Open Letter from the Sex Work Research Hub to the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission on the Global Sex Trade
The Sex Work Research Hub is a network of experts and academics, including the majority of UK-based academics researching different aspects of sex work in the UK and internationally. We read with interest the recent report by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, The Limits of Consent, 2019.
As a body of scholars responsible for delivering publicly-funded research at the highest standards we are deeply concerned about the flawed methodology and ideological bias characterising this report. The self-fulfilling premise of the research and associated findings cannot be regarded as a credible and authoritative basis for policymaking on the complex relationship between sex work and sexual exploitation.
The collective voting record for the group of MPs who commissioned this report reveals that the majority have consistently voted against welfare reforms, gay marriage, abortion rights, and equality legislation. Those who have made parliamentary statements related to sex work favour criminalisation. MP Fiona Bruce, who is the chair of this report, is an Evangelical Alliance council member, sits on the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, and has long campaigned to criminalise the clients of sex workers. As citizens and as members of the academic community, we question whether it is in the public interest for a commission so blatantly invested in neo-abolitionist politics to produce a report on the sex trade.