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Government Superficial Understanding Of Sex Work

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In a written parliamentary answer, a government minister (and shadow minister) with apparent superficial understanding of sex work appears to equate all sex work with street prostitution and trafficking. Sigh......

 

Written Answers to Written Questions - Department of Health: Genito-urinary Medicine (21 Nov 2014)

 

Luciana Berger (Shadow Minister (Public Health); Liverpool, Wavertree, Labour) Asked on: 18 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the consequences for public health of prostitution and sex trafficking; and what steps he is taking to minimise those consequences.

 

Jane Ellison (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health; Battersea, Conservative) Answered on: 21 November 2014

We recognise sexual abuse in all its forms as an issue of public health importance. Protecting People Promoting Health, published in 2012 (a copy has been placed in the Library), sets out where public health can make a difference to better prevention.

 

Our most recent assessment of the evidence confirms that sex workers are one of the most socially excluded groups and have some of the worst health outcomes in the population. Studies indicate that that in excess of 85% of street sex workers report using heroin, and 87% crack cocaine. They also suffer poor mental health and far higher levels of acute and chronic illness than the general population. Improving their health outcomes – and the outcomes of other vulnerable groups – is a challenge but it is the best way to improve public health. We are addressing these issues through the Inclusion Health programme. The programme has published advice and guidance to help the health system understand better the needs of these groups, commission services in a way that reflect these needs, and remove barriers to care. This is underpinned by the first-ever health inequalities duty to ensure that health services take account of excluded and vulnerable groups in planning their services.

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They are referring to street workers.

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They are referring to street workers.

 

Yes, but she moves from talking about sex workers in general to giving figures relating to street girls without any kind of indication that there has been a change of focus in her reply.

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Yes, but she moves from talking about sex workers in general to giving figures relating to street girls without any kind of indication that there has been a change of focus in her reply.

This is the problem. Stats and working conditions from one type of sex work are then used to describe all prostitution - and then once they get onto legalities there is just one mass of confusion.

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This may be splitting hairs, but I think the real problem with this parliamentary answer is not that working conditions from one type of sex work are used to describe all prostitution, but that it implies that street work constitutes the only significant form of prostitution - an incorrect message that is constantly reinforced by the sloppy journalistic use of pictures of tarty girls standing on street corners or leaning into open car windows. 

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This may be splitting hairs, but I think the real problem with this parliamentary answer is not that working conditions from one type of sex work are used to describe all prostitution, but that it implies that street work constitutes the only significant form of prostitution - an incorrect message that is constantly reinforced by the sloppy journalistic use of pictures of tarty girls standing on street corners or leaning into open car windows. 

They ,may have an agenda to push which is why they are careless with stats. I suspect prattling on about street girls keeps the public on side with the anti prostitution  agenda.  If they were to discuss indies then I think they may have less support for their anti policy.

but i takje your point about lazy journalism.  I pointed out that a story on the beeb at the weekend had the head line more than 10% of men have paid for sex.  but in the small print is said 11% of man SAY they pay for sex, quite a different thing.  Our journos let us down daily.

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They are referring to street workers.

They are almost always referring to street workers. The rest of us dont exist or are so rare as to not warrent notice as far as this sort of thing is concerned. 

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