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FKA Twigs backs Irish sex workers' battle to change law

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FKA Twigs set up a GoFundMe for sex workers facing a loss of income

FKA Twigs set up a GoFundMe for sex workers facing a loss of income

Rich Fury/Invision/AP

FKA Twigs set up a GoFundMe for sex workers facing a loss of income

FKA Twigs, the international musician, has backed a campaign to change an Irish law that makes it illegal to pay for sex.

Tahliah Debrett Barnett (32), better known as the singer FKA Twigs, has given over her social media accounts this week to groups which campaign for better rights for sex workers.

On Thursday night, her Twitter account was taken over by the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI). SWAI has been campaigning to scrap a 2017 law which makes it illegal to pay for sex.

Brothel

The 2017 legislation doubled the penalty for "brothel keeping," which SWAI said has been used to prosecute sex workers who live together for safety reasons. Those who campaigned for the law said it would work by ending the demand for sex work.

In a series of posts on FKA Twigs' Twitter account, SWAI said "the law is a failure".

"Only 2 clients have been prosecuted but there have been approximately 50 sex workers prosecuted for working together for safety, so-called brothel-keeping. There have also been 0 prosecutions for human trafficking."

SWAI said violent crime against sex workers increased since the law was introduced and that sex workers "are now extremely unlikely to report crimes against us to the gardaĆ­".

The Department of Justice is currently reviewing the law. In a post to FKA Twigs' almost 400,000 followers, SWAI called on those who are against the current law to make a submission to the Department of Justice.

This week, FKA Twigs has used her platform to launch a fundraising campaign for sex workers all over the world.

The singer said she wanted to campaign for sex workers because of her experience working in a gentleman's club when she was 19.

"For those of you who don't know, hostessing is when one person pays another person for their time, anything from a conversation over dinner to sex work, and the club gets a cut of the fee," she said.

She said she wanted to campaign to help sex workers who may be financially struggling during Covid-19.

Talent

"I feel like now is the time for me to step forward, pay respect, and shine a light on the challenges facing sex workers, especially during these uncertain times.

"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."