Our Consent Counts when legislating on sexwork by Ms N Goff

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 and live or work in your constituency. People in the sex industry sex 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. I m a mature intelligent female and I freely chose to do the work I do; I am independent and very happy with my lot apart from living with the picture of sex work put about which depicts everyone as forced into work, unhappy, immoral or all three. It should be looked upon as a valued, useful and necessary service where all parties are protected by the law rather than being made to feel vulnerable and be put at risk. Because of all these aspects, it is rare for people in the sex industry to identify themselves, and that’s part of the reason I am using this site to contact you.

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 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. It is not the oldest profession in the world for no good reason; it has existed for all this time because it is needed and there will always be a strong demand for it – criminalising it will not alter that one jot, so please allow it to be acknowledged, set it on the path towards acceptance and dilute the power of all the hypocrites and small minded moralists.

My vote at the General Election depends on this, so please let me know your views.

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