Letter urges government to protect prostitutes during Coronavirus

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Source: Lord Alton

Sarah Champion MP, Chair of the APPG prostitution and global sex trade, has joined forces with a cross party group of MPs, Peers, former Met Police Chief, Church and women's groups to urge the Home Secretary to safeguard prostitutes in the UK.

They write:

"We write to seek reassurance that the Home Office is responding to the heightened risks faced by prostituted people during the Coronavirus emergency by enabling them to access support and exiting services.

Sexual exploitation is gendered: it is predominantly women and girls who are subjected to sexual exploitation, and it is overwhelmingly men who pay to sexually exploit them. Sexual exploitation drives modern slavery in the UK. The overwhelming majority of women reported to the National Referral Mechanism are brought here to be prostituted.

Prostitution is a profitable business. We are therefore hugely concerned that when the exploiters are unable to use the women to make money because of coronavirus, the women's lives literally become worthless to them.

We welcome the Home Secretary's strong position on tackling Domestic Violence during the pandemic. As part of this campaign, it must be recognised that forcing women into prostitution is a recognised form of coercive control used by abusive partners. We ask that the commitment given to tackle domestic abusers is applied to anyone trying to profit from sexual exploitation, and that similar support is given to the victims."

The letter has three asks:

• Victims of sex trafficking and modern slavery be granted reliable accommodation and support services.

• The police are advised to consider sexual exploitation when responding to cases of domestic abuse.

• Specialist services for victims of sexual exploitation receive the funding they need to continue to deliver exiting support and adapt to likely emerging service user needs due to Coronavirus.

Commenting on why she wrote the letter Sarah Champion said: "I've become increasingly concerned about the plight of the most vulnerable in our society due to Covid19, prostituted people are just such a group, but one we find easy to overlook. Unless the Government is pro-active in supporting prostitutes, they will be failing in their duty to safeguard some of the most marginalised in our society."

List of signatories:

Sarah Champion MP, Chair of the APPG on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade
Baron Hogan-Howe QPM Kt, former Head of London's Metropolitan Police
Revd Vivienne Faul 56th Bishop of Bristol, Church of England lead on Modern Slavery
Lord Alton of LiverpoolBaroness Gale
Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE
Lord Kennedy of Southwark
Lord McColl of Dulwich
Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary
Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of Conservative Party Human Rights Commission & Vice Chair of the APPG on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade
Ronnie Cowan MP
Angela Crawley MP
Carolyn Harris MP, Shadow Minister Women & Equalities
Dame Diana Johnson MP
Pauline Latham MP
Jess Phillips MP
Fiona Broadfoot, survivor
Not Buying It
Nordic Model Now!
Dionne Reid, CEO Women Work
Rosemary Hack, Director, Press Red
Equality Now
Lynda Dearlove, CEO, Women at the Well
Harriet Wistrich, Centre for Women's Justice
Zarin Hainsworth, National Alliance of Women
Phil McCarthy, CEO Caritas Social Action Network

Tags: Prostitution, Coronavirus , Covid-19, COVID19, Human Trafficking, Lord Alton. David Alton, Sarah Champion MP

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