Our Consent Counts when legislating on sexwork by Oz

I’m a male masseur and escort and I’ve met hundreds of sex workers through doing duos and from providing an hourly rental incall location. We are a lot more careful than the average person when it comes to our sexual health. We do prevent the breakup of a lot more relationships than we cause to break up. If I surveyed my sexworker friends and asked whether they enjoy their jobs, I’d get a far more positive response than if I asked the same question at any workplace where I’ve worked previously. All of the sexworkers I know are independent, ie they don’t have pimps, quite successful, earning far more than the average wage, have way more free time than the average worker and minus some advertising costs, all of the work we do translates directly into money in our pockets. If you think about working for a corporation almost all the work you do there translates into their profit, not yours. They just pay you the absolute minimum they can get away with. We’re far less exploited as independent escorts than workers in almost any other job.

Luckily, I work in UK where escorting is legal. It must be hard in places where it’s illegal like USA. Perhaps if more policy makers actually asked sex workers what their lives were really like, they’d see that criminalizing sex work is ridiculous. All it does is help out the pimps and harm the sex workers by removing our recourse to go to law enforcement for help when we’re the victims of real crime.

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. Because of this, it’s rare for people in the sex industry to identify themselves, and that’s part of the reason I’m 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.

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


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