From the International Prostitutes Collective —
We won! Our collective mobilization defeated the amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill put forward by Fiona Mactaggart MP which would have criminalised clients. It dropped without even going to a vote.
Another amendment put forward by Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary, calling for a “review of the links between prostitution and human trafficking and sexual exploitation” was put forward as an alternative to Mactaggart’s, but that was also defeated.
This is a massive victory for the campaign against the further criminalisation of sex work. Hundreds of people and organisations responded to the call to write to MPs. The briefing in Parliament on Monday night, that we organised at very short notice, drew a good crowd. The impressive line-up of speakers included sex workers speaking about the impact the clause would have on their work, Hampshire Women’s Institute, Women Against Rape, student representatives, academics and union reps, queers and anti-racists opposed to this further discrimination. Questions from the MPs (Tories, Labour and Lib-Dem) elicited a productive and informative discussion.
MP John McDonnell’s contribution to the debate in the Commons today was outstanding – we have been worked closely with him over many years, including on defeating this measure. He made reference to the wide range of opposition, quoting from some of the many briefings and letters people had sent him, and countered the false claims put forward by those promoting decriminalization.