Prostitutes Protest Unsafe Work Conditions
Hundreds of prostitutes and their supporters marched through London last night on strike – protesting against unfair and unsafe working conditions.
Huge crowds chanted ‘sex work is work’ and ‘no bad whores, just bad laws’ through the streets of Soho on Friday evening, undeterred by the rain. Traffic came to a standstill, with many drivers forced to turn back as the crowd marched defiantly with banners.
A police car arrived within minutes but just followed the march slowly, keeping an appropriate distance from the lingerie-clad women.
Sex workers are campaigning for the total decriminalisation of the industry, which they say would make prostitutes safer and allow them access to labour laws.
Although prostitution is legal in the UK, other related activities such as soliciting in a public place, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering are criminalised.
Selling sex in private in not illegal, nor is working as a prostitute in a brothel as long as the worker is not involved in management – meaning the person running the brothel can be charged with a criminal offence but the prostitute cannot.
However, because of the criminalised nature of the industry, sex workers working together from the same flat or house for safety live in “constant fear” of being arrested for brothel-keeping.
The protest, which took place on International Women’s Day , was about including “all women” in the feminist movement, with many shouting “drunk, alone, I want to get home”.