Foto: RASMUS BAANER
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Danish hookers on EU warpath

Danish prostitutes are calling for an EU-wide service boycott of any politicians who try to eject sex workers.

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The Danish prostitutes union SIO (Sex Workers Interest Organisation) says it rejects what would be both stigmatic and annoying if the European Parliament forbids MEPs to stay at hotels which have contacts with prostitutes. The organisation is calling on all prostitues to boycott politicians who support the move up to next year's European elections.

The organisation's reaction comes after Søren Søndergaard of the People's Movement Against the EU and the ruling Liberal Party's Karen Riis-Jørgensen have raised the issue with the Chairman of the European Parliament.

Understanding
"The hotels are where we work. We can't do it in backyards or in cars. The proposal will force many out into the streets," Sex Worker Sus tells politiken.dk.

But her arguments and threats of a boycott, have no influence on Søndergaard who says he has the support of 37 Nordic politicians in the European Parliament.

"I don't care. They just have to know what it is they are calling for," says Søndergaard adding that his proposal is not directed in favour of, or against prostitution.

About trafficked women
"If you're just a little bit internationally founded and don't just sit around fiddling with your navel, you'd know that lots of women are kept as slaves and have no free choice in what they do. If the Sex Workers Organisation can't see that, they're a really bad union," says left-wing Søren Søndergaard.

But Sus rejects that notion. She feels that it will have the opposite effect and make traficking an even bigger problem if the plan goes ahead.

"This will hit sex workers hard. Pimps are also our cooperating partners and are necessary for us in order to run our businesses relatively safely," she says.

Nordic
The proposal is one that is similar to one passed by the Nordic Council in 2006. The Nordic Council is a cooperating organ of the Nordic parliaments. Under the rules, Nordic politicians on state business, are not allowed to stay at hotels that earn money from pimping.

EU first step
Søndergaard hopes that if the European Parliament accepts the proposal, it may inspire other institutions to do likewise.

"We would like to make an example and raise a debate," he says. "Hopefully, the United Nations, the OECD and other large organisations would jump on the bandwagon," he says.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

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