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International Union of Sex Workers


Our aim.


The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) campaigns for the human, civil and labour rights of those who work in the sex industry.


All workers including sex workers have the right to:

  • full protection of all existing laws, regardless of the context and without discrimination. These include all laws relating to harassment, violence, threats, intimidation, health and safety and theft.
  • access the full range of employment, contract and property laws.
  • participate in and leave the sex industry without stigma
  • full and voluntary access to non-discriminatory health checks and medical advice

The current organisation of the sex industry presents many problems for workers and the communities within which the industry operates. Improving the legal framework and self-organisation of sex workers is to the benefit of all parties. Recognising both the rights and responsibilities of sex workers is the only sensible way forward.

Have YOU told your prospective MP your views on prostitution.

April 7th, 2015

In parliament last November, some MPs tried to make it illegal to pay for sex. Campaigners for increased criminalisation have met with senior politicians and will keep up the pressure for increased repression. The Northern Ireland assembly passed a law making it illegal to purchase sex, this comes into affect in June 2015. These well-funded and well-organised crusaders promote the view that they speak for the majority, although approximately 70%+ of the population accept that people in the sex industry have a right to exist and to consent to sex (see below for references).

Just five minutes is all it takes to email your PPCs (Prospective Parliamentary Candidates) and the politicians who met pro-criminalisation lobbyists via is run by the IUSW, long term advocates for the rights and safety of people in the sex industry.

Take action to prevent criminalisation of consent to sex for money.

Please pass this information onto other sex workers, escorts and allies. We must gather momentum and inform our potential representatives what would make life safer for us.

Public opinion is in favour of tolerance

71% of The Big Questions (BBC1) audience said prostitution should be accepted
72% voted for complete decriminalisation of prostitution on ITV’s This Morning
73% of Independent readers said prostitution shouldn’t be illegal
85% of Daily Mirror readers when asked ‘Should buying sex be a crime?’ said ‘no’.

IUSW Response to the Amnesty International consultation on decriminalising sexwork

April 8th, 2014

The IUSW was asked by Amnesty International for our thoughts about decriminalising sex work.  We have responded with this document in pdf format Sex Work And Human Rights


Laura Lee, Dr Belinda Brookes-Gordon on Newsnight

February 21st, 2014

Laura Lee and Dr Belinda Brookes-Gordon appeared on Newsnight to discuss the impending debate in the European parliament which intends to criminalise the purchases of sex.  Dorcas Erskine from Eaves was there to support Mary Honeyball who proposes this bill.

It was an infuriating debate with Dorcas Erskine shouting down  Belinda when Belinda was given the floor to speak, and was arguing that Dorcas’s statistics were misrepresentative.   Dorcas was so dismissive of academic peer reviewed  research. Throughout this debate  Belinda and Laura were silenced by the incessant interruptions from Dorcas.  Interesting to see various comments from impartial tweeters back up this view.

A video of the debate will be posted here in the next few hours, and then later the Newsnight visit to a German brothel.   Newsnight chose to visit a brothel and Germany, and did not explore alternatives like total decriminalization.  The alternative supported by us is the total decriminalization model as is practised in New Zealand.  This model gives power to sex workers to work how they want, whether that is a big brothel, a small brothel set up by women working together, lone sex workers, or street work.  In all cases the sex worker has the tight to refuse clients and to contact the police.

Newsnight debate 

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Newsnight German brothel video coming.

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Catherine Stephens and Mary Honeyball argue Mary’s proposals.

February 17th, 2014

Catherine Stephens sexworker from the IUSW and Mary Honeyball MEP argue the Nordic Model on the 14th February 2014 LBC with Duncan Barkes.  Mary proposes that the EU should recommend criminalising the purchase of sex throughout Europe.  There is a vote in parliament towards the end of February.

The audio of this discussion is here. Audio.mp3