Discarded red umbrella in a back alley in Windsor, Belfast, Northern Ireland. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

#tfw you look outside your window and spot a scene that epitomises the state of sex workers’ rights in Northern Ireland. The red umbrella is the symbol of the global sex workers’ rights movement. It symbolises protection from the abuse and intolerance faced by sex workers everywhere but it is also a symbol of their strength.

“There is a real climate of fear amongst sex workers in Northern Ireland now, fear of the press, of the police and of vigilante groups. It’s a climate based on fire-fighting. As a group, we have to be ready to face whatever is next around the corner, rather than concentrating on doing our jobs and raising our families in peace.” – Sex worker activist Laura Lee [1]

“The current law operates to make sex work in Northern Ireland more dangerous, particularly for women, given most sex workers are women.” – Ciaran Moynagh, Ms Lee’s barrister [2]

[Added tweet, 2018]

To learn more about Laura Lee’s challenge of the “Swedish Model” in Northern Ireland, please follow the links below or search for the hashtag #DecrimNI on Twitter.

“Those who state they are defending women by prohibiting prostitution are actually deaf to the voices of those who decide to prostitute themselves and see in this activity many positive aspects, offering a service and relating on many levels—not exclusively sexual—with clients who seek sex and human contact.” – Daniela Danna, Researcher, University of Milan [3] [4]


[1] “We are compelled to work alone, attackers know that” #DECRIMNI | Laura Lee

[2] Law criminalising clients ‘puts sex workers at greater risk’ | BBC*

[3] Report on prostitution laws in the European Union | Daniela Danna

[4] Criminalising the payment for sexual services – An introduction for the uninitiated | Matthias Lehmann

*Please note: links to articles do not represent an endorsement of all terms used, views expressed or images used or of the media outlets who publish them.


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