This year has flown by and it is hard to believe that Friday 13th has come round again. This is, of course, the day on which we are asked to declare our support for sex workers as Maggie McNeill reminds us here. Events in the last couple of weeks have demonstrated yet again the importance. Labour MEP and Swedish Model advocate Mary Honeyball has been particularly vocal, starting with her ill informed article in the Independent on 25th November and followed up with a quite mind boggling performance on BBC Woman’s Hour when she kept telling us about all the research she had done, seemingly blissfully unaware that her opponent in the studio discussion, Belinda Brooks-Gordon is an academic expert in the field who has done, one would expect, more, and more rigorous, research. I’m sorry Mary, but reading pieces by Melissa Farley and PR handouts from the Swedish Embassy wouldn’t constitute research at most academic institutions that I am aware of. Then she was at it again in yesterday’s Guardian. in a piece that included a comment from Kajsa Wahlberg, the Swedish Police’s Whorebasher in Chief that anyone who speaks out against prohibition is part of a pimping propaganda machine. Do you include in that, Kajsa, your professional colleagues in Northern Ireland who have submitted a detailed and well argued response to the Stormont consultation on the new Trafficking Bill, in which they oppose the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients?
The intellectual argument has been won by those who oppose criminalisation but the prohibitionists are refusing to go away. Like members of a cult they cling ever more fiercely to their beliefs, that sex work is ‘violence against women’ and that ,there are hundreds of thousands of sex slaves in the brothels of Europe, even as those beliefs are exposed as absurd on matters of fact and logic. They are dangerous because they have the ear of politicians of all political colours. There are major battles ahead. Today I just want to show my colours again and say
‘Sex workers, I support you in your fight,’