Welsh ‘Sex Zone’ Plan Divides Opinion

A plan to allow sex workers in Newport a specific to place to work has led to a huge debate as to whether it is a good idea or not.

Feet of a woman on the street
natural warm light, selective focus on the nearest part

The idea is to move the all the prostitutes to work in a specific area of Pill, away from the residential parts of the town. The idea from Gwent Police is to make sure that there is an area where sex workers can work and feel comfortable. Apparently, a pilot scheme in Yorkshire led to prostitutes feeling more able to report attacks.

An Important Backer

One supporter of the scheme is Alex Feis-Bryce, who is the chief executive of National Ugly Mugs, a support service for sex worker who have been the victim of attacks or aggressive behaviour.

“It’s a good thing,” he said.

“I think any approach by police that is a move away from enforcement is a good idea.

“One effect of having less criminalisation and less enforcement is sex workers are able to report to police when they’re targeted, and they are frequently targeted in many areas by rapists, the most dangerous criminals.”

He added: “Many sex workers want to move away from police. There’s a certain lack of trust between sex workers and police.

“If this policy is being pursued it will have to be part of a bigger conversation with local support agencies, with sex workers themselves, with police, in order to ensure sex workers do want to work in the area that’s been designated and they’re willing to do so or the policy won’t work.”

Opposing Views

However, this view is not shared by ‘Michelle’ who is a Cardiff sex worker. She operates from her own home and says she would be too frightened to walk the streets. She says that having a designated area could lead to more rapes and attacks.

She said: “Having a toleration zone is one thing; having them in the right area is another.

“There are wrong parts of every town and many girls who work the streets have horrendous tales to tell.

“It’s like the police will put up with prostitution as long as it’s kept out of the way of so-called decent people.”

Michelle wants sex workers to be consulted and more safety for women working the streets, with proper policing.

She said: “The law is so intent in criminalising people. There are women in Cardiff who have been forced into the trade, trafficked. That needs to be stopped.”
Michelle is apparently a part of the English Collective of Prostitutes, a network of sex workers.

The plans have also been questioned by Monmouth MP David Davies.

“I have some concerns about it. I wouldn’t want parts of Newport being turned into the centre of Amsterdam,” he told BBC Radio Wales.

“If it is about women who work as sex workers having availability to talk to health professionals or finding ways of getting them out of that lifestyle then I can see the arguments for it.

“If it’s a case of ‘let’s just shove everybody out of the way and keep it out of sight’ then obviously that’s not a good thing.

“Those women who work on the streets are the most vulnerable to attack and women who work as sex workers are attacked a lot.”

Proper Reflection

This will be debated for a while before it comes into play. We will see whether ‘Michelle’s’ opinion reflects that of many sex workers, or whether she is in the minority. I am not going to get involved in saying one prostitute is right, and another wrong, as I have never been a prostitute. What I will say is that if the head of Ugly Mugs says it is a good idea, then it is certainly worthy of consideration.

Who knows; if this is successful, it could be brought into Scotland? Anything that makes the lives of sex workers safer is most definitely a good thing.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below, or in the Escort Scotland forum.

Martin Ward
Follow me

Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
Follow me

Please log in here to leave a comment.