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Gail Porter on Prostitution
Current TV, Sky Channel 183
10pm, Monday 13 September
Gail Porter travels around the UK, to the Netherlands and Sweden, interviewing sex workers and others to investigate whether prostitution should be decriminalised, legalised or banned.
Throughout her journey, Ms Porter shares highs and lows, laughter and tears with the women she interviews. She is at times overwhelmed but always respectful and compassionate. She concludes that women go into prostitution because they “need to live, to survive and support [their] family”, and that their safety must be the priority. While finding no situation ideal, she declares her support for decrimalisation and for the abolition of brothel keeping laws so that women can work together more safely.
Some of the women featured who are available for interview, include:
· Jenny, who has worked on the streets for over 20 years to support her disabled daughter. She describes how the criminal record she got in her younger years has stopped her accepting offers of other jobs for fear that if it became public she’d be considered an unfit mother and lose her daughter. “The only way to make prostitution safer and better for people is to decriminalise it.”
· Maria, who works on her own from her home or from flats around the UK. She walks Gail through her complicated security measures which are necessary because: “It’s not safe to work on my own. But if I work with my mates it’s not safe either as we’re breaking the law.”
· Amanda, who reveals how after her father died she was left with a young son, brother and mother to support. She came to the UK to earn money and started working in a flat in Soho. Now, a few years later, she says: “My dream was to become a hairdresser or a model or to open a beauty salon. . . but sometimes life makes you go in different directions. . . I still hope to…”
Niki Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes, documents how even the government acknowledges that poverty, debt, homelessness and domestic violence are the primary reasons driving women into prostitution. She explains why decriminalisation as introduced in New Zealand should be supported: “Without decriminalisation women can never be safe.”
Also featured is Pye Jacobsen, a Swedish sex worker, who demolishes the view that criminalising clients (introduced in Sweden in 1999) has been of benefit to women. “Those feminists who have fought for women’s right to control our bodies and the right to say ‘no’ must also accept my right to say ‘yes’.”
For more information: English Collective of Prostitutes, 7482 2496, 07811 964 171