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28th October

 Update: Paying to get screwed by the authorities...


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How Northern Ireland politician passed yet another law that will be used to persecute innocent people, this time ordinary people who just want to get laid
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Northern Ireland...Bill to ban paying for sex

Northern Ireland Assembly In an unusual coalition, the two main opposing parties of Northern Irish politics have joined forces to pass new legislation on human trafficking, with the result that clients of sex workers will now be criminalised in Northern Ireland. Until just before the late-night vote on Tuesday 21st October, it was unclear how Sinn Fein (the republican party, active in both Northern and the Republic of Ireland) would vote, and the bill was complex, with over 60 amendments. Clause 6 of the proposed Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) bill contains the provision to criminalise clients of sex workers. It is already an offence to purchase sex from a trafficked person in Northern Ireland.

Lord Morrow, a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) tabled this private members bill, which was opposed by the Justice Minister, David Ford on the basis that it did not adequately address consensual sex work. An in-depth piece of research, commissioned by the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland, was released in the days preceeding the vote, but despite its clear and decisive conclusions, 81 MLAs voted for Clause 6 (10 voted against). The Committee for Justice advising on the bill also visited Sweden to gain information about the Swedish Model of criminalisation of clients, and heard evidence of a trafficking victim in an informal meeting.

The research from Queen's University depicts a small but active sex work community in Northern Ireland, with an estimate of 350 sex workers active in the country per day, 20 of whom work outdoors. The report suggests that trafficking victims account for less than 3% of that number, fewer than 10 people. More than a third of clients surveyed believed that paying for sex was already illegal. Of the 171 sex workers questioned, less than 2% supported criminalisation of clients, 61% saying that it would make them less safe.

Northern Ireland has a population of around 1.8 million people, but the research noted that both clients and sex workers were highly mobile, and frequently borders were crossed both to the Republic of Ireland and other countries in Europe to engage in sex work.

Speaking to the BBC , one NI MLA explained that the law would be enforced using online surveillance, since according to him, people pay for sexual services using credit cards. The Police Service of Northern Ireland have so far refused to comment on how the legislation would be enforced, but sex workers are widely known to rarely accept online or credit card payment, partly because of the need for discretion, and partly since few third party payment providers will allow transactions of an adult nature. 

Dr Jay Levy, author of " Criminalising the Purchase of Sex: Lessons from Sweden ", an in-depth analysis of 4 years of fieldwork on the subject, commented on the use of the Swedish model in Northern Ireland: "There is no evidence that levels of trafficking (or sex work) have declined since the criminalisation of the purchase of sex was introduced in Sweden in 1999, and the law has exacerbated danger and difficulties for sex workers. Northern Ireland's stating that this law will be used to target and reduce trafficking is nonsensical, given that there is no empirical data whatsoever to suggest it will have this effect, and given that the law is of great harm to sex workers'wellbeing and safety."

In France, politicians voted to criminalise clients, but the bill was struck down in July by the French Senate Select Committee. A bill to criminalise clients of sex workers was similarly considered in Scotland in 2013, but did not pass. The Northern Irish bill will also have to pass 3 further stages before becoming active legislation.

In November, MPs in England are scheduled to vote on an amendment to the Modern Slavery Act which would similarly criminalise clients of sex workers. An All Party Parliamentary Group was convened last year to consider the evidence regarding suitable legal provision for sex work. 

 

27th October

 Offsite Article: Sex industry doing it tough...

Link Here  full story: Sex Work in New Zealand...New Zealand's experience from legalising prostitution
New Zealand flag So how large is the prostitution business in New Zealand, now it's legal?

See article from stuff.co.nz

 

24th October

 Update: Endangering sex workers' lives and livelihoods...


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The prostitutes Collective argues that pushing prostitution further underground will not abolish it nor help sex workers,
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Northern Ireland...Bill to ban paying for sex
prostitutes collective logo Consenting sex is not a crime. Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution; it will push it further underground, making it more dangerous and stigmatising for sex workers.

Most sex workers are mothers, mostly single mothers driven into the sex industry by lack of economic alternatives to prostitution: unemployment, poverty, low and unequal wages. Many are young women trying to pay extortionate rents, university fees, debts . . .

Where is End Demand's outrage at UK benefit cuts and sanctions which are hitting mothers and children hardest, at mothers skipping meals to feed their children or having to resort to food banks?

