As the Brexit negotiations get underway, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK are beimg much discussed and the Government is, apparently, keen to give them the right to stay in the UK after Brexit,
Even before Brexit, however, there are some EU citizens who are apparently not welcome. This statement from Wiltshire police describes the arrest of three Romanian women who had been selling sex from a property in Swindon. They were arrested and now face deportation.
You.will note that there is no evidence of trafficking or coercion. The ladies were working through choice, and quite openly advertising their services through Adultwork. They were, according to the law, running a brothel which is a criminal offence. In this case running a brothel is simply women working together for their own safety like the Polish women in Bradford who were jailed in 2013..
If the women were not coerced what basis do the police have for saying this?
“This is a very positive outcome as the women are now safe and away from their clients and are no longer vulnerable to the risks of off street sex work.”
And what evidence is there to support this assertion?
“There are strong connections between the adult sex industry, human trafficking and modern slavery”
This is frequently said but major police inquiries like Operation Pentameter failed to find any significant evidence of trafficking into sex work although there have been several recent cases of trafficking into farmwork and construction.
Such police stings do nothing to promote the safety and well being of sex workers and surely run counter to the good practice set out in the Merseyside Model which is supposed to create the trust between sex workers and police that gives the sex workers the confidence to report indents of violence.
It is surely time to decriminalise sex work so that women can work together for their own safety and so that citizens of out (still) fellow EU states can work in the way they choose without fearing the knock on the door.