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Sex workers call strike over rights

SEX workers will go on strike today, calling for better working conditions.

Hundreds nationwide will join in protests tonight, with the biggest being staged in London’s Soho.

Although prostitution is not illegal, the workers say they are treated as criminals and constantly fear arrest.

Women operating on the streets have to choose isolated spots to avoid a charge of soliciting, putting them at risk from violent clients.

And those working indoors risk arrest for brothel-keeping as it can be hard for police raiding properties to tell who is in charge and who is only an employee.

Sex worker Katie Smith said all aspects of the industry should be decriminalised so women need not fear arrest and managers can be made subject to labour laws.

She said such reforms would be welcome even if it meant paying tax.

The 29-year-old from Glasgow, who will be protesting in Bristol today, said: ‘Women are pushed into sex work through the underpaid and undervalued nature of our work elsewhere.

‘We are punished for our attempts to refuse poverty. The law gives all the power to the police, to our managers, and to violent men.’

The strike is timed to coincide with International Women’s Day.