Sunday, 16 July 2017

Why are women who have escaped prostitution still viewed as criminals?

an article by Julie Bindel published in the Guardian on 12 July 2017

Women who have got out of the sex trade dread criminal record checks when they go for jobs. But now there’s a chance those records could be expunged.

Upset woman
‘Despite decades of campaigning to change the law, women in street prostitution are still ending up in court in higher numbers than ‘kerb crawlers’.’
Photograph: Cultura RM/Leon Harris/Getty Images/Cultura RM

In 1996, while helping organise a major conference on male violence against women and girls, I met Fiona Broadfoot. Fiona had recently stopped being involved with prostitution and ran a phone line offering support to women also wishing to escape the sex trade. She told me she had “dozens” of offences for street soliciting, and we spent many hours discussing how to change the law so that prostituted women and men would be no longer treated as criminals. A group of feminists, including Broadfoot, set up a re-education scheme for punters two years later in an attempt to put the onus on the perpetrators, and launched a campaign to decriminalise those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the sex trade.

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