People’s Agenda profile 25: English Collective of Prostitutes

The ECP have been campaigning against laws that criminalise sex work for decades, we find out in this twenty-fifth People's Agenda profile

May 13, 2015
2 min read

ECP peoples agenda ‘Since 1975, the ECP has been campaigning for sex workers to have rights like other workers; higher benefits and wages so no one is driven into prostitution by poverty and whoever wants to leave can. ‘

What would you do if you were told that hundreds of mothers working to support their children were criminalised and even imprisoned; that women were raided for being immigrant, and a neighbour was banned from her borough for 26 years? Wouldn’t you want to help stop such discrimination?

This happens to sex workers every day.

Instead of support from mainstream feminists, we face more criminalisation. They want to make clients illegal, which would not stop prostitution, but it would make it more dangerous and stigmatising for sex workers. Those pushing for criminalisation include Labour feminists who, whilst in government, implemented austerity cuts which propelled thousands of women into prostitution.

Since 1975, the ECP has been campaigning for sex workers to have rights like other workers; higher benefits and wages so no one is driven into prostitution by poverty and whoever wants to leave can.

New Zealand decriminalised in 2003. A five-year government review found measurable improvements: no increase in prostitution or trafficking; sex workers can work collectively, refuse any client, report violence and leave prostitution if they choose; drug users are treated as patients not criminals.

A 2010 poll found 2/3 of the UK public would welcome a similar law on grounds of safety. Shouldn’t those who claim to speak for women listen to the women on the spot?

To find out more: prostitutescollective.net

Red Pepper are running the People’s Agenda series in the run up to the General Election, demonstrating the breadth of exciting grassroots political activity in the UK.