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 exploitation).
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
22nd May 2018. See article from metro.co.uk by Miranda Kane
Good to see a supportive opinion piece in the Metro:
Another day, another flurry of media and morality where the world is convinced sex trafficking is around every corner.
This time it's
courtesy of a group of self appointed MPs who make up the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.
Spoilers 203 none of them are, or ever have been, actual sex workers. (As far as I know.)
...Read the full article from metro.co.uk
Comment: Agency deniers
24th May 2018. From Alan
Great article by the Metro journalist.
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.