Harlots Parlour

The Sex Industry Blog – For Media Enquiries please call us on 020 7175 0180 or email dearharlot@gmail.com


Below is a call for action to support Claire Finch issued by the ECP (English Collective of Prostitutes). This prosecution is proof that the new laws are being used as sex workers and our allies warned that they would be used. They are being used to endanger women. They are being used to prosecute women who have committed the heinous crime of working together for safety and who naively expect the police to protect them from violent criminals. The police however using the legislation introduced by this labour government and supported by Harriet Harman and other women ministers and applauded and campaigned for by the likes of Julie Bindel and Finn MacKay and other groups and individuals who jokingly call themselves feminists has as foretold resulted in the prosecution and criminalising of women. I would urge that we not only support Claire Finch by writing to:

Sarah Brown, Luton Crown Prosecution Service, sarah.brown2@cps.gsi.gov.uk. Copy to Nazir Afzal, nazir.afzal@cps.gsi.gov.uk, and to ourselves.

But that we also write to the ministers and MPs who supported these laws and remind those groups and organisations such as Poppy, the London Feminist coalition and Object that this is what happens when they campaign against sex workers rights and against the freedom of women to be allowed to make choices about their labour and who foolishly expect the protection of the law. It is not traffickers or ugly misogynistic pimps who suffer but women and men and the ordinary people who work within this industry and who use this industry. The responsibility for the human suffering caused by unjust and repressive laws lies with them and no one else.

From: English Collective of Prostitutes [mailto:ecp@allwomencount.net]
Sent: 21 April 2010 11:06
To: Mackay Teresa LE RIO for Women & Equal Opportunities
Subject: Support Claire Finch Monday 26 April



Ms Claire Finch is facing brothel keeping charges and a prison sentence because she prioritised safety by working with friends at her home.

Ms Finch is appearing at

Luton Crown Court, 9.30, Monday 26 April

This is a key case; if Ms Finch is convicted, other prosecutions of women working collectively in the relative safety of premises will follow, driving women to work in isolation. Attacks are sure to increase.

Please write in protest to:
Sarah Brown, Luton Crown Prosecution Service, sarah.brown2@cps.gsi.gov.uk. Copy to Nazir Afzal, nazir.afzal@cps.gsi.gov.uk, and to ourselves.

The case is running from Monday 26 to Thursday 29 April. We want to show just how much support there is for Ms Finch and are asking people to attend court. Can you come along for one or more days or even part of a day? Please let us know.

This prosecution is part of a moral crusade which is driving the sex industry underground and women into more danger. It is not in the public interest.

Ms Finch says: “My main thing is safety. It’s not safe to work on your own. With two of us you had back up, you had camaraderie.”

In order to ensure safety, Ms Finch worked in shifts with three other women. There was never a time when one woman was left on her own. Since she was raided Ms Finch has been forced to work alone.

On 19 November 2008, 20 uniformed police officers from Kempston Economic Crime Unit, kicked in Ms Finch’s front door and searched every room in the house including Ms Finch’s personal belongings, taking over £700 from her purse that had been put aside to pay the mortgage. Her laptop computer, mobile phone, driving licence and passport were also taken. No receipt was given.
Brothel-keeping charges were introduced in 1956. Since Proceeds of Crime legislation (reinforced by the Policing and Crime Act), raids and prosecutions against women working from premises have escalated. Police and prosecutors have a vested interest: the police keep 25% of any assets confiscated both at the time and from subsequent prosecutions (50% in some areas); the Crown Prosecution Service keeps another 25%; and the Inland Revenue the rest. Even if no one is charged, the money is rarely returned. Women who have worked for years to put money aside lose not only their livelihood but their home, car, life savings, jewellery, etc. This theft by law enforcement is the worst form of pimping.
The CPS is supposed to bear in mind public interest considerations when considering charges. Ms Finch’s situation contradicts every one of them.

Public interest considerations for brothel keeping charges are:

To encourage prostitutes to find routes out of prostitution and to deter those who create the demand for it
A criminal conviction is the biggest obstacle to leaving prostitution.

To keep prostitutes off the street to prevent annoyance to members of the public
Ms Finch’s neighbours have no complaints and are coming to court to support her. Closing down premises drives women onto the street where it is ten times more dangerous to work.
To prevent people leading or forcing others into prostitution All the women were working consensually and independently. There was no force, coercion, violence or trafficking.
To penalise those who organise prostitutes and make a living from their earnings. There was no profiteering. Everyone worked collectively and shared expenses.
Generally, the more serious the incident, the more likely a prosecution will be required
While time and money are going into prosecuting Ms Finch, the investigation of rape and other violence continues to be downgraded. Public opinion opposes women being criminalised for working collectively and consensually.

The age of the prostitute and the position of those living off the earnings will be relevant All the women working with Ms Finch were over forty, mature women able “to make their own minds up. They’re not being hoodwinked.” Ms Finch has said that as a mother, working with inexperienced younger women “would not sit morally well with me.”

For working collectively in a safe non-exploitative way, Ms Finch faces losing her home and a prison sentence of up to seven years. The laws which allow such prosecutions must be abolished and prostitution must be decriminalised. Safety comes first.

English Collective of Prostitutes 020 7482 2496 ecp@allwomencount.net

Picture used shows a raid on a brothel in China.

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This entry was posted on 22 April, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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