true though. There are definitely some good looking women who choose to do it of their own free will, on their own terms. Such women have made fortunes out of their pretty faces and shrewd business sense. But then there are the vulnerable, damaged girls and women who should be protected by us. I wonder if the German system of legalisation affords them better protection. Unfortunately I do not trust Julie Bindel to inform me in an honest way.
Three UK charities which help vulnerable people to avoid becoming prostitutes, or to get out of prostitution if they are already in it, are,
The Salvation Army
Worth a donation this Christmas.
I think women who enter prostitution have to become hard to protect themselves emotionally. I watched a fascinating video on YouTube about prostitution. A very successful high class pimp who after many lucrative years was prosecuted and imprisoned was interviewed (it is part of an extremely interesting series). Three of his comments really struck me and made me really want to know more about and understand the impact of prostitution. He hired beautiful young women who were not prostitutes but wanted to earn a lot of money in a short period of time: college fees, buy a house. He employed them for at most two years – I think they lost their ‘freshness’ after that and the men he was selling to wouldn’t want them because their trade had had a negative impact on them. He said women could prostitute themselves for two or three years and then leave the profession but if they stayed any longer they would be trapped. He said there are a few, very few, women who can be prostitutes without being emotionally and psychologically damaged but the majority of women cannot.
One only has to look at, for example, an expensive day at the races, a big London drinks party, or any other collection of those with revenue and capital to see that the good looking, be-jewelled and expensively dressed woman present , are not remotely matched in the aforementioned, by their male companions… Quod Est Demonstrandum?
Yes, It is a hard one.
I saw some illuminating comments BTL at the Guardian.
There was Ally Fogg, very woke and very left-wing but with strong respect for the truth, who pointed out that once you are hooked on hard drugs there are very few jobs you are capable of doing. Apart form prostitution there is theft, dealing, begging, and scrap metal collection, all of which are about equally soul-destroying. Maybe the main thing is not to stop prostitution, but to provide a better alternative.
Then there was Mechanima, who claimed to be Irish, an ex-runaway and ex-underage-prostitute. She said that she had been extremely reluctant to take up prostitution and had hated every moment of it – which does sound realistic. She also said that she had no resentment or ill-will for the punters; if it had not been for the punters she would not have been alive to write her posts. Her resentment and ill-will was all against her family, the social workers, all those people who could have helped her, but did not.
She also commented on Brooke Magnanti that she was not ‘one of us’, but that what she argued for was the same as what ‘we’ wanted.
BTW – I cannot comment in person either.
I’ve discovered refreshing the page fixes it, except I’m having to do that every time, which is tiresome.
“Yes, It is a hard one.”
Isn’t that the root of the problem?
Madame du Barry
The internet is full of prostitutes offering all kinds of services. I wouldn’t think that they have any pimps as they have their own rules. I would think they make a lot of money but they are still destroying their own morality for the sake of money.
As a cash-strapped young backpacker in Sydney in the mid-1980s, I was compelled to stay, against advice, in King’s Cross, in which there were legal brothels. The $5 a night hotel in which I stayed was populated almost entirely by drug addicts and prostitutes, some very young. I will never forget the misery I witnessed, and the sight of a hysterically tearful young woman being gently comforted by an older companion whose deeply sad, ravaged features told their own story.
The actual problem is much wider than the author states and is simply one of widespread degeneracy, caused by rampant secularism/individualism. A gay friend of mine visited Berlin a few years ago. I asked him if he enjoyed himself and he told me that he’d visited a wonderful gay club called “Kum Dump.” I immediately looked out of the window to see if the first horseman of the apocalypse had arrived. He hadn’t, but he’s surely saddling up!!!
Agreed. It is ironic that the author, who is a very vociferous advocate for deviant sexual behavior, casts stones at deviant sexual behavior.
Her main causes seem to be feminism and lesbianism which she promotes. Where do Unherd get these people from? I feel like an idiot now bothering to comment on her comments.
Ooh? The Kum Dump? does one have to obtain a large number of signatures in the members book, and be proposed by a considerable number, like be.. cummm…ing a member of White’s, or Brooks’s… or just a couple of masonic slisters like a Kent golf club?
What has secularism/individualism got to do with it? 18th century London was far more debauched than its 21st century equivalent.
Aphrodite, This above is a very strange argument! We have a Catholic heroin addict who nearly becomes a prostitute but presumably as a result of that church’s teaching throws off addiction only to realise that she can now become a prostitute, but choses not to. Heroin and Catholicism overcome which only shows that that opiate was not her religion or should it be that that religion was not this person’s opiate?
