In the fight for the Labour Party to support the full decriminalisation of sex work, we can now mark down a major achievement – LGBT+ Labour, the party’s official LGBTQ affiliate, has passed a motion in support of decriminalisation. The motion has committed the organisation to campaigning for decriminalisation, to campaigning against the damaging Nordic Model and to support inclusion and unionisation for sex workers.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy – having submitted the motion we had a nerve-wracking few hours when it seemed that we’d have to argue against 17 of our 19 clauses being deleted and replaced with pro Nordic Model and anti sex worker statements. A desperate email was sent pointing out this represented an entirely different motion and thankfully the amender chose to withdraw – but we knew it meant we’d be up against opposition during the meeting.
As those of us supporting decrim have come to expect, those opposing it spoke to conflate sex work with trafficking and decrimnalisation with legalisation. There was also an attempt, thankfully voted down, to have the motion sent to a committee to “learn more”. Although such requests seem so reasonable they have the effect of continually delaying our organisations from offering full solidarity to sex workers. The debate was short and the motion passed with 54% in favour – the closest result for any of the policy motions, but a testimony to the work of so many decriminalisation campaigners over the years. Without the work to dispel the myths and build up support long before the meeting we may not have had so many people ready to support the motion before the meeting had even begun. This decision represents only a small step forward, but it is a significant one, and I’m so proud that LGBT+ Labour will be fighting so that sex workers, but especially LGBTQ sex workers to whom our communitiy owes so much, can have our full support and solidarity in the fight for rights.