Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that prostitution should be decriminalised leaves women open to violence and abuse and shows a lack of understanding of the issue.
“Advocating the sale of bodies for sex is not the solution to the problem of sex exploitation and in fact tips the vast power imbalance that drives the commercial sex industry,” said Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker.
“Decriminalisation and public policy on the sex trade needs to address the fact that many women entering the sex trade are living in poverty and many more have been sexually abused as children. These women are exploited and coerced and should be properly supported to exit the trade.”
The Women’s Equality Party advocates criminalising those who pay for sex, alongside a managed process to end sex trafficking and other sex exploitation by robust legislation, and establishing and funding support and exiting services.
"People who are sold in the sex trade or who sell access to their bodies should never be criminalised. But legalising the sex trade encourages more organised forms of trafficking and leads to an increase in violence against women who sell sex,” adds Walker.
Walker pointed out that women and children are overwhelmingly those exploited, and that almost all sex buyers are men.
“The sex trade reflects wider gender inequalities in the UK and worldwide. The Women’s Equality Party demands an end to the abuse of women and girls through the sex industry and promotes women’s right to safety, health and non-discrimination.”
The Women’s Equality Party believes the current laws on the sex trade do not work. There has been an increase in sex trafficking and many women are forced into situations comparable to slavery.
● WE will change the law with immediate effect so that women never risk being prosecuted for selling sex.
● WE want to see funded support for victims of the sex industry – including a legal right for trafficked women to remain in the UK. But freeing women from sexual exploitation also
● WE call for international cooperation as well as local solutions – in particular on defeating the cross-border crime of sex trafficking
● WE will make the case for a managed process to end demand for the sex trade in the UK, by legislation that first establishes and funds necessary support and exiting services and then moves on to criminalise the purchase of sex after one to two years to remove the demand.
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