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bring your red umbrella

Posted at 23:27 on 4 Mar 2009 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: other pictures, Politics, Sex worker rights

On Tuesday 31 March, sex workers and their allies are speaking out against the Policing and Crime Bill. The protest is organised by x:talk, a sex worker-led project which provides free English classes for migrants in the sex industry.

Sadly, I'm scheduled to be in the office that day, unless I can beg some time off. I'm not sure if the timing is intended to accommodate night workers, or to coincide with another event. But if you're in London and can spare a couple of hours, please, please consider lending your support to this.

Speak Out + Stand Up for Sex Worker Rights
Tuesday 31 March
2pm at the Eros Fountain, Piccadilly Circus
Bring your red umbrellas!

This Bill will further criminalise those of us in the sex industry in the UK, whether we work by CHOICE, CIRCUMSTANCE or COERCION. It criminalises our clients, increases penalties for soliciting and imposes measures for forced rehabilitation. It is based on a lack of evidence about the sex industry, and without taking the views of sex workers and our organisations into account. The Bill will make it less, not more, safe for us to work, whether as strippers, escorts, working girls, maids or models. It is crucial that the current climate of fear, raids, deportation and arrests be met with solidarity and a demand for justice. It is time to make sure our voices are heard.

Sex workers are one of the most silenced and marginalised groups in our culture. As the x:talk website explains, "we are often denied a voice, we are considered only passive victims, we are taught to be ashamed of our work, we are made invisible by discriminatory laws that illegalise our work and us, and we are spoken for and about but rarely are we allowed to speak for ourselves." I am extremely privileged, not only in having the freedom to choose my work without coercion, but in being brought up with the confidence and skills required to write a blog, or dream about producing my own adult content. If I can't make the protest in person (and hopefully I'll be able to arrange something) then the least I can do is lend my voice to those who don't have one. In providing support, advice and English classes to migrant workers, x:talk are doing important, necessary work.

You can add your voice too. Spread the word about the protest, distribute the link to the site. Spend some time reading about the work they do, inform yourself. Bookmark their valuable blog. Raise awareness. Use your voice.

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