Urgent: All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution launches inquiry on ‘pop-up’ brothels.

Dear Friends,

The APPG on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade has launched an inquiry into the increase of “pop-up” brothels – short terms lets in which people sell sex.

The APPG states that the investigation has been prompted by “growing reports of organised crime groups establishing ‘pop-up’ brothels to sexually exploit women”, yet provides no evidence to back up this claim.

It will now look to “gather evidence on the scale of the practice, who is involved, and what action the Government should take.”

This inquiry is not independent and is deeply biased.

You may recall the APPG’s previous inquiry into prostitution in 2014 and its remit to “develop proposals for government action with a focus on tackling demand for the sex trade.” Unsurprisingly, the inquiry’s conclusion was to recommend the blanket criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, as well as targeting sex workers with draconian ASBOs, which carry up to five years in prison if breached. These proposals were influenced unduly by the original secretariat of that group, a Christian charity called CARE, which has a track record of homophobia and fundamentalist Christian views. This inquiry was discredited when the chair of the APPG refused to publish the evidence on which its recommendations were apparently based.

The demands that sex workers are making are being disparaged and ignored. We have repeatedly told parliament, including the APPG, that decriminalisation in New Zealand has made it safer for sex workers and that those who claim to want to abolish prostitution must say how else we are supposed to survive.

Austerity cuts (which have targeted women in particular) and policies such as benefit sanctions have led to a big increase in prostitution like in Sheffield which reported a 166% increase. Why aren’t these issues being addressed by politicians who claim to want to save women from prostitution? Or why not an inquiry into the epidemic of violence sex workers are facing? Our experience shows that when sex workers report violence they often face prosecution themselves while little is done to catch their attackers.

We want to stop this Committee in its tracks and make them listen to people who have to live with the horrendous impacts of the unjust prostitution laws.

You’ll see that the questions are biased, make various unproven assumptions and misdirect people into answering in a particular way. We need as many people as possible (and particularly sex workers) to respond to the inquiry so that our shared views are reflected in the final report.

Please see APPG guidelines on submitting evidence and our briefing points HERE. If you want to stay anonymous, you can send your evidence to us at ecp@prostitutescollective.net and we can forward it to the APPG.

Thank you,

Laura Watson