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(en) Britain, Anarchist federation journal Resistance #110 - Page 4 - SEX WORK IS WORK!

Date Fri, 06 Mar 2009 16:59:40 +0200

Every day we see stories in the press about communities plagued by the sex trade. Those
involved are demonised, made out to be drug-crazed or foreign sex slaves. Either way, they
are portrayed simply as victims. Here we see a rather different story from Soho in London.
In the space of two months London Metropolitan Police have carried out two raids at the
residences of maids and sex workers in Soho. ---- Police have obtained a closure order for
61 Dean Street alleging that two flats "promote anti-social behaviour and attract
thoutsand opportunist thieves and drug dealers who gather outside the venue". All this
fuss without anyone even asking for it! ---- If London Met had been paying attention to
the community they were supposed to be protecting then they might have seen the petition
signed by thousands of Soho resident sex pressing their support, sympathy and solidarity
with the women that the Met had chosen to criminalise.

Workers and residents from
across the area delivered heartfelt senti-
ments not only encouraging the diversity
that the maids and sex workers bought to
Soho but also displaying out rage at the way
the women had been targeted for nothing
more than consensual sex while `law and
order'seemed to be ignoring more violent

Many more also feared for the
women's safety once they had been re-
moved from the protection of the flats they
worked in and forced out into the streets-
particularly those who were single parents.

The aggressive way in which the
police have singled out these women and
ignored the protests of the local people
sends a clear message as to just how little
they value the opinion of the public and
how very much they have `abused' their
powers in order to act on no one's behalf
but thei rown.

There are many arguments against
sexwork, most of which are oddly selective
in their criticism. Instead of focusing on
things like consent, sexual freedom ,hones-
ty and organised resistance to sexploitation
many people adopt puritanical attitudes and
maintain the idea that when sex is not in a
format they can understand then it must be
wrong. Under capitalism, everything and
everyone exists as a commodity, and the
women in Soho provide a service which is
no different to the labour power that work-
ers of other trades give, and deserves to be
treated in the same respect: not valued as
any better or worse because, let's face it, all
work under capitalism is crap.

We should stand alongside all
workers of all trades because we all face
the constan tviolence of the state and capi-
talism, whether it is through job insecurity,
poor working conditions or the potential
loss of home and shelter.

The state constantly divides us
along the lines of gender, sexuality, race
and class to serve its own interests. But
when we begin to unite--as the residents
of Soho have done--on common ground
under the basis of mutual aid, equality,
freedom and honesty, we can start to carve
out a better future from the cold shell of

As we go to press the closure order has
just been thrown out of court and the
women are `free' (so to speak) to return
to their work.
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