Campaign groups fight for Prostitution to be legalised

By Vincenzo Ferrara

Coventry is a city where prostitution is a major problem for local authority. Sex workers and their clients have given the Hillfield’s area of the city a bad name. Campaign groups are now asking for radical changes to the system.

Operation Scarlet, just one of the ways that local police have tried to tackle prostitution, was seen to have made this worse for sex workers, forcing them to go underground.

In New Zealand it’s been nearly 12 years since prostitution was decriminalised.

The Decriminalisation was seen as the greatest advance for the safety and protection of sex-workers and their clients in New Zealand.

Sam Dimmer from Coventry Telegraph interviewed Cari Mitchell, a spokesman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, she explains.

“In New Zealand the law that has been put in place is on the basis of health and safety”, Cari said.

“The law offers regulation and cover in the same way you would with pubs and clubs.

“If you think about it it’s not rocket science – it’s only sex.

“And consensual sex too, between adults.

“When prostitution is forced it’s rape and the police have to treat it as rape.

“The problem is when women are attacked they are too scared to come forward. If they are immigrants they fear they will be deported and if they are from the UK they fear being criminalised.

“I‘ve heard of women working indoors who have complained to the police about an attack and the next thing you know their property is being raided. It’s unbelievable.

“It’s outrageous that police are cracking down on sex workers and clients because it’s widely accepted that police crackdowns drive sex workers underground and into more dangerous situations.Police Station

“Many sex workers are mothers raising children.

“In Coventry you have appalling poverty, with one in three children living in poverty.

“Because of various circumstances women are facing a very bad set of choices and one of those choices is going out on to the street.

“The last thing women need is to be criminalised for it.

“Then women are being arrested for breaching engagement orders and finding themselves in court where they often end up being fined.

“Then they go back on to the street to pay that fine.

“And what happens if a sex worker is arrested on a Saturday and they can’t be seen by court? They could find themselves in prison for a couple of nights.

“It’s outrageous when women are only trying to survive.

“The most shocking thing is that the new CCTV cameras in Coventry are not being used to protect sex workers.

“There was a time when CCTV cameras would be used as a place to meet clients, because all the details would be caught on camera if something was to happen.

“The CCTV has to be used for women’s safety, not as a deterrent or a way to secure prosecutions.”

The new laws in New Zealand have made it illegal for sex workers to be under 18, they have introduced strict health and safety requirements and Brothel operators must be certified.

Gina a sex worker from Hillfields Coventry said:

“Although it is my choice to do this job, I do feel in danger a lot.

mother and child

“I have two young children that I love and have no other way of supporting

 

“The introduction of health and safety regulations will help us feel safer and hopefully reduce the amount of negative stigma around prostitution.”

 

For more information go to:

 Coventry Telegraph

Trust

To listen to the interview with Gina click here

 

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