The ‘’ Plataforma Portuguesa para os Direitos das Mulheres (PdDM)‘’ (Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights) organized a training for young abolitionists, the first training in Portugal in which young people with a similar mindset about the system of prostitution were able to meet, discuss and exchange ideas.
With renowned international trainers Pierrette Pape (Isala / Generation Abolition) and Grégoire Théry (CAP International), the bilingual sessions focused on a diversity of topics related to feminism, sexual exploitation, activism and youth.
Participants heard from frontline NGOs, researchers, feminist activists – including from Oline Rustad of the ‘’Girl’s Front of Norway’’ and artists about the pervasive narratives that aim to whitewash the system of prostitution and how to counter and deconstruct them.
The interconnected relations between neoliberalism, commodification of women’s bodies, globalization and the sex industry were intensely debated and young women and young men were able to express how such concepts influence the lives and sexuality of young people. During the entire training, the exhibition #RiseUpAgainstOppression by the European Network of Migrant Women, was also present, to establish a connection between the system of prostitution and its predatory abuse of migrant women and girls.
After the training, participants were determined to create a young feminist activist group against the system of prostitution and for the implementation of the Equality Model in Portugal. It was clear that by providing a voice to young people and showing them the tools and strategies employed by abolitionists in other countries, young people were empowered to self-organize and take action.
The PdDM is one of the most vocal women’s organization calling for exit services for women in prostitution and the criminalization of sex buyers and has successfully deterred attempts at legalization of the system of prostitution in past.
Along with the Women’s Front of Norway and 11 Portuguese abolitionist organizations, the PdDM is developing the project EXIT – Human Rights of women not to be prostituted, a pioneer initiative which involves the advocacy campaign #ExitProstitution; youth engagement for behavior modification and a nation-wide investigation about women in prostitution and exit services.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.