UK Royal College of Nursing votes to support the decriminalisation of sex work


The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), a union representing nurses in the UK, has voted by "an overwhelming majority" to support lobbying for the decriminalisation of sex work at its annual conference this year.

RCN previously voted to support the decriminalisation of sex work in 2005, and this new motion adds to this by mandating the RCN Council to “lobby governments across the UK to decriminalise prostitution”. 

“As nursing staff, we have a responsibility to call for what is in the best interests of public health and the patients who entrust us with their care. Nurses rightly chose to follow the evidence which shows that criminalisation undermines sex workers’ health and welfare,” said Lou Cahill, the nurse who proposed the motion. 

Decrim Now, a coalition of sex workers, trade unionists & feminists in the UK, said, "that the Royal College of Nurses voted to support decriminalisation is wonderful news. Nurses are frontline workers and it is clear that they understand the principles of harm reduction, and that they looked at the ample evidence that criminalisation – whether of sex workers directly, or our clients, managers or landlords – harms people who sell sex. Law and policy should prioritise sex workers’ safety and we are so happy that nurses endorsed that today.”