Sir, Libby Purves lists justifiable grievances against universities, such as vice-presidents’ soaring pay, but then directs her wrath against them for supporting sex workers. Getting information about the draconian prostitution laws that criminalise us and undermine our safety does not “normalise” sex work. How can advice specific to one’s situation be considered harmful?
Purves repeats the claim that prostitution reduces women’s safety. It is not sex workers who make men think that women are available to them, it is our lack of money and resources compared with theirs. This power differential between the sexes pervades the state’s attitude to us and therefore all our relationships.
Universities must of course address the poverty that pushes thousands of students into sex work, starting with reinstating grants and the educational maintenance allowance. Why not back student-led campaigns for this? Our own campaign to decriminalise prostitution, supported by the National Union of Students, would improve sex workers’ safety and welfare.
English Collective of Prostitutes