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A brief history

The English Collective of Prostitutes is a self-help organisation of sex workers, working both on the street and in premises, with a national network throughout the UK. We campaign 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.

1975 The “Girls’ Union”


Inspired by church occupations and a strike of sex workers in France, two immigrant women living in England formed the English Collective of Prostitutes to campaign for the abolition of the prostitution laws.

1979 The Protection of Prostitutes Bill


On 6 March, Maureen Colquhoun MP introduced the Protection of Prostitutes Bill. The English Collective of Prostitutes “applauded and shrieked their approval from the visitors’ gallery”.

1981 Know Your Rights


Our A-Z was the first time the laws were put down by sex workers in our own words, for our own defence.

1981 Picket of the High Court in London


We protested the horrific murders of 13 women by the Yorkshire Ripper and the official disregard for sex workers’ lives.

1982 Hookers in the house of the lord


Following in the footsteps of sex workers in France who occupied churches across the country to protest serial murders and police abuse, we occupied the Holy Cross Church, King’s Cross for 12 days.

1992 Advertising campaign


With an advertising company we ran a poster campaign for decriminalisation.

1995 First private prosecution for rape


With the support of ECP and Women Against Rape, two sex workers brought a private prosecution putting a rapist behind bars.

2000 Soho sex workers strike


Sex workers in the ECP working in Soho go on strike on International Women’s Day and take legal action to stop the closure of flats.

2006 Safety First Coalition


Following the murders of five young women in Ipswich, we initiated the Safety First Coalition – to decriminalise sex work and prioritise safety.

2013 Soho raids


We mobilised against mass police raids and prevented the closure of flats in Soho, Central London.

2016 Victory against deportations


Migrant sex workers in the ECP fought Brexit-inspired deportation orders.

2017 International Women’s Strike


We organised with the International Women’s Strike and drafted the global declaration from the sex worker movement with Empower, Thailand.

2017 End violence against sex workers


With Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistant Movement (SWARM) we gathered outside Parliament to build a memorial on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers for sex workers who have lost their lives.

ECP - A Brief History updated-pages-14

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