I am not arguing anything, just recounting. As I stated in my original comment, I think it is a complex issue. I enjoy exploring ideas. You can make of it what you will. The aversion to prostitution instilled by Catholic indoctrination appeared to be greater than the strength of her heroin addiction so you could say Catholicism saved her. She herself attributed the aversion to Catholic indoctrination. She did believe if she didn’t stop immediately she would prostitute herself. She had run out of people who would give her money. Run out of goodwill and was incapable of holding down a job. I suspect the amount of heroin used and the length of the time period of heroin use both have an impact on the strength of the addiction but I don’t actually know. As to her believing she had lost her aversion to prostituting herself after rehab, I am not sure she had. I suspect that the rehab had its own ideology in which prostitution is not stigmatised. Anyway it was not an occupation she would choose.
I forgot to reply to what I assume was a reference to Karl Marx.
‘In his view, religion may be false, but it is a function of something real. Specifically, Marx believed that religion had certain practical functions in society that were similar to the function of opium in a sick or injured person: it reduced people’s immediate suffering and provided them with pleasant illusions which gave them the strength to carry on. In this sense, while Marx may have no sympathy for religion itself, he has deep sympathy for those proletariat who put their trust in it.’
Interestingly, I am picking up a lot of downvotes. I do wish Unherd would list up and down votes separately and the people who downvote would comment and help develop the conversation.
One can go here to see Rape statistics by nation.
Germany is well below the US but notice how high Costa Rica is where it is legal; perhaps that is where all the violent Amerikan men go.
Yep. Chesterton’s Fence in action once again.
Thank you Peter. I hadn’t heard of Chesterton’s Fence though I completely agree with the suggestion.
I don’t have any opinion one way or the other about the author.
I recommend Rachel Moran’s book ‘Paid For’ to anyone interested in the subject. Bindel quotes Moran towards the end of this article.
The incessant anti-male opinions expressed by the author in everything she writes makes any conclusions based on her writings very dubious indeed.
A less biased writer would be a more effective voice for oppressed females.
On my way home from touring Scandanavia in the early 80s with a couple of friends, we stopped overnight in Hamburg. Mein Gott, what a den of iniquity it was. Even the main theatre with its neo-Classical facade was advertising a performance involving rubber outfits and whips. It seems that things may have ‘progressed’ even further since then.
The Germans are either seriously weird, or seriously honest. Either way, if it involves the levels of legal exploitation that Julie describes (and she surely meant a population of eighty, not eight million) it’s a damning indictment of the veneer of civilisation that the Germans pride themselves upon, notwithstanding the events of the twentieth century.
Did you visit the notorious “Triangle Cub”?
A must for anyone serving in BAOR.
Didn’t really have time for much exploration, and if i’d seen the sign for said club i’d probably have thought it was an institute for training percussionists…
“data from lengthy interviews with 763 men in the USA, Cambodia, England, India, Scotland and Germany.”
“they will be compelled to, as one man said, “rape a realwoman’. Three quarters of the interviewees held this attitude.”
A pretty horrifying figure. Unfortunately it lumps together six countries and gives no idea of who these men are, their culture, ethnicity, social position, class, education, etc. Would the research indicate any of this? Because all it does is create collective guilt for men, which I think is unhelpful.
“Because all it does is create collective guilt for (johns)” I’m curious if you think non white or non western johns treat these women worse? Something tells me you do. If a man is buying a woman’s body, regardless of where he is from, he views her as less than human. He views her as undeserving of dignity. He paid money and he sees it as his right to treat her any way he wants in that moment. Perhaps, Brett, you see yourself in the white, western johns, and you, of course, would neverrr treat a woman as savagely as brown men would. Stop thinking men of certain races are more or less respectful of prostitutes. Men’s perversions know no bounds.
Is it a bit weird that so many readers are quick to comment on an error about the population of Germany and make no further comment at all on the fascinating and controversial topic of the article?
If all these comments are by men, it seems to be an interesting parallel to the clinical attitude of the German men using prostitutes who see it as merely a service.
No, it’s an interesting parallel to the list-making, analytical, problem solving attitude of men.
That is the basic issue with prostitution – the task of fixing it falls to women, and fairly typical women at that – and they won’t have a solution, just drama and indignation at how “men” are exploiting “women” and how we should just ban it, or better still criminalise men because women are helpless, weepy victims who also deserve to be CEOs.
