Sex worker rights, brothel regulation, prevention of human trafficking

Proposer
Autumn-Leah
State

Accepted

Vote Score

2

Age

1360 days


@Autumn-Leah edited crime.md - over 3 years ago

With a comprehensive strategy allowing for strategies at all levels and areas of local government, we hope this will allow us to effect change in a productive manner wherever we are elected.

War on Sex

All regulations on production of pornography in the UK are to be repealed, barring those that would expose the material to those below the age of consent or allow images of those below the age of consent of a sexual nature into adult stores. Pornography that is explicitly stated to be non consensual would also be illegal. These regulations criminalise the actions of consenting adults and entire subcultures, such as bans on production of BDSM pornography, and are more fit for a theocratic nation than a democracy.

Sex work is to be completely decriminalised (barring sex work for those under the age of consent) and active outreach work will be taken to destigmatise, but not encourage people into, this line of work. In line with this policy, sex work is to be practiced only in regulated brothels and brothelkeeping would be legalised, and though sex work in the home would not be encouraged, it would have a neutral legal status for the worker and it would be illegal to solicit the services of a sex worker for money in an unregulated environment. Brothels would be taxed as any other business.

If not previously established, a 24/7 freephone number will be formally established to report abuse specifically of sex workers and will add to the myriad of techniques currently utilised by law enforcement to avoid this happening. This will contribute to the ongoing battle against human trafficking and abuse of sex workers.

Police

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

If I were to add a description here I'd end up restating the whole policy

Floppy

@Floppy - over 3 years ago

Is there a campaign we can link to that backs up the policy? I don't feel qualified currently to pass judgement on whether or not it's a good idea, because I know nothing of that community and the deeper background.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 3 years ago

Thanks. Would be good if we can link to some of the ECP recommendations, but I can't actually find any on their site. Hmm.

Vote: ✅

Xyleneb

@Xyleneb - over 3 years ago

I don't think it's a good idea. European countries have tried it (the state licensed brothels thing) and it's ended up creating less of a "safe space" and more of a target for traffickers to gravitate towards. The system we have as it stands is good, if not the best then certainly amongst them.

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

The system we have as it stands is awful. Sex workers don't get institutionalised protection like a brothel would have to provide, they're widely discriminated against in both society and in criminal matters, and if anything saying "it'll be a target for traffickers" is the least sensible thing to say without providing any evidence. If you're that worried about trafficking I'd be fine with editing the policy to make them government run and police guarded but I figured that'd spark outcries of "think of the children" and "the government are perpetuating sexual immorality" and other forms of meaningless and baseless appeals to emotion. That usually wouldn't bother me, but chances are it could make us unelectable, but we have to do something in favour of sex workers.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 3 years ago

@Xyleneb Are you able to point to any sources on that so we can see what's happening in countries that have decided to legalise and regulate?

Xyleneb

@Xyleneb - over 3 years ago

The system we have as it stands is awful. Sex workers don't get institutionalised protection like a brothel would have to provide, they're widely discriminated against in both society and in criminal matters, and if anything saying "it'll be a target for traffickers" is the least sensible thing to say without providing any evidence. If you're that worried about trafficking I'd be fine with editing the policy to make them government run and police guarded but I figured that'd spark outcries of "think of the children" and "the government are perpetuating sexual immorality" and other forms of meaningless and baseless appeals to emotion. That usually wouldn't bother me, but chances are it could make us unelectable, but we have to do something in favour of sex workers.

Our cities are the size of other countries, spanning population densities of 4,000 people per square kilometer (for example, greater manchester I think is comparable to lithuania). Yet our support for sex workers is amongst the most efficient, most liberal, most focused on the job than nearly every other nation on the planet. If you're ashamed of that then it's because you have high standards (and I don't blame you). What I think we can do for sex workers is replace solicitation bans with 'solicitation licensing'. Leeds tried something similar (a solicitation amnesty) with moderate improvements across the board: http://archive.is/P0BJ2 also there is this similar article concerning dutch 'streetwalking zones': http://archive.is/bXGmW

Brothels are a bigger problem than that though in terms of NIMBYs and in terms of interfering with income and personal security. You can have specialized police patrolling the brothels all you want, but workers and clients alike have to travel to and from there. Initiatives that mean well, even when they're designed to take the workers into account can end up interfering with what is usually to them a vital means of income.

Are you able to point to any sources on that so we can see what's happening in countries that have decided to legalise and regulate?

I did look for stuff specifically relating to brothels, this was all I could find though: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10611-013-9512-4

I can tell you "what I've heard" as well: Negative stories about the Dutch system, mixed stories about the German system, and positive stories coming from New Zealand. Of note; New Zealand has a much smaller population density.

