Moratorium on sex worker arrests during the Olympics – join the campaign!

The Olympics will cause more than just congestion on the transport system and hiked up rents this summer.
Sex worker led co-operative x:talk and its supporters are calling for a moratorium on arrests of sex workers in London with immediate effect until the end of the Olympic Games. Read more about why and how important this campaign is here…

Governments, charity organisations and campaign groups have argued that large sporting events lead to an increase in trafficking for prostitution. These claims, often repeated by the media, are usually based on misinformation, poor data and a tendency to sensationalise. There is no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking for prostitution.

But what they can lead to is anti-trafficking policies and policing practices that target sex workers. In London, anti-trafficking practices have resulted in raids on brothels, closures and arbitrary arrests of people working in the sex industry. This creates a climate of fear among workers, leaving them less likely to report crimes against them and more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This is an inadequate response to sex work and to trafficking.

x:talk is aware of “clean up efforts” already underway in London, particularly East London, in the run up to the Olympics. These include multiple raids and closure of premises. We anticipate that until the end of the Olympic games there will be a continued rise in the numbers of raids, arrests and level of harassment of sex workers. A series of violent robberies on brothels by a gang in December in Barking & Dagenham demonstrates the effect that this climate of fear can have on the safety of sex workers. The effect of raids on brothels and closures in the area had eroded relations between sex workers and the Police with the result that the sex workers targeted by the gang were unwilling to report the attacks for fear of arrest. The gang were able to attack at least three venues in December 2011.

In light of this, x:talk and its supporters are calling on the Mayor of London and London Metropolitan Police to suspend arrests and convictions of sex workers under the criminal laws laid out in Appendix 1.

What can you do?

* Model motions for trade and student unions are available here

* Write a letter to the London Mayor – model letter available here

* Join the campaign – next meeting is 17 May 3.30-5.30pm @ Centre for Possible Studies
21 Gloucester Place W1 Marble Arch.

Please feel free to come long and invite other interested people. Campaign materials will be available at that meeting. 

***

x:talk is a sex worker led co-operative based in London. It runs English language classes that are free to workers from all areas of the sex industry. x:talk approaches language teaching as knowledge sharing between equals and regards the ability to communicate as a fundamental tool for sex workers to work in safer conditions, to organise and to socialise with each other

* Keep in touch with them and the campaign here

* For more info contact: xanthew@gmail.com or xtalk@googlegroups.com or katie.a.cruz@gmail.com

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