The tragic murders of five young women in Ipswich caused an unprecedented outcry. Each of us deserves to be safe regardless of gender, occupation, sexual preference, race, age, nationality, immigration status or lifestyle.
Prostitution is a survival strategy to deal with poverty, debt, rape, low wages, homelessness, unemployment… Most sex workers are mothers or young people; often they are both. Many have been in care or have had their children taken from them.
Criminalising consenting sex – targeting sex workers, clients or both – pushes prostitution underground. It deters women from reporting violence & exploitation. Fines & ASBOs force women into isolated, less well lit areas.
When prostitute women are not safe, no woman is safe. Serial rapists & killers often have a history of attacks on partners & prostitutes. (The conviction rate for reported rape is a shocking 5.7%. Over 200 women are murdered each year.)
Raids on premises increase street prostitution which is 10 times more dangerous.
Criminal records prevent sex workers from getting other jobs.
“Rehabilitation” for drugs or anything else doesn’t work if it is compulsory.
New Zealand has successfully decriminalised prostitution, improving health & safety.
1. The decriminalisation of prostitution. Sex workers must have the same rights and protection as other workers.
2. An end to Community Rehabilitation Orders, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Anti Social Behaviour Orders which reintroduce prison for street offences through the back door.
3. The enforcement of laws against domestic violence, rape and other violence against women and children must be a priority.
4. An end to the use of anti-trafficking legislation to deport immigrant sex workers. Trafficked women must have the right to stay so they can report violence.
5. Viable economic alternatives to prostitution. Voluntary drug services, affordable housing, benefits, training, pay equity.
To sign this petition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Safety First Coalition co-ordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes includes anti-poverty campaigners, church people & residents from Ipswich & elsewhere, the Royal College of Nursing, the National Association of Probation Officers, members of the medical & legal professions, prison reformers, sex worker & drugs rehabilitation projects. Tel: 020 7482 2496