Jerry Barnett, founder of U.K. adult entertainment advocacy group Sex & Censorship, said he was delighted with the turnout at the Don't Censor Me! protest held in central London today.
More than 50 people joined the Sex & Censorship's
organized protest against the Stop Porn Culture conference, including representatives from the English Collective of Prostitutes, the Sex Worker Open University and Queer Strike campaign groups.
At about 3 p.m., adult industry performers,
strippers, sex workers, academics, legal professionals and individuals opposed to sexual censorship mounted a peaceful protest outside Wedge House in Southwark, where the Stop Porn Culture conference was taking place.
Led by Stop Porn Culture
co-founder and adult industry opponent Gail Dines and English feminist Julie Bindel, the conference aimed to expand the antipornography feminist movement in the U.K., and included speeches from antiporn academic Julia Long and Object campaign
officer Sarah Matthewson.
Dines and Bindel appeared outside the venue to debate with the assembled crowd, just after 3 p.m. For about 15 minutes, they gave out free biscuits and Dines spoke with individual attendees, including porn performers
Johnny Anglais, aka Benedict Garrett, and Ava Dalush, before returning to the conference.
Sex & Censorship campaigners Jerry Barnett, former porn star Renee Richards and porn performers Edie Lamont and Benedict Garrett were amongst those who
addressed the crowd, along with spokespeople from the English Collective of Prostitutes and Queer Strike.
Renee Richards, who had previously rallied fellow performers to support the Sex & Censorship, took Dines to task for her lack of industry
Dines and the other so-called feminists at this conference claim all porn has harmful effects. Yet Dines has never stepped on a porn set. I never saw any abuse while working in porn, nor was I abused. What's
more, Coca-Cola and Apple exploit their workers in horrific ways but the women inside this conference venue aren't boycotting them.
Jerry Barnett, the co-organiser of the Don't Censor Me protest said.
The anti-sex narrative, the view of a tiny minority, has been dominant for too long in the media, from the Daily Mail to the Guardian. Our message here is that we can make our own choices, we don't want to be rescued, and we never
asked to be.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill proposed by Lord Morrow currently being considered in Northern Ireland could, if passed into law, usefully place support for victims of human trafficking on a statutory basis and amalgamate some existing
legislation into one single Act. The Bill includes a clause that recommends the criminalisation of the purchase of sex to reduce demand for trafficking. Clause 6 would introduce a hierarchy of criminal liability among those engaged in the selling of
sexual services, many of whom may be vulnerable, with some remaining at risk of prosecution and others not.
It is the opinion of the author of the Bill and some stakeholders that demand for paid sex is directly linked to human trafficking or sex
trafficking specifically. It is the opinion of the whole of the sex workers' rights movement that legislation criminalising the purchase of sex under policies that seek to end demand is directly linked to increased levels of stigma and
discrimination experienced by current sex workers. It is further the opinion of the sex workers' right movement that the policies that criminalise the buyer of sex have their root in the deliberate conflation of trafficking with sex work.
International, who is currently carrying out a global policy consultation on sex work, has called on the Northern Irish Assembly to reconsider Clause 6 of The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill. Amnesty International believes that the clause which
seeks to criminalise the purchase of sexual services, unhelpfully conflates two very complex social phenomena, sex work and human trafficking, which could potentially prove counter-productive.
Grainne Teggart, a Northern Ireland campaigner at
Amnesty International recently said of the Bill that although:
It is claimed that this clause will help protect sex workers, by shifting the criminal liability away from them as the seller of sexual services on to the
purchaser but in reality, though, it fails to do this and provides no exploration of, or guarantees against, the potential unintended consequences of such a move.
A group of moralist parliamentarians has recommended that people who pay for sex should be jailed or fined
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade is sponsored by the Christian campaign group CARE who acts as the
Chairman of the group is Gavin Shuker, a member of the Christian Socialist Movement and was previously leader of City Life Church in Luton. The rag tag army of moralists and religious nutters making up the group include Fiona
Mactaggart, Gary Streeter, Philip Davies, Peter Bottomley, Andrew Selous, Julian Lewis, Julian Brazier, Steve Brine, Meg Munn, Heidi Alexander, Susan Elan Jones, Keith Vaz, Madeleine Moon, Virendra Sharma, Kerry McCarthy
The MPs and peers
will recommend that the UK adopts a system whereby soliciting is no longer a punishable offence, but anyone who pays for sex is committing a crime.
Prostitutes who are caught loitering on streets plying their trade should be given anti-social
behaviour orders rather than being prosecuted, the group will say.
Following a year-long moralist love-in, the group unsurprisingly concludes that the current law on selling sex is hopelessly confused, with 16 offences listed under five Acts of
Parliament spanning 53 years. The group argues that the apprehension and prosecution of prostitutes thwarts efforts to prevent women being drawn into the trade or support their exit from it. The report will call for all existing statutes to be
wrapped into a single Act of Parliament, aimed at persecuting those who purchase sex, not those who sell it.
Fiona Mactaggart gloried in the chance to jail men:
The inadequacy of existing legislation has created
lucrative market conditions that are exploited by criminal gangs profiting from the sale of women. This inquiry makes substantial proposals which could prevent this vile trade.
Niki Adams, of the English Collective Of Prostitutes,
which campaigns for the abolition of prostitution laws, said:
Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution and won't stop the criminalisation of women who work as prostitutes. All it will do is make it more
difficult for women to protect themselves and stigmatise sex workers even further.
Comment: Jailing all men
6th March 2013. From DavidT
There are about 32,000,000 males in the UK.
Mature, capable, active and interested in heterosexual encounters = 2,000,000.
If they were all jailed for 6 months they would each use 60
square metres of jail room including common areas.
That's 120,000,000 square metres.
That's 147 square miles.
Which is a hell of a big city.
Maybe these church do-gooders should take a maths course.
One lunacy is ASBOs being used instead of criminal punishment. Effectively it means repeat offenders are jailed. Given that under current law no one is jailed for being a prostitute, this is an increase, not a decrease
The Northern Ireland police force has withdrawn its opposition to proposals to criminalise men who pay for sex -- but stopped short of backing the plans, as they could deter people in the sex industry from giving information to the police.
The new law
being proposed for Northern Ireland is based on repressive Swedish legislation.
Senior officers have also pointed out that most convictions in Sweden are achieved through phone tapping and surveillance of suspects -- which would not be allowed in
Giving evidence at a justice committee meeting yesterday, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said:
We don't oppose it... if the Assembly passes this legislation, we will use it to the best
effect we can.
However, he pointed out that men who paid for sex were already risking ridicule and knew they were taking a risk so it is difficult to assess how much effect the threat of prosecution would have .
Harris and Chief Superintendent Roy McComb, who also gave evidence, pointed out that it was already an offence to have sex with a person who had been trafficked and that ignorance was no defence.
Six men have so far been arrested for this offence,
but none of them have been convicted because of a legal time limit on how long police have to bring charges. That limitation is now being removed and police are hopeful it will help secure future convictions.