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

That suggeston of a relaxing of solicitation law still does nothing for social or legal discrimination and institutionalised protection from non-sexual and sexual violence.

Xyleneb

@Xyleneb - over 3 years ago

the suggestion of a relaxing of solicitation law still does nothing for social or legal discrimination

How many employers, nevermind brothels, just regular employers of workers.. How many of those provide adequate social and legal support for their employees?

Not many do. In spite of the fact that many of them are legally mandated to provide that support.

Also you're proposing that licensed brothels will legitimize or normalize the industry in the eyes of the public. I'm not sure that's happened in the Netherlands, though.

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

How many employers, nevermind brothels, just regular employers of workers.. How many of those provide adequate social and legal support for their employees?

Not many do. In spite of the fact that many of them are legally mandated to provide that support.

This just means enforcement of the laws need to get better, not that it's a bad idea.

Also you're proposing that licensed brothels will legitimize or normalize the industry in the eyes of the public. I'm not sure that's happened in the Netherlands, though.

Along with the outreach campaigns I think it's better than nothing on the cultural front, which is what we have now. What's going on in the Netherlands and can you source it?

Xyleneb

@Xyleneb - over 3 years ago

This just means enforcement of the laws need to get better, not that it's a bad idea.

The Dutch and the Germans have both legalised brothels, and have reasonable law enforcement to back it up. Yet it still hasn't stopped a bunch of eastern europeans being funnelled through these industries.

Along with the outreach campaigns I think it's better than nothing on the cultural front, which is what we have now. What's going on in the Netherlands and can you source it?

I'd be surprised if "I'm just off to mcdonalds" and "I'm just off to the brothel" will ever be held in the same cultural equivalency. But, if you want to look into it, there are plenty of (anecdotal) articles of interviews between the press and the sex workers in the netherlands. You end up having to google things like "netherlands prostitute interview" though. Most of them say things like "they were promised a job without being told exactly what the nature of what it was". Which is embedded in the nature of these businesses unfortunately.

I think you're underestimating or not considering the NIMBYs as well, which leads to them punishing you come voting time.

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

The Dutch and the Germans have both legalised brothels, and have reasonable law enforcement to back it up. Yet it still hasn't stopped a bunch of eastern europeans being funnelled through these industries.

Evidence?

But, if you want to look into it, there are plenty of (anecdotal) articles of interviews between the press and the sex workers in the netherlands.

Who will be undoubtedly self selected. The press like drama, if a sex worker is having issues with a recently passed policy, they're gonna jump on it like a cat on freshly cooked cod.

I think you're underestimating or not considering the NIMBYs as well, which leads to them punishing you come voting time.

What do you mean by this?

Xyleneb

@Xyleneb - over 3 years ago

Evidence?

From the third link I left here: "The prostitution business retains many characteristics of an illegitimate market and the legalization and regulation of the prostitution sector has not driven out organized crime. On the contrary, fighting sex trafficking using the criminal justice system may even be harder in the legalized prostitution sector."

Who will be undoubtedly self selected. The press like drama, if a sex worker is having issues with a recently passed policy, they're gonna jump on it like a cat on freshly cooked cod.

The Dutch and German systems have been crafted over a great many years, I think only the German "stop-offs system" is recent (if you're wondering what that is, it's like a public drive-in sex work & wash facility, with bins that handle dirty needles and stuff). Also from what little I looked at it (I think this policy is at least 5 years old and I looked at it equally "long ago") there were some good things to be said about them. They work. Modest successes again, but they do allegedly work. I think the reason they work is because they're not run with a pimp or a madam trying to make a profit. The police and social workers run the joint. The workers get help with their addictions and they keep their money.

What do you mean by this?

Not In My Back Yarders. Would you want a brothel outside your house?

The problem is not so much the sex workers as the auxilliary businesses that sprout up around them.

Anyway, I've said my bit. You could change the bill with the recommendations I've given and I'd vote in favour. But if I can't convince you or floppy et al not to bank on this working then you might as well go for it. The argument for a change in policy will have to be made at a later date.

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

@Xyleneb, I meant how am I underestimating the NIMBYs, I know what it stands for.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 3 years ago

This is currently passing, so it'll be merged. @xyleneb, maybe it would be a good idea to do a second iteration with your recommendations so we can vote on them specifically?

Vote: ✅

Autumn-Leah

@Autumn-Leah - over 3 years ago

@Floppy good idea, looking at it again after 2 days, I think I may make a few adjustments myself.