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First Italian Senate Investigation into Prostitution

In 2019 the Constitutional Affairs Commission of the Senate launched an investigation into the phenomenon of prostitution in Italy, on the initiative of Senator Alessandra Maiorino. The hearings included testimony from a variety of speakers, from survivors, psychologists and anti-trafficking operators, to representatives of the third sector, including our president Esohe Aghatise, an expert on human trafficking.

During her presentation, Aghatise spoke about the impact of prostitution on women in general and on Nigerian women particularly in the Italian context and debunked the propaganda that Nigerian women “liked” being in prostitution. Esohe explains, “I spoke about their experiences, to the effect that prostitution for them was a violence they had to endure due to lack of opportunities and of alternative, dignified means of subsistence”. You can listen to her original testimony in Italian here. 

Prostitution, the “invisible elephant in the room”, as sen. Maiorino described it, is the third largest illegal industry in the world in terms of turnover, after drugs and arms.

We take this opportunity to remind you, as we have already written and shared during our webinars earlier this summer, that in July the Commission approved the final report on the investigation, paving the way for a necessary political and cultural debate on this complex and too often exploited/manipulated issue. We hope such a debate will culminate in the approval of a neo-abolitionist law, with the aim of strengthening the existing, abolitionist, Merlin law.

For those who want to learn more, you can listen to the podcast of an interview with Senator Maiorino (in Italian).

Reference: “Indagine conoscitiva sul fenomeno della prostituzione“, Commissione Affari Costituzionali, Senato della Repubblica, Servizio Studi, PROSTITUZIONE – Elementi di Documentazione, 3 luglio 2019

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Launch of COALESCE Mind the Gap Reports

Within the framework of the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the #COALESCE partnership presents the Mind the Gap Reports: a needs analysis for the integration of migrant female victims of #HumanTrafficking for sexual exploitation/abuse in 6 different countries. Read the full reports here in English:

Cyprus
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania 

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Debunking ‘sex work’ #5 The Role of the Buyer with Rachel Moran and Melissa Farley

Join us once again this Thursday 17th June to hear our own Esohe Aghatise in conversation with Rachel Moran, author of Paid For: My Journey through Prostitution, executive director, feminist campaigner, founder of SPACE International and sex trade survivor, and Melissa Farley, psycologist, author, activist, founder of Prostitution Research & Education.

Their conversation will focus on:

  • Responsibility of buyers and demand for prostitution
  • Attitudes of buyers as barrier to equality
  • Shifting the focus from women onto men: changing mentalities

There will also be time for audience Q&A

See you at 6pm CET/ 12pm EDT on Zoom (where Italian interpretation will be available) or on our Facebook livestream (only in English)

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ADrU6NnUS-6GrlbeHT-D7A 

#DebunkingSexWork

 

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Debunking ‘sex work’ #2 Language, Migration and Trafficking

Debunking ‘sex work’ #2 Language, Migration and Trafficking with Anna Zobnina and Marie Merklinger

We hope you all enjoyed the second instalment in our Debunking ‘sex work’ series, which saw Anna Zobnina, Policy Coordinator for the European Network of Migrant Women and member of the Executive committee of European Women’s Lobby, and Marie Merklinger, activist and member of SPACE International, in conversation with Olesia Sagaidak from Radical Girlsss.

If you missed it, you can watch it in full on our Facebook page!

THE GLOBAL SOUTH CALLS OUT CANADA FOR BREACHING INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS

Join witnesses from the global south, including our own Esohe Aghatise, 15th June 2021 at 5pm CET / 11am EST, who will detail the impact of the Canadian government’s collusion with Mindgeek/Pornhub in violating human rights. 

“Women from countries of the Global South live socioeconomic injustice, armed conflicts, humanitarian emergencies. Pornography production, distribution and consumption are an abuse of power and position of vulnerability”
Esohe Aghatise (Nigeria/Italy -ENG) – jurist, women’s rights activist and United Nations Expert on Trafficking as well as Executive Director of Associazione Iroko Onlus, which provides services to victims of sexual violence and trafficking in Italy.

