A Dundee sex trafficking survivor asks the European and British powers to end the call for prostitution that encourages the exploitation of women.
Diane Martin CBE, 57, was sold for sex as a teenager in London and across Europe.
The survivor spoke to an international panel at the 21st OSCE Conference against Trafficking in Human Beings on Wednesday when she spoke about how sex purchases are driving human trafficking.
She spoke of her terrible experience when she was molested by powerful men in penthouses in London and royal palaces abroad, where she was raped and a gun was pointed at her head.
Young mother is raped daily in Perth apartment after being trafficked across Europe
From Scotland said Diane: “I am grateful that the OSCE has chosen to focus on the demand. The demand that drives and sustains the repressive systems of prostitution and sex trafficking.
“Now is the time to put the emphasis where it belongs – on request.
“To the men who create the demand, to the men who benefit from it and to the men who cause damage and trauma by renting the corpses of women and children – abducted from other countries or accelerated into prostitution in their own countries brought. “
Acted as a teenager
“In my late teens, I was exploited by prostitution in London.
“The architecture that hosted my abuse was penthouse suites and diplomatic apartments.
“Then they were smuggled overseas and became royal palaces and government buildings.
“I’ve also spent over 25 years helping other women escape the brutality of street prostitution.
“What I’ve learned is that everything is the same.
“Whether sold in London or sold abroad, there was no difference to what I experienced.
“Bite marks on the face”
“There was nothing empowering about being raped, having bite marks on your face, or being asked at gunpoint if my mother knew where I was and if I would like to see her again.
“The place or the surroundings do not diminish the effect of the experience.
“Whether you’re wearing Prada or Primark, whether you’re in an alley or a palace, the bruises feel the same, the fear feels the same, and the resulting trauma feels the same.”
Sex industry promotes sex trafficking
The sex trafficking survivor in Dundee described issues similar to those uncovered in our investigation, The Exploited, into human trafficking in Scotland.
Diane told the panel that at the moment there are women who have been tricked and forced into prostitution.
Trafficked women were brought to Dundee and sold online for sex
Based on statements from organizations in our research, the activist realized that men who buy sex fuel exploitation.
“The more demand you have in a country, the bigger the sex industry, the bigger the sex industry, the greater the extent of the sex trade,” said Diane.
“As markets can grow, so can they be reduced, and there is evidence that traffickers prefer to operate in countries where demand is not being met.
“If we don’t meet the demand, we won’t see any significant impact on the sex trade.
“This is about very real harm to the body and mind of women and children.
“It’s happening right now and it will continue to happen if we don’t do something.”
As a consultant and activist, Diane told the OSCE conference in Vienna that she wanted the Nordic model approach to sex work to be widely adopted.
The Nordic model eliminates the criminalization of prostitute women and instead places it on those who pay for sex.
She believes that victims of sex trafficking and prostitution should have access to holistic and tailored support “to get out, recover and rebuild their lives.
“We need laws and guidelines to meet demand,” said Diane, adding that they need to be “implemented robustly”.
She said, “Where legislation criminalizes sex buyers and anyone who profits from the sex trade anyway.
“In the future, we must recognize prostitution and sex trafficking as the same thing.
“This is the key to the strategic and effective dismantling of these oppressive and harmful systems.
“In order to keep the sex trade going and to grow, it needs a continuous flow of new products.
“How on earth can we accept that a subset of women for the sex industry is being fed, exploited, and then viewed as expired.
“Used, abused and crushed – physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
The 21st Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Human Beings is a three-day conference hosted by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
The theme of this year’s international debate was “Confronting Demand: Combating a Root Cause of Human Trafficking”.
The OSCE says: “The financial demand that encourages exploitation is immense.
(Human trafficking) makes traffickers an estimated $ 150 billion in profit each year, approximately 95% of which is trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. “
Are you a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery in Scotland? Did you experience it near you? Call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. Or, in an emergency, call the Scottish Police on 101 or 999.
To speak to our impact study reporter, Sean O’Neil, please email [email protected]
The Exploited is a special research that reveals the hidden prevalence of human trafficking and modern slavery in our local communities. Across rural Perthshire and the Highlands to the cities of Aberdeen and Dundee – victims and their perpetrators – hide in sight.
Read the whole series.