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LGBT+ Lib Dems mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

December 17, 2015 10:16 PM

Logo for the International Day to End Violence against Sex WorkersDecember 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The day has been marked since 2003, in the aftermath of the Green River Killer in the USA.

LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Dave Page said, "Violence against sex workers disproportionately affects LGBT+ sex workers, particularly trans ones. According to Transgender Europe, almost two-thirds of trans people murdered, whose profession was known, were sex workers. Sex workers are often seen as acceptable victims of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic violence, particularly as they are less likely to involve or be taken seriously by police. Whatever your views on sex work, this violence is unacceptable."

Natasha Chapman, of the Liberal Democrats' Policy Working Group on Sex Work, added, "All genders, sexualities and economic backgrounds can be found amongst sex workers. Transgender women make up a disproportionately large number of these, especially those with non-white ethnicities. This is likely due to the discrimination they face in wider society which reduces their opportunities for employment in other industries. Similarly, lesbian, gay and bisexual people who struggle with financial hardship and high levels of homelessness when they are younger, are also more likely to enter the sex industry through a lack of alternative options rather than a desire to do so.

"Current Liberal Democrat policy, which was reaffirmed and expanded on at our conference in 2014, would improve safety for these workers by fully decriminalising their work and thereby making it easier for them to take safety precautions such as working together from the same premises without fear of arrest. The only way to protect people from being coerced into working in the industry through financial hardship is by tackling poverty. And decriminalisation protects them in the meantime, as well as those who wish to keep working in the industry."