Thursday, November 20, 2008

Perhaps It's Time to Legalise Prostitution

Over the last ten years, the nature of prostitution in this country has changed, with a growing number of the women involved in it being trafficked into this country for the specific purpose of pimping them out for sex. That's not to say it wasn't an ugly business before - it was - but the number of women who are forced to do it has without doubt dramatically increased. On top of that, the need for drugs has encouraged more and more women into prostitution as the only way of feeding their habit. Often, pimps force their women to take drugs as a means of controlling them.

So we now have two very different types of prostitutes - those who are being controlled by others, and those who do it entirely voluntarily. I suppose it has always been so, but the proportions have changed dramatically in recent years.

The government is trying to address the problem by introducing a law which says that men to knowingly pay for sex with a trafficked girl will be charged with rape. In addition, men who have sex with a woman controlled by a pimp would be fined £1,000. I think they are probably doing all this for the right reasons but it seems to me that a law which relies on the word "knowingly" may be difficult to enforce.

I spoke to a female Labour MP yesterday who has always argued for the legalisation of prostitution as she thinks it would effectively make the trafficking of girls redundant. She's supporting this new legislation because it will help the situation even if it doesn't eliminate the trade in women, especially from Eastern Europe.

But I do think it is time we tried to have an adult debate about the legalisation of prostitution. It has always seemed ironic to me that the very women who shout loudest on the abortion issue that it is a woman's right to do with her body what she likes, are the very same women who would prevent her from selling her body for sex if that is what she chooses. They would ban prostitution altogether. If it were actually possible, they might have a point. Prostitution has existed since time immemorial. It will always exist, no matter what legal impediments are put in its way.

So is it not time to recognise that fact and say: well, OK, if it is going to happen, let's make it as safe as possible for both the women and men involved? And let's remember there is a growing trade in male prostitution too, and I am not just talking about gay prostitution. The number of women who buy sexual services from men has rocketed in the last ten years.

In Germany they have what are called Haesschen Bars (Bunny Bars). They are often found in the middle of the countryside. As I understand it, they are licensed by the Local Bundesland, are very far from being seedy and the women who work there do so entirely voluntarily. But they work in a secure, clean and healthy environment and there is very little trouble. The women submit themselves to regular health checks and their customers are closely monitored. That doesn't mean that other forms of prostitution don't take place in Germany; they clearly do. But the Germans have a far less puritanical approach to the sex industry than we do in this country and are none the worse for it.

It's easier to buy or sell sex than ever before - at least in part because of the internet. We need to recognise that the world has changed and adapt our approach to the sex industry accordingly. Many who are reading this will quite understandably be repelled at the very thought of it. It's not the kind of issue discussed in polite society, they will say. I totally understand that. But if we don't, the issue will become more of a problem.

So let's try to have a proper debate on this, without getting hung up on ideologies, religious convictions or political dogma. It's such a shame that politicians of all parties shy away from the debate for fear of being ridiculed and shamed by their opponents.

I'm going to kick the debate off by saying that I would like to become much better informed on this issue. But I will also be clear that my personal position is that - unless I can be convinced to the contrary - I could well vote to legalise prostitution. And I recognise that even by writing that sentence, I may well have reduced my chances of ever being given the opportunity to do so!

*Note: I would be grateful if we could keep the debate on this subject to the issue of prostitution and not be diverted onto the legalisation of drugs.

UPDATE: I have created a poll on this subject - do you think prostitution should be legalised?

Vote HERE.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

The only problem is the Government has the likes of The Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph standing in their way. Any hint in this direction would be met with a very frosty reception.

Scary Biscuits said...

If you made prostitution illegal, you would also make marriage illegal. This is because a large number of women get married for financial 'security', i.e. payment. The divorce courts implicitly recognise this, which is why men usually have to pay women if they get divorced. Paul McCartney, for example, would have been better off with a £2,000 a day hooker, every day, than with his most recent marriage.

Anonymous said...

good post, Iain, though I think you need to back up the throwaway line about pimps forcing women to take drugs with either some good anecdotal evidence or (better) some statistics, as it gives the point more credibility.

The main point is that the law is unenforceable. If a man is assured that a woman isn't trafficked, then what else is he supposed to do - demand to see her passport?

In general, I don't think criminalising men (or women) who buy sex is "the answer" - mostly because there isn't one. The way forward is to find one that reduces the potential for harm, both to punters and to sex workers, and that surely is to legalise and to regulate. It works elsewhere.

