I am still not sure what amazed me most about this article in The Guardian. The understated headline, the random misogyny and sexism of the British Police and Home Office, the double standards or the fact that it was hidden and not front page news.
Let me quote at length from the article:
“A policy aimed at deporting “high-harm” EU-national criminals and those not entitled to remain in Britain is to be challenged by Romanian sex workers who maintain they are self-employed.
Among those detained and served with deportation papers are an increasing number of women from eastern Europe who have been working on the streets and in premises across London and Manchester. Many do not have convictions.
Prostitution is legal in the UK, although activities associated with it such as kerb-crawling, pimping and owning a brothel are crimes. Some of the women have been arrested by officers during raids intended to break up trafficking rings.
The women, mainly Romanian, have received letters from Operation Nexus officers giving them about a month’s notice that they are liable to be detained and put on a flight back to Bucharest.
Several women fighting deportation are now being supported by the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP). “There was a raid which was supposed to be saving victims from trafficking,” explained one young woman who wished to remain anonymous.
“The police took paperwork and money. I asked for a receipt. They said I was being cheeky. They wanted to know if had been trafficked and asked the client if I was taking drugs. He said no.
“They didn’t arrest me but said I should be deported and asked me to go to the police station. I went along with a lawyer and showed a letter from a course proving that I was studying English.” The threat to remove her was eventually dropped.
Some of the women who were sent removal letters are now planning to challenge them on the grounds that they are exercising their treaty rights through being self-employed in the sex industry. Previous EU law cases have established that prostitution constitutes self-employment.”
All of which I might be able to get behind if self employed polish plumbers or Hungarian builders or Dutch farm workers. Or men at all. But its so blatantly targeted at Romanians,And women. As such it is classic racism and misogyny.
I don’t work directly with a lot of Romanians working as escorts in Marbella. But I do have a very good friend called Alex (real name, by the way) who is bright, honest, funny and very hard working. She came to Spain with a plan on what she wanted to do as a Marbella escort and she works her plan.
The idea that she is some kind of “high-harm” anything is laughable and stupid. And I am sure that there are many women just like her working as escorts in London.
I am sure that there are women who have been trafficked. This campaign isnt going to help them. And there are people involved in drugs and criminal activity. None of the women described in this article fall anywhere near that category.
And, just as an aside, since when have the English Police been allowed to seize someone´s property without permission, let alone a receipt?
Stopping now due to the steam coming out of my ears making a mess of the laptop.