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Apology to sex workers

As part of our feminist ethos, WIRE strives to be inclusive of women and gender diverse people from all backgrounds and experiences, whether service users, volunteers or staff. Feminism, however, has a history of overlooking and even undermining the human rights of some groups — including sex workers. As an intersectional feminist organisation WIRE must continually strive to be inclusive and support all women especially those who are marginalised and stigmatised.

WIRE acknowledges that in the past we have referred sex workers to services that they have said are harmful, stigmatising, discriminatory and detrimental for sex workers to use. We note that organisations that promote the abolition of the sex work industry inevitably advocate for laws that decrease sex worker rights and safety.

For those referrals, we apologise and acknowledge that this was unacceptable.

Over many years sex workers have used their own personal time and resources to work with WIRE to educate in both formal and informal ways. WIRE appreciates the time and emotional labour that sex workers have shared with us and we apologise for not listening earlier.

WIRE believes that sex work is real work and that sex workers have a right to respect, dignity, safety and control over their working and personal lives.

Our vision is that of a society where women are safe, respected, valued, informed, empowered and free to make genuine choices in their lives. We must ensure that the WIRE feminist framework — to listen, see women’s resilience, to acknowledge the expertise women have over their own lives and experiences and to be guided by the women regarding support and information options — is applied to all service users, regardless of their profession.

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