Green party pledges to decriminalise prostitution and end immigration detention
The Green party would decriminalise prostitution and close down immigration detention centres if elected to government, its deputy leader announced today.
Buying and selling sex is legal in most of the UK but many related activities such as brothel-keeping, soliciting sex in a public place and kerb crawling are outlawed.
The Greens said they would decriminalise such activities according to guidance from Amnesty International because doing so will keep sex workers safe.
“Making sex work illegal only reduces safety,” the party said in a manifesto document launched today.
They also said they would end immigration detention - starting with the release of vulnerable women currently incarcerated.
According to the Migration Observatory some 28,900 people entered one of the UK's eleven immigration detention centres in 2016.
The announcements come in the party’s women’s manifesto, which was launched outside Yarl’s Wood detention centre for female asylum seekers.
It also pledged to reinstate sexual health services, preserve women’s healthcare facilities, tackle domestic violence and end the pay freeze for public sector workers.
Deputy Green leader Dr Amelia Womack said: “Detaining asylum seekers is inhumane, costly and totally unnecessary.
"Women who are coming to the UK seeking refuge are being detained in appalling conditions in centres like Yarl’s Wood, often for years with no end to their incarceration in sight.
"We can be so much better than this, a confident and caring country that welcomes people in need instead of closing our borders, building walls and locking up vulnerable people who need help.
"The bold policies we’re announcing today show that the Green Party is committed to standing up for everyone, and we are not afraid to speak out about issues other parties would rather shy away from.
"From asylum seekers to sex workers, as well as all of us who use the NHS, these policies set us on the path to building a tolerant, inclusive society."
Northern Ireland is the only UK country which has made the purchase and sale of sex illegal, after it followed other EU countries such as Sweden and Iceland in bringing forward new laws last year.