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PEOPLE’S PARLIAMENT MEETING, HOUSE OF COMMONS.
26 March 2014, 6.30-8.30pm
Committee Room 12
Host: John McDonnell MP
Chair: Niki Adams
Carina Edlund, Rose Alliance, Sweden
Ariane G, sex worker, Germany
Aisling Gallagher, Women’s Officer NUS-USI
Jenny O, Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland
Morgane Merteuil, STRASS, France
Molly Smith, Scotpep, Scotland
Luca Stevenson, International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe
Lori Bora, Soho Working Girls
Jean Johnson, Hampshire Women’s Institute
Clayton Littlewood, author
Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape
Nandi Lothar, All African Women’s Group
Toni Mac, Sex Worker Open University
Vera Rodriguez, dancer, x:talk
Didi Rossi, Queer Strike
Robert Jappie, Release
Paula Yanev, English Collective of Prostitutes
An All-Party Parliamentary Group has just recommended changing the prostitution laws to criminalise clients. They are doing without even releasing any analysis of the evidence they collected.
Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution, nor will it stop the criminalisation of women. But it will make it more dangerous and stigmatising for sex workers. ASBOs would continue to be used against sex workers who didn’t “rehabilitate”; they have already massively increased women’s imprisonment.
Sex workers from Sweden – who know first-hand the disastrous impact of such a law – and from a number of other European countries as well as England, Ireland and Scotland, will be speaking against this proposal.
There is widespread anger that MPs are promoting increased criminalisation when unemployment, benefit cuts and sanctions, zero hours contracts and other low paid jobs, and homelessness are driving more women, particularly mothers, into prostitution.
The existing prostitution laws force sex workers to work in isolation and danger. Of the two women murdered in London in the last few months, one was working on the street and one was working indoors alone. Senior police officers recently acknowledged that “operations to tackle the trade are ‘counterproductive’ and likely to put the lives of women at risk”. Despite this mass raids against sex workers in Soho, London, have thrown scores of women out of the relative safety of their flats. Arrests continue against sex workers on the street.
The proposals will further divert police time and resources from investigating rape, domestic violence, trafficking and other violent crimes reported to them, to policing consenting sex. It will boost police crime figures, while doing nothing to protect victims of crime. While the police have been found institutionally racist and corrupt, little is done about the individual officers who abuse their powers and sex workers vulnerability to steal during raids, demand free services, abuse immigrant women … To increase police powers will further encourage corruption and illegality.
Organised by: English Collective of Prostitutes firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 020 7482 2496