UPDATE: Amnesty International voted to support the decriminalisation of sex work on Tuesday afternoon. Its International
Human trafficking is a scourge of our times, and whether in sex trade or forced labour, women and girls tend to be especially vulnerable. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than half of all victims world-wide are female. In fact, the U.S. State Department estimates that, among the 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked across international borders every year, nearly 70% female. Half are children.
A new campaign is using the dating app Tinder to bring home the brutal reality of sex trafficking in Ireland. Specially created
You don't very often see pimps visibly plying their trade in my neighbourhood these days, which is both a sign of Westminster Council's success in its relentless campaign to crack down on the sex trade, and, perhaps, an affirmation of what the local girls proclaimed loudly and with varying degrees of success in court, after the dodgy police raids of last December.
Most people are voiceless because no one is letting them talk or listening to them when they do. There is a lot to be said for quitting being the voice of the voiceless and letting people speak for themselves. But not by those seeking to abolish the sex trade. Words are put into people's mouths when they can be, and when they can't, those people are silenced and dismissed.
Like any human being, I watched the documentary Hunted with an open mouth and an increasing horror. I also watched it whilst trying to quieten the several fireworks going off in my head at once. The similarities between homosexuals' rights in Russia and sex workers' rights in the UK/Ireland are breath taking.
A carefully orchestrated campaign to criminalise the buyer of sexual services is set to be centre staged this year. Emotions, prejudice, feminism, ideology and religion are creating a vortex, and revolving at its centre is the question as to whether selling and purchasing sexual services is right or wrong. Where are the rights of sex workers in this debate, have they been consulted and has their voice been heard?
Student unions and universities are not doing enough to support the rising numbers of students who are turning to the sex
Human trafficking is a scourge. It does not discriminate and permeates across age, race, sex and gender; it crushes self confidence and destroys lives. Its victims are often some of the most vulnerable members of society, separated from family and friends and with no access to financial help or support, they can become forgotten victims. As victims' minister my role is to ensure that they are not forgotten, but it is a job I can't do alone.
In a recent article for the Huffington Post, comedian Chris Dangerfield provides a new spin on an old argument regarding the sex trade. The argument is a familiar one: prostitutes are exploited but hey that's okay - because so are billions of other people. There is, he claims, no difference between the exploitation of a prostitute and that of a person working in Tesco stacking shelves for 12 hours a day.