At its 2018 Annual Conference, IWW Branch delegates from across Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England were asked to consider a motion presented by our members to publicly state its commitment to the full decriminalisation of sex work and a full pardon for any sex workers convicted under existing legislation.

As a union with a long history of championing the rights of oppressed workers, it came as no surprise that the motion was passed unanimously, with all constitutive branches fully supporting both the spirit of the motion and the commitments the motion binds the IWW and its members to. With the passing of the motion, the IWW commits:

  • To publicly state our support for the full decriminalisation of sex work and for a full pardon for those sex workers convicted under existing legislation for sex work related activity

  • Facilitate the creation of a network within the IWW for sex workers wishing to organise in their workplace to find support, advice and assistance in doing so.

  • To work, support, and show solidarity with organisations championing the rights of sex workers that are sex worker led and focused, to the exclusion of anyone who seeks to oppress, exploit or silence sex workers.

  • That ‘dual carder’ members propose, or do whatever necessary to support, decriminalisation motions in their service union.

Sex work is work, and in line with our motto that ‘An Injury to One is an Injury to All’, the IWW stands in solidarity with Sex Workers across the globe working to fight the injustices they face on a daily basis. We hope that this commitment will further momentum towards the full decriminalisation of Sex Work and will further encourage Sex Workers in their fight for respect, dignity and the right to work without risking arrest, deportation or violence. Laura Watson, spokesperson from the English Collective of Prostitutes:

“We welcome the motion for decriminalisation from the IWW which recognises sex workers as workers and commits to support our struggle for safety and our rights. Our fight for an end to criminalisation, stigma and poverty is part of movements for justice and for a more caring society for everyone. Like other workers, we are organising for more money for less work and to reclaim our lives from the market. We are “for prostitutes against prostitution”, just as we are “for McStrikers against McDonalds.”

Are you a Sex Worker?

Members of the IWW who are Sex Workers have created a network to support each other and collectively organise to improve the conditions of labour in their places of work. Should you wish to get involved, the network can be contacted at sexworkers [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk. Any correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence.

For all press, media or other enquiries, please contact communications [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk

A copy of the full motion can be read here.

An audio recording of this article is available:

More IWW related audio recordings can be accessed here.