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2015 has been an eventful year. On a personal note my health has deteriorated and I sadly suffered two strokes which have forced my virtual retirement from activism and sex work for the foreseeable future. I have been thankful that Vicky S, an old aquantance and friend offered to take over the general running of Harlots and although she has no interest in activism has kept the blog, the twitter (@harlotsP) and the Facebook page (The Parlour) running.
I am delighted that Harlots has now become The Harlots Collective. We now need people who showed initial interest in this project to step up and turn this collective into a voice for all sex workers and to make The Harlots Collective a recognised vehicle for change and for decriminalisation here in the UK, Canada and the USA and wherever sex workers face oppression.
Harlots was never my project. I inherited Harlots and over this period which I have served as editor I have strived to maintain the intention of it’s creator which, was to create a space for sex workers to become involved in activism, share information and offer each other support. The idea was to create a safe space for sex workers who did not necessarily associate with the sex worker establishment. This remains the goal and ambition, to create a space where all sex workers are made welcome and treated with respect regardless of their work, faith or politics.
2015 has been as always a testing time for sex workers. Northern Ireland became yet another country to turn its face against sex workers, adopt the failed Swedish model and criminalise the clients of sex workers. This legislation did not show the strength of the Swedish legislation in ending sex work but proved once again that moralists and feminists are happy to work hand in hand to implement legislation that hurts those who do not fit within their limited and violent and oppressive views of “right” behaviour, especially for women.
On a brighter note the conservative government of Canada was defeated and the new Liberal government has agreed to look again at the legislation, based on the Swedish model, that the conservative government had imposed despite the opinion of the supreme court and of course of sex workers and those who work closely with them. We, in the UK also have the proposal put before the Scottish parliament supported by Jean Urquhart MSP, arguing for the adoption of the New Zealand model for decriminalisation of sex work in Scotland. Hopefully this legislation will be successful and will create an impetus for positive discussion in England and wales. On a personal level I am pursuing my local Labour MP to persuade her to support decriminalisation and provided my health improves in 2016 I hope through membership of the LGBTory group to raise awareness of sex workers rights and the positives of decriminalisation. It is a slow, often laborious process, but it is through the endeavours of individuals that minds are changed and progress is made.
So I will end with wishing everyone a very happy and successful 2016 and as always I welcome and appreciate your support of The Harlots Collective and ask for your contributions to the blog. If you can spare any of your time to help in organising initiatives for the Collective for 2016 please contact Vicky or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org there is so much to do, writing reports, blogging, updating the website, ideas for raising finance, the list is long.
Bright blessings and every happiness,
Editor, Harlots Parlour.