‘Sex Workers Less Likely To Report Sex Attacks’ Says Government Adviser

Here at Escort Wales we have always been in favour of sex work decriminalisation. The main reason for that is sex worker safety. The evidence has always shown that if you push something underground, then it becomes unsafe. A report on the BBC seems to have taken that argument to the mainstream.

Man with sex worker

An advisor to the Welsh government says that sex workers are not reporting rapes and other attacks to the police because they think they won’t be taken seriously.

A Change in Attitudes

Nazir Afzal said the public needed to understand prostitutes were victims of trafficking, assaults, rape and murder.

One case is Natalie. The 22 year old got involved in prostitution due to alcohol and and drug addiction.

She toldĀ BBC Wales Live: “I was 18… I used to walk around the streets intoxicated and men used to see me like that and pull the car over and say ‘do you want to earn a bit of money?’ That’s how I got into it.

“Further down the line I was standing on a street corner waiting for men to pick me up.”

Despite many incidents where she was felt she was in danger, she never considered contacting the police.

“Sometimes I’ve been afraid for my life… I would be in the middle of something and I would get this urge that this doesn’t feel right and I would flee.

“I never really thought of going to the police – because they knew me for drug taking, prostitution and shoplifting I didn’t really want to get involved with the police.

“I was worried they would bring up stuff.”

Mr Afzal, who is the Welsh Government’s national advisor on violence against women, said the public need to have a different view of the life of a sex worker.

“It’s really important that we have a wider conversation, not just amongst criminal justice professionals, but amongst the wider public – for them to understand that sex workers are rape victims.

“Sex workers can be assaulted and are assaulted daily and very much exploited and trafficked throughout Wales…

“Rape victims are more likely to be sex workers.”

She believes that an innate prejudice in the public will also lead to negative outcomes in the courtroom.

“You will undoubtedly have people who don’t get it and bring their own prejudices and assumptions to the court room.”

In the last year, charity Safer Wales has collected information on 87 attacks on sex workers in south Wales alone. One suspects the number is far higher.

Laura McClelland from the charity said: “What I’ve now come to realise is how similar our lives are and how little separates us from the women we’re working with.

“I always believe it’s a few decisions, few moments which resulted in them leading the life they live and they’ve just not been lucky whereas I’ve been lucky, it could be us, our sister, our child.

“They are incredibly vulnerable women who really need our protection and our support.”

The Dangers of Criminalisation

I think this is the point. It isn’t just street workers who need help in this regard. Whether someone wants to be a sex worker or not, they should have the support and protection of society. If they feel that society hates them, then they won’t seek help if they have been attacked. Even more worryingly, there are some really sick people in the world. If they realise that sex workers are looked down upon by the authorities and Joe Public, they become even more of a target of abuse as the abuser doesn’t think he will be reported, or if they are reported, they won’t be convicted.

I am glad the BBC have now got involved with this issue. Sadly, when Escort Wales says we need decriminalisation, some ideologues will say that we have an agenda. This is an easy way of attacking our points if you have no evidence to back your argument up. The moment advisers to the Welsh government and the MSM get involved, it becomes more difficult to fob off the legitimate calls to make things safer for sex workers.

We will of course keep you up to date as to how this story develops.

Martin Ward
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Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
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