Adult entertainment Charles Charlie Spice Lewis is offering assistance to authorities in developing a regulatory framework for the protection of sex workers that includes finding safer places for them to operate.
Following revelations by Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey on the weekend that the Government was moving towards the protection of sex workers, Lewis told Barbados TODAY he was willing to help in that regard, as he insisted action must be taken without delay.
“I would like to have some kind of dialogue. I would like to be part of that narrative to put measures in place to protect sex workers,” said Lewis, President of the Global Adult Industry Association.
He also called on all non-governmental organizations involved in addressing the plight of prostitutes, as well as other government agencies to pool their resources and move swiftly to act in the best interest of these workers.
His comments came on the heels of the recent shooting death of 44-year-old Guyanese Caroline Baird – a tragedy that he hopes will trigger improvements for those involved in the industry.
“I am extremely disturbed by the fact that it has taken the death of a sex worker for the Government to be thinking about putting some framework in place to protect sex workers. I have been lobbying and advocating for this for years and it has fallen on deaf ears up until now,” Lewis said.
“So I am very happy that some steps are going to be taken to protect sex workers and to give them the feeling that their rights are not going to be violated, because people seem to think that they can do whatever they want to sex workers and Nothing is going to happen to them.”
According to police reports, around 11:15 pm last Friday, Baird died on the spot after being shot behind the Grand Stand of the Garrison Savannah, in the area of Bush Hill, St Michael.
The mother of four who resided at Dalkeith Hill, St Michael and was identified by her 23-year-old son, was reportedly involved in a struggle with a number of people in a motor vehicle when she sustained the fatal injury.
“When I first heard, my first emotion was anger and then at the Government for not acting on this need years ago. I feel sad for the family. I could not wait to reach out to offer my condolences,” Lewis said.
“Let’s hope that the Government is not going to just offer lip service to them and they will do something about it. There are other countries around the world that have already taken steps in this direction and Barbados is late in joining the party. We need to do this now.”
In another section of the media, Minister Humphrey was reported as noting that while other countries have legalized sex work and have even implemented measures to ensure the safety of those involved, Barbados is yet to make such moves.
He said efforts must be made to continue to reach out to women who are already on the street and intervene to help them change their lives.
Lewis lamented that over the years, there have been reported and unreported cases of sex workers being raped, assaulted, abused, and taken advantage of in various ways.
He said many of them refuse to make official complaints to police because they do not feel they will get satisfaction since prostitution remains illegal here.
“Nobody wants to do anything until something has happened to them or somebody they know. So perhaps this is a good time for both sides of the fence to come together and get involved in that narrative and make things happen,” Lewis said.
Baird’s murder was not the only violent crime against a sex worker in recent times.
In August 2021, the naked body of a female Jamaican national, believed to be a prostitute, was discovered at Beckwith Street, The City, in an abandoned house. In 2019 and 2020, the bodies of several other women were also discovered.
On August 8, 2020, well-known sex worker Nakita Muscle Katt Jones was attacked and stabbed multiple times on the compound of the old Ministry of Health at Jemmott’s Lane, St Michael.