Niki Adams, English Collective of Prostitutes, comments:
“Sex workers don’t need or want licensed or legalised brothels so that bosses have more opportunities to exploit us. We want decriminalisation, like in New Zealand, so we can work together collectively and independently and to be in control of our earnings and working conditions.
“And we want street work decriminalised so our fragile security networks aren’t constantly broken up by police crackdowns and we aren’t forced to work into more isolated and dangerous areas
“Raids, prosecutions 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.
Our Know Your Rights – A-Z for Sex Workers, published last week, which was written by sex workers in response to this increased criminalisation, is being snapped up by women desperate to know their rights. It explains the prostitution laws in simple terms and helps us work out how we can protect ourselves from arrest, how we can defend ourselves if charged, and where to get help.
Some people have criticised Hof for wanting to use sex workers as a “money-making opportunity”. True. But what of the money that is taken from us by the courts in fines, or the seizure of our homes, savings and assets by ruthless police and prosecutors under Proceeds of Crime legislation. Like the old joke says: what do you call men who take money from prostitutes — magistrates. Who will condemn these state sanctioned pimps and profiteerers?
See the launch of the A-Z on youtube