Our Consent Counts when legislating on sexwork by Thierry Schaffauser

I am writing to you to ask your views on the sex industry. Although this is an issue on which everyone has an opinion, it is rare for the voices of people who sell sex and our organisations to be included.

This affects my livelihood and personal safety as I work in the sex industry, live and work in your constituency. People in the sex industry deserve fair and equal treatment, including respect for our consent to sex and the full protection of the law.

Due to criminalisation, stigma and prejudice, it is a risk to be open about how I earn a living. Because of this, it’s rare for people in the sex industry to identify themselves.

A vocal minority feel entitled to promote policies – such as criminalising our clients – that deny our consent and endanger our lives and livelihoods. They do not represent sex workers’ nor public opinion, as is shown by Ipsos Mori polls and surveys of TV audiences (e.g., The Big Questions, This Morning) and newspaper readers (e.g., The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/after-woman-sells-virginity-for-780000-here-are-the-results-of-our-prostitution-survey-8226025.html and The Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/sex-work-swedish-example-looked-4565433 ).

I hope that, whatever your personal feelings about sex and prostitution, you treat people in the sex industry fairly and equally. Support the New Zealand model of full decriminalisation, equal rights and respect for our consent to sex – because our consent counts.

My support and the vote of my friends at the General Election depends on this, so please let me know your views.


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