Sex workers vote to tie themselves to GMB union

Prostitutes
and other sex workers in London have voted to join the GMB, one of Britain’s
biggest trade unions.

Members
of the International Union of Sex Workers’ affiliation with the GMB, gives them
mainstream union recognition for the first time.

The
London-based International Union of Sex Workers, says the UK has thousands of
sex workers, and many face exploitation or violence. Union secretary Ana Lopes
told the BBC that joining the GMB will strengthen its voice on issues such as
the decriminalisation of prostitution in the UK.

"We’re
trying to remove the stigma against sex work and sex workers," Lopes said.

"We
think that changing the law – decriminalising sex work – is one of the steps
towards it and it’s a very important one."

The
only other European country where sex workers have mainstream union support is the
Netherlands.

Lopes
said some GMB members may be unhappy about campaigning for better rights and
conditions alongside sex workers, but she hopes that these concerns will
subside over time.

The
GMB represents teaching assistants, engineers, manufacturers, and hotel and
casino workers.

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