Student Sex Worker

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I speak to a student who is currently working as a sex worker. I speak to them about how current legislationthe balance of working and going to college, the advocacy of groups striving to improve the lives and representation in society and more! 

What legislation is currently in place that affects the lives of sex workers? 

Now sex workers like myself are not allowed to advertise their services in Ireland because of Criminal Law (Public Order) Act 1993. We are not allowed to work together for safety the way the Gardaí do and can be denied housing, evicted (as I have been) and imprisoned like the two young women, one pregnant, last June because of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 but even the decriminalized of street workers are being pushed into dangerous situations such as reduced condom negotiation time due to client criminalization aka the Swedish model because of Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses) Act 2017. 

Links attached below to find about more information about the current legislation: 

How do you balance working and your studies?  

Sex work is the only job I can think of that allows me to work around my school schedule while letting me make enough money to pay for it. Also, as a transgender and intersex person I am denied conventional employment because of transphobia. 

Why are groups like the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) important to advocating for ordinary sex workers like yourself? 

Advocacy groups like SWAI are very important because we have no other recourse. The heavily funded NGO that is tasked with helping us were founded by Magdalene nuns and actively pushed for laws that make our lives unbearable and dangerous, and recently invited a notorious anti-trans activist to come from the UK to talk. SWAI is primarily made up of sex workers, so I know I can find someone to talk to who will treat me with respect without trying to “rescue” me.

I trust SWAI more than I will trust well-funded religious organisations that seek to erase me. 

It can be a matter of life and death when you can be raped without the perpetrated being prosecuted, you can be arrested for working with a friend for safety, uneducated clients will stealth you and try to refuse using condoms. There are safer ways of working such as OnlyFans and making clips that won’t result in you getting you evicted, etc. 

What improvements would you like to see for students and sex workers in future legislation? 

I would like to see the Decriminalisation! Of sex work! The current situation shows why legalization doesn’t work. It’s currently legal to work as a sex worker in Ireland, but we are primarily the ones being evicted, when you can be raped without the perpetrator being prosecuted, arrested, imprisoned and deported. I’d like to see supports in effect that reduce the need for people to go into sex work, such as allowing those in direct provision to work, affordable housing, affordable third level all the way to PhD so it’s not just wealthy that can work in professions, take some of the money used for policing sex workers and spend it on tuition fees for sex workers so we don’t have to do this, increased disability allowance, alternative employment opportunities for trans folk such as myself. Google owe 14 billion in taxes so I’m sure they could help train and place at least a few of us in their giant profitable corporation’’.  

I just want to state that the person featured in this article is incredibly brave and I am so honoured I got the chance to talk to them, please don’t take their story lightly because we as a country have failed sex workers.

Support, Decriminalise and Empower! 

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