If you had typical men handling this issue, they might not arrive at the best solution. But at least they will try for one – which night involve regulating the pimps, ensuring basic protections, horsewhipping the small minority of men who do treat the women badly, figuring out backup professions for the women, and maximising taxes on the side. And making lists, lots of lists, because men like that.
Quite so. A common sense, practical approach resulting in tangible improvement. Sadly, that seems to have gone completely out of fashion, in favour of emoting, signalling and posturing.
The only single element that made BAOR service in Germany bearable were the hookers: it was hated to a man!
You’re forgetting the cheap alcohol and tax-free cars.
ahh yes BFG nnumber plates and vodka for the helicopter screen washers!
This is not meant as a reply but that is the only way I can share my deep wisdom: it is not prostitution that should be illegal but pimping. Women in charge of their bodies is theoretically a liberating idea, it is pimping that is abhorrent. A pimp is like a mafioso the woman is forced to pay protection money to. How can this system be legal?
It is’nt legal here, pimping is a crime in the UK.
The “You Know Whos” did this to these European women starting in 1948 after the show trials, as an eternal blood-libel. If we get rid of is reaI then Germany would no longer be faced with this dilemma.
Two thousand years ago it was a little different:
Tacitus, Germania 19-20
In that country, no one finds vice amusing; nor is seducing or being seduced celebrated as a sign of the times. Even better are those communities where only virgins marry and a promise is made with the hope and vow of a wife. And so, they have only one husband just as each has one body and one life so that there may be no additional thought of it, no lingering desire, that they may not love the man so much as they love the marriage. It is considered a sin to limit the number of children or to eliminate the later born. There good customs are stronger than good laws.
What went wrong?
That’s a simply appalling situation.
Data from 96 German sex buyers out of a population of 1.2 million men who buy sex every day is hardly a representative sample. That’s only 0.008 percent and such a small percentage is essentially meaningless.
I managed to skip statistics in my engineering education, but I think ~100 is a large enough sample that the error bars aren’t going to be large.
Sample size calculators don’t usually accept such small samples. The confidence factor and margin of error would be unacceptably large.
Population 84.5 million not 8 Million.
And if she can’t get even that right…
The Land of “Dichter und Denker” (poets and thinkers) has devolved to the Land of ” Zuhälter und Huren” (pimps and whores).
Some mistake, surely ? The population of Germany, even after the blood sacrifice of two world wars, is, I suspect, something more than 8 million.
For me this whole argument is simple. I have no doubt that men can control themselves (can’t help it, is a patriarchal excuse, a dangerous myth perpetuated out of male self interest) and indeed they ought, just as much as women have to do. To use a prostitute for sex reduces a man to something that smells very bad; if I were religious, I’d say it diminishes his soul. It certainly, as the evidence above shows, is harmful for women and girls who are prostitutes, and those who are not. The latter often being the victim of those men who have lost their souls and now view females as pieces of meat. Masturbation should be encouraged as a healthy way to get relief. That seems to me to be blindingly obvious 🙂
Well then, what about also encouraging porn use?
If objectifying another human being (prostitution) is wrong, then so is objectifying oneself (masturbation).
As a more practical matter, what do you suppose men are viewing as an aid to masturbation in this imagined masturbation promotion scheme? Edifying public service announcements from some kind of government pro-masturbation agency?
No. . . they are viewing pornography (prostitution).
Or reading erotic fiction.
“Masturbation should be encouraged as a healthy way to get relief. That seems to me to be blindingly obvious”
Obviously it hasn’t worked.
No, because patriarchy has privileged male self interest and declared without proof that men can’t control themselves while setting all sorts of restriction on women who must not respond to their sexual urges. Women have sanctions from being sent to mental asylums for being morally depraved, , being medically labelled with all sorts of names to the worst in some societies, FGM. No such restrictions on men just a claim that THEY can’t control their sexual urges. Phooweeee. .
I don’t think it is without proof, I think it is after thousands of years of societies failing to find a way of bringing male sexuality completely under control. FGM is illegal in this country and has never been an accepted practice.
