Tips for lobbying MPs on the decriminalisation of sex work.
- Find your MP here. Type in your postcode and it will tell you which constituency you’re in, who the MP is, and how to contact them. Or call the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272 quoting your address and postcode.
- As you have to give your home address, and if you are a sex worker, you may not want your MP to know that, you can give another reason for your interest. For example, you have a close friend who works or are concerned about the issue of safety/violence/health, etc.
- Google the MP beforehand to see: what party they are a member of; if they are a back-bencher or a minister with particular responsibilities; if they already have a position on sex work or if they have any interests or areas of work they focus on that you could relate to sex work and decriminalisation.
- Don’t assume the MP will know the differences between various legislative models (legalised, decriminalisation etc). You will probably have to explain them (summary here).
- Be brief. Expect your introduction to be five minutes at most. Include information about why decriminalisation of sex work is important to you. Be specific about what your MP can do to help and what exactly you are asking them to do, e.g. at the moment ECP and SWARM are asking MPs to write in support of the Home Affairs Committee recommendations to decriminalise sex workers on the street and in premises.
- Invite questions. Even the challenging/seemingly irrelevant questions they might ask could result in a productive conversation.
- Go with something in writing that you can leave with them – a leaflet, paper (no longer than two sides of A4), article.
- Follow up your meeting promptly with a note thanking them for their time, documenting briefly what was discussed, what you asked of them and what they agreed to do; sending them additional information if relevant.
- You can ask to meet your MP in your local area. Most MPs hold constituency ‘surgeries’. Some are drop-in sessions whilst others require a pre-arranged appointment. Call beforehand to check whether you need to make an appointment.