The Lithuania Without Prostitution Coalition is a network of non-governmental organisations taking a strong stand against the exploitation of women and children for prostitution and gender-based violence.
The Coalition “Lithuania without Prostitution” (“the Coalition”) was established in June 2022.
The Coalition’s patron is Prof. Dalia Leinarte, member and former Chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Professor at Vytautas Magnus University and Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
Vision of the Coalition
A Lithuania free from the sexual exploitation of women and children for prostitution.
The Coalition’s mission
To effectively confront the sexual exploitation of women and children for prostitution and gender-based violence, ensuring the realisation of women’s rights and equal opportunities.
The Coalition aims to:
Recognise that prostitution, which mostly affects women and children, is not a job, but a gross violation of human rights and dignity and a form of gender-based violence;
Recognise that prostitution is not a personal choice but an organised crime and a form of human trafficking;
make every effort to protect the most vulnerable members of society from sexual exploitation for prostitution;
Recognise that prostitution is a serious obstacle to the establishment of respectful relations between women and men, to the improvement of women’s status in public and private life and to gender equality in Lithuania;
the State recognises that prostitution is classified as an offence of public interest because of its harm to society, takes responsibility and organises, in cooperation with NGOs, the provision of specialised, comprehensive assistance to victims of prostitution and prosecutes the perpetrators of the offence.
On 1 June 2022, non-governmental organisations working in the field of women’s rights and against all forms of violence against persons decided to join forces and form the Coalition Lithuania without Prostitution (CLWP).
On 21 May 2013, an international conference “Prostitution: how to ensure justice?” was organised at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on the initiative of the Support Centre for Missing People’s Families to draw attention to the problem that still exists in Lithuania: prostitution, which is closely linked to human trafficking, pimping activities, and in particular the exploitation of children. The conference was attended by Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin, Ambassador of Sweden to Lithuania, Ona Gustienė, Chairperson of the Council of the Support Centre for Missing People’s Families, Claire Quidet, Head of the Mouvement du Nid Association, and Eric Poncelet, representative of Mouvement du Nid. The patron of the conference is Vincė Vaidevutė Margevičienė, Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
Natalija Kurčinskaja, representative of the Support Centre for Families of Missing Persons, stressed that, based on Sweden’s experience, we can say that prostitution is violence against human beings, and that in today’s society prostitution is still considered to be only a woman’s choice, even though men are involved in this illegal activity too. In Lithuania, men are hardly punished for buying sexual acts. Therefore, it is necessary to seek a change in the current law not to penalise women involved in prostitution, but to criminalise the buyers of prostitution. This requires changing the patriarchal attitudes and myths prevalent in Lithuania: “prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, prostitution is a choice for women, prostitution is a problem for women” and criminalising the purchase of sexual acts.
The following year, on 19-20 June 2014, on the initiative of the Klaipėda Social and Psychological Support Centre, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania organised the International Stop Traffick! Deconstructing the Demand for Sexual Services: Preventing the Exploitation of Women through Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation. The event was held under the patronage of V.V. Margevičienė, Member of the Seimas, and Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin, Ambassador of Sweden. The aim of the event was to discuss ways to reduce the need for prostitution and the purchase of sex in the context of the Swedish model, to promote the provision of effective assistance to victims of trafficking, to raise awareness of these problems in Lithuania and to bring about a significant change in this area at national level.
Support for this initiative has been shown by various state and non-state institutions, organisations and their representatives, the media, Ambassador Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin of Sweden and Vanna Chan, Economic and Political Counsellor at the Embassy of the United States of America in Lithuania, and representatives of the international Stop Traffick! Conference partners: the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of the United States of America, the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF), the Multicultural Women’s Association “Monika”, the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (MIGS), the International Conference of Women (ICW) and the International Conference of Women (ICW). Mediterranean institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), Cyprus, Lithuanian Christian Foundation Higher School (LCC), Lithuanian Women’s Lobbying Organisation (LMLO), Missing People’s Family Support Centre (MFFSC), Women’s Information Centre (MIC), Lithuanian Caritas, Men’s Crisis Centre in Kaunas (MCC), Kaunas Women’s Society (KWS), Women’s Helpline (WHL), Woman’s Help for Women (WHW), Lithuanian Emotional Support Telephonic Service Association (LEPTA).
The content of the website was prepared by:
Eglė Puidokaitė, Klaipėda Social and Psychological Support Centre
Page and artwork design by:
Contributors to the content of the Museum of Abolitionism:
Dr. Dalia Puidokienė, Klaipėda Social and Psychological Support Centre
Natalija Kurčinskaja, Missing Persons Family Support Centre
Audronė Kisielienė, Social Innovation Foundation, Lithuanian Women’s Lobby
Jūratė Šeduikienė, Women’s Information Centre
A special THANK YOU to Marina Vassalo and Adriana S. Thiago,
who contributed to the page and content.