Community Event: 25th November

LIFT are pleased to be working with Kahaila to put on an event this Tuesday 25th November to raise awareness about the realities of prostitution.

Tuesday 25th November, 7.30pm – 10.00pm, @ Kahaila Cafe, Brick Lane

We’ll be doing our alternative Jack the Ripper tour as part of the event. There will also be a panel discussion. Panelists include:

Jess Wild, Look Ahead
Mark Wakeling, Beyond the Streets
Emily Chalke, Ella’s Home

This event coincides with the international day for the elimination of violence against women and girls. It is an opportunity to remember those who have not survived prostitution, and to take action to support women within our communities to leave prostitution.

To read more and book tickets please click here.

End Demand

LIFT is part of the End Demand Campaign alliance. The End Demand campaign, launched yesterday, is calling on the government to adopt the Sex Buyer Law. This would completely decriminalise selling sex, criminalise buying sex and provide support and exiting services to people exploited through prostitution. The Sex Buyer Law has been adopted by three of the four countries with the highest ratings for gender equality worldwide. It’s been shown to reduce demand, change public attitudes and make countries more hostile places for traffickers.

Read more about the campaign here. We will be lobbying Tower Hamlets MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali, as well as Mayor Lutfur Rahman, to support the campaign. Please write to your MP here.

Local Elections May 2014 Campaign

In the run up to the local elections next week we’re calling for Tower Hamlets candidates to commit to:

1. Take the #Women’sSafetyPledge to continue to work towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls. Read more.

2. Tackle prostitution as a form of violence against women and girls by supporting law enforcement efforts which target kerb crawlers, those who exploit and abuse women through prostitution, and ending efforts which target prostituted women.

3. Address indoor prostitution as well as street based prostitution, in recognition of the fact that prostitution indoors is also harmful.

4. Invest in appropriate supported housing for vulnerable women.

What you can do:

Write to or tweet Mayoral candidates and Ward Councillor candidates calling on them to pledge their support to the above approaches.

You can find a list of Mayoral candidates and your Ward candidates here.

You can contact Lutfur Rahman, current Mayor for Tower Hamlets here.

You can contact Labour party candidates, including Mayoral candidate John Biggs here.

Submission to Amnesty consultation

Lift recently submitted a response to Amnesty International’s policy consultation on prostitution. Amnesty are currently considering a proposal to take a stance in favour of decriminalising prostitution and will be voting on this issue at their AGM on 12th April.

We felt it was important to raise our concerns about the proposal. Whilst we support a call for women involved in prostitution to be decriminalised, we object to the proposal that men should be free to by sex. We feel that this stance ignores the unequal power dynamics at play between men who buy sex and prostituted women and normalises the abuse that is inherent in prostitution. You can read our consultation submission here.

If you would like to write to Amnesty on the issue, you can use our template letter.

Write to Amnesty

A leaked document recently revealed that Amnesty International are proposing to take a stance on prostitution in favour of decriminalising both the buying and selling of sex. Whilst we are in favour of the decriminalisation of women who sell sex, we are concerned that the decriminalisation of men who buy sex will normalise the sex industry and the harms experienced by prostituted women. You can read more about the issue here.

To write a letter to Amnesty International please click here to see our template letter.

Alternative Jack the Ripper tour – 11 June 2013

Following the success of our first alternative Jack the Ripper tourThe Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets, we’re running the tour again on Tuesday, 11 June 2013. This historical walking tour remembers and celebrates the lives of the five women murdered by Jack the Ripper – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. Rather than visit the places where the women were murdered, we take you to the streets where they lived, talk about their lives, and discuss the links through to women’s lives in Tower Hamlets today.

To book your place on the tour, complete the booking form or email us.

Send a letter to Tower Hamlets council

Tower Hamlets council launches it’s Violence Against Women & Girls Plan today. We welcome the inclusion of prostitution in this strategy, but we’re concerned to ensure that the general commitments around service provision meet the needs of women involved in prostitution, and that their commitment to hold perpetrators accountable is not only focused on domestic violence, but includes measures to hold accountable those who force or coerce women to be involved in prostitution and those who pay for sex.

You can help us hold the council accountable by sending this template letter, either in the post or by email. Please only send this letter if you live or work in Tower Hamlets, and if you can, add something personal about your own experience as a resident. Personal touches always make letters more effective.

Tower Hamlets council launches VAWG plan

Just over a year ago, we launched LIFT with an online petition asking Tower Hamlets police and council to end the arrests of women involved in street-based prostitution in the borough, and to address prostitution as a form of violence against women and girls. We are delighted that tomorrow, Tower Hamlets will officially launch its Violence Against Women & Girls Plan, including a specific commitment to ensure women involved in prostitution are able to access appropriate services.

We will be attending and presenting at tomorrow’s launch conference, along with other Tower Hamlets residents and professionals.

Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets: now on Soundcloud and Storify

flower and deanClare Gee

If you couldn’t make it to our Alternative Jack the Ripper tour or the Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets event – or if you just thought it was that brilliant that you want to see it again – we’ve now put the audio up on Soundcloud and created a Storify to highlight the main issues from the evening and share some pics.

Listen to the evening event on Soundcloud

View the Storify

Rania KhanLisa Young

More Alternative Jack the Ripper tours are planned soon, watch this space!

Event tomorrow: Alternative Jack the Ripper tour and The Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets

The Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets is an evening of discussions about street-based prostitution in Tower Hamlets organised by LIFT and Toynbee Hall’s Safe Exit project. This event will take place at Toynbee Hall on Thursday 21st of March 2013. It is free and open to local residents, groups and organisations who work with vulnerable women. 

6:00 pm: The Alternative Jack the Ripper Tour
The evening will start at 6 with an historical tour to celebrate the lives and commemorate the deaths of the victims of Jack the Ripper. Meet at Toynbee Hall for a prompt 6pm start. Please note spaces are limited. If you are interested in this part of the event please register by sending an email to safeexit@toynbeehall.org.uk    
 
6:45 pm: A panel discussion on prostitution
Presenting recent research and projects which support women to leave prostitution, hearing from women who have experienced extreme trauma and survived. Speakers include:
  • Lisa Young from Eaves will present findings from their research with women leaving prostitution about what support they need to exit
  • Clare G is an author and a survivor of prostitution
  • Rebecca Perry manages the Safe Exit project at Toynbee Hall, supporting women to exit prostitution
  • Amy Doyle is from the Chrysalis Project, providing accommodation and support for women in prostitution
  • Fiona Dwyer is the Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy Manager at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and will talk about their approach to tackling this issue.