Posted at 19:00 on 13 Dec 2017 by Pandora / Blake
Sunday 17th December is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and the following day marks the closing date for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into “pop-up brothels”. Therefore on Monday 18th, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) will 'create a memorial outside the Houses of Parliament and will be calling on MPs to join us and hear our demand for an end to criminalisation, stigma and poverty which makes us vulnerable to all kinds of violence and exploitation'. You can read the press release here.
'ECP and SWARM invite MPs, and, in particular, APPG members – Fiona Bruce MP, Sarah Champion MP, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Lord McColl of Dulwich, Jess Philips MP and chair Gavin Shuker MP – to join us and speak to sex workers. Despite calls for decriminalisation from sex workers around the globe, the APPG is currently proposing that the UK increases criminalisation of the industry'.
Please consider attending this event to support sex workers, and invite your MP to attend this event to show their solidarity with sex workers. Even if (or perhaps especially if) they are a supporter of the Nordic model, they should care about people who experience violence within the sex industry; attending this vigil is a clear way for them to show to their concern about the harms we are exposed to, which is exacerbated by the criminalisation of our work. You can find a tool at the bottom of this page which enables you to easily contact your MP to invite them to this event - enter your post code (without spaces), and it provides you with a pre-written letter which you can edit if you wish.
The event is from 12-2pm on Monday, and they will be building a memorial in New Palace Yard outside the Houses of Parliament, and reading a roll call of those killed since 2016. You can find further information on the Facebook event. Unfortunately I am unable to attend myself (it's my last day doing sessions before Christmas, and I'm fully booked and can't afford to cancel), but I shall definitely be there in spirit.
From the press release:
Violence against sex workers is at epidemic proportions. A 2014 study found 77% of street based sex workers and 17% of inside workers had suffered violence attacks.[i] Evidence, including from Amnesty International shows that the prostitution laws “make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police.” Evidence[ii] that austerity cuts have increased prostitution must also be heeded. We call on the government to implement the Home Affairs Committee recommendations to:
“ . . . change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and so that brothel-keeping provisions allow sex workers to share premises” and that legislation should be drafted to provide for the “deletion of previous convictions and cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers.”
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