Nurses have called for new legislation for sex workers in a motion passed at RCN Congress today.
The resolution, entitled Green Light for Red Light, called on the RCN to make recommendations to the UK government ‘to allow up to four sex workers to work together legally before requiring a licence’.
Proposed by Carol Watts, of Cambridgeshire branch, the resolution raised concerns about the well-being of such workers and their safety and access to health care.
Ms Watts said: ‘The simple truth is that there will always be people who want to pay for sex without commitment, and there will always be women who will do it.
‘We should acknowledge that this is part of life in the UK and make sure that there are no marginalised women in this country.
‘Allowing these workers to have the same standards of safety as others in the community is surely what we should all be responsible for.’
‘We need to get real about the problems of prostitutes,’ she added.
Delegates heard from Cari Mitchell, of the English Collective of Prostitutes, who is concerned that the Policing and Crime Bill 2009, currently due to enter the House of Lords, will further marginalise prostitutes and clients.
The bill creates a new offence of paying for sex with someone who is controlled for gain and introduces new powers to close brothels.
She thanked the RCN for supporting the collective’s work providing support and advice to prostitutes and sex workers.
Ms Mitchell urged nurses to lobby for legislation similar to that in New Zealand, allowing up to four women to legally work together without a licence.
‘Because women are no longer regarded as criminals, they are much more open about their health needs,’ she said.