Unfortunately no British government of any political persuasion will be brave enough politically to do this: all political parties will instead prefer to bluster, to moralise and to proscribe. And to continue to enact bad, unenforceable laws to add to the myriad bad, unenforceable laws that surround prostitution, drugs (caveat noted, by the way) and so many other areas of life.

Anonymous said...

Prostitution is legal in the UK, in that women are allowed to offer sex for money. The problem with allowing it to be considered as a proper career is when a brothel advertises in a local Job Centre and someone is forced to go to the interview on the basis that if they do not then their benefits will be cut. As happened in Germany.

If this law reduces the demand for protitution (and therefore reduces the 'need' to traffic in women to cope with the demand)or makes men realise that sex has to be consensual, whether you're paying for it nor not then this can only be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Iain.

Two women from the Women's Institute did a very interesting study on prostitition around the world a few years ago. I believe they came to similar conclusions.

Anonymous said...

I am most confused by the government's proposal for a law on this issue.

It seems to be able to convict a punter for either raping a trafficked prostitute, or having sex with a pimped girl, you'd have to prove a) that he did so, and b) that the girl was either pimped or trafficked.

My guess is that it's very difficult to prove the latter, because these people are generally organised (lower case o) criminals.

If you can't prove trafficking or pimping then there seems to be no case for the punter to answer, and if you can, then you should be pursuing the pimp or trafficker without any need for this new law and those are already illegal.

When I put my cynical hat on, I suppose I know what will happen - the threshold for establishing pimping or trafficking when trying to convict a punter will end up being much lower. But then they don't have expensive lawyers. Feels like it will lead to further criminalising of a wider population, and more ignoring of what most people would consider real criminals.

Bad Bunny said...

I think you're absolutely right, and I commend you for bringing the issue of male prostitutes into the debate too. I've been following this for the last couple of days and have found the men = evil perpetrators, women = victims blinkered view annoying, ill-informed and depressing in equal measure.
There was a very sensible female sex worker on This Morning talking about this, and I think more people like her should be listened to in this kind of debate.
While I don't think legalising prostitution would solve all the problems that surround this issue, I honestly believe it would help to protect workers in sex industry and help eradicate trafficking.

Anonymous said...

Prostitution is already legal. We need to allow solicitation. Actually that is already tolerated in some areas with local free sheet advertising and 'massage parlours'. The governmnet needs to regulate it howver, which is something they have shied away from for years.

The problem of women being trafficked is one that the police have ignored as with so many law enforcement issues.

I am not in favour of prostitution, but whatever you do you will never stamp it out, but the women must be better protected if that is how they earn money.

While they are about it they should also legalise and regulate the supply and use of drugs. Western governments should buy up the whole output of Afghanistan and Columbia for starters and sell it through licenced outlets after it has been processed in state run laboratories.

Blackacre said...

I thought prostitution was in itself not illegal, but the point is that so many of the activities surrounding it are illegal. So, the debate is a more complex one about which (if any) of the surrounding measures should be retained and to what extent do we as a society want to be in a position that we can see prostitution rather than have it hidden away in back alleys.

I too feel under informed on these issues to draw a conclusion, but am inclined to the liberalisation of something that will not go away however much we may wish it away.

Anonymous said...

I have long advocated legalisation. It's the only sensible option, but as a previous commenter notes, no political party will ever have the balls to do it. At least not in my lifetime as I see it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I like the way you point to the inconsistency of certain women regarding abortion and prostitution. They similarly champion the rights of countryside vermin and pests, whilst being happy allow viable humans to die in agony.

But this is a complex issue which brings into play different social, cultural and pragmatic considerations. I am afraid that even if we had these so called "bunny ranches", the kind of prostitutes who work on the street would not be in them, and in reality it would make no difference, especially in terms of health and safety.

Street prostitutes lead chaotic lives. Almost all of them are addicts, most are infected with a virus and many have complicated mental health problems. As such they are vulnerable to exploitation and driven to rendering "services" that are just plain degrading.

Legalising it would not stop street prostitution. If anything, it would make it worse with sick, underage vulnerable people who were not "approved" being forced into greater levels of degredation.

Anonymous said...

@Alice Dale - "If this law reduces the demand for protitution or makes men realise that sex has to be consensual, whether you're paying for it nor not then this can only be a good thing."

