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The BBC have been publishing articles covering both the case for and against decriminalisation.

Sex worker and activist, Laura Lee, is now in the final stages of a legal challenge to overturn a law in Northern Ireland that makes it illegal to purchase sex. And, as always, sex worker right organisations have been tirelessly campaigning for safer working conditions and legal protection for those in the industry.

Before we even get into the heated debates around decriminalising sex work, an interesting place to start is the language used when discussing the sex industry. Language is an important battle ground in the fight for social equality.

And the truth is the word has been linked to a state of dishonour ever since.

But, we have managed to move beyond using historical terms for people of colour, the LGBTQ community and those with disabilities, and I suggest we do the same here. And when we are dealing with the history of a socially marginalised and vulnerable community in this case, sex workersthe history becomes even more important as it exerts a palpable influence on current issues and debates.

If we tell history from within the same stigmatised narratives that continue to damage sex workers who are alive today, we are complicit in harm. But more than this, if the very people whose history and lives are under discussion are asking for a change in the language used to describe them, is it not deeply disrespectful to refuse to listen? Language that reflects the humanity of the person, or people being described is a process that requires continual revision.

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One of the biggest issues facing sex workers today, and indeed throughout history, is social stigma. Although political correctness frequently comes in for mocking, we cannot and will not achieve social equality for anyone if the language we use to describe marginalised groups actually reinforces the stigma they face.

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Why words matter The debate around sex worker rights has been heating up in the media. Last month saw the publication of Julie […] Brothel scene — Joachim Beuckelaer By Dr Kate Lister i columnist. October 5, am Updated July 17, am.

Sex workers or prostitutes? why words matter

The debate around sex worker rights has been heating up in the media. A guide to today's talking points, straight to your inbox. address is invalid Thank you for subscribing!

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