'Don't put us on the street - save Soho!': sex workers in London to protest evictions
Sex workers in London are mobilising in defense of the traditional red light area, Soho, which is under threat from gentrification and developers. Sex workers are being specifically targeted for eviction, despite the fact that their long-standing presence has been crucial to the area's sexy, cosmopolitan character and reputation, and thus part of what has made it attractive to developers at all.
These evictions would endanger Soho's sex workers, who would be cut off from services, and displaced from their local community. One woman said, "I have four children back in Thailand who would not survive without the money I send them. Their lives were turned upside down by the recent floods. I don’t have the option to give up this job. Why is selling our bodies in Soho considered worse or more immoral than selling our bodies in a factory, warehouse, restaurant, bank or university? If I am evicted it is likely I will end up on the street and be less safe.” This follows a pattern seen all over the world, whereby sex workers are targeted for eviction by developers, profoundly compromising safety.
The English Collective of Prostitutes are organising a protest in response to these evictions, on Wedneday 9th October. Details of the protest can be found here. An ECP spokeswoman said, "Soho is one of the safest places for women to work. What justification is there for the police to pour time and resources into getting women thrown out on the street? The police claim that they are saving victims of trafficking but that isn’t true. They’ve not come forward with any evidence that women are being forced, coerced or trafficked.”
You can read more from the ECP here.