The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) is a self-help organisation of sex workers, working both on the street and in premises, with a national network throughout the UK. The organisation campaigns for the decriminalisation of prostitution, for sex workers’ rights and safety, and for resources to enable people to get out of prostitution if they want to.
Established in 1975 with the aim of abolishing prostitution laws, the ECP were prominent in supporting Margaret Colquhoun’s ‘Protection of Prostitute’s Bill which was passed in 1979. ECP later challenged kerb crawling legislation, and in 1990 publicly stated the implications of Sir William Shelton’s ‘Sex Discrimination Bill’.
In 1981 the ECP published ‘Know Your Rights: An A-Z for Sex Workers’ which offered sex workers information on existing legislation, and guidance on ways to defend their rights. In the same year, the ECP organised a picket of the High Court in London over the case of the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, and protested against a perceived disregard for sex workers lives. In 1982 the ECP occupied a the Holy Cross church in Kings Cross. This occupation was well photographed, and many women involved opted to wear eye masks when being photographed.
The ECP continued their campaigns throughout the 1990s, and in 1995 succeeded in achieving private prosecutions for rape charges in England. In 2006, following the murders of five young women in Ipswich, the ECP was involved in the establishment of the Safety First Coalition. This coalition stressed the need for sex workers safety and campaigned for the decriminalisation of sex work.
The English Collective of Prostitutes continued its campaign throughout the 2000s, and remains part of the international sex worker led movement for decriminalisation.
Scope and content
Papers of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) (1975-2019), including: newsletters, press cuttings and articles regarding prostitution, legislation, the English Collective of Prostitutes and the publication of ‘Network’ (newsletter by the English Collective of Prostitutes), 1982-1996; papers and press cuttings regarding kerb crawling legislation, the Sexual Offences Bill, and the Campaign Against Kerb Crawling Legislation (CAKCL), 1984-1986; papers regarding Whores Congresses and the international treatment and policing of prostitution, 1985-1986; papers and press cuttings regarding violence towards women (including violence towards prostitutes) and the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, 1979-1981; papers and press cuttings regarding Maureen Colquhoun, Baroness Vickers, and laws and legislation on prostitution, 1979-1980; correspondence between Trades Union Congress and English Collective of Prostitutes regarding the abolition of laws on prostitution and a discussion about whether campaigns against laws on prostitution should be considered a trades dispute, May – September 1980; papers regarding the safety of prostitution, 2006; papers and press cuttings regarding private prosecution for rape in England, rape cases (including the raping of prostitutes), and violence against women, 1995-1999; papers and press cuttings regarding rights for prostitutes and the launch of ‘A Guide to the Rules of the Game for Working Girls’ by the English Collective of Prostitutes, 1980-1981; papers and press cuttings regarding prosecutions, the Director of Public Prosecutions, prosecutions and the Crown Prosecution Service, 1979-c2007; publications and reports published by the English Collective of Prostitutes regarding sex workers and laws on prostitution, 1987-2019; ephemera regarding sex workers, the safety of women, and the decriminalisation of prostitution, (n.d.); black and white cartoon drawings regarding prostitutes and prostitution, (n.d.); papers from the ‘In Defense of Prostitute Women’s Safety’ project, (n.d.); black and white photographs and negatives of the English Collective of Prostitutes [possibly of the church occupation], c1982; press releases by the English Collective of Prostitutes and associated groups regarding prostitution, c1980-2004; correspondence between the English Collective of Prostitutes, members of the media and politicians regarding an attack at Balsall Hall, 1994; Papers regarding ‘prostitutes against prostitution’, n.d.; papers regarding the Wages for Housework campaign, 1976-1982; and photocopied press cuttings and articles regarding AZT tests, 1993. (1976-2019).
2 boxes & 1 oversized folder.