I’m happy to introduce the French sexworker Nikita. Nikita writes today about French abolitionists and Kajsa Ekis Ekman’s attack towards French sexworkers and herself in the Swedish feminist magazine Bang #1/2007.
At the end, after my comment, you can take part of the English translation of the article i Bang.
Thank you so much for your contribution to this blogg Nikita! 😀
Here is Nikita’s own words…
They really seem to have nothing interesting to do these French abolitionists! Loose one’s time to spy on us with that kind of method…
what a waste.
One thing this lady doesn’t seem to have understood is that we are holding a weekly permanence to help our sisters and it’s not a weekly union meeting. It’s then obvious that we don’t need to be 40 at these permanence’s, but only 2 or 3.
Yes, I, Nikita, am a transvestite sexworker, I’m 47, and I’ve been working for 32 years as a prostitute. Maybe I know what prostitution is, am I not?
I’d love this lady to tell me what is the difference between a vagina penetration and an anal one…Oh yes, there is one: we need really to use lubricant for our asses…Or maybe she’s just simply transphobic? Let’s not forget that, in France, 30% of prostitutes are trans and men…
She seems not to have understood that Les putes is an activist group. We’re not saying that we represent all the whores in France, but our claims are shared amongst all whores in France. If she had been present at the Assises of prostitution and at the march for our rights, i.e. the Pute pride, in March 2007, she would have seen that all associations of French sexworkers, as well as some allies, where there.
We all ask for the same thing: mainly rights and the abolition of the Sarkozy’s law. We are saying that penalization of our clients would be the worst thing to do. As in Sweden, it would be the most discriminatory and racist law.
Yes we are a non-mixed group, meaning composed only of prostitutes; we are women, trans, gays or lesbians. Yes we fight for our rights. Yes we want our work to be recognized as such. Yes we think abolitionists and prohibitionists have the same objective: fight against us.
- Abolitionists lie when they talk about prostitution.
- Abolitionists are racists.
- Abolitionists do the worst things in under-developed countries, kidnapping women to put them in re-insertion centres.
- Abolitionists are accomplice of violence against prostitutes.
So, please, lady, open your mind and think. Don’t just defend your own business.
Ps : I almost forgot…it’s obvious that I talked about calling the mafia…for sure I’m one of them, it’s so clear seeing how I fight against all exploitation of our work…she should have asked herself who runs the brothel ferryboats leaving Sweden for sex tours…
Isabella Lund’s comment
(Excuse me for my poor skills in the English language)
Kajsa Ekis Ekman’s manipulation in the part of her article that was published on Internet stayed not unrequited. The French sexworker Thierry Schaffauser wrote: We don’t want the Swedish model! I was quiet upset already then but when I read the rest of the article and saw how deeply her contempt was in the rest of the 5 pages long article… then dropped even this tanner sexworker activists chin to the ground. This was among the worst I read about prostitution.
In the article writes Ekis Ekman about a book, that Nikita gave her a hint about, a book about how to work safely as a sexworker. Ekis Ekman writes about this: Thus you should every day when you go to work imagine your own dead in as many ways as you can!
The whole article is like a gooey, nasty contempt to all of us who works with sex. How is she like a person when she acts like this? Why is so many of our opponents lying about our work? It makes me feel sick sometimes…
Ekis Ekman didn’t tell Nikita that she was a journalist. And she has broken all media ethic rules that we have in Sweden. For one example read this part of the article:
”This was, thus, the famous ”Whores” who fills debaters and politicians with fear: Three persons, of which two are men, in a country with over 20 000 prostitutes.
-Many of those organisations are founded by pimps in disguise, Malka Marcovich says. It is no social movement. It is a hoax. Sure there are women who feel connected with others in the sex workers groups, but they represent such a small minority. And even if it was a social movement… I have never heard about a sex workers organisation who turns against pimps and johns, which would be the normal if it was a workers union. There isn’t one of the sex workers organisations that have had any other demand than ”exploit us more.”
The magazine that published the article says that they are a feminist magazine. How can they publish an article where a contemptuous and derisive tone is pronounced against sexworkers? Feminism shouldn’t represents oppression, hate against men or other women and contempt against minorities and weak groups in the society!
