The Boundaries of the Body

Why we must criminalise demand for sex work.

Finn Mackay, the founder of the London Feminist Network, is a prominent activist for women’s rights, who was also responsible for the revival of Reclaim the Night in London. We speak with Finn about prostitution and the commodification of sex.


Do you think that prostitution is something we should unilaterally condemn?

I think the global, multi-billion dollar sex industry is something that we should condemn, and we can do that without being against the individuals who find themselves struggling to earn a living within that industry. I support the Nordic approach – which many other countries are looking into, including Scotland and France – which is to decriminalise everyone involved in the industry, and instead criminalise demand. In 1999, Sweden made it a criminal offence to buy and sell sexual access to the bodies of other people.

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Cameron Chelmsford 28 June 2021

I am highly inspired by the writing skills of Jennifer Bilek. So one must be advised to visit to learn some new techniques of writing an essay. More power to this corporation for working on the unique products and procedures.

Gilbert Reid 2 3 July 2014

Criminalizing the customer merely drives the sex trade underground and therefore leaves sex workers without any protection and liable to the worst kinds of exploitation - including murder. The article above is gesture politics and ideology, a priori and self-righteous, and not really serving the interests of women or men. Perhaps it would be nice to have a world without prostitution (are dominatrixes who most often don't have sex with their clients prostitutes by the way?) and pornography (who defines the limits of pornography? Mennonites? The Taliban? The Pope? Cosmo Magazine?) but it will never happen - you might as well try to abolish desire. Invasive repressive totalitarian utopianism, as manifest in the above article, is as we know the enemy of the good society and of meaningful reform which is respectful of men and women and of people in general. Sweden is a fine place, but in many respects it is not a model of the 'good society'. In any case, men are not the only users of pornography, nor of professional sexual services.