who can join?
The IUSW and GMB Adult Entertainment & IUSW branch is open to everyone working in the sex industry and adult entertainment – from erotic dancers to staff of shops selling adult videos to escorts, prostitutes, call girls and rent boys, from film or phone sex actors to sexual health counsellors and escorts – and those who support the campaigning aims of the organisation.
GMB is a general union – which means that anyone can join us. Membership is open to UK residents, regardless of nationality, immigration (visa) or taxation status.
Why is membership so open?
GMB policy is that membership is open to people at all levels of the workforce, including managerial, auxiliary and support staff*.
That’s one of the reasons the IUSW and the GMB branch are open to everyone who works in the sex industry and adult entertainment – a really diverse group. More important than our differences are the things which bring us together. We all live with stigma. We all experience social exclusion. We all face vulnerability. Many of us are criminalised. The GMB offers union representation to enable us to organise and demand the same rights as those taken for granted by workers in other industries.
The primary difficulty we face is not our work itself, but the conditions in which we work. Criminalisation forms an integral part in creating those conditions – decriminalisation would provide us with the freedom to decide how to work – independently, in co-operatives or for other people.
Selling sexual services is legal, but street prostitution, brothel keeping and controlling for gain are criminalised. Street-based sex workers are made more vulnerable by the criminalisation of their work and clients. Under current law, if two sex workers share premises, the person whose name is on the lease can be prosecuted as a brothel keeper. If someone arranges appointments and negotiates fees on behalf of a sex worker, they can be convicted of controlling for gain, regardless of whether they are honest and fair or exploitative and coercive. Our legal definition of trafficking is so loose that anyone knowingly giving a sex worker a lift to work, even if they are not being paid to do so, is potentially at risk of prosecution.
It makes no sense to campaign for decriminalisation but exclude from that campaign the very people who are most at risk of prosecution. People who work in the sex industry can tell the difference between those offering safe, fair and honest working conditions and those who coerce, exploit and abuse us.
So, working in solidarity, we resist attempts to divide us: we campaign for everyone in the sex industry to have the same human, civil and labour rights as other citizens, the same protection of the law as other citizens and for our inclusion in decisions which will affect our rights and safety.
We welcome as members all who choose to join us in the campaign for rights, freedom and safety.
* If conflicts of interest arise within the IUSW/GMB branch, as with other branches, these are dealt with on a case by case basis.