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Women's exhibition opposing sexploitation opens September 25

Women's exhibition opposing sexploitation opens September 25 in Wellington

Inline image 4Inline image 3. Artwork: Suzzan Blac

The New Zealand media has recently released reports revealing that girls as young as nine are being purchased for sexual exploitation from their own homes in New Zealand. These reports are timely: the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) – which saw the pimping and puchase of women fully decriminalised in 2003 – is due for review in 2018. Revelations of child trafficking and exploitation should be contributing to public pressure for a critical review. An exhibition being held in Wellington this month, called Too Much Truth, aims to do the same.

From September 25 until October 1, Wellington's Thistle Hall will host the exhibition Too Much Truth: Women's global resistance to sexploitation.

The exhibition will present posters, paintings, magazines, photographs and street art by over 35 sex trade abolitionist organisations, activists and artists worldwide. Many of artists and activists involved with Too Much Truth have survived prostitution.

Among the organisations represented will be Stígamót in Iceland, Filipino organization Gabriela, transnational feminist organisation Af3irm, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, and photographs from Apne Aap in India, which runs schools to help save girls from a system of “hereditary” prostitution. Copies of feminist magazine off our backs will be available as well as Spinifex press publications Prostitution Narratives and Radically Speaking.

All groups, artists and activists with work in Too Much Truth are survivors and feminists who advocate for the abolitionist model of prostitution policy, which uses fines paid by pimps and “sex” buyers to assist prostituted people out of the sex trade.

Under New Zealand's legislation, which is promoted by the sex trade lobby worldwide, pimps and “sex buyers” become entrepreneurs and customers, and violence tends to be minimised.

For instance, in 2016, NZPC spokesperson Anna Reed referred to sex trafficking as a “working holiday”. Too Much Truth curator Renée Gerlich says that public debate on prostitution policy has been monopolised by the sex trade lobby and the politically conservative for too long. “The issue is a feminist issue, and a decolonisation issue,” she says.

“The global sex trade lobby cleverly markets prostitution as a woman's “choice”, and even openly persuades women to “call ourselves whores” in the interests of legitimising the industry. But in New Zealand and worldwide, poor and indigenous women are disproportionately represented in prostitution. The push to legitimise the industry and call it women's own “choice” is nothing but sexism and racism. That these narratives have also been sold to women in the guise of so-called third wave “feminism” is a tragedy.”

The exhibition Too Much Truth will show how the sex trade is an industry that women in India to South Africa, Germany to Iceland and Canada to New Zealand are imprisoned in, and fighting against for their lives – and the freedom of all women.

Too Much Truth will be dedicated to the legacy of Grace Molisa, ni-Vanuatu freedom fighter, feminist, poet, publisher, educator and abolitionist.


ENDS


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