NSWP Statement: Decision by FEMM to Support Criminalising the Clients of Sex Workers

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NSWP statement in response to the decision by The European Parliament Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee's to support proposals to criminalise the clients of sex workers.

The statement strongly condemns the recommendation to criminalise the clients of sex workers by MEP Mary Honeyball in a draft report on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality for a report to the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. The proposals to criminalise the clients of sex workers are based on ill-thought out policies regarding sex work. The policy recommendations have been shown to increase stigma and discrimination against the sex workers in countries where similar policies have been introduced. Moreover, the direction of this proposed policy is incredibly dangerous not only in EU member states but also globally. There is every possibility that proposals to criminalise clients (and by extension the criminalisation of sex work) becomes EU-wide policy with the further consequence that non-EU member countries would be encouraged to adopt similar policies. The draft report also conflates trafficking with sex work thereby contributing to an already growing number of ineffecitve policies aimed at eliminating 'sex trafficking' by focusing solely on 'women in prositution'.