The Labour Party notes that:
- Sex work refers to escorting, lap dancing, stripping, pornography, web-camming, adult modelling, phone sex, and selling sex (indoors and outdoors).
- Currently prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is not illegal, but associated activities (soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, operating a brothel) are criminalised.
- Financial reasons, and any criminal record gained due to the criminalisation of sex work, are usually cited as the main reason for staying in sex work.
- Amnesty International publicly supports the decriminalisation of sex work and has produced a wealth of evidence on how this is the best legal model to ensure the safety of sex workers and victims of trafficking.
- A number of international human rights organisations support the full decriminalization of sex work, including the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women; Human Rights Watch; UNAIDS; the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health; Transgender Europe; ILGA-Europe and World Health Organization.
- Over 90% of sex workers in New Zealand said that decriminalisation gave them additional employment, legal, health and safety rights.
Accordingly the Labour Party believes that:
- The criminalisation of sex work (of both workers and clients) has been proven to lead to further distrust of the police amongst sex workers and for sex workers to be less safe at work.
- Sex work is work, in that sex work involves an exchange of money for services.
- Laws which aim to shut down sex worker’s advertising platforms increase the risk of the violence they face, increase the number of sex workers forced to work for exploitative managers, and increase the number of sex workers forced to turn to precarious outdoor work to survive.
- Full decriminalisation would ensure that sex workers could feel able to report unsafe clients or violence at work without the worry of criminal repercussions on themselves; that they could work together for safety; and that those who wish to leave the sex industry are not left with criminal records as a result of their job.
- Regardless of their reasons for entering into sex work, all sex workers deserve to have their rights protected and to be able to do their jobs safely. Whether or not you enjoy a job should have no bearing on the rights you deserve while you do it.
- Legislation targeted at combating poverty and austerity cuts; providing a living wage; access to affordable, appropriate housing; and adequate education funding with living grants, are more likely to ensure those who currently stay working in the industry due to economic necessity have other options.
The Labour Party therefore resolves:
- To support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work.
- To support the unionisation of sex workers and to respect their demands for labour rights and to improve their working conditions, including occupational safety and health.
- To campaign against any attempt to introduce the criminalisation of clients, often referred to as the Nordic Model, or any law criminalising the advertisement of sexual services (similar to FOSTA/SESTA) in the UK.
- To support, and for Labour policy to be led by, sex worker organisations, such as the X:Talk Project, English Collective of Prostitutes, SWARM, SWAI and SCOT-PEP, who work to improve the lives of sex workers across the UK.
- To forward this motion to the Local Labour Policy Forum, National Labour Policy Forum and relevant Regional (Scottish/Welsh) Labour Policy Forum.