The UK’s biggest nursing union will lobby ministers to decriminalise sex work after a landmark motion was passed by a huge majority at its annual conference.
Louise Cahill, the nurse specialist in sexual health who was behind the proposed Royal College of Nursing (RCN) policy, said decriminalising sex work is vital if sex workers’ safety and health is to be protected.
She told the conference that sex workers avoid seeking health care for fear of prosecution, and don’t report assaults for similar reason.
Cahill said: “Current UK law makes it a criminal offence for sex workers to work together for safety. Brothel keeping is defined as just two or more sex workers working together.
“Therefore, sex workers have to choose between keeping safe and getting arrested. No one should be put in danger by the law.”
The nurse added that decriminalisation would reduce the number of HIV cases among sex workers because they could better negotiate safer sex.