Tuesday 22 October 2019

Sex workers take stall at freshers' week

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Flora Thompson

A university is launching an investigation after a sex workers' support group ran a stall offering help for students during freshers' week.

A university is launching an investigation after a sex workers' support group ran a stall offering help for students during freshers' week.

The decision to allow the Sex Workers' Outreach Project Sussex (Swop) to attend the University of Brighton's events in the city and at its campus in Eastbourne last week was branded "beyond disgraceful" and criticised online.

The group, which also said it attended the University of Sussex's life and well-being fair on Wednesday, defended its actions.

The organisation is part of the Brighton Oasis Project charity and describes itself as a "discreet and confidential" service for women in the sex industry who live or work in Sussex.

A University of Brighton spokesman said yesterday it would be launching an investigation and "does not promote sex work to its students".

The Swop stalls offered condoms and leaflets as well as inviting visitors to "come and play" on a "wheel of sexual well-being".

In a series of tweets promoting its attendance, it said: "One in six students does sex work or thinks about turning to sex work. We can help."

It also tweeted: "If you're topping up your fees with sex work, or struggling to balance work and studies, or want to talk and don't know where to go... we're here for you. We respect your autonomy, privacy and confidentiality."

Among critics of the idea was feminist campaigner and writer Julie Bindel, the co-founder of the law reform group Justice for Women.

"This is beyond disgraceful. It makes me so angry that the sex trade's become normalised and pimped to women as though it is a harmless and respectable way to earn a living. There should be an enquiry by the university into this," she said.

The organisation defended its position, saying it had "never idealised sex work".

Irish Independent

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