Citizens of the United Kingdom are taking to social media to address prostitution. This time it isn’t railing against it. The Twitter hashtag #pledgedecrim seeks to decriminalize sex work. The campaign coordinator Laura Watson of The English Collective of Prostitutes describes why decriminalization is so important.
“Decriminalisation [sic] of sex work is urgently needed. Hundreds of women, many of whom are mothers supporting children in these increasingly harsh times, are being criminalised and even imprisoned… Women working together for safety are frequently prosecuted for brothel-keeping. Street workers face saturation policing yet are left unprotected from rape and other violence.”
#pledgedecrim Important even where Prostitution is Legal
Prostitution, in a broad scope, is legal in Great Britain. However soliciting in a public place, owning a brothel and a number of other activities related to and, in some cases, required by sex work are still considered criminal. Limited to call girl services and a handful of carefully crafted websites for purchasing time with a sex worker, the current regulation of the sex industry leaves many sex workers vulnerable.
Proponents cite New Zealand’s decriminalization of sex work in 2009. Prostitution and trafficking did not increase as a result and sex workers were not trapped in a dangerous industry with no escape for fear of the legal ramifications. The British economy would see a significant boost and decriminalization paves the way for stricter, safe-sex oriented regulation currently absent, putting at risk both the sex workers and those that partake.