Over the next few days, I’m going to try to persuade you that Rhoda Grant’s proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex is misguided at best and dangerous at worst. Those of you who don’t need convincing, feel free to speed read, but just don’t forget to respond to the consultation. Hoping that someone else will do it, may just end up with Rhoda getting her way.
Rhoda states in her introduction:
I believe that prostitution in Scotland is a form of violence against women and sexual exploitation.1 The Scottish Government‟s Safer Lives: Changed Lives which sets out a shared approach to tackling violence against women recognises that prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation. In a modern 21st century Scottish society such treatment and degradation of those who are sexually exploited should not be tolerated. Prostitution is harmful to those who are exploited and impacts negatively on society.
I do not recognise that prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation.
A meeting room full of smug, self congratulatory folk who pat each other on the back for a job well done saving “those poor unfortunate sex workers” with mental images of “drug addled teens” wearing teeny mini skirts and thigh length boots, leaning through car windows to enquire “Are you looking for business?”. Yes, I’m sure those folk recognise that fact. However, I would argue their right to ‘recognise’ anything related to sex work when the fact is that they probably wouldn’t recognise a sex worker. I mean, most of us aren’t homeless waifs. Damn us with our disguises!
So of course, their next argument is that an independent escort who makes an informed decision to enter the sex industry is ‘not representative’. Now, I can’t (and neither can anybody else) provide you with facts and figures when it comes to the number of women in prostitution (yes, I know there are men as well. One thing at a time), but what I can tell is that the forum at SAAFE has 4002 members. Now that’s just the forum. Just the number of independents who choose to join the conversations over there. However, you may argue that SAAFE has members from all over the UK (and a few from elsewhere), so Adultwork it is then. If I search their site for a female escort in Scotland, then I get 1066 results. These are all indoor sex workers. If you were to believe the figures I’ve seen bandied about in the past, then indoor sex work accounts for only 20% of the UK sex industry. Anyone who believes that must be insane! You’d be scarcely able to step outside your door without tripping over yet another tart. Street corners would be crowded with floozies!
Ok, so back to this exploitation malarkey.
I choose to work in the sex industry. Nobody forces me to do it and whilst I will freely admit that this work isn’t for everybody, I also ask you to consider that there are many jobs which a lot of folk will tell you that they couldn’t contemplate doing.
My jobs suits me just fine.
I am not exploited. I am not coerced. This is my body. These are the services I offer through choice.
Do not tell me that I am not entitled to make that decision.
As for prostitution impacting negatively on society.
What any consenting adults do behind closed doors cannot possibly impact negatively on anything or anyone.
And that’s just it isn’t it.
That is who we’re talking about here. There are already laws in place to protect those who are actually exploited or coerced.
As for degradation. The only thing I currently find degrading is being patted on the head by certain feminists and told that they will make my decisions for me. They will tell me what to think and feel because I obviously cannot be allowed to decide for myself… If I could, I’d agree with them.
Please respond to the consultation.
Responses should be submitted by 14 December 2012 and sent to:
Rhoda Grant MSP
Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Tel: 0131 348 5766
Fax: 0131 348 5767
If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. You can download a template letter from SCOT-PEP.
And you don’t need to be resident in Scotland.