Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Green Party pledges to decriminalise prostitution if elected


The Green Party has vowed to decriminalise sex work, shut down immigration detention centres and reverse cuts to women’s healthcare in “bold policies” unveiled as part of its gender equality manifesto.

Its stance on prostitution follows recommendations from the UN and Amnesty International on how to keep sex workers safe and the new measures were announced outside the controversial Yarl's Wood centre, which houses vulnerable female detainees, ahead of a major protest there over the weekend.

Read more: This hard-hitting video highlights the terrifying reality of child prostitution

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said the pledges prove that “the Green Party is committed to standing up for everyone”.

“We are not afraid to speak out about issues other parties would rather shy away from,” she added. “From asylum seekers to sex workers, as well as all of us who use the NHS, these policies set us on the path to building a tolerant, inclusive society.”

amelia womack

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said that the party is 'committed to standing up for everyone'

Green gender equality pledge #1: “Keep sex workers safe”

Neither selling nor paying for sex is currently a criminal offence in England, Scotland and Wales.

However, many activities linked to sex work – including kerb-crawling, soliciting in a public place, and the running of brothels – are illegal.

The Green Party argues that this effectively makes it impossible to conduct sex work in a safe, legal manner, and that “making sex work illegal only reduces safety”.

Read more: “Criminalising the purchase of sex only makes sex workers more vulnerable”

If elected, the Greens say they would change sex workers’ existing criminal records, and have “zero tolerance of coercion, violence or sexual abuse”.

The party’s stance on sex work is supported by policy and research from Amnesty International and the UN. Amnesty says that “laws on sex work should focus on protecting people from exploitation and abuse”, arguing that criminalising sex work often results in “impunity for abusers” – because sex workers are “too scared of being penalised to report crime to the police”.

yarl's wood

Women protest outside Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire on the day the Green Party launched their gender equality manifesto

Green gender equality pledge #2: “End immigration detention”

The majority of female asylum seekers in the UK are held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire while their claims are being processed. The privately run centre has been the subject of damning reports about the mistreatment and sexual abuse of vulnerable detainees.

The Greens want female asylum seekers who have experienced sexual violence to be released from Yarl’s Wood, and for their claims to be processed in the community.

The party is also calling for male staff – who currently supervise female detainees while they shower, dress and use the toilet – to be banned from coming into contact with women held at the centre.


The Green Party say that protecting women's healthcare is a priority for them.

Green gender equality pledge #3: “Save women’s healthcare”

The third pillar of the Greens’ gender equality manifesto is a promise to save women’s healthcare by reversing government cuts that have “disproportionately affected women and other marginalised groups”.

They say they will do this by ending freezes for public sector workers, introducing safe levels of staffing across the NHS, and reinstating sexual health services.

Read more: “Women of France, rejoice! A man has been elected president”

The Green Party also pledged to roll out a UK-wide strategy to tackle domestic violence, restore legal aid so that abuse victims are no longer forced to represent themselves against their abusers in court, and to end the “rape clause” for those wishing to claim child benefit.

The so-called rape clause was introduced in 2015 by former chancellor George Osborne, and allows women to claim child tax credits for a third child if they can prove to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that that child was born as a result of “non-consensual conception”. The policy has been accused of forcing rape survivors to go through further trauma.

Images: Rex Features, iStock


hillary clinton.jpg

Hillary Clinton is back and “part of the resistance”


What are “boy jobs” and “girl jobs”? We asked the ‘experts’


Five badass women fighting for reproductive rights you need to know



BMA votes to make abortion legal in England and Wales

It is still an offence punishable by life in prison

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

36 fashionable Irish baby names taking the world by storm

These melodic baby names all hail from the emerald isle…

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Rosé ice cream is the summer treat we all deserve

The latest food fad combines two of our favourite things

by Elle Griffiths
28 Jun 2017

Power plant makes girls compete for internships in bikini competition

We can't even.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Jun 2017

Original and imaginative: the perks of people who like being alone

Those who are unafraid of being single have 'greater self-esteem in relationships'

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

The Department of Education reveals how much less it pays women

And teachers have responded

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Jun 2017

Lauren Graham is so ready for the Gilmore Girls Christmas film

The actor is game for playing Lorelai in another installment

by Elle Griffiths
28 Jun 2017

High-street chemist finally slashes price of morning-after pill

The chain has been hailed as “trailblazing” for its attitude to sexual health

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

USA Gymnastics apologises in wake of sexual abuse scandal

The governing body failed to act when coaches were suspected of abusing underage athletes

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

New law cracks down on domestic violence by UK citizens overseas

Legislation will show perpetrators "there is nowhere to hide"

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017