Who will be the first to report the article and the magazine to the Swedish office of the Press Ombudsman and The Swedish Press Council?
Here you can first read the first part of Kajsa Ekis Ekman’s article in Bang translated to English by Josh.
This part has the French sexworker Thierry Schaffauser written about: We don’t want the Swedish model! Scroll down a bit to see the answer in English.
Then follows the second part of Ekis Ekman’s article translated from Swedish to English by Louise Persson and that is the part wish Nikita writes about today.
The images are my own choice and shows how sexworkers i France fights for human rights. The article in Bang was illustrated with pictures of sexworkers in the streets.
Translation from Swedish to English part1
Words from the translator
I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on my translation and the original writing by Kajsa Ekis Ekman. First of all you should know that I am not a professional translator. This is a totally non-profital work on my behalf. I apologize in advance for any error in translation and hope that any errors on my part will not alter the meaning of Ekmans writing.
I would, in my defence, like to state that Ekmans original text was not easy to understand. Appearently Ekman don’t believe in paragraphs, which makes it hard to understand what is a question to the interviewee and where the answer actually ends and Ekmans own words take over. See for yourselves.
I had to make a decision as translator wether to keep the original texts poor readability or try to improve it. My sense of correctness decided for the latter. This in itself opens for a certain risk of error, since I have taken liberty to interpret Ekmans lack of disposition, and might have done so wrongly. I have, however, tried my best to
remain objective when it comes to the content.
Now that you know what I think of Ekman as i writer, I would also like to state that I would never have undertaken translating such a bad writing (in my opinion) if not for Isabellas persistant and quite lonely struggle for the sex-workers rights in Sweden. Providing this translation for her is my way of making a small contribution to the cause.
(And Sweden HAS hade a colony. One. Saint-Barthélemy, now ruled by France, was i Swedish colony 1784 and 1878. Both Florence Montreynaud and Kajsa Ekis Ekman could check their facts.)
The myth about the colony whore
Who hasn’t heard of the legendary french prostitution? Paris’ reputation as the Capitol of sex tourism has travelled the world and served as background for several authors’ erotic stories.
The bordellos are gone, but whoremongers eagerly inform each other over the Internet, saying ”there are so many whores in Paris that you stumble over them anywhere you go”. Whoever; the French prostitution is no different than in the rest of Europe: an industri with 63% women from poor countries, often ex-colonies, and where 95% is controlled by pimps.
But the debate about the whoremongers responsibility has reached to here and if Ségolène Royal wins the presidential election this spring, France can have their first female president and be the second country in Europe to prohibit sex-purchase.
– I hope it can happen, Florence Montreynaud – french historian and feminist since 38 years – says. When I’m out speaking I always say: the light comes from the north! Sweden is a precursor in the struggle against prostitution. There are some difficulties implementing the law here, because of the cultural differences and the historical background – Sweden hasn’t had any colonies for example – but Sweden has developed a model and it is important to keep as a reference.
Fifteen women and three men sit in a bar-basement in northern Paris. The Feministgroup La Meute, founded by Florence Montreynaud, is holding a meeting to elect the most sexist and the most equal commercial of the year. I tell them I’m here to learn more about french feminists view on the swedish law on sex-purchase. During a break, while we mingle around a table covered with pictures of women as ingredients i recipes and as decoration in car-commercials, a loud discussion about Sweden.
– Why don’t you promote the law? You should arrange conferencies! We hope it can be the same in France.
– We don’t have enough women in power, another says. Over here, many think the law has become reality because of the socialdemocrates but that is not the reason. It’s because you have women in government.
Montreynaud has founded several feminist-groups in France and has written alot about prostitution from different views, among other the book Amours à vendre. When the meeting is over we sneak off to a hotel-lobby for a chat.
You wrote an article in Le Monde 2002 where you claimed that it would be wrong to introduce a law like the one in Sweden, because ”to punish them, here in France, would be to radical a change”.
– I have changed my opinion since then. Back then I ment that the law in Sweden hade been preceded by alot of sexual education in schools and a long struggle for equality, wich wasn’t the case in France. Today, whoever, I think we are ready.
