THE founder of the Swindon Feminist Network has criticised a controversial new directory of the town’s sex workers.
The McCoy’s Guide to Adult Services in South West England plus South Wales is the latest title from George McCoy, who has written at least 11 similar books and gives a rating out of five for each service, including costs and the occasional photograph.
The book includes listings for 21 working girls, three dominatrixes and a massage parlour in the town and police have said they want to see the publication in case they can glean any intelligence of illegal activity from its contents.
Albertine Davies, founder of the Swindon Feminist Network and secretary for the National Association of Probation Workers in Swindon, blasted McCoy for effectively marketing the work of the town’s sex workers.
“Whatever anyone says, no one chooses to go into sex work,” she said. “People sometimes say that it is the woman’s choice and that should be respected and everything is ok, but it’s not. Many people are driven to it out of desperation in the circumstances they are in. So called ‘high-class’ escorts who earn a lot of money are exceptionally rare.
“I’ve read that many people who end up in that line of work are also victims of childhood abuse. It’s also a tragic result of our benefits system that people are driven to sell themselves in order to earn some money.
“It also has great ramifications for the rest of society, since people who are willing to buy sex are de-valuing people to the value of consumable goods.
“Anybody who makes money out of something like this is no better than a pimp.”
Wiltshire Police have been made aware of the book and have requested to see a copy before deciding if they can take any action.
A spokesman for the force said: “The issue of prostitution in Wiltshire is not disproportionate to other force areas of a similar size. “Wiltshire Police have robust policies and procedures in place and adopt a multi-agency approach towards tackling this particular issue with a number of future schemes currently being considered in conjunction with partner agencies and local hotels.”
In the book’s introduction, McCoy, a widower from Staffordshire, writes: “Where a lady is recommended, I can either personally vouch for her ability or have had numerous reports as to how well the lady performs. “Where it is simply indicated that she is of note, I have only had the odd report on her skills. “Where credit is due – for facilities, cleanliness, value, choice, quality, etc, it is duly given. Where there is clearly room for improvement, we say so. In every case, our purpose remains the same – we intend to provide an objective, honest and accurate appraisal of every person or establishment providing adult services in South West England and South Wales.
“In doing so, we hope to raise the standards of a flourishing industry, which – at its best – offers a valuable and pleasurable service to thousands of men and women every day throughout the country.”
Despite the success of his guides, which are mainly marketed at men, McCoy has no plans to write any guides specifically for women. He also said he does not believe the guides prey on vulnerable women involved in the sex industry and said many emulated call girls like the famous Belle de Jour, who funded her PhD by working as a prostitute.
He said: “Most of the people who are opposed to the sex industry and sex work are feminist lesbians with a holier-than-thou prudish attitude towards the industry. I don’t deal with street prostitutes. The ladies I include are well-respected for their unique services and private venues and they all are in a job they want to be in and enjoy.
“For many it’s far more preferable to working at a check-out in a supermarket, for example. They can earn more, they can choose their own hours which also means that it’s easier to arrange childcare. It’s much easier to work evenings and arrange for a friend to look after the children than it is doing a day job.”
Ebony, described as ‘busty, black and in her 40s’, is one of the ladies featured. She said she did not need the guide to market herself. “I do quite well out of sex work and I don’t need to advertise myself anywhere else,” she said.