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“It’s time to accept prostitution” – say the British public.

Press Release
The International Union of Sex Workers
Monday 27th September 2010
Immediate Release

“It’s time to accept prostitution” – say the British public.

A survey carried out as part of yesterday’s BBC1 Sunday Morning Live discussion, featuring Catherine Stephens of the IUSW, Bel Mooney of the Daily Mail and Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman showed overwhelming public support for accepting prostitution:

71% yes, 29% no.

This echoes a government funded Ipsos MORI poll in June 2008: almost six in ten (59%) agreed that “prostitution is a perfectly reasonable choice that women should be free to make”. [1]

In the Sunday Morning Live debate, Stephens repeatedly argued that policy that solves problems is based on evidence and in reality, not on ideology, dramatic individual cases and stereotypes.

Stigmatisation of sex work plays a large part in violence and trafficking.

Clients are not the problem: evidence shows that the majority of robbery, abuse and physical or sexual violence experienced by sex workers comes from those who do not pay for sex. [2] Many assailants express hatred of sex workers and appear to feel their actions are legitimated by the social attitudes of abhorrence for commercial sex.

More than a third of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation report that fear of being exposed as a sex worker played a part in the coercion they experienced. [3]

In a study of nearly 500 sex workers, researching issues of power, exploitation and control, 1 in 4 women said that they had, at some point, felt physically threatened. More – 30% – had experienced other threats “…in almost all cases, [this] was the threat of being publicly exposed as a sex worker.” [4]

Catherine Stephens says, “It’s time to start treating women with respect and equality, regardless of their sexual behaviour. It’s time to give people in the sex industry the same human rights as other citizens, so we can work together for safety and call the police without fear of arrest. It’s time to decriminalise prostitution.”


Contact IUSW: 07772 638748

Notes to Editors:
The International Union of Sex Workers is an unfunded, voluntary organisation of individuals themselves working in the sex industry. We campaign for human, civil and labour rights, and the full protection of the law for everyone who works in the sex industry and for the inclusion of sex workers in decisions which will affect our rights and safety. The IUSW offers a unique source of expertise and experience from people who see reality of the industry day to day: we are the experts on our own lives.

Catherine Stephens has worked in the sex industry for nearly 10 years, and has been involved in sex worker organising for most of that time.  She is an activist with the International Union of Sex Workers and is a member of the GMB trades union’s branch for people who work in the sex industry.

[1] http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2308
[2] Violence and Sex Work in Britain, Hilary Kinnell, Willan Publishing, 2008
[3]Globalisation of Crime: A transnational organised crime threat assessment, UNODC, 2010
[4] Beyond gender: an examination of exploitation in sex work, Suzanne Jenkins, Keele University, 2009

See Sunday Morning Live Sunday 26th September 2010

One comment on ““It’s time to accept prostitution” – say the British public.

  1. Douglas Fox
    28 September, 2010

    Would someone from the IUSW like to comment on what relations if any have been established between the IUSW and the present government. Has for example any effort been made to organise a meeting with the present home secretary or to organise and promote any pressure on Nick Clegg with regard to his much talked of Freedom Bill?

    Can the IUSW also comment on how comfortable they feel being so engaged with the GMB which is a major supporter of the Labour Party which did so much harm to sex workers while in office.

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This entry was posted on 27 September, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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