A campaign group of anti-sex works MPs comprising of feminists and religious moralists have just published a biased campaign document claiming all the usual bogies about trafficking, organised crime and so on.
The group misleadingly calls itself the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade, as if it was an official committee of parliament. It is not, it is just a self appointed campaign group with no attempt
to include MPs independent of the campaign nor to represent the wider views of Parliament.
Of course sex workers are definitely not party to the report., and in fact have been protesting against the report to highlight its lack of independence and representation of sex worker input.
A roughly 200-strong collection of sex workers and activists came out to Parliament Square on Wednesday to make their case, with banners such as "Decriminalise sex work, for safety's sake."
The report titled Behind Closed Doors targets technology based tools used by modern sex workers, such as pop-up brothels using Airbnb, and internet platforms like Vivastreet and Adultwork, claimed to be the most significant enablers of
sex-work and sex trafficking.
The Labour MP Sarah Champion iused the report to call for internet censorship along the lines of the US FOSTA internet censorship. By making internet platforms liable to penalties for content posted by their users, they end up censoring and
blocking large swathes of related content just in case something prohibited gets through. In America the law makers specifically prohibit material that aids sex trafficking, but because there is no obvious way of checking whether an advert is for
a legal sex worker or for a trafficked sex worker, then the companies have to take down the legal stuff too. In fact the effects are so wide spread that even dating services have been taken down just in case traffickers are lurking somewhere
amongst the dating couples.
But the campaigners don't stop there, comments to the media suggests a push for the UK to adopt The Nordic Model, a legal framework in which the selling of sexual services is legal but the purchase of those services is criminalised. The model has
been largely panned by sex workers, activists and researchers as ineffective and unsafe.
Furthermore in light of the publicity for the report, Jeremy Corbyn was asked by Sky's Sophy Ridge about the subject and he came out in favour of the #Nordic model model of criminalising men buying sex.
So, as usual from the 'progressive' left are enjoying a good sneer at men, and will happily see them imprisoned and fined just for wanting to get laid.
Comment: Disappointed by Corbyn
8th July 2018. Thanks to Alan
I'm disappointed to hear Jeremy Corbyn apparently backing the Nordic Model. In the past, he has favoured
decriminalisation, to loud squeals from the pointless and reliably mouthy Jess Phillips. John McDonnell, by contrast, has always been on the side of sex workers.
I am baffled by the behaviour of nominally Labour politicians who prattle about sex work while ignoring sex workers. I can't imagine Champion or Phillips spouting about railways without talking to the RMT and ASLEF or about higher education
without consultation with the UCU. I think the organizations representing sex workers should hammer this point home at every opportunity.
A self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the
criminalisation of sex workers' clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients! No surprise there then.
Cari Mitchell, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, commented:
Criminalisation, whether of sex workers or clients, drives prostitution further underground, increasing stigma, discrimination and the risk of violence.
In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%. In France, a two-year evaluation of the law found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use
of condom. In Norway, despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted. One sex worker explained:
Before we did not go far with the customer: we would go to a car park nearby. But now the customer wants to go somewhere isolated because they are afraid. I don't like it. There is more risk that something bad happens.
As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice; plus, there is no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was
the law's principal ambition.
The other "revelation" from the APPG is that there has been an increase in prostitution. Ms Mitchell commented:
Blaming the internet for a prostitution "boom" puts the APPG in the same camp as Ian Duncan Smith, who notably attributed the increase in people going to food banks on growing " awareness " of food banks.
If the APPG is truly interested in reducing prostitution why isn't their headline recommendation the abolition of benefit sanctions, directly linked with the rise in prostitution, especially on the street? It seems the APPG is more taken with
the sensationalised, sexed-up story of pop-up brothels. Sex workers feel exploited and not by prostitution.
If well-meaning MPs want to save women from sex work then take action against zero-hour contracts, low wages and exploitative bosses in the jobs that are the alternatives to prostitution. Support sex workers like we hope you support other workers
fighting to improve pay and conditions.
As for the proposal to clamp down on online advertising, evidence from the US shows that such laws (SESTA and FOSTA) make it harder for the police to identify violence.
Why did this Inquiry even need to happen? The prestigious cross-party Home Affairs Committee did a comprehensive Inquiry and recommended that sex workers on the street and working together in premises be decriminalised.
Decriminalisation isn't perfect -- we are all going to have to put our shoulder to the wheel if we want to win a fairer and more humane society, but it removes a grave injustice suffered daily by sex workers. Thousands of cis and trans women a
year are arrested, given prostitute cautions, are victims of criminal charges or civil orders and are suffering other grievous abuse and being denied protection. Decriminalisation as introduced in New Zealand has improved sex workers' working
conditions and made it easier for those who want to get out, to do so. Over 90% of sex workers said they had additional employment, legal, health and safety rights (including 64.8% who said they found it easier to refuse clients -- a key marker of
Finally, on trafficking. Until there is a public apology for the fabricated statistics that claimed that 80% of sex workers are victims of trafficking, why should anyone believe this APPG's figures? Research from the Global Alliance Against
Traffic in Women found that criminalising sex workers' clients does not reduce sex work or trafficking. Instead, it infringes on sex workers' rights and obstructs anti-trafficking efforts.
Offsite Comment: Wrong to suggest criminalising the buying of sex
What baffles me is the way this shower of politicians, many of whom self-define as feminists, want to deny agency to women, as do many feminist journalists e.g. Bennett, Ellen, Moore, Bindel (who’s so rabid a rad fem that when I first
encountered her I thought the piece was a satirical parody). Zoe Williams in the Graun, to her credit, did collaborate with Pandora Blake, but in the main they seem quite oblivious to reason. Confront them with, say, Max M’s lady friend who
continued to work as a pro submissive, and occasional dome, after getting her Ph.D. and the silly buggers just ignore the evidence.