Don't you think the marjority of men are adult enough to know sex is consensual? Rape is illegal, so we don't need this law for that.

This law will no more reduce the demand for prostitutes than prohibition reduced the demand for drink. It just drives it underground, links it more tightly to crime and add to the burden of the police.

The issue here is human trafficking, so that is what needs to be addressed. This law is aimed at winning feminist brownie points by taking yet another swipe at men!!

neil craig said...

I would have thought that it would always have been rape to have had sex with a woman you knew at the start to be forced into it. From what has been said it seems that what is proposed is that the "knowingly" bit be taken out of "knowingly having sex with a woman forced into prostitution" which would in effect risk criminalising all encounters.

I would suggest legalisation but that this should include licencing & that such a licence should requite mandatory STD tests & that the police (not bloddy social workers) interview them & satisfy themselves that the woman is acting freely.

So long as it is illegal or a "grey area" criminals will dominate it & as with drugs the criminality cuases more harm than the trade.

I find the hypocrisy of Harman & others disgusting.

The growth in sex slavery in Britain is directly caused by Albanian pimps having been set up by us as the KLA & after occupation, being allowed to kidnap thousands, probably 10s of thousands of schoolgirls & sell them west (or sometimes cut them open & sell their organs west).

Every single MP who supported bombing Yugoslavia to assist a KLA known to be engaged in genocide is a war criminal, involved in sex slavery as well as massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing dissecting teens & Harman personally owes an apology to anybody she has criticised while she remains one of the chief slavers.

Anonymous said...

I agree the whole sex industry should be legalised as it is in Germany, Holland etc.
It would make life much safer for the girls if they are allowed to work in brothels where they can be protected and have access to medicals.
I like the Australain system where no men are allowed to own the brothels, in fact one brothel (in Melbourne I think) is quoted on the Aussie stock market.
I find a lot of stupid generalisations surrounding prostitutes,, yes some are on drugs, some are traffikked however I,ve found many housewives, air stewardesses etc girls who enjoy sex (seems as though there is still a stigma in this country towards women "Enjoying" sex)so figure to make money and have sexy fun.

Its true, from the femminists contradicitons about a womans right to do as she pleases with her body, then critisise them for wanting to make money through sex,, that the womens worst enemies are fellow women.
For example, I worked on a North Sea UK Oilrig, the company hired a female medic,, the objections to this came from the male employess wives.

So yes please, legalise and liberate the whole sex industry.
John F Aberdeen

Hacked Off said...

Saw that dreadful harridan Harman on C4 news last night trying to defend the latest stupidity as Jacqui 5-chins was off down the kebab and pie shop with her stab proof (size XXL) and armed escort and was therefore unavailable.

She squirmed a bit, completely failed to convince that she even understood the problems.

Maybe it's because she's unlikely to have been propositioned by a kerb crawler?

More seriously, as Ian say about Germany, having properly regulated prostitution won't prevent there being an "unregulated market" but it will limit its appeal and provide a safer environment for a large part of the trade and its customers.

The Penguin

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

What Jackie Smith is trying to do is ban prostitution by the back door. She doesn't agree with it, so she's imposing her sense of morality on the rest of us, which isn't in her job description.

All her plan does is label people who seek out prostitutes as more serious criminals, which she's hoping will be a deterrant. It won't, and I expect some absolute farcical criminal trials to result.

Prostitution is the world's oldest profession. It has always been there, is very much here now, and is NEVER going away.

Therefore, the answer is to legalise, control, and even tax it. It will make both the men and women involved far more secure also. In fact, I can't see a practical downside? The only possible negative is on grounds of morality, which is a weak argument at best, especially considering what's "moral" depends on the attitude of society as a whole, which changes drastically every decade.

As far as prostitution goes, I don't use them, and will never use them, but I won't judge anyone who either prostitutes themselves or seekes out prostitutes. What goes on between consenting adults is absolutely NONE of the governments damn business.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

If the quality of replies/debate stays as high as this, you may be in no doubt that blogging has come of age.

BSH said...

The ever moral minority have a lot to answer for when it comes to prostitution.

I imagine the cases of rape and pedophilia and other sexual and angst driven crimes increase as the police enforce anti-prostitution seriously.

After all, there are people who if they can't get it by ones will go to great lengths to get it by any other.