We’ve seen ten years of enlightenment about the reality of prostitution, there are books, witness, documentaries about trafficking – now is the time for repression. I consider myself speaking for the majority of french feminists when I say this.
How does todays law work?
– Not good. The law on interior safety, introduced by Sarkozy in 2003, mainly punish the women. Recently a kosovo-albanian girl got two months in prison för racolage, picking up costumers on the street. I’m embarressed to be french when I here of such. The law is mainly for inhabitants wanting prostitution out of their neighbourhood, which then is used by pimps in order to create opinion for bordellos.
What is your perspective on the sexworker-movement?
– It’s kidnapping and twisting of feminist arguments from 1968. The pimps tog the argument ”my body belongs to me” and used it to say to the woman ”you have the right to sell it and do that as a proof of your independence”. Earlier prostitution was defended by saying men needed sex, that it would decrease rapes of ”others” and so on, now it is freedom and independence – this is in. My responsibility as a feminist is to point to reality, the violence and poverty.
Do you believe in a society without prostitution?
– I dream of it. What we fight for now is the official and global revulsion. Just as with slavery, wich admittedly continues world wide but it is officially condemned, and this is the point we need to reach when it comes to prostitution too.
There are whoever already an international condemnation on prostitution. In 1949 the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was written. Sweden has never signed it, but 73 other nations have, among others France and Finland.
The convention states that prostitution is incompatible with human dignity. He who leads someone into prostitution or holds a bordello shall be punished, regardless of wether the prostitute is considered to have given consent or not. Neither are nations alowed to regulate, nor hold records of women in, prostitution. They must however protect the victims of trafficking and provide for their temporary stay until they are able to return home.
This convention was a result of two extensive studies made in the twenties and thirties that both found that occurence of bordellos and regulation of prostitution increased trafficking, since not enough women applied to the bordellos. (This is to say the same as investigations today discover. The dutch argument ”legalize prostitution and we’ll have more resources to fight trafficking” was already shown to be untrue in 1927.) A convention began to be written, the world war came between, but the new born UN reassumed the work and the convention was finnished december 2, 1949.
– France violates the UN-convention through the Sarkozy-law, Malka Marcowich – Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Europe – says.
– The convention clearly states that the victims cannot be punished. It doesnt say that the customers are to be punished either, but in order for an effective follow-up, the Swedish way of prohibiting sex-purchase is a good solution. There are also tendences that the world is moving in the other direction.
In the Palermo protocol from 2000 it was decided that countries would countervail demand, wich is to focus on customers. Since some time back a there is a movement to make the demand visible. Even if not prohibited there are other ways. I Madrid there was a big campaign under the name ”why you pay – does prostitution exist” showing pictures of men in all ages.
What is your view on Europes future? Where are the nations laws on prostitution heading?
– I think that we’ll see a battle between the Dutch and the Swedish model in the next few years, Marcovich says. It is pity that Sweden don’t promote the law on sex-purchase internationally. On an institutional level Sweden is rather reserved, for cultural reasons. Sweden never was a great diplomacy. Holland does way more to export there model. They get people in the right places to countervail Europe from taking a collective stand on this issue.
Translation from Swedish to English part 2
Translation, part of article ”Den koloniala myten” [The colonial myth] by Kajsa Ekis Ekman, published in Bang Magazine, #1/2007.
[Interview with amongst others Marie-Victorie Louis, ends with the line:]
The struggle for abolishing this system–politically, economically, culturally and symbolically–must be as broad as the abolishment of slavery.
[and after that starts interview with and description of representatives of ”Les Putes”]
One of those organisations that uses Sweden as an example of horror is Les Putes, ”The Whores”, who claims to represent the prostitutes and strives to give prostitution status as a profession. They write on their website that ”they are not unhappy, are not drug addicts, have not been raped”, and regards to pimps that ”some of us choose to work för a boss, and some not.” An anonymous text is titled ”The swedish hell”, which describes how the number of swedish young prostitutes have increased since the law [the law against sex purchase] was implemented. The Les Putes organizes demonstrations, writes appells, travels to international gatherings and authors sharp articles against leading feminists, where for example Marie-Victoire Louis is called a criminal whore-fobic.
