‘Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking: Human rights impact assessment of anti-trafficking policy in the UK’.

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Fightback has welcomed the report launched this month by the x:talk project ‘Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking: Human rights impact assessment of anti-trafficking policy in the UK’. Download a copy of the report.

The report finds that the UK’s anti-trafficking policy is undermining the rights of sex workers, leaving them vulnerable to arrest and conviction or, in the case of migrant workers, detainment and deportation. The UK is also failing to meet its human rights obligations to trafficked persons, particularly men, transgender people and people trafficked into non-sexual labour.John McDonnell MP said:

“This welcome report confirms what we suspected. Far from protecting vulnerable people the anti-trafficking laws are increasing the vulnerability of sex workers to abuse and exploitation. Lawmakers need to address seriously the recommendations of the report, including the question of decriminalisation.”

Ava Caradonna, sex worker and spokeswoman for x:talk, said:

“We have always suspected that attempts to address human trafficking have been co-opted by people with another agenda—the eradication of the sex industry. What the x:talk report has highlighted is that, rather than assisting and supporting trafficked people, anti-trafficking policies have been most effective at putting the safety, health and even the lives of sex workers at risk. They have also helped to make sex workers a soft target for the Border Agency.”

Thierry Schaffausser, president of the GMB Sex Workers’ branch said:

“The GMB has passed motions to support labour rights for sex workers as the best way to combat human trafficking and migrant workers’ exploitation. Prohibition actually worsens workers’ exploitation and creates the kind of conditions that generate trafficking. Last July, the LGBT TUC Conference also voted a motion calling for labour rights approaches to fight trafficking in the sex industry in the same way we do for all industries.”