INVITATION: Stop the Arrests Campaign Launch this Monday
WHEN: 6.30PM, MONDAY 18th June
WHERE: Centre for Possible Studies,
21 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8HR (nearest tube: Marble Arch)
Campaign group, Stop the Arrests(1), will hold a public launch in central London this Monday to outline its call for a moratorium on sex worker arrests during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The panel includes Laura Agustín, trafficking expert and author of Sex at the Margins, Georgina Perry, manager of Open Doors, a sex worker health project operating in Hackney and a video link up with Brooke Magnanti, aka Belle de Jour and author of The Sex Myth. Stop the Arrests is concerned that the policing of sex work and sex establishments in the lead-up to the Olympics threatens to compromise the safety and autonomy of sex workers.
The launch will also feature voices from workers in the sex industry.
The Met have recently been in touch with Stop the Arrests to inform that they have developed "an alternative system of dealing with sex workers during the Olympic period". This protocol, which will be made public on Monday 18 June, has been developed without any input from sex worker organisations or other specialist services working with sex workers, such as health and harm minimisation organisations.
Ava Caradonna, Spokesperson for x:talk said: "Stop the Arrests has tried for months to get an audience with the Met to discuss policing protocol during the Olympics. A senior Met officer has assured us that that the relevant department is aware of xtalk and the proposal for a Moratorium and yet we have not been consulted.
She continued, "The current laws and policing around sex work has been criticised from many different quarters for the lack of consultation with sex workers and sex worker led organisations, and the failure of these policies to take into account the realities of the sex industry. It is deeply worrying that the Met continues to develop policies that ignore these criticisms and the views of those affected."
Xanthe Whittaker: 07901335613
Katie Cruz: 07917732990
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. Campaign group, Stop the Arrests, issued the Mayor of London with a letter on June 6 calling upon him to use his powers, in co-operation with the police and UK Border Agency, to stop the arrest, detention and deportation of sex workers during the Olympics. Signatories to the letter, which was initiated by the xtalk project, include John McDonnell MP and chair of the Green Party, Jenny Jones, author Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour), Jane Ayres, manager of The Praed Street Project – a sex worker health project operating in London, and the UK Harm Reduction Alliance. Full details of campaign and list of signatories here.