Read the full press release for more details!

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Debunking ‘Sex Work’: Conversations about Prostitution May/June 2021

We are so excited to have kicked off our series of online events entitled Debunking ‘Sex Work’: Conversations about Prostitution! Last week saw conversation #1 hosted by our very own Esohe Aghatise, who talked to Gail Dines, PornlandAuthor and Founder and President of Culture Reframed, on the theme of Pornogrpahy and Prostitution. You can watch the recording of the event here

Check out our event page on Facebook for updates on all of the exciting speakers that will join us from around the world each week.

This series continues every Thursday at 12 noon EDT / 5pm UK / 6pm CET until 1st July, so follow this link to sign up to watch on Zoom (with Italian translation available) or follow the event on Facebook Live!

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Debunking ‘sex work’: Pornography and Prostitution

We were thrilled with the response to the first in our series of online events entitled Debunking ‘sex work‘! 

On Thursday 20th May our founder and director, Esohe Aghatise, was joined by the brilliant Gail Dines, Pornland Author and Founder and President of Culture Reframed. Their conversation touched on:

  • the overlaps between the pornography and prostitution
  • how women involved are affected 
  • the trauma associated with being filmed 
  • how they affect society as a whole

If you missed it, you can watch the event in full on Facebook.  

 

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Introducing the COALESCE Project

We are very pleased to start a new project COALESCE, which began in January 2021, funded by the AMIF Fund and led by the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), in partnership with Cyprus Refugee Council (Cyprus), CARITAS Cyprus, IROKO Onlus (Italy), Marta Centre (Latvia), European Network of Migrant Women, Immigrant Council Ireland, Solwodi (Germany), Klapeida (Lithuania).

Coalesce is a two-year transnational project involving five European countries: Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, Ireland, and Germany.

Read our press release to find out exactly what the project is all about!

 

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Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian feminist, doctor, author, activist, psychiatrist, university lecturer and so much more, died on Sunday 21st March 2021, at the age of 89. She gained international recognition for her innumerous contributions to feminist battles, her brave honesty and her unwavering conviction, which even saw her imprisoned for two months in 1981, for “attacking the ruling system”.

Our Executive Director, Esohe Aghatise shares her thoughts on this incredible feminist and women’s rights campaigner.

I met Nawal El Saadawi in London in 2015 at Housemans Bookshop in Caledonian Road, where we were both billed as speakers on female genital mutilation. I was struck at how she expressed herself so freely, without censorship and shared positions that were quite unconventional and, when considered within her own context, quite revolutionary. During the evening’s exchange, the question of male circumcision arose. She was quite firm and clear on the position that both male and female circumcision are genital mutilation of otherwise healthy body parts. She went further to express her views on regional and global political economic relations and their impact on women and girls. She held strong views on gender relations and was not at all afraid to express them. 

I especially admired her fearlessness, energy and determination and would have loved to spend more time learning from her. She invited me to visit her in Cairo, and though I called her a couple of times, I never did get round to visiting. That is a huge loss I will live with forever. Her passing is a huge loss to women’s rights and to the world in general.

Read More

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IROKO Rewarded for Work Against Trafficking

Child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children is on the rise in Europe. The outbreak of Covid-19 this past year, has only exacerbated the situation for these children and made many more vulnerable to abuse. Today Child10 is announcing the prominent 2021 Child10 Awarded Member organizations who are working across Europe and will now join forces to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls in Europe. The organization Iroko Onlus is one of these ten organizations selected from over 90 nominations from 27 countries across the globe.

The recognition by Child10 will ensure that we will be able to expand the impact of our work, to reach more survivors in Italy and also to reach more vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria. We very much look forward to collaborating with Child10 to expand our work and to ensure that our advocacy has the kind of impact that we hope to achieve. It is an honour to receive this award. Thank you very much”​, says Esohe Aghatise, founder and executive director of Associazione Iroko.

Read the press release in full: Child10 Press Release 2021