SEX WORKERS NEED SAFETY AND RIGHTS, NOT CRIMINALISATION
Demonstration Against the Policing and Crime Bill
12-2pm, Tuesday 3 November, Parliament Square
Bring placards and red umbrellas and join the demonstration to demand:
- an end to the criminalisation of sex work
- safety and other rights for all workers in the sex industry, including the right to unionise
- the right to stay and not be deported
- the right not to have a criminal record so we can apply for other jobs
- decent wages and benefits for all so that we can refuse violence and exploitation in any industry
If passed the Policing and Crime Bill will push prostitution further underground and sex workers into more danger. It would increase arrests against street workers, introduce compulsory ‘rehabilitation’ under threat of imprisonment, close premises where sex workers work together in relative safety, boost police powers to seize worker’s hard won earnings, and reduce rape against prostitute women to a lesser offence while criminalising clients who may not be guilty.
The government justifies their latest clamp down with claims that prostitution is rape and that most sex workers have been trafficked. Instead of enabling victims of violence to come forward, they victimise and criminalise women working in the sex industry. Most violent men, including bosses who profit from exploiting ‘illegal’ workers in the agricultural, domestic and sex industry, will continue to get away with it, while sex workers working together, especially migrant women, will be raided, imprisoned and deported.
At the same time the Welfare Reform Bill proposes to abolish Income Support and drive all claimants into work or to ‘work for their benefits’ i.e. £1.60 an hour. Many are already being asked to scab on postal workers by applying for their jobs. Those who won’t or can’t manage on slave wages and decide to work in the sex industry risk being criminalised and consequently denied entry into other work in the future.
We are mothers and grandmothers supporting loved ones, young people keeping a roof over our heads and getting some independence, migrants sending money home, asylum seekers made destitute by immigration laws that deny us both support and the right to work, students paying for our education, women or men who can’t get jobs in the recession or want a better standard of living.
Like any other workers, some of us like our jobs, many don’t. But we all know the difference between forced and consenting sex, whether in a relationship, casual or paid for. Most people support the decriminalisation of prostitution so women can work more safely. But, as with privatisation and everything else, the government ignores the workers and the public; they only listen to the ‘experts’ they fund to sing to their tune.
Whatever our situation we need rights & safety, not criminalisation.
Catch rapists and exploiters, not clients.
International Union of Sex Workers, www.iusw.org, 0795 802 0432;