I suspect it is all much more complicated. I doubt all men who use prostitutes view all women as pieces of meat. Many probably have daughters they view very differently and would not want to become prostitutes. As to your belief men can control themselves, they cannot control their innate sexual responses, they can to a certain extent control whether they act on those responses. Some men use prostitutes to relieve sexual frustration. Armies traditionally took prostitutes with them presumably in the belief that the use of prostitutes benefited the army overall. I remember reading an article on prostitution many, many years ago in the Sunday Times – probably the eighties when the Gulf Arabs were first becoming rich with oil money – in which a high end prostitute was interviewed. She was describing different types of clients. She said the Gulf Arabs liked to gamble and weren’t particularly interested in women. When having a gambling session they would order in some high class prostitutes who they paid very well. They would interrupt their game but only very briefly – a quick in and out with no funny business. I remember thinking if I were a prostitute they would be my preferred client.
I think men’s sexuality is very different from women’s and I think women are much more effected by social constraints than men which is one of the reasons why there are far far fewer women in prison and very few female sex offenders.
I would much prefer an Incel type man have sex with a prostitute legally and safely rather than try to rape one of my daughters one night
We focus on the women who are exploited. But what about the beautiful but poorly educated women who are at the higher end earning 500 to 1000 Euros a night. What are we telling them? Go and work on Aldi instead for 10 euros an hour? (They could do this already if they wanted) I am sure they will thank you Julie for taking away yet another opportunity for women to get rich or find a rich man.
“I would much prefer an Incel type man have sex with a prostitute legally and safely rather than try to rape one of my daughters one night”
But no issue with a stock broker or an attorney?
but not a slister, IT beardie or insurance broker!
Yeah, you know there’s no correlation, right? The article itself states that rates of violence against women are higher in countries with legal prostitution.
Think about it logically. If men get used to being able to do whatever they want to women they’ve paid for, why would they all of a sudden turn into angels with your daughter? Once they’ve bought her dinner, they’ll think they paid for her too, and should be free to do what they like.
Men who get used to treating women like objects will treat all women as objects.
Ah, militant feminist Julie Bindel – a woman with an axe the size of Siberia to grind – has some unofficial statistics that, er…just happen to support her agenda. Well colour me surprised.
But I’ll tell you one thing I’m sure of. If her ‘statistics’ had shown the exact opposite result, she wouldn’t have changed her view. No. She’d simply have ignored them and gone shopping for some others. Bindel – like so many in the public sphere now – is a woman with a preconceived agenda. ‘Research’ and ‘statistics’, as such people see them, are there not to inform but to bolster their argument. If the research and states don’t fit the agenda, then they must be ‘Bad Science’ and wrong.
Well, according to the article, he will be more likely to rape your daughter in a society with legal prostitution.
Also, the question should really be if you want to live in a society where prostitution is considered a valid career choice for your daughter.
I don’t think the population of Germany is eight million!
Did you also comment on the foie gras that was served on the Titanic?
It’s a valid point. If the author is so cavalier when dealing with the most elementary, indisputable and easily-checkable facts – and so utterly lacking in general knowledge that she thinks Western Europe’s most populous country has a population about the same size as Sweden’s – then what reliance can anyone have on anything else in her piece?
It seems to me that the solution to criminal, actual or moral, behavior is enforcement and modification of the laws.
Criminalising it surely is both immoral (right to self determination etc) and would just drive many problems underground.
Never used a prostitute but 1.2 million per day is incredible. Can it really be true? That would mean 1 in every 35 men every day. Assuming most go twice per week would mean 1 in 10 per week.
“So what would deter men from paying for sex?”
Our tabloids camped outside the brothels photographing the customers would certainly stop the professional clients. Given Germany has tabloid press too, I presume Germany’s extreme observance of data protection laws stop them doing this – but very good money to be made for blackmailers I expect.
I had no idea prostitution was so commoditised in Germany, but as the writer says it does rather prove the benefits or otherwise of legalisation. The legalisation of pot in the USA on such a large scale will probably be similarly ‘helpful’.
Didn’t the famed Africa Corps have fully air conditioned field brothels, whilst our lads had ‘the Gut’ in Malta, and even worse in Cairo?
The VD rates of the respective combatants obviously reflected this.
Hong Kong being a particularly bad example in 1942 when the sons of Nippon arrived.
It is the one and only scintilla of enjoyment that BAOR had ! At least the hookers were foreign too!!!
Monty had a far more pragmatic approach. But yes, VD rates among Allied troops in the Italian campaign were sky-high.
* The population of Germany is 83 million. A typo
I always admired germans by how they seem to have a well delimited place for everything
I take some commenters’ point that Ms. Bindel has an ideological axe to grind, but at the same time I can’t help but think that a life as a sex worker is not ideal at the best of times – and a large share of them don’t see that best form. I think the rate of harmful drug use among sex workers is evidence of that.
