wait, what about…?
The topic of sex work brings up a lot of questions. We’ve tried to answer as many as we can so you can make a better informed decision. If you still have more questions please do contact us.
our campaign film
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sign our petition to the government
The UK law puts 70,000 women’s lives at risk by forcing them to work alone. It's legal to be a sex worker in the UK but illegal for them to work together.
Make all women safe. Stop working together being a crime. Help us by signing our petition to press the government to decriminalise sex work.
Working together indoors feels safer
“If I could work with a friend from a flat I would do that because it would be safer. I wouldn’t be having to look over my shoulder for the police all the time. Because of the laws I have to make an instant judgement about clients and jump into cars, which is much more dangerous”
“If clients were criminalised it would make it more difficult for us to find them. I would be put in a more dangerous situation because the clients would be trying to hide so they don’t face the criminal charges. I would have to work in more out of the way, more secluded and therefore more dangerous places. Clients are still going to want sex so they will come out to find prostitutes or sex workers. Sex workers are going to be out there because they need the money.”
Criminalising clients would make it more dangerous
Decriminalisation would help us move on to different jobs
“Once you have been criminalised as a prostitute, it would show up on any police check that prospective employers run before they offer you a job. So you will not get that job. I was offered a job as a home help but because it was working with vulnerable adults and children I had to have the advanced police checks. The job was quite well paid and would have fitted in perfectly with my life caring for my disabled child. But because of being criminalised for working as a prostitute I had to refuse that job.”
“If we are attacked when working we can report it the same as if we are attacked in the home. When some women report violence to the police they say “if you don’t like it then go home.”
Decriminalisation would mean that we have an equal playing field
THE PROSTITUTION LAWS TRAP WOMEN IN SEX WORK
“Most sex workers are mothers who think “just this once”, “just this week” to cover a heating bill or make something a bit special to eat. Then we get stuck in something we can never get out of. I never thought the first time I went out that I would still be here at my age. Now I have a record so can’t get another job.”
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“The criminalisation of sex work must end. Treating sex workers like criminals sends out a signal that women’s lives are less valuable and makes it harder for them to report rape and other violence to the police and get the protection that others are entitled to.” - Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape
“I’m supporting this campaign because it’s no longer acceptable that we make the most vulnerable and the poorest women in our society criminals. The laws do not keep women safer; they make it very difficult for women to leave sex work. The majority of sex workers are mothers who are just trying to survive and provide for their families. It really is time to lift these laws and to have the full decriminalisation of sex work.” - Sarah Solemani (Actress, Writer & Activist)
‘National Ugly Mugs receives between 60-80 reports of crimes against sex workers every month, averaging two per day. In 2018 we issued over 200,000 alerts to sex workers about dangerous individuals who preyed upon them. We document the devastation that occurs in the lives of sex workers who are forced to work in dangerous conditions, including working alone. The laws must change to protect the lives, health and safety of sex workers as a first priority.’ - Dr. Raven Bowen, CEO National Ugly Mugs (NUM)
We are a national organisation of sex workers, working both on the street and in premises, campaigning for the decriminalisation of prostitution, for sex workers’ rights and safety, and for resources to enable people to get out of prostitution if they want to. We are based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre in North London.
Since we were founded in 1975, we've won many important victories including the first ever private prosecution for rape in England and Wales, which saw a serial rapist, who attacked women at knife point, imprisoned for 14 years.