Racism and xenophobia are also a problem for sex workers
The article “Mariana Popa was killed working as a prostitute. Are the police to blame?“, News) is a turning point in getting senior officers such as Chris Armitt to admit that criminalization puts women at risk: “It would be good to allow a small group of women to work together, otherwise… they are working away from other human support.” It has taken 40 years of campaigning to get this truth out. From the trial of Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women, many of them sex workers, to the Ipswich murders in 2006, we have complained that the police hound rather than protect sex workers.
Ms Popa was Romanian. The 2012 police raids in Mayfair targeted Thai and Romanian women, the swoops in Harrow Roma brothels. The Soho raids last December, under the guise of freeing trafficking victims, dragged handcuffed eastern European mothers in their underwear on to the streets.
Is it surprising, then, if violent men target a woman such as Mariana Popa? Yes, the police are to blame. And so are feminist politicians, who lead calls for further criminalisation. Having refused to listen to sex workers, will they listen to Chris Armitt?
English Collective of Prostitutes