So the question is? Which is worse? Seems pretty simple to me, prostitutes are actually doing the world a worthwhile service and it is about time we realised that by offering them the correct level of support in ensuring their health and safety.

Jock Coats said...

Yes, properly legalize prostitution, but first, legalize the drugs so that the unscrupulous pimps no longer have such a hold over their "employees" too.

Anonymous said...

The problem with legalising prostitution is ensuring that prostitutes, male as well as female, are not under duress.

If steps are taken to prevent that, such as government licensing of brothels and exemption from any regulations that would force the unemployed to apply there, then legal prostitution would be fine.

The other half of that strategy is punitive penalties for anyone using unlicensed brothels, where the presumption would be that the prostitutes are under duress.

(I say brothel, but there are many pubs where a license for a single prostitute would be a sound investment.)

Anonymous said...

You are to be commended, I totally agree.
good point and a good clear debate so well done all.
There are so many issues that could benefit from this sort of leadership.

Anonymous said...

"The number of women who buy sexual services from men has rocketed in the last ten years."

I don't believe it.

Anonymous said...

iain, am glad you have raised the issue.

the problem i see with legalising brothels is that it validates the grey area. i think we all agree that an eastern european victim of human trafficing goes through a horrific ordeal and anything that helps shut this down is good.

and i think we all agree that the women who want to sell their services are totally free to do so. happened since the beginning of time etc kind of arguments.

but what about the drug users? what about the vulnerable 13/14 year old with a bad boyfriend who is a fully fledged prostitute at 16 and claims to be happy with it because is totally isolated by that point and is afraid of leaving what she knows? What about the girls who come out of care system and find themselves promised an amazing amount of money from the sex industry and find they aren't page 3, they aren't jemma jameson, and pretty soon they are just another prostitute with no life skills or support to do anything else.

I'm really worried that by legalising the advertising of prostitution e.g. legalising brothels you are embedding the vulnerable girls in a life that they do not choose. while it remains illegal there is a shot at rehabilitation via charities / gvt schemes set up purely to help these people who "the system" has so far failed.

if its legal then its ok - so is that it? are you going to be able to decide you dont want to do it, fill out a cv with prostitute all over it, and really get a job as a shop assistant / waitress etc? and if we still need charities working with the girls to rehabilitate their lives then surely that says its not something that should be legal?

plus on a completly emmotive point i dont want my mother to be a prostitute, i dont want to be a prostitute and i dont want my daughter to be a prostitute. do i want to live in a caste system society where there are jobs that my "type" of people dont do but the "underclass" are told by law is acceptable. and i know there are posh escorts but in my eyes they fall into the "since beginning of time" category... the people im worried about are the vulnerable girls in legalised brothels.

Guthrum said...

LPUK policy thanks Iain !

Unfortunately Labour's solution is to ban men especially ones in BMW's see Harman, Smith and McCarthy. You see women do not have these base urges !

Anonymous said...

Hmm, some of the commenters here have clearly never given thought to the horrors suffered by trafficked people (women and men) -- or maybe they just don't understand what the realities of trafficking are?

But we already have laws that should be adequate for stamping out such crime. Why are they not being implemented? Is it that those worst affected are foreigners, young, powerless and "damaged goods"?

These measures look to be part of a sad, defeatist attitude. Dealing with the seriously damaging criminals is too difficult, let's attack the broadly law-abiding and respectable instead. They might actually fear prosecution in the way the criminals don't. This pattern can be seen in regards to things like licensing of vehicles and drivers -- being "good" costs you large amounts of money.

I devoutly hope these measures will save some people -- but fear for those driven deeper underground.

Why, when we have so many immigrants already, are we not implementing the simple measure of guaranteeing these victims safe haven? Part of the imprisonment of these girls is the fear instilled in them of what will happen if they go the the authorities.

Anonymous said...

This is an appalling piece of legislation, as we have come to expect from NuLab. Not because it isn't well intentioned but because it is unworkable - therefore bad law.

They are confusing the "ignorance of the law is no excuse" principle with ignorance of the girl's origin. How is evidence going to stick in court when it's mostly anecdotal and wide open to misunderstanding?

I am astonished that such poor leglislation should be proposed by the Home Secretary herself. Then again I'm not, considering NuLab's answer to every one of life's little problems is to regulate harder.

Once again Labour criminalises the public instead of going for the real villains.

