by Joana Ramiro
SEX workers and campaigners joined forces in the House of Commons yesterday to lobby against sections of new Bill which would criminalise clients.
Members of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) argued that some clauses of the Modern Slavery Bill could increase the dangers faced by sex workers.
“We strongly oppose the criminalisation of clients, on the basis of women’s safety,” said ECP spokeswoman Niki Adams.
“Despite claims that loitering and soliciting may be decriminalised, this will have little effect if clients are criminalised.”
“Prostitution will be pushed further underground, disrupting informal security systems among women on the street and displacing women into remote areas.”
Ms Adams also argued that the instead of cracking down on clients, the government should be decriminalising brothels instead — as they are “10 times safer than the streets.”
Offering solidarity at the event were members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos said: “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to criminalise individuals who are consenting adults having sex.”
“On health alone it is not sensible to criminalise people because it changes their behaviour and puts them at risk.”
The Bill’s section on criminalising clients was originally proposed by the all-party parliamentary group on prostitution and the global sex trade.
The ECP insists sex workers’ views must be taken into consideration when making legislation.