Press Release: Stimulating talk by a gay prostitute
5 May 2010
Thierry Schaffauser, a gay male sex worker, spoke to an enthralled audience on Tuesday the 4th of May at The Brief, George Street, Croydon. The previous day he had been leading London’s May Day Parade, and had addressed thousands of trade unionists and others in Trafalgar Square.
Thierry Schaffauser leads the sex workers section of the GMB union, and he’s a passionate and hard working campaigner for the rights of sex workers, both male and female. Prostitution is a grey area in UK law; it’s not illegal, but sex workers are discriminated again in many ways.
Mr Schaffauser said “We’re still waiting to see what will be the effect of recent changes to the law. Some MPs supporting the Policing and Crime Bill claimed that it was intended to put an end to prostitution, but the Act as passed is much less extreme. It was mainly aimed at tackling people trafficking, which is a very real evil, but much less common that some people would have us believe, and among male sex workers it’s almost unheard of.”
Mr Schaffauser told us that he had come into prostitution aged 22 in Paris, where he was working on the street. In the UK he now advertises mainly in gay Internet sites. He and other sex workers had tried to get the biggest of these sites to help by circularising sex workers with details of clients known to be dangerous, but with little success: the site were happy to take their money, but reluctant to help when it came to distributing information that could make people safer. There had also been cases where a sex worker complained to the police of being attacked, but the police were more interested in prosecuting the victims rather than going after the attackers.
The meeting at The Brief was organised by Croydon Area Gay Society (CAGS) as part of its series of talks under the general title “The Brief Encounter”.
Ross Burgess, who chaired the meeting on behalf of CAGS, said “In many ways sex workers today suffer discrimination similar to that experienced by gay people years ago.”
For more details of The Brief Encounter, see www.cags.org.uk/brief.shtml.
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