What they say about the Swedish model is misleading and hides the truth: 25% of Swedish single mothers now live in poverty compared to 10% seven years ago; sex workers who are mothers face losing their children; sex workers facing violence are now too afraid to go to the police for protection as the stigma of prostitution has increased.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on prostitution which last year recommended the criminalisation of clients, refused to look at any of that. They have also refused to disclose how many of those who submitted evidence to them actually agreed with the criminalisation of clients. John McDonnell MP has asked to see the submissions but the APPG has been unforthcoming so far. They also refused to look at how decriminalisation was working in New Zealand, and its positive impact of sex workers' health and safety.

End Demand quotes Alan Caton, Suffolk's former Chief Superintendent. But the murders of five women in Ipswich in 2006 were preceded by a police crackdown. So were the murders of three women in Bradford in 2009-2010. Sex workers were hounded and forced out of their established red light areas into bleak industrialised areas, away from the concerned eye of the community.

We are not the only ones to have noticed that crackdowns endanger women's lives. Mariana Popa, a young immigrant mother, was murdered on the streets of Ilford, London, last October, in the wake of a police crackdown against clients. Following her death, senior police officers raised concerns that operations to tackle prostitution are "counterproductive" and likely to put the lives of women at risk .

Chris Armitt, the national police lead on prostitution in England and Wales, also called for a review of enforcement tactics aimed at prosecuting prostitutes:

We are not going to enforce our way out of this problem. It simply won't work. I feel it would be good to allow a small group of women to work together, otherwise it creates a situation where they are working away from other human support. I think the disadvantages of working alone outweigh the advantages.

While more and more time and resources are being diverted into policing prostitution, rape and child abuse continue on a mass scale despite thousands of victims coming forward. Where were the police when children were being abused in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, and in children homes all over the country? Where were they when women and their children were killed by violent partners and ex-partners? Where are they now when the same perpetrators continue to avoid prosecution? What is their connection to the perpetrators whose crimes they have aided and abetted?

Increasing the powers of police to deal with prostitution has already resulted in more arrests, raids, stealing and seizing the earnings of sex workers, and other abuses of power and corruption. No one who is calling for the criminalisation of clients has shown any interest in this.

The North of Ireland Assembly has just voted to criminalise clients. But Scotland has refused and so has France. It is time to look at decriminalisation and that's what we are campaigning for.

 

21st October

 Update: Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison ordinary people?...

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Northern Ireland Assembly votes in laws to ban some people's sex lives, and to impoverish and endanger sex workers
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Northern Ireland...Bill to ban paying for sex
Northern Ireland Assembly Around 17,000 men in Northern Ireland, 3% of the adult male population, pay for sex each year, according to new research.

The first report of its kind on prostitution found that criminalising prostitution here would put sex workers in greater danger, was unlikely to deter customers and almost impossible to police.

Queen's University questioned 171 sex workers online, 31 of which said they lived in Northern Ireland while 62 said they had sold sex here. Also quizzed were 446 people who had paid for sex, 51 of whom live here and 89 who had purchased it in Northern Ireland.

The research found:

  • 61% of sex workers thought changing the law would make them less safe;
  • 85% of sex workers believed outlawing the purchase of sex would not reduce sex trafficking;
  • 2% of prostitutes supported criminalising the purchase of sex;
  • 16% of clients said a change to the law would make them stop paying for sex.

Researches said there were around 350 sex workers available in Northern Ireland every day. The vast majority are online, with about 20 estimated to be involved in street prostitution, mostly in Belfast and Londonderry.

But of course the pleasures, livelihoods and safety of so many people means little to many selfish politicians who seem to enjoy putting other people in prison so they can feel good about their own equality or whatever.

Now paying for sex is to be banned in Northern Ireland after members at the Stormont assembly backed the proposal.

The human trafficking and exploitation bill was tabled before the assembly by Democratic Unionist peer Lord Morrow.

The fate of the bill's contentious clause six, proposing the ban on purchasing sex, was uncertain at the outset of the debate, with Sinn Fein's decision to back the prohibition along with the DUP proving crucial. The clause was passed during the bill's consideration stage by 81 votes to 10 shortly after 11.30pm.

Stormont's justice minister, David Ford, leader of the cross-community Alliance party, opposed the clause.

