4 Dec 08

GMB members who work in the sex industry are happy to work with the Home Office to decriminalise sex work and to create viable and effective legislation

The Government today announced that it will become illegal to use prostitutes who have been trafficked into the country or who work for pimps or drug traffickers. Ignorance of the new law, or of a woman’s circumstances, will be no defence.

A GMB spokesperson for the sex workers branch of the union made the following comments on the proposals to change the law “ People in the sex industry know that these proposals will at best be ineffective and at worst increase the danger and criminalisation that sex workers face. They go in the wrong direction. The proposal makes no distinction between fair, safe and honest work environments.

Brothels and agency owners are the most likely to see victims of trafficking. They are already criminalised under existing legislation if they report their anxieties, even if they are proved to be true. They are at risk of prosecution, jail and the seizure of their assets. This is a disincentive to report their concerns and suspicions.

Clients who use the sex industries are other group most like to see vulnerable sex workers. Clients do not want to have sex with victims of trafficking.  Given that, it makes sense to give owners and clients the means to report their concern to the proper authorities, rather than putting them at risk of criminal prosecution, if they report their suspicions.

The term ‘Controlling for gain’ is also far too sweeping. ‘Controlling for gain’ covers whole swaths of the UK leisure and entertainment industry. Writers, actors and barristers in chambers could all be considered to be ‘controlled for gain’.  There is a need for a more precise term which targets exploitation.

GMB members who work in the sex industry are happy to work with the Home Office to decriminalise sex work and to create viable and effective legislation that cannot be abused and will give sex workers protection at work and access to their full human rights.”
End
Contact: GMB Press Office: Rose Conroy on 07974 251823 or Steve Pryle on 07921
289880.
Notes to Editors: GMB sex workers are available for interview

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