Sex workers are getting screwed by Brexit
As the clock ticks down to Brexit, EU sex workers, living and working in the UK are demanding the right to stay on the basis of their work and the contribution they are making to the survival of families and even communities. Sex workers are disadvantaged and discriminated against as sexwork isn’t recognised as work in the UK. Many people therefore don’t have the documentation,including the record of waged work that is needed to establish a right to stay in the UK.
Arrests and deportations of EU migrant sex workers have been rising, particularly since the Brexit referendum in 2016. The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) has compiled case studies of some of the women in our network who have been targeted by the police and immigration officials over the last five years, and who in some cases have successfully defeated attempts to deport them.
With the help of Legal Action for Women and in a few cases, lawyers, we researched legal rulings (see notes below) and found that sex workers can claim self-employed status which entitles women to reside in the UK. We prepared letters laying out sex workers rights which women carried along with our rights sheet. But no precedent has been established so each woman still has to fight her individual case.