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Time to tackle the system of prostitution if Portugal wants to achieve gender equality!

[Lisbon, 10 October 2016] On Wednesday 12 October 2016, the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights organises a workshop to discuss the issue of prostitution in Portugal and Europe. One day after the International Day of the Girl, the event will be instrumental to shed the light on a phenomenon still invisible, normalised in our societies and facing a lot of young women and girls.

Women’s organisations and European speakers will share their views and analysis, and feed into the discussion at Portuguese level. While Europe will be celebrating the EU anti-trafficking day on 18 October, it is crucial that the links between sex trafficking and the system of prostitution are addressed, to achieve real gender equality.

You can read below the press release for the event.

Time to tackle the system of prostitution if Portugal wants to achieve gender equality!

On Wednesday 12 October, Lisbon will host a workshop entitled “Prostitution: from myth to reality. Confronting models, building feminist answers”. Women’s organisations working on various challenges for women’s rights, and invited by the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights, will present their views on an issue which is still invisible in Portugal’s political agenda.

Two European experts will discuss the current context in Europe and issues at stake when it comes to public policies on prostitution. Grégoire Théry represents the French frontline organisation Mouvement du Nid which supports thousands of persons in prostitution in France; he will present the recent French abolitionist law, adopted on 13 April 2016 and based on the Swedish model, which decriminalises persons in prostitution, proposes exit programmes, and disrupts the system of prostitution and trafficking by criminalising the purchase of sex and all forms of pimping.

The 2014 historic resolution adopted by the European Parliament on prostitution and its impact on gender equality, will be introduced by Pierrette Pape, from the European Women’s Lobby. The Honeyball resolution states that prostitution is a breach of women’s fundamental rights and contradictory to the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights. Based on values such as equality, dignity, and solidarity, the European Parliament’s message is part of a shifting understanding of the system of prostitution, where the reality of exploitation ad inequality is more and more visible at political level.

In this context, will Portugal follow this path towards equality between women and men? Or will it normalise prostitution as work, denying the violence and inequality intrinsically at the core of the system, fueled by trafficking?

“We believe it is urgent to have a democratic debate on prostitution and its impact on gender equality. We have seen the impact of the crisis, leading more women into prostitution, and we see every day the reality of sex trafficking, exploiting women from poorer countries in our cities. Let’s face reality and address prostitution for what it is: a system driven by money, specifically the money of men buying sex. Without stopping it at its roots, we will collectively be hold accountable for the harm done on thousands of women and children”, says Ana Sofia Fernandes, Secretary-General of the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights.

The PpDM has signed, together with 250 other EWL members and partners, the Brussels’ Call ‘Together for a Europe free from prostitution’.

More information on the workshop of Wednesday:

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