Edinburgh City Council is consulting on sauna licensing. I know that sounds yawn-inducing but the survey is DEAD SHORT (woo). I’ve produced my answers below as guidance. I wrote them very quickly. The questions I’ve reproduced are paraphrases, duh. GO FILL IT OUT. Nothing ever stops, I know. THERE WILL BE CONSULTATIONS ON SEX WORK POLICY TO FILL OUT FOREVER & EVER UNTIL WE ARE ALL DUST, soz.
What do you think about our stupid proposals?
Having worked in a sauna myself up until May this year, I can tell you the impact of removing the licensing system would be seriously harmful. Don’t get me wrong; licensing is CRAP – it puts all the power in the hands of the few people who have enough money etc to apply for licenses. But it is so much better than the alternative that you’re suggesting. When the saunas were raided, the police treated the women appallingly – tipping off the press for photos, taking all the women’s money & phones, keeping women trapped for up to seven hours (CHILDCARE?!). Without licenses you know very well that the police would raid & raid, all those horrible & abusive police practises would happen all the time, & eventually all the saunas would close & women would go to working flats. And they’d be working in FEAR of the police – fear of the police using condoms as evidence, fear of the police raiding them & traumatising them & taking their money. That makes us less able to report crimes against us; how can we report crimes to the people who are looking to raid us? It’s not safe to do that – we’ll get raided. Dangerous people would know that working women in Edinburgh were less able to report crimes against us, and therefore these crimes would become more common as violent people would know they could act with impunity.
Impact on public health? (Honestly this question gets my back up. I know public health is a legit thing but I just can never read it as not “do you think normal people might catch diseases too? We might care if so”)
Bad. When you put sex workers & the state in oppositional roles you drive women away from health services as well as taking away their ability to report crimes. Plus condoms as evidence, because in the real world obviously the police will use condoms as evidence BECAUSE THEY OBVIOUSLY ARE EVIDENCE and when you criminalise sex work WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT THE POLICE TO DO.
Any other suggestions?
Grow a backbone & call for the decriminalisation of sex work, so that (for instance) sex workers could work safely together indoor as friends without a manager and without the fear of police raids. I note that the very latest WHO guidance on effective HIV programming for sex workers calls for decriminalisation and SEX WORKER-LED service provision as a *miniumum Global standard*, i.e the WHO is addressing the Global South but it should literally be a national embarassment that Scotland doesn’t meet the MINUMUM GLOBAL STANDARD. Full decrim now please, in line with what SEX WORKERS are saying is best for our rights + health.