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We’ll be going on the London SlutWalk this Saturday and invite you to join us.
You may have heard that this movement started when a Canadian police officer told a class of students they should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be raped. The reaction was immediate and SlutWalks have been organised around the world and in towns and cities throughout the UK.
From the start organisers made clear they were pro-sex workers’ rights: “Let’s raise our voices and tell the world that rape is never, ever OK. Not if she was wearing a miniskirt. Not if she was naked. Not if she was your wife, girlfriend or friend. Not if she was a prostitute [our emphasis]. Not if she was drunk. Not if you thought she wanted to.”
How many of us have been unable to report violent attacks for fear of criminalisation, deportation or losing our anonymity? How many of us have been told by police we will be disbelieved and even arrested if we report? How many of us have been prosecuted when we did report while our attackers went free?
Prostitution is about survival. Most sex workers are mothers, often single mothers, supporting their kids. Some send money abroad to their families. Some use it to get out of a violent relationship. Young people coming out of care, homeless people, students, people whose benefits have been cut or are too low to live on, people on low wages . . . sex work can be your better or only option.
We face criminalisation for trying to make a living and moralism from women who call themselves feminists, who claim that all prostitution is violence against women and that all immigrant sex workers are trafficked. As a result police raids have increased and more women are being jailed. Whether on the street or in premises, we are being driven further underground and into more danger.
Sheila Farmer, who is being prosecuted for working together with other women for safety, is speaking at the SlutWalk rally in Trafalgar Square. We are demanding that the prosecution against her be dropped – her MP has already received over 1000 letters backing this demand.
Look out for our pink banner near the Hard Rock Café at the top of Piccadilly at 1pm.
SlutWalk is another confirmation that people are really with us for an end to criminalisation and poverty everywhere. We hope you can come along.