Mary Honeyball said: The English Collective of Prostitutes, one of the groups who have contested my report most fiercely, seem to agree with me that prostitution is a last resort. “Every time there’s a benefit cut, it forces women on to the game,” they admit. Yet in response they argue that, in the age of austerity, selling your body is just what women “have to do to survive”. This is not only terrifyingly laissez-faire, but it also represents, if anything, a lack of choice; an admission that women don’t choose to become prostitutes but do so because there’s no alternative.
No Ms Honeyball what the English Collective of Prostitutes actually said is: Faced with no benefit, or only the lowest-waged jobs, many women sell sexual services. Are we less degraded when we have to skip meals, beg or stay with a violent partner to keep a roof over our heads? Those who rage against prostitution have no regard for mothers struggling to feed their families. 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.