Laura Lee: Why sex work must be decriminalised and workers' voices heard

Campaigner and sex worker Laura Lee says those working in the sex trade should have the biggest say on legislation

WHAT started as a promising article by Cath Sullivan on Jean Urquhart's proposition on the decriminalisation of sex work sadly dissolved into stereotypes and myths.

The vast majority of women do want decriminalisation, that at least, is correct. In recent studies in both France and Northern Ireland, a massive 98 per cent of sex workers said that decriminalisation would give them safer working conditions.

Decriminalising sex work does not legitimise violence against women, the effect is quite the opposite. It sends out a message to would be attackers that we are no longer vulnerable and alone; safety in numbers.

Decriminalising sex work does not legitimise violence against women, the effect is quite the opposite.

It's not so long since Graeme Bell was convicted of two rapes and two attempted rapes in Perth. He targeted sex workers because he knew they were alone, and, in an astonishing statement having just punched one of the victims full force to the head, he said: "What are you crying for? You're only a prostitute."

It is this societal view of sex workers as some form of sub-species which needs to stop, and decriminalisation and giving us labour rights goes a long way towards starting that process.

In a jaw dropping statement, Sullivan goes on to say in her piece that the majority of men expect something more for their money and that it usually involves pain.

Having been in the sex industry for 22 years now, and in every role imaginable, I can tell you that's not true. The vast majority of clients are respectful and always mindful of boundaries.

The truth is, most clients are more scared than I will ever be, especially if it's their first visit. As to the assertion that sex work isn't a job which a man would choose for his sister/daughter: it's 2015. Women make their own choices, without the need for approval from a man, or anyone else for that matter.

There is no doubt that some women who choose to do sex work as a solution to poverty or to fund an addiction have chaotic lifestyles. Forcing them to work alone will do nothing whatsoever to help them. Neither will giving them criminal records.

One of the very many failures of the Swedish or Nordic model , is that the most vulnerable sex workers cannot get access to basic outreach services, such as condom distribution and needle exchange. The state is failing those women in forcing them to work in dangerous conditions and denying them healthcare.

It is this societal view of sex workers as some form of sub-species which needs to stop, and decriminalisation and giving us labour rights goes a long way towards starting that process.

It's simply not possible to criminalise one half of a contract, all parties are affected. Sex workers report having to make very quick assessments of on street purchasers in order to avoid detection. It's no surprise that the rate of violence has sky rocketed. This is NOT how we protect vulnerable women.

Sullivan concludes by wistfully hoping for a society without prostitution, that simply won't happen. In history, there has never been a society without prostitution, nor will there ever be.

For me, once we accept that, the issue then becomes how we can manage the most vulnerable within the industry. The answer is simple - decriminalise and allow us to work together for safety. The World Health Organisation and UNAIDS agree. So too, does Amnesty International following an extensive two-year
investigation speaking to sex workers all around the world.

Jean Urquhart MSP also agrees. That's because she listened to us, sex workers, who are experts on our own industry and lives. This week saw Rhoda Grant's latest attempt to secure "evidence" towards introducing the Swedish model thrown out.

The long road towards decriminalisation in Scotland starts now, and I look forward to working with SCOT PEP to ensure it happens.

Too many lives are at stake and we cannot, and will not, give up.

Picture courtesy of Jason Pier in DC

Comments

cath sullivan (not verified)

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

First Do No Har... (not verified)

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

markryle

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

markryle

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Roisin Murphy

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Roisin Murphy

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

William Steele

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

William Steele

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Steve West

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Steve West

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

DAVID SMART

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

DAVID SMART

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

steve andrews

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

steve andrews

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Bill Fraser

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Bill Fraser

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Andrew Stuart's picture

Andrew Stuart

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Andrew Stuart's picture

Andrew Stuart

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Paul Smith

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Paul Smith

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Jon

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Jon

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Andy Ellis

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Andy Ellis

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

Malki80

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 18:54

I am glad my article has raised debate, that was the intention. I had similar opinions to you many years ago. However after working with women in prostitution for a long period my views changed and my views come from the voices of the women I met., none of whom were gaining from prostitution and were very trapped in the situation. In saying its not the career men choose for their daughters I am referring to double standards,I am not suggesting men should decide.Sadly its the women who are criminalised, punished by the system at present and I do not agree with that.

Malki80

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 04:38

.
Dear Cath Sullivan,
.
You say your views "come from the voices of the women I met", and that you "have no doubt that most of the women would like prostitution to be decriminalised", and also that "They just want the authorities to leave them alone."
.
So here's a question: If even the "controlled" and "coerced" people you have been working with are calling for decriminalisation, on what basis do you feel able to over-ride and over-rule the voices of the very people in whose interests you claim to be speaking?
.
Or to put this another way. If you were working in a women's shelter or safe house for survivors of domestic abuse carried out by partners and spouses, and you were basing your views of marriage on the women you have met there, would that make you an expert on the subject of marriage? Or would it instead give you a somewhat twisted and distorted picture of what marriage can be?
.
Your statements also beg the question: beyond the sample of people you work with directly, where are you getting your information about the wider sex sector more generally?
.
Are you reading books like "Sex at the Margins" by anthropologist Laura Agustin? Do you check the Global Network of Sex Worker Projects' website and read the reports, articles and research they publish and link to? Have you asked to meet with SCOT-PEP, or Sex Worker Open University in order to get some broader perspectives? Have you studied the conclusions of fifteen of the worlds top legal minds in the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law? Or read the findings of the Lancet medical journal?
.
It is complex, for sure, but it is not "too complicated". And there are plenty of "legal and social process[es]" which are appropriate and helpful - they are called international human rights law, a human-rights based approach, and evidence-based policy making.
.
Nothing is perfect, and applications of these approaches will not be perfect either. However, they have they potential to bring significant improvements to the lives of communities that are marginalised, criminalised, and looked down on by much of society.
.
And surely that is our common goal, is it not?
.
.
Further reading:
.
"Sex Worker Open University - When Women's Work Isn't Work"
http://screamingvioletsmag.co.uk/sex-worker-open-university-when-womens-...
.
"Prostitution and trafficking - the anatomy of a moral panic"
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exag...
.
Sex Worker Open University - website and FB
http://www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexworkeropenuniversity
.
SCOT-PEP, Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights
http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/scotpep
.
The Global Network of Sex Worker Projects Consensus Statement: the international human rights framework applied to sex work, by sex workers:
http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-consensus-statement-sex-work-human-rig...
.
Sex work activists, allies and you - a global civil and human rights movement
http://www.swaay.org/groups.html
http://www.swaay.org/prostitution.html
.
"Sex at the Margins - Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry" Laura Maria Agustin (book)
http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/node/21457
.
'HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health' - How evidence and human rights based laws can end an epidemic of bad laws and transform the global AIDS response!
http://www.hivlawcommission.org/index.php/report
.
"HIV and sex workers - With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. ... This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
http://www.thelancet.com/series/HIV-and-sex-workers

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