They have meetings once every month on a café in Paris, so I go there. I have earlier tried to meet organisations for sex workers in Spain, who themselves says they consist of both prostititutes and supporters but for some reason or another it is always only the supporters that show up for meetings, or the mandatory mouthpiece ”the happy whore” who is already quoted in several papers in the recent month.
The Les Putes call themselves a ”a non-mixed” group och claims to some sort of working union.
I send them a mail and after a few days a reply comes: Come to the meeting./Nikita.
When I arrive to the café, no one is there. I talk to the bartender, ”Isn’t there supposed to be a meeting?”
– With who?
– Eeeeh…Les Putes.
– Usually they arrive late, do sit down.
I wait and read a glossy gay magazine, and after five minutes the bartender exclaims:
”There he comes!” A well dressed man in his forties walks through the door.
– It was me who sent the mail, I tell him.
We take our seat farthest back in the café. Nikita tells me he’s been since the last 20 years a whore. I ask him for help with a question: what can one do if pictures of oneself is published on the Internet against ones will. He says he can help me make the page owners take down the pictures, it usually is enough for him to make a call, when they hear a mans voice they get scared and many knows who he is, Maitresse Nikita.
– I thought you would be a woman, I tell him.
– Many belives that, he he.
Nikita tells me that if nothing works he can always talk to the mafia. Then he starts talking about Les Putes and their struggle of making prostitution a profession.
– We went to a conference a year ago. It was fantastic! One had the feeling of being an utterly lonely whore, but there one got to meet others who shared the same view.
We talk about this and that. It is a little strange that ”The Whores” is this 40 year old man. It is he who runs the website and he tells me it is he who authors most of the discussion contributions, but usually more turns up at the meetings.
And after a while two more actually turns up: one younger transvestite and a woman, also in the forties.
We introduce ourselves with fake names for each other. All three immediately engage in trying to enroll me in their struggle to achieve professional status. We don’t know each others real names, but evidently we are supposed to want to register us officially.
– So, you’re some sort of workers union? I tell them.
– No, that isn’t possible, Nikita says, we can hardly be a workers union when we’re not even workers.
– What do you do when you meet then?
– We plan demonstrations, we write lists of journalists which we want to talk to, and so on.
A discussion breaks out between Nikita and the woman, about which politicians and journalists who have answered their mail. The woman complains that ”girls” are so poor in organizing themselves, she’s tired of nagging them to turn up för meetings, they say they’ll come, but then nothing happens.
– I would like help with what one can do against a customer who treats one badly, I tell them.
Nikita starts reasoning about the obvious: money first, keep the word of what you earlier have stated, demand condom, don’t turn your back, hold the cock so that it is you who’s in charge where it is to enter. They tell me about a book that is on line on the Internet. ”Sure, it is good to play the sweet girl, but not all the time”, Nikita states and adds: ”All concidered and done, the customers are people just like you and me.” I think, more like you.
They proceed to discuss legislation and Nikita tells me that the Sarkozy-law has been an utter catastrophe, it has led to an enormous increase of harassments, threats and rapings from the police force; of course it is the street prostitutes who are the most vulnerable.
– But if Ségolène wins, it will be worse, it will be like it is in Sweden.
– What? the woman exclaims, is she going to implement swedish law?
– Yes, I heard it yesterday on the radio. Did you know, Nikita informs me, that in Sweden it is an hellish state, all the whores have fled to neighbouring countries.
I bid farewell, and excuse me with ”a meeting.” Nikita smiles a conspiring smile. This was, thus, the famous ”Whores” who fills debaters and politicians with fear: Three persons, of which two are men, in a country with over 20 000 prostitutes.
– Many of those organisations are founded by pimps in disguise, Malka Marcovich says. It is no social movement. It is a hoax. Sure there are women who feels connected with others in the sex workers groups, but they represent such a small minority. And even if it was a social movement….I have never heard about a sex workers organisation who turns against pimps and johns, which would be the normal if it was a workers union. There isn’t one of the sex workers organisations who have had any other demand than ”exploit us more.”
[The article ends with the dubious statement that whores can not want to organize unions, and refers to the special report in Germany recently that present the figure that only four percent of the sex sellers registered officially in a union]