The motion to advocate the decriminalization of sex work passed with an overwhelming majority at Thursday’s Student Council meeting
Approximately 70 students, including the four Sabbatical Officers and 20 elected student representatives, voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion.
The motion, put forward by Naomi Beecroft, stipulates that Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) officially advocate the decriminalization of sex work, offer its support to sex workers who are students at the University of Edinburgh, as well as endorsing sex workers’ rights organisations, “such as SCOT-PEP and Sex Workers’ Open University”, according to Beecroft’s proposal.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Beecroft asserted that “rapes [of sex workers] are becoming more common [and] more violent” and said that in 2007, attacks on sex workers “rose by 95 per cent”. She went on to point out that there are student sex workers attending the University of Edinburgh and that the issue is not far from EUSA’s purview.
When the motion passed, Beecroft responded: “I’m overjoyed this policy passed and that EUSA will take a stance against Edinburgh City Council’s regressive attitude to fight with sex worker groups like SCOTPEP and sex worker’s open university for the safety and dignity of sex workers.”
MSP Rhoda Grant has taken an interest in the motion and asked to attend the Student Council meeting, according to Sarah Moffat, Women’s Liberation Convenor. She was denied on the grounds that she was not a student at the university.
Earlier in the week, Grant told The Journal, “I strongly believe that students should vote against this motion… The student union does have role in supporting those who have been exploited in this way, helping them exit, supporting them to maintain their studies and promoting their wellbeing. Rather than working with groups and organisations that wish to grow this industry they should seek information from the Health Service and groups supporting people in prostitution and those supporting people to exit prostitution.”