Thursday, 18 October 2012
Let's get to WORK.
Rhoda Grant MSP believes that ‘prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation.’ She believes that ‘prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising’ and that ‘the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.' She is proposing to make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland.
Now, I know, and you know, that her assertions are simply not true. I know from years of experience at various levels in the sex industry that in fact the vast majority of sex workers are working (quite contentedly) of their own volition and to support themselves and their families. Indeed, my colleagues and I have been visiting brothels so we know the truth, and we think it's time that the truth is told.
The public consultation on Rhoda Grant’s proposals for a new law to criminalise the purchase of sex is open until 14th December. This is an open consultation - you do not have to be a resident of Scotland or the UK to respond.
All of us at SCOT-PEP have been campaigning to stop this law going through and we will continue to do so but we need YOU to use your voice too.
Are you a sex worker, a client or an individual interested in human rights and safety for sex workers? Politicians need to know the realities of sex work, so let's tell them!
If you are a sex worker and enjoy your job, if you do not feel exploited or that it is dehumanising, harmful or degrading, SAY SO.
If you choose to work as a sex worker because it is the best available option for you, SAY SO.
If you see disabled clients who would otherwise never experience the joy of skin to skin contact, SAY SO.
If you feel that making it illegal for your clients to pay you is not going to tackle trafficking or ‘reduce demand’ but deprive you of a living, SAY SO.
If you are a client, who uses the services of sex workers and have yet to find a victim of coercion or trafficking, SAY SO.
If you work in health services and come into contact with sex workers who don't fit *that* stereotype, SAY SO.
Here's what you can do.
You can write to Rhoda Grant and tell her what you think of her proposals.
The consultation document asks specifically for answers to 8 questions – but you can also just write in with your opinion if you prefer. Your letter will be much more powerful if you can add your own views and experiences, although at Scot-PEP we have prepared some template letters here which you can use as a guideline for your own letter. In fact you can simply print the letters off and sign them.
You don't need to use your real name, for example you can use your work name or an alias to send in your opinion. If you do use your own name you must ask for your response to be treated as anonymous if you do not wish your name to be published on Rhoda Grant’s website and by the Scottish Parliament. (Only names will be published – not contact addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses etc.)
You can email your letter to: Rhoda.Grant.firstname.lastname@example.org
or post it to:
Rhoda Grant MSP
It has never been more important to stand up for your rights and to have your voice heard. Please don't let this new proposal drive our already clandestine and stigmatised jobs further underground and please don't allow politicians to tell you how you feel or how you ought to live your life. Enough is enough.