Stop the raids, stop the evictions.
Save historic Soho from greedy developers!
The first closure order against a sex worker flat was granted in court today. Help us stop the others so Soho is not handed over to developers.
An application for a closure order against 27 Peters Street included claims that women are being incited into prostitution and controlled. A working woman gave evidence in court that she was not trafficked and was working independently; but the magistrate ignored her, and rubber stamped the police lies. The next case is TOMORROW against a Greek Street flat. Others are coming to court at various dates this week and next. Please join us:
Protest tomorrow Wednesday 11 December
9.30-10.30am outside court and then in court to witness proceedings.
Hammersmith Magistrates Court, 181 Talgarth Rd, London W6 8DN
On 4 December, 200 police raided and closed at least 20 flats where sex workers work in relative safety. They claimed they were there to help victims of trafficking. So why did the police break down doors, handcuff women while they searched premises, and bully some women into taking cautions for criminal offences? Why did they bring the media with them, which then published photos identifying women? Why were immigrant women taken into custody despite their protestations that they were not being forced to work? Was this operation aimed at justifying recent EU funding received by the police to tackle trafficking? What role is being played by Soho Estates, responsible for massive Soho development?
Soho is one of the safest places to work. This action will force women out onto the street where it is 10 times more dangerous. Most of the women are mothers and grandmothers who have now lost their livelihood.
Evictions and closures of sex workers’ flats are opposed by many other Soho residents and businesses because they feel that if the “girls” go, the whole character of this historic area will change. It is this unique, diverse and tolerant community – immigrant, LGBTQ venues, small independent businesses, theatres – which attracts many visitors from around the world. The raids, like the bedroom tax and benefit cap, are socially cleansing Soho for the super-rich.
Women are fighting to defend their rights to work in safety and support their families.
Defend sex workers! Defend women! Defend historic Soho!
For more information:
English Collective of Prostitutes and Soho Working Girls
020 7482 2496 firstname.lastname@example.org