x:talk is a sex worker led co-operative based in London. The group and its supporters are calling for a moratorium on arrests of sex workers in London with immediate effect until the end of the Olympic Games.
Governments, charity organisations and campaign groups have argued that large sporting events lead to an increase in trafficking for prostitution. These claims, often repeated by the media, are usually based on misinformation, poor data and a tendency to
sensationalise. There is no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking for prostitution.
These claims can lead to anti-trafficking policies and policing practices that target sex workers. In London, anti-trafficking practices have resulted in raids on brothels, closures and arbitrary arrests of people working in the sex industry. This
creates a climate of fear among workers, leaving them less likely to report crimes against them and more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This is an inadequate response to sex work and to trafficking.
x:talk is aware of clean up efforts already underway in London, particularly east London, in the run up to the Olympics. These include multiple raids and closure of premises. We anticipate that until the end of the Olympic games there will be a
continued rise in the numbers of raids, arrests and level of harassment of sex workers.
A series of violent robberies on brothels by a gang in December in Barking & Dagenham demonstrates the effect that this climate of fear can have on the safety of sex workers. The effect of raids on brothels and closures in the area had eroded
relations between sex workers and the Police with the result that the sex workers targeted by the gang were unwilling to report the attacks for fear of arrest. The gang were able to attack at least three venues in December 2011.
In light of this, x:talk and its supporters are calling on the Mayor of London and London Metropolitan Police to suspend arrests and convictions of sex workers.
Prostitutes at risk during the Olympics, Vancouver-based study says
British authorities should develop a public-health plan to protect London's prostitutes during the Olympics, Canadian researchers are urging after finding that stepped-up police action and other disruptions during the Vancouver Games kept sex workers
away from their regular haunts, potentially exposing them to more violence and disease.
The survey of about 100 prostitutes before and after the Winter Games also suggested the influx of new sex workers and spike in human trafficking that many observers had predicted never actually materialized.
In fact, the women surveyed by University of British Columbia researchers said there were fewer clients than usual, and they had a harder time connecting with them, perhaps because of the police action and other disruptions.
That meant many of the prostitutes could have been forced to less-visible pick-up spots away from colleagues and health services, said the paper just published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. Not only would that make them more vulnerable
to violence, but could increase the risk of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infection, since previous research suggests isolated sex workers are three times as likely to be coerced into unsafe sex, said Dr. Kate Shannon, lead author of the study. She
They don't have support of other workers around, support of someone to call for help, so they have less protection to be able to safely negotiate condom use. Rather than this artificial focus on a massive sex-worker boom and trafficking, evidence
suggests what actually happens is adverse effects for sex workers.
Researchers with Dr. Shannon's group surveyed 107 prostitutes during the Games, and about 100 after the event was over, not necessarily the same women and transgendered people, but statistically similar. They reported no particular increase in the pool
of sex workers, the number of underage prostitutes or evidence of human trafficking, the study said.
The women did, however, tell the researchers they had been subject to increased harassment by police, which Dr. Shannon said included being detained without charge, fined or told to move along.
Offsite Article: Mean minded nutters oppose police action against women but want them to harass men instead
2nd May 2012. See article