The party will campaign for the Nordic model – where buyers are criminalised, but sellers are not – rather than full decriminalisation of the sex work industry.
At the Women’s Equality Party policy launch this morning, we got our first glimpse of how the party aims to improve the lives and representation of women in Britain. The launch – and the accompanying policy document – flesh out the party’s six core goals: equal representation in politics, business and media; equal education; equal pay and work; equal parenting; a reevaluation of women’s portrayals in the media; and an end to violence against women.
Yet as anyone involved with feminism knows, it’s easier to agree to these goals in the abstract than it is to agree upon solutions. The specific policies launched today were agreed in consultation with the party’s new membership base, but one in particular is likely to cause division in its ranks: sex work.
As the policy document notes on page 24, the party believes that the problems around the trafficking and abuse of sex workers can be tackled in one of two ways: “decriminalising and regulating the sex trade”, which legalises the purchase of sex with registered sex workers; or “criminalising the purchase of sex and providing women who sell sex with support services including help to those who wish to exit the sex trade” […]. WE has opted for the latter.
Under WE’s proposals, those who sell sex will not be criminalised, and the party would remove from law the few scenarios, such as kerb-crawling and soliciting in a public place, under which sex workers can currently be prosecuted. Sophie Walker, leader of the party, said at the launch that the party would aim to begin criminalising sex buyers within two years of establishing support and exiting services for current sex workers.
QotD: “The Women’s Equality Party would criminalise buying sex”