Niki Adams writes: If progress is to be made now an amendment to the modern slavery bill has been defeated, MPs must invite us into the discussion
This week, the tide turned against attempts to attack sex workers by criminalizing their clients. An amendment by the Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart to the modern slavery bill (based on Swedish prostitution law) was dropped, despite cross-party support.
This came after a plea from sex workers that mobilised hundreds of individuals and organisations, including the Hampshire Women’s Institute, Women Against Rape, the Royal College of Nursing, church groups, trade unionists, academics, lawyers and anti-racist and anti-poverty campaigners, to write letters urging MPs to oppose the legislation.
The English Collective of Prostitutes argued that criminalizing clients would undermine women’s safety, drive prostitution further underground and sabotage sex workers’ efforts to keep safe by displacing us to remote areas.