James Dowden said...

You're absolutely right. And perhaps we should look to Nevada (as illustrated in Stephen Fry's recent travel programme) for how prostitution can be made safe and legal.

And I agree with a previous commentator on Ms Smith. Bring on the General Election!

Anonymous said...

I am a feminist who is for abortion and against prostitution -- at least in its most predominant current UK forms of men living off the earnings of coerced women.

My reasoning for both opinions is exactly the same -- that having control over your own body is a very basic human right. There are too many prostitutes who are not receiving that basic human right. The evidence suggests that the happy willing girls loving their "profession" (or at least thinking no worse of it than most of us do of our jobs) and keeping a reasonable proportion of their earnings are few and far between. There is plenty of evidence that there are foreign girls held in sexual slavery all across the UK, and that is unacceptable. The local-drug-addict variety exposed to public view in the Ipswich murders also seems indefensible.

I will be at a meeting next week with some experts who will no doubt educate me further, but what they have said before is that the legalisation options do not seem to be working very well either.

Anonymous said...

I always swore that I'd never pay for sex..........then I got married!!

Seriously though, the main problem here is not so much the legalisation of prostitution but human trafficking. We have made a rod for our own backs by allowing so many Eastern European criminals to enter the country and remain here, even after being convicted of criminal offences and generally speaking these are the people responsible for 'trafficking'. Until a government (any government) has the spine to start kicking these gangsters out of the country then the problem will continue.

Anonymous said...

The Mothers' Union called for this to be debated years ago but got shouted down, mainly by the media!

It will not disappear whatever anyone does so why not legalise, put protection and health guards in place, and protect the women.

The government is not living in the real world -do they really think a bloke is going to say, 'How much love, and by the way are you here legally? If not, I cannot avail myself of your services'!

Anonymous said...

If Jacboot Jacqui wants to make it totally illegal, it should be legal. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that 'Prostitution' isn't just one problem. It has several different dimensions:

* exploitation of women by pimps
* human trafficking
* violence to women and prostitutes in particular
* women (and men) funding their drug habits
* public health issues around the spread of STDs
* quality of life issues in red light areas

Harriet Harpieperson prefers to hector and dress this up as a 'protection of wimmin' issue but then she doesn't seem to do deep thought very well.

The critical issue is, what is/are the Government's key policy objective(s)here? Different decisions on that will produce radically different outcomes. But Ministers seem very confused on what they hope to achieve (aside, of course, from an increased personal profile, a few favourable words in the media and praise from Gordon for distracting the plebs from the terminal decline of this administration

Anonymous said...

"We have made a rod for our own backs by allowing so many Eastern European criminals to enter the country and remain here..."

This is not quite accurate - we can't remove these people even if we wanted to because it's EU law. The only way forward is Better Off Out.

Anonymous said...


It's unusual for a person of your calibre to discourage discussing all relevant factors. Like it or not, drug addicition puts rising numbers of girls 'on the street'; habits making them unemployable elsewhere.

Some girls are willing parties to the 'sex trade' - others are lured to Britain under false pretences and virtually held captive by 'pimps'.

anonymous - 12.55 - all three newspapers appear to be willing parties to Nulabor's increasing use media spin and manipulation.

Anonymous said...

"It has always seemed ironic to me that the very women who shout loudest on the abortion issue that it is a woman's right to do with her body what she likes, are the very same women who would prevent her from selling her body for sex if that is what she chooses."

I don't think this is necessarily the case Iain. I think it's fair to say that feminists are divided on this issue, but there's a fairly large percentage of us that would classify themselves as pro-choice re abortion and the sex industry. I get the impression that those who are anti-abortion are also likely to be more anti-prostitution, though clearly there's a religious aspect to that.

The Green Party has had a very liberal policy on prostitution for a number of years now (RR550 onwards on the page I've linked).

Anonymous said...

No sane, rational, well-adjusted woman or girl would agree to provide sex. and god knows what else, to strange, physically repulsive men in return for money.

Society normally tries to protect the insane, the irrational and the maladjusted. The legalisation of prostitution would sanction their exploitation.

Anonymous said...

leaving aside the question of what constitutes 'paying for sex' (do only immediate cash payments count? ) surely making it illegal to buy it but legal to sell it will mean that a system is created to get around this? Such systems already exist to circumvent, say, licensing laws - one thinks of parties where one pays for entrance but the drinks come 'free.' Will we see the growth of private members clubs that offer sexual services 'free'?

