APNSW joins NSWP in condemning the recommendation to criminalise the clients of sex workers by MEP Mary Honeyball in a draft report on Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution and its Impact on Gender Equality for a report to the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee.
There is abundant evidence to show that criminalising sex work has damaging effects, both in terms of health and human rights outcomes for sex workers. When clients of sex workers are criminalised, sex workers by extension are criminalised too and are further marginalised and stigmatised. The reported increase in discrimination against sex workers from settings where clients are currently criminalised extends well beyond community and into NGOs and State institutions.
The conflation of sex work and trafficking particularly troubling as it does not contribute to a public debate in a constructive way. In fact, the issue becomes obscured and is likely to cause more damage to sex workers and trafficked persons due to badly targeted & ill-informed policy responses. The value of criminalising clients of sex workers is under a cloud as there is no evidence to suggest it is effective in preventing either sex work or trafficking from occurring.
APNSW condemns the stated recommendation and FEMM’s support of it in the strongest possible terms. We do not wish to see the harmful Nordic (Swedish) Model implemented in Europe or anywhere in the world.
APNSW also supports the call for action by The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) asking the Members of European Parliament to reject the report on prostitution and sexual exploitation which recommends the criminalisation of clients of sex workers.
At the same time, we call on the support of women’s organisations around the world to join us in condemning this recommendation and in highlighting the detrimental effects it will undoubtedly visit upon sex workers.