Dear Sir or Madam,
Ninety-five per cent of sex workers are not drug users — not even the Home Office claims that (Guardian 18 Jan 2006) women who don’t use drugs don’t use the Home office funded projects on which these figures depend. These figures dominate while the major factors that force women into prostitution – poverty, domestic violence, homelessness and debt, are hidden. Even the government acknowledged that 74% of [sex workers] cited the need to pay household expenses and support their children as the prime motivating factor [for getting into prostitution].*
A single mother with two children is expected to live on £156 a week and can lose 40% of that benefit if she refuses to name to the Child Support Agency, the often violent father of her children, women on average receive 52% of men’s income (Black women earn even less). 30% of children are living in poverty, thousands of asylum seekers have been made deliberately destitute, student grants have been abolished and many major industries have been run into the ground.
No wonder women turn to prostitution to survive. In the face of these injustices and inequalities, the best the government can do is introduce a crackdown against clients which will hurt women working on the street most. The limited proposal to allow two women to work from premises is just a cover for this brutal treatment of the most vulnerable.
English Collective of Prostitutes
*Paying the Price, Home Office
Thursday, January 19, 2006