Who benefits from criminalising sex workers & clients?
Stop new laws vs consenting sex!
Public meeting. Hosted by John McDonnell MP
Tuesday 25 November 2008 6-8pm
Committee Room 16, House of Commons
Westminster, London SW1
Fully wheelchair accessible All welcome
Allow 15 minutes to get in
Speakers to be announced
The government is expected to announce more laws to criminalise sex workers and clients in the Queen’s Speech on 3 December. Yet public opinion is increasingly hostile to repressive policies that force prostitution underground, and make it less safe for sex workers.
Help us stop religious and feminist fundamentalists who divide prostitute women from other women and other workers. Listen to the workers, not the preachers. Sex workers want rights, not charity. We want safety, not prison. We want unity, not segregation.
English Collective of Prostitutes, Crossroads Women’s Centre PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU, Tel: 020 7482 2496
The ECP co-ordinates the Safety First Coalition
- In February, the Safety First Coalition with MPs and Peers defeated government attempts to “rehabilitate” sex workers and increase arrests.
- On 14 November, the IQ2 debate at the Royal Geographical Society defeated “It is Wrong to Pay for Sex “by 449 to 203.
- The Communications Workers Union has voted for decriminalisation.
- Long established women’s organisations are canvassing their members.
- Lapdancers handed into Downing Street a 3,000-strong petition against tightening licensing laws.
- Internationally, New Zealand’s five-year review showed decriminalisation is a success. In the US, the historical election that voted Barrack Obama as president by a landslide, was also memorable in San Francisco for Proposition K to decriminalise prostitution in the city. Prop K got 43% of the votes – astonishing given that its sex-worker-led campaign had no funding, and that the police, District Attorney and Mayor used their position to misinform and scare voters.
Workers don’t benefit from criminalisation. The ECP has been inundated by women who have been raided, arrested and charged, and face imprisonment for running safe, discrete premises where no coercion is taking place. Anti-trafficking legislation is being used to justify these raids. Who will support families hit by recession when mothers and daughters who sell sex are imprisoned? How can women who want to get out of prostitution find another job if they have a criminal record?
Pimps, violent men and “rehabilitation” projects benefit. Pimps are attracted by any illegal economy. Violent men know that illegal workers can’t report violence or exploitation. And more anti-prostitution projects will be funded to “save” the rest of us.
Why are resources wasted on policing consenting sex when most rapists are getting away with it? Why are anti-trafficking laws used to deport women?