It is a cliché that prostitution is described as 'the oldest profession' but like all clichés there is an element of truth to it. So surely the lesson is that prostitution will not be going away. We can simply choose whether it is legal or not.

Anonymous said...

As several commenters have already pointed out, prostitution is already completely legal in the UK.

It's the activities often associated with it that are illegal: soliciting, loitering, running brothels and kerb crawling.

We already have laws to convict traffickers and pimps, they should be working harder to apply them rather than introduce silly unenforcable new ones.

Interestingly, only the state can profit legally from the earnings of a prostitute, via tax. It is no surprise to find that Gordon is living off immoral earnings.

You can get the opinion of a very articulate blogger, herself once a high-class call girl (and apparently paid taxes on her earnings!) here:

Unknown said...

I think the only approaches that really make sense are either to legalise it in controlled conditions, as you've suggested Iain, or else to go the whole hog and make buying sex an offence.

What's half-baked is this idea that a man might or might not commit an offence depending on the woman's relationship to someone else. On the figures quoted in the government's review, 80% of prostitutes are "controlled" anyway: why just criminalise 80% of it?

Oh, and the idea of charging men who knowingly have sex with trafficked women isn't actually in the review - that seems to be a suggestion that's somehow crept in later. A good idea, though, I think.

Anonymous said...

We should legalise drugs while we're at it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a good idea and should be the responsibility of the local social services along side or integrated with family units. Quite obviously the people running it, Personal Satisfcation Co-ordinators, would require training etc and be given day glow uniformes for easy identification. Alternatively Privatisation mihght be the annswer with say R Branson running them nationally. *Virgin Grope" would become part of the Virgin Group as an example.
Job centres could become involved too...reduce unemployment. Just had a better idea, cubicles in the supermarket - get y'bread, have a jump and home for tea.

Anonymous said...

The law certainly ould do with some clarification. I am not sure what is legal and what is not I cannot be the only one. The proposed chnges sound like the type of thing Blunkett used to do. Take something that was illegal but not well enforced pass some laws to make it look like you were doing something but still don't enforce the new laws either.

Women working in licenced premises would not necessarily be willing. They could have a 'boyfriend' at home who was encouraging them to do it and taking most of the money. Only allowing a woman to own or run the brothel would not work, the person down in the paperwork could like the prostitutes have a man at home who was realy in charge and taking most of the profits.

Unknown said...

There is a more general point about well meaning but unenforceable legislation. The ban on hunting would be another example. The usual cliche of sending a message means that we have increasing amounts of legislation that amount to very little. The pernicious effect is to undermine respect for the law.

Anonymous said...

I've been an advocate of legalisation for quite a while, and have yet to be convinced otherwise.

The argument that legalisation and licensing would "push the trafficked side of the industry underground" doesn't hold water, because the obvious corollary to having a legalised trade is that you make all UNlicensed prostitution illegal, and the police could concentrate on stopping that side of it.

My stock joke on the subject is that there are only two things that are perfectly legal providing you're not doing it for money - one's to have sex, and the other's to vote for a politician!

Anonymous said...

If I though for one moment that making it illegal for men to pay for sex would make a scap of difference to anything I would have to rant about NuLab policies putting women out of work.

It is rather like lowering the speed limit because people keep breaking it.

David Lindsay said...

By all means let it be made a criminal offence for any person above the age of consent (which should be raised to 18) to buy, or attempt to buy, sex.

And let it also be made be made a criminal offence, with an exactly equal sentence, for any person above that age to sell, or attempt to sell, sex.

Since the former are usually men and the latter usually women, are women morally and intellectually equal to men, or not?

Meanwhile, cannabis must be made a Class A drug, accompanied by a crackdown on the possession of drugs, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on.

But how much longer must be endure the "free" market, which cannot be at all without being in prostitution, pornography, drugs, the lot? That is the real problem.

On Wednesday, the Today programme featured an interview with someone from "the English Collective of Prostitutes", which I assume is the unacceptable face of the co-operative movement, just as at least one union's section for "sex workers" is the unacceptable face of trade unionism.

Not only for these reasons, the Fabian and Christian Socialist pioneers must be spinning in their graves.

Who will be interviewed next? The English Collective of Heroin Dealers?

Roger Thornhill said...

