A new bill to make prostitution illegal in Scotland is to be put before the Scottish parliament this week.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant wants to see a bill fast-tracked through Holyrood, claiming it will reduce demand for prostitution by criminalising
those who buy sex. She said the proposals could be passed rapidly through the parliamentary process as the previous consultation meant there was no need to repeat this:
Practical, operational, legal, equality and
financial considerations have been explored to a sufficient degree to test, develop and refine my specific proposal and enable me to proceed towards the development of a bill. I have continued to liaise with organisations on this topic.
Views expressed to me so far, as part of my on-going engagement with a number of bodies, the public and others with an interest in this proposal, confirm that the views expressed during the formal consultation process have not
Currently kerb crawling, running brothels and soliciting for prostitution are all outlawed in Scotland but it is still legal for an adult to pay another adult for sex without any offence being committed.
Government says it will give careful consideration to the new proposals after similar plans were rejected two years ago. Former Labour MSP Trish Godman's proposals in the Criminal Justice and Licensing bill were turned down by ministers who feared
it would make the problem less visible to the authorities.
Grant, a Highland and Islands list MSP, is essentially taking over the Godman proposals, and will tell Holyrood's justice committee this week that she thinks there is no need to go through
the lengthy consultation process that usually accompanies new bills again.
The original bill met with concerns from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), which warned that it could drive prostitution off the street
and into areas where it is harder to identify vulnerable women and enforce the law. Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told MSPs on the justice committee he was not looking for additional powers in this area.
A Scottish Government
spokesperson said: Prostitution damages the individuals caught up in selling sex and the communities involved. It is a complex issue which requires careful consideration to ensure that any additional measures which may be required to be put in place
are necessary, practicable and sustainable. We will give careful consideration to any bill which Rhoda Grant brings forward on this matter.
Update: Fast track derailed
20th June 2012. See
article from scotsman.com
Rhoda Grant is to press ahead with her selfish plans to criminalise prostitution in Scotland but her attempt to fast-track new legislation through parliament was blocked..
Holyrood's justice committee ruled that a 12-week consultation on
the measures, which would make it an offence for someone to purchase sex from another adult, must be carried out by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant who said:
I look forward to hearing the responses to the further
consultation on these proposals.
Overwhelmingly, the feedback that I have received to date makes clear that reducing the demand for prostitution can be achieved by making the purchasing of sex illegal.
look forward to the parliament considering more consultation feedback in the coming months and a full debate on my proposals that will protect Scottish women.
Offsite Comment: Making Things Worse
June 2012. See article from bbc.co.uk
Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, from the Department of Psychological Sciences, Birbeck, University of London, has researched and written about the sex industry. She said the Scottish legislation proposal was not supported by any evidence that it would help
It's McCarthyism in the bedroom
The prisons are at bursting point so to fill them with people who use prostitutes and to give them a criminal record is lunacy.
It would be a retrograde step and would make things worse.
The people this legislation would most harm are the people they are proposing to help.
She said the best way to protect sex workers
was to treat violence against them as a hate crime and build a strong relationship between the police and prostitutes so they felt that if they approached them for help their complaint would be taken seriously
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