I am certainly happy that my daughter (sorry to be so canonical) is happy with a permanent partner.
If legalization is indeed harmful overall, on average, it will be chapter 7,375,365 of ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if that will be the epitaph of Western civilization?
“ It’s like renting an organ for 10 minutes”
10 minutes, yeah right!
The population of Germany is not 8 million.
“an estimated 400,000 prostitutes, and around 1.2 million men (the population of Germany is a little over 80 million) who buy sex every day.”
Am I right in thinking this means that each prostitute does business with three men a day? That doesn’t seem like much of a business.
They get days off too, you monster!
That would still be 21 clients a week, on average. Four or five a day, if you have weekends and Monday off. More than enough to live on, I’d have thought, unless it’s going straight up your nose.
The author of this article is a dubious man hater. At least be honest about it. Wherever prostitution is legalized just like drugs, you will always find human exploitation and misery. But the argument has always been “legalize vice and you can tax it and regulate it an all of the illicitly backend dealers and illegal purveyors go away” lol, yeah right.
California legalized pot a while ago for recreational use. Did that make the illegal drug trade go away? Nope, now the state is in competition with the cartels that pedal weed at a much lower price. Capitalism undercuts government sanction. Shocking. The same is happening everywhere else. All this did was cut government into the action and get their cut that they missed out on for so long. The people do not benefit other than satisfying their vices.
Prostitution is no different. Fresh young faces will get pimped to lay down and spread their legs. The drug is their bodies. The younger the better too. More exploited women and men are ridiculed for the very thing the government says they can do legally. The women pony up cage to their pimps, the men get to use them from both sides. Who said the slave trade was over. Now it’s just taxed and regulated to look like something else.
The worlds oldest profession chugs on unabated and people wonder why degenerate and deviancy isn’t leading everyone down the road to demoralization. All the whole the elite bask in your denigration, pocket the cash and spend it on their $10k a night escorts without all of the fuss and get to dictate to us how we are supposed to live by the rules they make and extract the taxes from our hard earned labor. The gravy train has to keep moving.
So who’s fault is it then? The men who pimp, the men who use, or the women that are selling their bodies and souls for fast cash? Honestly, they are all losers.
the population of Germany is eighty million, not eight million. 1.2 million men that visit prostituties is still a lot though!
thank you for this article. the sex trade hurts and hurts the most vulnerable people most. women and girls i have known who have become involved in it here in new zealand have all suffered. it makes me sad. the men who use women for sex need to stop. there is no excuse for these men and their hurtful behaviour and no good reason for it either.
With 400,000 women working, if there are a thousand that are mistreated, that might mean there are 399,000 that are making a living. 2,000? 10,000? Who’s counting? The million daily users are obviously advocates so criminalizing prostitution would be an uphill battle.
Let’s join a superstate dominated by people mass murderers who think it’s OK to rape women. Not.
You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and have never actually met or talked with a prostitute. Through your extreme feminist ideology you disregard what the women want and choose and try to deprive them of options. Many women CHOOSE to do sex work, mainly because they do not want to be tied to a 9 to 5 job for a fraction of the money. Your virtue signaling on their behalf and your crusade to save them may end up depriving them of this option. Religious fascism in the name of your virtue. Chill, live and let live.
The German womenfolk , or most of them , are all now indoctrinated with that ” male supremacy , we must hate them all,nonsense . But actually white folk are so disillusioned by everything that their birth rate has plummeted , so much so that it won’t be long before we are all a thing of the past unless something is done about it .
‘…around 1.2 million men (the population of Germany is a little over 80 million) who buy sex every day.’
Every day?! The randy devils… Surely those 1.2 million priapists must have at least the occasional day off?
One look at most of the women there will tell one why?!
As a Welsh Guardsman said once having visited Ukraine ” All the lookers there should wear shirts with no 2 on the back… as they are all hookers”….!!!!!
How about anyone found to be willingly involved in the sex trade (i,e. not trafficked or coerced) should be on the Sex Offenders’ Register?
For what? Who have they offended? You and la Bindel? We have more than enough ineffectual criminal ‘legislation’ already. Beyond that, these women’s lives and those of your clients are really none of the State’s or your business.
Judging from my much disliked visits there, and having seen the women, I am not in the slightest bit surprised.