Sex trade survivors have recently won a crucial victory in the courts, which have ruled that disclosure of soliciting convictions is a “disproportionate interference with private life” and “not in accordance with the law.”
Although the Government may appeal, this is a fantastic first step in remedying the impact of holding a criminal record on survivor lives. Credit must be given to the three women who brought the case supported by NIA and Justice for Women.
NIA’s research into the impact of holding a criminal record demonstrating that women often have histories of abuse, coercion, and disadvantage, are often traumatised in prostitution from a young age, and subsequently have to live with the stigma and barrier of holding a criminal record even after they have successfully changed their lives. This makes it harder for women to fully move on and to live freely and without being re-traumatised.
The courts have recognised that the women who have convictions for soliciting have complex histories for which they needed support instead of on-going punishment. We hope that this is one step in the move towards a better understanding of the realities of prostitution and the lives of women affected by the sex industry.
For NIA’s report on holding a criminal record see here
For more information on the recent court ruling see here