Seems you are conflating "trafficked" with "sex slavery". The utterly disingenuous Harriet Harman did this on C4 and she KNEW she was doing it, I am pretty sure - she used "brought in", which is mumble-swerve. How can someone so loose with the truth be Lord Privy Seal?

According to the English Collective of Prostitutes, most trafficked women are not held against their will, but have come willingly and work willingly. They stated that there is almost none or no situations where trafficking was proven, but then again the law now says you do not have to prove it for the charge to stick. See how far the Harridan has trodden on the law to get at the mysterious and fictitious devil she seeks!

So, please do not conflate the two concepts. Nobody wants to see sex slavery, but prostitutes coming in to work is an immigration issue.

Fact is, though, the law is yet another lash-up by New Labour. Harridan and Jaqui The Ripper will make the life of prostitutes hell.

neil craig said...

"No sane, rational, well-adjusted woman or girl would agree to provide sex. and god knows what else, to strange, physically repulsive men in return for money."

Oh well that solves it then.

And in the meantime anybody who votes Labour must be insane. Ditto anybody who believes the world is getting catastrophically warmer, that nuclear power is dangerous, that most MPs shouldn't be strung up for genocide, also other murderers, that we should stay in the EU, in Ludditry, that £500 million would be to much to pay for a fleet of inexpensive space shuttles, that we couldn't get them for that price or that low level radioactivity is bad for you.

All of which assertions there is infinitely more proof of than the assertion of the self styled Ms"Women of Britain". Fortunately it doesn't quite work like that.

neil craig said...

Anybody doubt that a girl working in Virgin Brothels plc would have a better & indeed longer life than one working for a former British trained liberation hero of the KLA?

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to join this discussion but offer the benefit of experience that few might admit to. From the 1960’s to the 1980’s I saw the world from the decks of ships. Rarely did this include the tourist attractions of far away places, commercial ports are grubby often-dangerous places focused on providing the services that visitors might buy. The way prostitution was tolerated depended on the local level of poverty and the local social structure. Abject poverty offers few opportunities in these circumstances. Though I’m sure drugs were an issue they were not as prevalent as they are to day, particularly in this country. Wherever we went, unless our access to the shore was forbidden, prostitution was evident.

The fact that some politicians in this country think they can in some way ban, stop, limit or prevent prostitution marks them as unfit for purpose, naive, addle brained idiots who should be locked up for everyone’s safety.

While I have not seen the German model mentioned in your comments section I have seen similar arrangements. There is no doubt the first priority is to protect prostitutes from exploitation, primarily from pimps but also from their customers and corrupt public servants. Peter Fry’s visit to the Mustang Ranch offers interesting options.

Open transparent regulation can deal with the last two; this requires safe places and conditions for the transaction. Disease and drugs are issues that must be addressed; regular medical checks are an obvious step. The drugs question can’t be settled in isolation, many more resources should be applied to this scourge or alternatively drugs should be legalised and resources applied to rehabilitation programmes. The present status quo is not acceptable in a civilised country.

Anonymous said...

Iain writes: "I'm going to kick the debate off by saying that I would like to become much better informed on this issue."

Well, Iain, prostitution is already legal in this country, which means that this entire post is redundant.

You may have been confused by the fact that kerb crawling, controlling another for gain (pimping), and soliciting (street corners) are illegal.

J Smith's intended law would criminalise punters, who are often the first - because they have broken no law - to alert police to trafficked women. Oh, and by the way, trafficked women account for about 0.1% of all working women - and there are already robust laws against trafficking.

If you want an expert view, try Belinda Brooks Gordon:

marksany said...

It seems to me that this legislation is designed to practically eliminate prostitition, though it will still be available to the very rich: Judges, politicians, peers, sportsmen, sporting body chairmen, rockstars, TV presenters etc..

So: one law for the common man; another for the elite. How very nuLabour.

Anonymous said...

