Dec 11, 2020
In this episode, I talk to Kate McGrew (also known as Lady Grew) about sex work in Ireland and SWAI, the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland. SWAI is an organisation that works with sex workers for better access to rights, health and justice in Ireland. SWAI believes sex workers themselves should be at the centre of the development of policy which directly impacts upon their lives.
We spoke about Kate's own background as a performer, how she went from working as a Greenpeace 'chugger' to working in a house of domination in New York, before eventually settling here in Ireland and getting involved in SWAI. Kate talks about the laws that surround sex work here in Ireland, and explains how this year has drastically affected sex workers in Ireland - from the complete lack of support from the state with regards to emergency payment, to the realities of workers who were forced to risk their health by going back to work during the pandemic. (SWAI crowdfunded during this emergency, to help workers with small payments to help flatten the curve and to cushion the financial blow of lockdown for sex workers.)
As I mention in the intro to this episode, I went into this conversation a little bit blind, not knowing a whole lot about the sex work industry in Ireland or how the current laws and behaviour of the Gardaí leave workers vulnerable and put them in real danger. Talking with Kate was a real eye-opener, and she left me with a lot to think about.
Find out more about SWAI here: https://sexworkersallianceireland.org