UK's 'War on Sex Work' Leaves Edinburgh Strippers Jobless

UK's 'War on Sex Work' Leaves Edinburgh Strippers Jobless

EDINBURGH, U.K. — Amidst a relentless U.K. media campaign demonizing sex work, the Edinburgh Council voted today to impose a “nil cap” on all sexual entertainment venues in the Scottish city, effectively banning all strip clubs.

“The vote follows the publication of the Scottish Government’s strategy for preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in 2019, which argued that ‘prostitution, lap dancing, stripping, pornography’ encompassed and engendered VAWG,” culture magazine Dazed reported, adding that “to date, there is no evidence for this.”

Virtually every prominent sex worker rights organization in the U.K. has sounded the alarm about this dangerous decision by the Edinburgh Council, which would leave sex workers out of a job by the end of the week.

Sex workers and advocacy organizations explicitly condemned the support of several members of the Scottish Labour Party for a conservative measure spearheaded by the Tories and other social and religious conservatives.

One of the country’s sex worker unions, United Sex Workers, released a statement today stating that “Labour and Conservative councillors hide behind the excuse that this decision was made in the name of women’s safety, yet they willfully choose to exclude the safety of the women who work in strip clubs.”

“We state again, as we have continuously done so, that it is not within the council’s remit to dictate what work women can or cannot do,” the USW statement continued. “It is the Council’s duty to preserve public safety, not to force over 100 workers into spaces where they will be at a greater risk of violence, simply because they do not agree with their choice of work.”

United Voices of the World, which also represents sex workers, will file for judicial review, according to legal caseworker Danielle Worden.

“The union is extremely disappointed that the council has chosen to disregard its legal obligations and the relevant evidence by adopting a policy that discriminates against women,” Worden told The Herald Scotland.

“Not only does this violate the the Equality Act 2010, it is an act of cruelty to remove the livelihoods of hundreds of workers as we enter the worst economic crisis since the 1970s,” she added.

The Edinburgh Council's decision — supported by supposedly progressive politicians — comes as a result of a relentless campaign by SWERF editorialists in almost all press outlets in the U.K. to denigrate and stigmatize sex workers.

Last November, for example, The Guardian, which regularly farms out coverage of sex work to an obscure U.S.-based nonprofit with an "anti-trafficking" agenda, published a militantly SWERF editorial with the title "Selling Sex Is Highly Dangerous. Treating It Like a Regular Job Only Makes It Worse," a take which is typical in both Conservative and Labor-leaning outlets in the country.

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