Monday, 25 February 2008


Near my home in Reading, is the Oxford Road, often characterised by the media as a red light district. Of course there is an element of this, but thats not the whole story, aside from the new Tesco it is a vibrant shopping street of small family run.

Many residents near where the street workers operate live in fear of the criminal element, with hypodermic needles found on the floor along with condoms. But the way the Labour authorities have been dealing with this has been to target the street workers, putting their pictures on the front page of newspapers. Targeting the women is wrong, they are already vulnerable, that would only focus attention on them putting them at great risk.

In the wake of the life sentence handed to the murderer Steve Wright for the killing of 5 prostitutes in Ipswich, Siân Berry, Green Party Mayoral Candidate for London, calls for the complete decriminalisation of sex work so that the focus of police efforts can be redirected to protecting the most basic human rights of prostitutes: their life and their health.

Green Party policy called for the complete decriminalisation of prostitution on the "New Zealand model", so that the focus for sex workers moves from evading arrest to their safety and wellbeing. (1)

She said: "The current system that criminalises prostitution just pushes street sex workers further into the twilight, further from traditional areas of relative safety and further into danger.

"Decriminalisation could mean that instead of hearing about prostitutes being murdered and attacked on the streets of our cities and towns, we would instead be talking about health and safety in sex work premises, which are already 10 times safer than working on the street.

"Criminalisation of actions associated with prostitution leaves workers vulnerable to violent clients, and encourages police and other authorities to treat them as criminals even when they are in fact victims of serious crimes."

Siân also attacks the new Clause 124 of the Labour government's Criminal Justice Bill, which introduces a new 'order to promote rehabilitation' for the offence of 'loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution.' (2)

She noted that this was effectively re-introducing imprisonment for the offence of soliciting, which was abolished by a Tory government in 1982.

She said, "The government with this Bill is treating prostitution as though it were an illness, and one for which women and men should be punished. Of course we would hope that sex workers who want to get out of the industry, and who need help with that, should find it immediately - and for that the government needs to provide greatly improved funding for, for example, drug addiction treatment
programmes. But women and men arrested for soliciting should not be forced into 'treatment' against their will.

"And the government should note that it is often its own policies - inadequate support for women with children, the withdrawal of recourse to public funds for failed asylum-seekers, that is forcing women and men into the industry."

Siân added: "Centuries of criminalisation have not wiped out, or even reduced, the level of prostitution. Instead it has left on our streets, and our consciences, the bodies of many murdered women and men."


Anonymous said...

You can bleat on about how great you're going to be for prostitutes and how they're the victims until the cows come home and it pisses me off.

I live in 'the red light district' of West Reading and nobody gives a shit about how we get abused or walked over.

Reading Borough Council is funding heroin addiction through their paying rents for known anti social addicts so they don't care; the Police are handicapped by the useless Magistrates Court dishing out suspended sentances like they're lottery tickets and no-one cares.

Your lefty holier than thou policies clearly show that you're no better.

Adrian Windisch said...

Where to start; first im not a lefty, I wrote about this before, those terms arent very useful these days. Many street workers are victims, some are trafficed, and forced to work, others are addicts and vunerable. Most people do care about residents wherever they live. And you blame me for the acions of the council, perhaps you havent noticed than i'm not a councillor, and i'm in opposition to many things that they do.

If you wish to contribute to this it would help to make your case, perhaps give a few examples next time.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to leave things as they are but it seems the police have chased most of these women away from Western Elms ave. I feel I able doing a charitable deed by picking up these girls and enjoying their bodies all for around £10-15. They are providing an exciting and fun service and even avoiding the police when pickng them up can be quite fun and exciting.Lets have more of them...I've tried all those around and would like some fresh ones!

Ailbhe said...

Well, that was sickening.

Adrian Windisch said...

Im not surprised they hide behind a cloak of anonymity, with comments like that.

The government is now making it a criminal offence to pick up a sex worker who has been trafficked, but doesnt say how anyone would no that they have been trafficked. And if somone does know theyve been trafficked, then they should be rescued, not used as bait. Legalisation is the better policy all round.