A visit to the House of Commons, decriminalisation of sex work (strange bedfellows)
Those of you who read regularly or have met Me in person will know I tend to take a lively interest in politics and to be vocal about defending human rights. When I heard that ‘The peoples parliament’ were hosting a discussion on the proposed criminalisation of sex-workers clients (adopting The Nordic model) I decided it would be in My interests (and yours) to go along.
The Nordic model exists in countries such as Sweden and is much touted as offering protection to those who work as erotic entrepreneurs by criminalising their clients. However evidence shows that these laws have been sadly lacking in bringing about any improvement in working conditions, safety or a decrease in the stigma experienced by sex workers. In fact the laws have been shown to increase the stigma experienced by those working in the industry and by extension to decrease their ability to work safely.
Always game for a new adventure I set off to the houses of parliament to be part of the debate.
Firstly let it be said that as a Dominatrix I occupy a rather privileged position as a sex-worker. Talking about My occupation might shock a few people, or occasionally cause a pause and perhaps titillated giggles at the dinner table but it’s not really HUGE news. A very different situation for example from the women involved in recent police raids of strip venues and working girls flats in Soho recently. So I try to stand up and be counted when I can because to hell with the discriminatory practice of harassing those who are more vulnerable.
The meeting was interesting, that it was set within such imposing surrounds served to remind me of just how entrenched political power can be.
On the one hand I think it’s GREAT that there was some sort of representation in the house of commons, the range of speakers invited was good and gave a broad overview of issues and also of the variety of people willing to fight criminalisation of clients and to work for a complete decriminalisation of sex work in general.
Speakers ranged from some one with personal experience of the Swedish model talking about how it definitely hasn’t improved things, speaker from Germany talking about how decriminalisation has worked there and what problems still exist with corruption, UK based sex worker organisations talking about who they are/what they do/what the direct effects of criminalising clients could be. Odd moments were provided by a representative of the Women’s Institute and an enthusiastic but very out of touch member of the Trade Union Council.
On the down side the event suffered from a particular kind of ‘social worker’ bent of politics, I wished I had of worn my ‘Save us from our saviours’ badge as this doesn’t just apply to the abolitionists, but also those who attempt to speak FOR sex workers and ‘represent’ us. There was a creepy amount of self congratulatory back slapping and jostling for power from some of those present, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the conveners running for local office soon.
As I was leaving parliaments grand halls I noticed the sign ‘Members are reminded that the carrying of lit cigars while walking the halls of is prohibited’, what an image that conjors.
In my view politics is a crock of shit unless it is fully participatory and filters down all the way to the roots of society, which may take a little more effort that just recognising that working in the sex industry does not make one LESS of a person!! Although shifting outrageously outdated laws and preventing any new ones would be a start.
Unless YOU wish to be criminalised for the terrible offence of coming to visit a Dominatrix then I suggest you sit up and take notice. Adoption of the Nordic model may be used as a political football come election time, because we all know a bit of moral outcry tends to drown out other less convenient issues of welfare, education and housing quite effectively.