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I read the article by  Kira Cochrane on the apparent backlash against feminism | World news | The Guardian with a sinking heart. It confirmed what I and many of my contemporaries have known for a long time. I used to live in Brighton and the "normalisation" of the sex industry was self evident,. Brighton of course is a big stag party destination and the abuse that many of us had to put up with on a weekly basis was exhausting.





That leads me to reflect on an article I wrote for a local newspaper in Belfast a few years ago. I wrote the article in response to a number of comments made by good friends who had been on stag parties in Prague and Amsterdam, and Tallin where a number of the "stags" had used the services of prostitutes, ( not my friends I hope).  After researching the topic thoroughly , reading reports by the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, local police reports, academics papers etc; I identified that legalised or decriminalised prostitution in these countries is often a front for sex trafficking. My objective was to point out that what is often described as "just a bit of fun" can have exploitative, abusive and criminal outcomes.





I had hoped  to raise a bit of awareness and perhaps make some people think twice before before they act. The result: a righteously indignant,  victriolic, personal attack on the letters page. I wasn't surprised, when I was Womens Officer of my University I was often the subject of such bile. Some men take great exception when women refuse to just accept bad behaviour.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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