One of your commentors said that no sane (etc.)woman would agree to sex for money. So she presumably thinks that twelve hours a day, every day working in a sweat shop is a sane option. Perhaps an alcoholic and abusive "boyfriend" sounds like a saner option? Perhaps the lady should try some of these- or talk to those who've needed to face them- before saying what sane people would agree to. Perhaps she knows how to make a life with no possibility of qualifications plus a shed load of problems from an abusive childhood and can give those so afflicted first hand advice on a better way. I hope so- or at least I hope someone can- but I somehow suspect she knows far far less about the prostitutes alternatives than they do themselves. Most people have to settle for the best they can get, not the best there is, and I for one have far more respect for a person who faces up to difficult decisions than I have for someone who merely preaches.
Impoverished people cannot simply pay the air fare to come here and then pay rent- and how many immigrants get work permits to work as prostitutes? So to get the work they have to get themselves "trafficked"- as tourists find it convenient to get Thos. Cook to traffick them to Ibiza or wherever, but the ladies need an advance on earnings to pay for it and that has to be repaid with interest. If we want to stop trafficking then providing an easier way in would do the trick.
Sure, there's an immigration control issue here- should we be allowing well paid employment for impoverished foreigners. Depends a bit on how many British girls are disadvantaged. I could argue that both ways, but I cannot believe banning foreign labour can be justified on the grounds of protecting foreigners- its simply hypocracy, something which has dominated the debate on this subject as long as I can remember

Anonymous said...

Prostitution is legal already. It always has been.

Soliciting is not legal, nor is profiting from immoral earnings (pimping, or being a madame though the tax man is not included in that) and nor is running an immoral house (If I am correct that is more than two prostitutes in a single building).

The fact this government is trying to outlaw prostitution is laughable, more so that they blame it all on men!

What next? Outlawing homosexuality?

Anonymous said...

When I was a student I worked in a club of known disrepute. I can assure you that the vast vast majority of the public have no idea of the levels of male prostitution in our society, both heterosexual and homosexual.

The Remittance Man said...


Can we get some clarity on this "trafficked" thing? In 2006 55 police forces and the UK Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield conducted a nationwide operation. The result? 84 foreign girls rescued from white slavers. This from an estimated workforce of between 80 and 100 thousand (that's between 0.08% and 0.1%).

There may be many thousands of foreign girls working as prostitutes in Britain. Some (many) may even be illegal immigrants. They might have been recruited abroad and may even have been smuggled into the country. But the evidence does not seem to show that they are unwilling victims of white slavers.

Martin S said...

Obviously if a man was caught under this new legislation, the police officer could force him to accompany him or her to the nearest cashpoint and... Oh! Sorry! That was the last pointless crime 'initiative', wasn't it?

And yes, I fear this new legislation is just another in a very long and tired series of bogus proposals. Like in the old black and white films set in the Sahara Desert, when two brave legionnaires use 20 dummies to pretend to be a fully-manned fort.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but, Iain...

Your poll is most unhelpfully worded.

I do know what I think, so don't know is not a possible answer. But I think prostitution should be decriminalised (which is to say the ancilliary offences abolished and 'immoral contracts' made enforceable at law) and *not* regulated.

Legalising and regulating are undesirable approaches for all the reasons you so well outline, in relation to the criminal involvement: it would entrench criminals in the unregulated sector. But also because it would create regulatory interests and regulatory barriers to entry, so disavantaging the very sole traders and cooperatives who are commonly agreed currently to represent the best side of the trade. The regulated Dutch and Nevada industries now, and the historical maison closes in France, show that 'regulated' prostitutes are, if not enslaved and brutalised, potentially just as caged as trafficked women, because their market is controlled by a cartel of regulators and brothel-keepers.

Anonymous said...

Women of Britain Say No said...

"No sane, rational, well-adjusted woman or girl would agree to provide sex. and god knows what else, to strange, physically repulsive men in return for money."

Stupid bitch talks out of arse shock.

DocRichard said...

From the point of view of preventive medicine, legalisation of prostitution is a no-brainer, because it allows the health of sex workers to be monitored, and the incidence of STDs, herpes, and HIV/AIDS to be controlled. One day, rationality will overcome the morality laden political response to prostitution.

Sahar Rezazadeh said...

lilith said...

"It has always seemed ironic to me that the very women who shout loudest on the abortion issue that it is a woman's right to do with her body what she likes, are the very same women who would prevent her from selling her body for sex if that is what she chooses. They would ban prostitution altogether. If it were actually possible, they might have a point." Who are these women Iain? Aren't you a bit muddled here?

Legalise prostitution? Bloody stupid and dangerous not to.

Tatiana713 said...

I agree with you that prostitution should be legalized. I actually posted a blog about how the government has too many useless laws in effect, which you can find here. Good Post. Now if I could only find a way to follow you...