Basis Yorkshire welcome today’s interim conclusions from the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the legislation of prostitution in the UK.
In particular we welcome their clear and strong statement that soliciting should no longer be a crime as this has an adverse impact, leading to stigmatization and prevents sex workers from working safely and seeking help from the police and organisations like ourselves – while maintaining a clear zero-tolerance of exploitation of sex workers. We call on the government to act as soon as possible on the recommendations made and to urgently proceed with presenting the final report as we believe there is sufficient evidence globally, nationally and indeed our own evidence locally to recommend full decriminalization of sex work.
This report comes at a time when the managed approach in Leeds is under review, the outcome of which we fear may reverse some of the progressive, pragmatic and rational steps taken by Leeds City Council and the police by introducing the managed approach, very much in line with the recommendations made today and indeed those made by Amnesty International a few weeks ago.
Gemma Scire, CEO of Basis “Locally, we fear the threat to the managed approach and are actively working to retain the focus on the safety of women sex working in Leeds. We’re acutely aware of the risk of violence and abuse that women face – staff at Basis are currently supporting women through the trial relating to Daria Pionko, a sex worker in Leeds, of which we await the outcome next week. By maintaining this approach, there is always an avenue for women to report crime against them to us at Basis or directly to the police.”