Guest blog: Jenny from Permanently Visible
The Ed Fringe looming, I’m sat on a packed East Coast train from London back to my native Edinburgh. In the blissful yet disconcertingly ‘quiet coach’ I have a moment to reflect. Of course, I should be sending all those last minute press and industry invites but I’m sorry, £4.95 an hour for Wifi?! You can take the girl out of Scotland…
Instead, I bask in a moment’s peace a world away from the hectic Fringe preamble. I say hectic, but I did somehow manage a day off on Sunday and had packed by lunchtime yesterday (for anyone who knows me, I will have forgotten something!).
After finishing off some producing yesterday afternoon, I had dinner with my partner and felt rather chuffed at how surprisingly organised I was! I closed my laptop and kicked back in front of some guilty-pleasure TV. How apt that last night’s offering was a Channel 4 documentary called, A Very British Brothel. Entertaining, funny, charming, insightful and more cringe than you can shake a stick at. The doors of mother and daughter run, City Sauna in Sheffield, were opened to viewers for an hour long programme.
This comes at a time when the sex industry is gaining much needed attention, similarly stumbling across an article in The Guardian written by a sex worker, in support of Amnesty International’s draft policy for decimalisation of sex work. This move by Amnesty has come under fire by The Coalition Against Trafficking Women, who are campaigning for criminalisation of clients and have a few big celebrities backing them.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, Molly Fletcher’s article in The Guardian, makes an important point; laws that impact the lives and safety of sex workers need to be made, not just with them in mind, but crucially by consulting sex workers directly to establish what they really need to work safely.
Many months ago, before we started our research for Hula House, I was aware of sex workers regularly chastised, judged and driven underground because of murky laws surrounding the buying and selling of sex. I was not, however, aware of the level of injustice and lack of concern for these women and men.
Decriminalisation is a way we can move forward together as a society and help towards the protection of those who work in the sex industry. I cannot fathom why their rights as human beings to make an honest living, pay their taxes and stay safe whilst doing it be revoked because we can’t move away from the arbitrary, out of date laws and old fashioned prejudice still dominating our societal mind-set.
I had no idea when I started researching for this project, how passionately I would feel towards the decriminalisation of sex work; meeting and hearing the stories of women for whom this change in law is a necessity, most definitely clinched it.
We hope our show Hula House does these women justice, giving them a voice that leaves audiences equally passionate about decimalisation. Even if one person leaves, gets out their smart phone and signs the petition online, I’ll be happy.
Hula House will be taking place on Fridays and Saturdays between 18 – 26 September. Please note, this event will take place off-site, at Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town. FIND OUT MORE.