Ruhama’s poster campaign; ‘Women sell sex because they have to, not because they want to’ aims to raise awareness about prostitution and its impact on the women involved.
This stark and explicit image depicts the reductive nature of the sex trade. The silhouette represents women who may be any age, ethnicity, nationality but whose worth in prostitution is placed solely on the commercialisation of their bodies for sex.
This poster contradicts the glamorous veneer and images used to advertise and normalise prostitution. When you peel back the layers it is no more than the transaction of money to access another person’s body for sex. Who the person in prostitution really is becomes irrelevant in this interaction. The buyer’s desires and experience is what is prioritised. The result is the denial of the humanity and dignity of those prostituted.
Ruhama is a frontline service which prioritises the dignity of every human being. Therefore this poster is a strong statement rejecting this reductive view of prostituted women and calling on society to consider the role prostitution has in perpetuating inequality and violence against women and girls.
We recognise the women we work with are unique individuals. Whether currently involved or with a history of prostitution, they are first and foremost: women. Our responses as a support service recognise the complexities of human lives and the serious challenges involvement in the sex trade can present for women. Ruhama provide a holistic, non-judgmental response based on individual need.
The critical view presented in the poster is focused towards those who perpetuate and profit from the prostitution of others.
The poster slogan ‘Women sell sex because they have to, not because they want to’ represents the lack of choice for prostituted women. This lack of choice affects not only women’s entry into prostitution but also acts as a barrier in exiting.
In Ruhama we work to create options which empower women to make real choices in their lives through one to one casework, counselling, personal development, career planning and job preparation, support in accessing residency, benefits and housing.