Barbadians who want sex work decriminalized here now have a chance to have their say on whether it becomes a reality.
Adult entertainment advocate Charles Charlie Spice Lewis, has started an online petition urging the Mia Mottley-led administration to decriminalize sex work in Barbados and all activities related to the industry with a view to protecting those involved in the trade, minimizing crimes against them and stemming the spread of sexually-transmitted infections.
“Everyone residing in Barbados or who comes to Barbados, I am inviting to sign, including expats who live here. If everyone who goes to strip clubs in Barbados and is a subscriber to some type of service or activity with the sex trade here in Barbados, if they were all to sign, I think we would look at about 100 000 people signing.
“But again, there is a lot of hypocrisy in Barbados and there is a lot of fear so many people probably will not sign because they are worried about repercussions from their jobs and from their peers and from other sectors of society,” Lewis told Barbados TODAY.
The President of the Global Adult Industry Association, who suggested the church should be involved in the discussion to legalize sex work, also does not believe the group of believers would assist with promoting the petition.
“I have only just started the petition about four or five days ago but I am going to be doing some online promotion to support the exposure and the visibility of the petition.
“I am hoping to try to get some strategic partners from the international market who have already decriminalized sex work or have been instrumental in decriminalizing the sex trade in their particular part of the world, particular Germany and Holland, to weigh in and give their views and votes as well via the petition,” Lewis said.
The advocate insisted that it is time for sex work to be decriminalized following the shooting death of Guyanese national Caroline Baird at Bush Hill, St Michael over a week ago.
Lewis said that Barbadians must also be mindful of the bold statements made by Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey regarding the need to protect sex workers.
“I have been saying this for many years and I am pleasantly surprised that a Government official is now saying the same thing. In my opinion, there has been some discussion within the governmental service because it has always been too politically expedient to discuss such a hot potato subject in the past.
“To have heard that so boldly being said by a government official I have no choice but to believe that there was prior discussion for him to go out on such a limb,” the advocate said.
Lewis also added that decriminalizing sex work in Barbados would reduce the level of stigmatization and discrimination against those workers and generate revenue. (AH)