Invitation to meet the artist.
Vera Rodriquez will be available to discuss her work and for interview:
Monday 14 May 12-2pm
Tuesday 15 May 5-7pm
Wednesday 16 May 2-4pm
Using colour, light and perspective to stunning effect this exhibition showcases journalist and photographer, Vera Rodriguez’s images of Belgium’s red-light district taken from the peep show where she was working. It is accompanied by an audio installation of sex workers’ voices from various levels of the sex industry.
“I took these pictures when I was working in a peep show in Antwerp. Business was sometimes slow and we struggled to earn enough. But we thought of the girls who had to pay €100 a day to hire a window — if they didn’t get enough clients, they were out of pocket.
“The laws are not fair to those of us who offer sexual services for money. Criminalisation, stigma, isolation and lack of protection are just some of the problems that we face. Some countries decide to persecute the client but that doesn’t make it easier for sex workers. Trafficking is used by the police as an excuse to deport migrant sex workers, while genuine victims don’t get help.
“I am pleased to be exhibiting my pictures in conjunction with the launch of the English Collective of Prostitutes’ guide ‘Know Your Rights – A-Z for Sex Workers’. We are building a movement to demand our rights so we can press to change the laws and the perspectives of outsiders. People who decide to sell sex should be protected, not prosecuted and judged. We are workers and we want rights not rescue.”
Vera Rodriquez, 3 May 2012, contact: 07425 823 275
Know Your Rights – A-Z for Sex Workers is right on time. Raids, arrests, prosecutions, convictions and imprisonment of sex workers are on the increase, most recently there’s been a pre-Olympic crackdown in some London boroughs.
Approximately, 200 street workers are arrested each year. Many hundreds more are given “prostitute cautions” and/or anti-social behaviour orders. Prosecutions for brothel-keeping, the charge most often used against women working together consensually from premises, have skyrocketed from four in 2003 to over 80 in 2010.
The A-Z, which was written by sex workers with the help of committed legal professionals, explains the prostitution laws in simple terms. It aims to ensure that sex workers, no matter where we work, know the law, how to protect ourselves from arrest, how to defend ourselves if charged, and where to get help. Also, by informing the public about these unjust and devious laws, which have been passed in their name, we hope that the A-Z will build support for the decriminalisation of prostitution. New Zealand has decriminalised with proven benefits, why not here?
See the launch of the A-Z on youtube