Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meeting at the House of Commons on sex work

Information recived from the Safety First coalition about a meeting on the 16th January :

Clause 72 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (CJIB) is currently passing through Parliament, introducing compulsory rehabilitation for prostitute women under threat of imprisonment. The criminalisation of clients is also being discussed, supposedly to deal with trafficking. Before you decide on these issues

The Safety First Coalition invites you to hear first hand about

New Zealand’s decriminalisation of prostitution,
Sweden’s criminalisation of clients,
and their effects on women’s health and safety.

Keynote speakers:

Catherine Healy

Key to New Zealand’s successful decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003, Ms Healy was appointed by the Minister of Justice to the New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee. She is a founding member and the national co-ordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective. She is frequently sought by national and international organisations for advice on issues affecting sex workers. She was widely consulted for the publication of A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry recommended by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee. She collaborated with researchers from Otago University, Christchurch, on major research into the effects of decriminalisation soon to be published. In1993 Ms Healy was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal for her services to women.

Pye Jakobsson

Organising for sex workers’ rights since 1994, Ms Jacobsen is a founding member of Sex Workers and Allies in Sweden (SANS) which organises against the criminalisation of sex workers resulting from the criminalisation of clients.

Wednesday 16 January 2008 4-6pm
House of Commons, Committee Room 10
Westminster, London SW1 All welcome
Hosted by Baroness Vivien Stern and John McDonnell MP

The Safety First Coalition is made up of members of the church, nurses, doctors, probation officers, drug reformers, anti-rape organisations, residents from red light areas, sex workers, sex work projects and others who came together in the aftermath of the tragic murders of five young women in Ipswich, to press for women’s safety to be prioritised and for an end to the criminalisation which makes sex workers vulnerable to attack. It opposes Clause 72 which increases criminalisation. It is co-ordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes.

Clause 72 is being promoted as an alternative to a fine but it is an additional power. It requires anyone arrested for loitering or soliciting to attend a series of three meetings with a supervisor approved by the court “to promote rehabilitation, by assisting the offender to address the causes of their involvement in prostitution and to find ways of ending that involvement.” Women will be humiliated by being asked to reveal intimate circumstances while no resources are being made available to “address the causes”. Failure to attend will result in a summons back to court and a possible 72-hours imprisonment. Women may end up on a treadmill of broken supervision meetings, court orders and imprisonment, on top of fines and prison sentences for non-payment of fines. Even the Magistrates Association has expressed concern.

English Collective of Prostitutes or Safety First Coalition
Tel: 020 7482 2496, 07811 964 171