The London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has just initiated a wide ranging public consultation on measures targetting violence against women and girls (VAWG). This covers domestic violence, religious violence, female genital
mutilation, gang related violence, prostitution and trafficking.
For some bizarre reason the chapters on prostitution and trafficking are based on a report commissioned from the extremist anti-prostitution campaigners of Eaves.
Their report predictably comes to all the usual conclusions that men should be locked up for anything related to sex.
It seems a shame for the Mayor's Office to taint an important consultation with one sided views. However it has toned down some of the text pasted in from the Eaves report. Eg Eaves writing that 'men should be criminalised for buying sex' has
been toned down to 'men should be criminalised for buying sex from exploited sex workers'
The Eaves report, which must be taken with a pinch of salt, says there has been a recent and rapid rise in the number of women selling sex on the capital's streets. Prostitution is still a thriving industry in many of London's
The paper recommends measures intended to address the growing problem including the decriminalisation of those who sell sex and the wiping of their criminal records. This, authors argue, would remove a significant barrier to exiting the sex
industry, as records of past offences can hinder job prospects. But of course they also suggest police target buyers not the women.
As part of the study, data on the number of prostitution-related offences was obtained from the Metropolitan Police. Tower Hamlets had the most arrests (42), between June 2011 and May 2012. Lambeth and Ealing were close behind, with 38 and 21
A proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex has found support according to the results of a public consultation.
Almost 1,000 people responded to Labour MSP Rhoda Grant's plan which she hopes will become law in Scotland. Of the total, 80% favour her ban. Grant claimed:
There has been an excellent response, and I now hope we can use the evidence provided to change society's attitude towards buying and selling sex, thereby protecting vulnerable people.
The primary argument that the demand to buy sex will decrease was acknowledged in the responses of those in favour and against the proposed Bill. This would have a knock-on effect on sex trafficking as Scotland would not be seen as a profitable
market by traffickers. This will ultimately mean an overall decrease in the level of prostitution in the country.
Of 953 responses, 758 favoured her approach which is based on legislation in Sweden.
Of the individual responses, 47 are from people who work or worked in the sex industry . One anonymous respondent wrote:
I chose to escort for money. I enjoy it. I do not feel exploited or dehumanised. I feel liberated, excited, expressive, creative and earning good money. I am one of very few people who actually enjoys their job.
Business networking site LinkedIn has banned sex workers from creating profiles or using the platform to promote their services.
The updated User Agreement says members are not to undertake the following:
Upload, post, email, InMail, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that ... Even if it is legal where you are located, create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.
LinkedIn previously prohibited the advertising of unlawful services on its site but prostitution is legal in some of the jurisdictions where the website's users are based.
The makers of an online commercial advertising Come4 , a not-for-profit website promising a new vision of sex , have expressed disappointment after it was withdrawn from YouTube because the video-hosting site judged that its
content violated its terms of service .
The provocative film opens with an unseen narrator relating an early episode of unrequited love before going on to talk about his experiences with prostitutes. As the imagery becomes increasingly explicit, the mystery voice describes visiting
brothels with his father and reveals that together they take time to choose the right one and explains that he loved his first time so much, he decided to come back with his friends .
This frank series of admissions is being provided by disability rights campaigner Asta Philpot, who is describing a trip he made to a Spanish brothel with a group of disabled virgins, the subject of a 2007 documentary broadcast by the BBC.
Philpot describes YouTube's decision as pretty disgusting and feels that if they'd seen beyond the naked breasts and recognised the message behind the film, they'd have realised that it's actually ethical. A friend of mine died
without ever having a [sexual] experience and I don't ever want to let that happen again.
A report says that sex workers in Westminster are at greater risk of violence because of a fall in demand and an increase in those selling sex.
The study by Westminster Council shows the recession has led sex workers to cut their prices, accept more clients and take greater risks. The police, the NHS, council workers and sex work projects contributed to the report. The report says:
Saturation of the market has had the impact of increased competition, meaning some sex workers are now selling sex for less money and providing a wider range of services.
Sex workers interviewed for the report said there had been about a 50% reduction in prices over the last few years. This has meant many are accepting clients who appear to be more dangerous in order to make enough money. They are also having to
travel further afield to find clients which means it is harder for police and outreach agencies to keep track of them and provide help.
The study found there is an unsurprisingly high level of under-reporting to the police as the police will prosecute the sex worker reporting the violence, and when sex workers do report violence they do not always receive the help they need.
The report also points out that it can cost the authorities a lot of money when the unreported crimes develop into more serious crimes due to lack of intervention at an early stage.
As a sex worker, I can tell you they don't deserve to be criminalised. Labour MSP Rhoda Grant's wants to introduce the Swedish model to Scotland. But criminalising the purchase of sex is not the way to help sex workers. By Laura Lee