While the legislation still has to pass further assembly stages, the significant majority support within the devolved administration means it is essentially now destined to become law.

 

11th October

  A surprise alternative to voting UKIP...

Lib Dems reaffirm their call to decriminalise prostitution
Link Here
Lib Dems logo The Liberal Democrats overwhelmingly reaffirmed their call to decriminalise prostitution at their Autumn Conference in Glasglow this week. While sex work is technically legal across the UK, strict prohibitions on soliciting and brothel ownership remain on the books allowing for  persecution such as a major raid conducted in SoHo last December by the London Metropolitan Police.

Although they're not exactly known for their business-friendly policies, the Lib Dems are leading the way on this important issue of commerce. Other parties should take note: sex work is a legitimate line of business like any other, and sex workers should be treated with dignity under the law by way of complete legalisation of their practice.

This is not to say that sex work is problem-free. Like any industry, there are bad actors. Some pimps may beat prostitutes for not obtaining enough business. Some brothels may purchase sex slaves from foreign traffickers. These practices should remain illegal and be rectified by rigorous enforcement, and still would under the Lib Dem's proposal.

However, it's high time that the UK confronts the fact that this snapshot of the abused hooker is a stereotype that does not fit the vast majority of sex workers who engage in the practice of their own consent. As Lib Dem member Sarah Noble explained at conference while introducing the proposal, They're moms and daughters, students and workers, rich and poor, and -- yes -- men and women. They are all human beings.

 

10th October

 Update: Nasty Parties...

Sweden's government is attempting to ban Swedes from paying for sex abroad
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Sweden...Criminalised purchase of sex
sweden social democrats logo Sweden's nasty parties, forming the Social Democrat-Green party coalition government, are trying to make it an offence for Swedes to use prostitutes when they are on holiday or working in other countries.

In Sweden it is already illegal for customers to pay for sex but now the government wants to extend the policy to Swedes who buy sex abroad, with a vote in parliament expected on Tuesday.

But their plans look set to be blocked by the more humane centre-right parties that made up the former governing Alliance in Sweden and the nationalist Sweden Democrats. Johan Pehrson, Liberal Party Justice spokesperson told Swedish television network SVT:

For the Swedish police to scout abroad for this type of crime is not using their resources in the best way,

It is more important to combat serious sex crimes that exist in Sweden, particularly the crime of targeting children.

Richard Jomshof, speaking for the Sweden Democrats added:

We say no. Even if we are against buying sex in Sweden, it is not the same as interfering in other countries' legislation.

 

7th October

 Update: Miserable Canada...

Canada's House of Commons passes new law to endanger sex workers and criminalise their customers
Link Here  full story: Sex Workers in Canada...Canadian sex workers campaign for safety and legality
canadian parliament The Canadian government's nasty prostitution bill passed in the House of Commons Monday night by a 156-124 vote.

Injustice Minister Peter MacKay was behind the new legislation, Bill C-36, and took the approach that it would criminalize the purchase of sex, but not its sale.

MacKay called his legislation a made in Canada approach and claimed that it was the best way to eliminate prostitution altogether. By allowing prostitutes to sell sexual services without fear of criminalization, the law won't prevent them from implementing safety measures such as bodyguards, MacKay has said.

Under the previous law, prostitutes were effectively prohibited from hiring bodyguards because nobody was allowed to live off the avails of prostitution.

 

30th September

 Update: Window Cleaners...

Amsterdam dreams up more spurious rules to target red light windows
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers
Amsterdam red light area New regulations supposedly aimed at the hygiene of sex toys have irked Red Light District window operators, who are now appealing the rules change by Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan.

As part of the new licensing conditions, window landlords are responsible for ensuring that sex toys maintain proper hygiene standards rather than the sex workers who use them.

Under the united front Wallen Ondernemers Prostitutie (WOP) window operators say the responsibility for the cleanliness of sex toys should rest with the people who rent the windows, and they have filed an official complaint with the city over the change, according to the Telegraaf.

In July 2013, new regulations imposed much stricter rules on window operators across the Red Light District. To receive a license, operators must ensure that each window is adequately supplied with clean towels, condoms and disinfectant soap, with checks carried out eight times annually. The addition of sex toy hygiene proved to be too much for operators, they said.

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  Sharon Sloane

 

Sharon Sloane

Quality latex and rubber fetish wear.

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Also PVC, leather, lycra and spandex.

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