FKA Twigs Signs Open Letter Opposing Criminalization of Sex Work

LOS ANGELES—British pop star FKA Twigs along with American essayist Roxane Gay have added their signatures to an open letter calling on the British Parliament to stop further criminalization of sex work and do away with the so-called “Nordic Model” of decriminalization, which the letter says “will only exacerbate violence against women, including those who are being exploited.” 

The letter is authored by the United Kingdom-based sex worker activist group Decrim Now, and signed by dozens of organizations and luminaries, including Amnesty International U.K., the University and College Union, numerous members of parliament, academics and journalists.

The “Nordic Model” is a legislative approach to regulating sex work, in which selling sexual services are legal, but purchasing them remains a crime. But criminalizing sex-buyers has led to harassment of sex workers themselves by law enforcement, and also increases violence against sex workers. A study in Ireland, where a “Nordic” style law passed in 2017 found that crimes against sex workers doubled over the first two years after the law was put into effect.

“In France, the Nordic Model has been in place since 2016,” the Decrim Now letter notes. “Since then, the already high murder rate of sex workers has dramatically increased. In the six months between June and December 2019, at least 10 sex workers were killed.”

The victims were mostly migrant trans sex workers, the letter states. In fact, the letter says, the effect on sex workers of the Nordic Model hits marginalized groups the hardest, including people of color, the disabled, LGBTQ+ people, and those that have experienced poverty and homelessness. Those are the same groups widely believed ton be most likely to become victims of sex trafficking — the very crime proponents of the Nordic Model say they want to prevent.

Decrim Now said the open letter was a response to “attempts to introduce legislation into Parliament that would criminalize paying for sex and close down online sites where sex workers advertise. Touted as solutions to sex trafficking and exploitation, these measures will only exacerbate violence against women, including those who are being exploited.”

FKA Twigs, who is likely the most famous signatry of the letter, has publicly expressed solidarity with sex workers before. In August of 2020, the Grammy-nominated performer released a music video, in which she portrayed a cam model. The video was accompanied by a fundraising campaign for sex workers who struggled to earn income during the COVOD-19 pandemic.

“Sex workers I know and have met have discipline, craft, talent and work ethic — not only do they deserve better long-term, but their income has been wiped out by the lockdown and many are invisible to the financial aid available to others,” FKA Twigs said at the time.

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