Lustbaddie

Scotland - The Herald

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Should prostitution be given the red light?

0 commentsPublished on 20 Sep 2009

Plans are afoot to make it a crime to buy sex in Scotland. Is this the way forward? Ahead of a major debate on the proposal, we present five spirited arguments

The feminist campaigner

By Julie bindel

The laws on prostitution are not working. Currently, women are criminalised, making it more difficult to leave prostitution, and the men who pay for sex, at least in brothels, remain unchallenged. Not surprisingly, demand for sexual services has increased. Why does this matter? That depends on whether you believe in equality between men and women. Prostitution creates and maintains the sexual subordination of women. As long as men can buy women's bodies we can never be equal. So Labour's expected amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill (Scotland), which would make it a crime to buy sex, would be welcome.

Why should brothels be seen as an accepted and respectable part of the leisure industry, knowing the abuse and misery involved? The women are seen as merchandise and marketed as though they are sub-human. Look at the following "offers" available in London brothels: "House special - £80 for 20 minutes with two girls"; "Voucher for first-timers: 50% off next visit"; "£150 for as many times as you can".

Why would anyone, aside from pimps and other profiteers, support this vile industry? Many do so under the guise of claiming to represent women involved in prostitution. The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) behaves far more as a lobby group for the sex industry than an organisation focused on labour rights. In calling for the criminalisation of demand I am more interested in deterrence than punishment. Laws can change attitudes. Legalisation and decriminalisation lead us to believe that buying and selling bodies is acceptable. In countries such as the Netherlands and Australia, removing legal sanctions from pimps and brothel-owners results in a dramatic increase in the number of women and girls trafficked into those countries and an increase in the legal and illegal aspects of the sex industry.

The Netherlands is a perfect example. Half of Amsterdam's prostitute windows have now been closed down to protect the city from gangs of traffickers, drug dealers and peddlers in child pornography. A report by former prostitute Karina Schaapman, now a member of the city council, described a police file of 80 violent pimps, of whom only three were Dutch-born. She says more than three-quarters of the city's 8000 to 11,000 prostitutes were from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

The sex industry lobbyists have recently gone silent about the Netherlands and instead are hailing New Zealand - where the sex industry has been decriminalised - as the perfect model. The NZ government's own report into the effects of decriminalisation reveals that all is not well since the policy shift. When interviewed, most of the women in prostitution said they felt that the law could do little about violence. Some 35% reported in 2007 that they had been coerced to prostitute in the past year, and most felt decriminalisation made no difference to the violence of punters. And allowing brothels to operate without hassle from the police did not reduce street prostitution. In Auckland it more than doubled in just one year.

Men will not experience harm if they are prevented from paying for sex, and don't believe that those unable to find a "release" for sexual frustration will be forced to rape. But a new argument, thought up by sex industry lobbyists, markets prostitution as a social and charitable service. Disabled men, the argument goes, can't have sex the usual way, or find a partner, so have to engage the services of "sex workers". An organisation called Tender Loving Care is campaigning for wheelchair-accessible brothels "to meet the demand" and says hospices should provide for "visiting sex workers". How insulting to suggest that disabled men can only find a sexual partner by paying for it.

Men who pay for sex need to be educated about the harm it is causing. Some will only stop if they are frightened of the consequences. Others are able to justify what they do, because it is not against the law. One regular punter told me: "It's like going for a drink. You are not doing anything illegal." He is right. Let's hope we can change this.

Julie Bindel is a journalist and feminist campaigner who has written extensively about prostitution

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Im sick of this you know. Sick of people trying to make out all prostitutes are victims. And im sick of trafficked women being brought into the prostitution debate. As far as im concerned what happens to them is abuse it has nothing to do with what i do. They have no choice. I have a choice and it is offensive to those women who are kidnapped, held against their will and forced into having sex with strangers to even put us in the same category.

Its like bringing doctors into an argument about heroin dealers because both involve drugs.

Why is it when they see pictures of male escorts nobody goes "Oh those poor men, theyre probably upto their nuts in a cocaine addiction and were molested by their uncle" ? Why is it when a woman asserts herself sexually she is seen as a victim?

There are so many good fights out there that need fighting, so many things about this country that are going wrong. Picking on prostitution is so easy, its such an easy target. And i for one am sick of it.

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Perhaps, if less English taxpayers' money was transfered to Scotland, Scots legislators would have more pressing matters to deal with than posing on this issue

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Hi Lustbaddie from Glasgow here, I too posted the Herald article and it is clear the "make men pay" bandwagon is rolling and we can expect legislation in Scotland within the next 18months.

Miss X can I ask a question? Do you regard punters like me as being "bad people" or "sex exploiters" - in short do you think we are morally reprehensible or weak willed or pathetic individuals who have to pay for sex because no one else wants us?

Do you think punters should be prosecuted?

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I refute her claim that the Netherlands is the perfect example. The main reason that the Netherlands is trying to clamp down on prostitution is that the right wing conservative Christian Democratic party the CDA won the last 2 elections due to a right wing shift in politics due to fear of the Al Qaeda. Before that the Netherlands had been quite liberal socialist for years. The CDA being christians naturally want to clamp down on prostitution, whatever the spurious reasons they give for it. If Julie Bindel thinks otherwise she's just changing the facts to fit her own delusions.

The dutch ex-prostitute's comments could be down to jealousy or resentment that women from abroad have come and been successful, not necessarily because these women are being trafficked as she suggests. She's good at producing figures but not so good at producing proof.

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Hi Lustbaddie from Glasgow here, I too posted the Herald article and it is clear the "make men pay" bandwagon is rolling and we can expect legislation in Scotland within the next 18months.

Miss X can I ask a question? Do you regard punters like me as being "bad people" or "sex exploiters" - in short do you think we are morally reprehensible or weak willed or pathetic individuals who have to pay for sex because no one else wants us?

Do you think punters should be prosecuted?

No i dont think of punters as anything other than normal men. I have met bad men in my life...the worst were men i met in 'normal' situations. You cannot generalise about the men who visit wgs in the same way you cant about wgs.

Why ask me that question?

Last night there was a programme on where everyone was sat around talking about how women like me need to be protected. Speaking about prostitutes like we're totally helpless and witless. It makes me so mad i can feel it in my stomach.

I apologise for not being very eloquent...normally my thoughts just rattle around my head lol.

And no, i dont think you should be prosecuted.

Why dont they concentrate on bringing the conviction rate up for the women who actually accuse men of real sex crimes. Its shamefully low

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Good point.

On another, almost identical thread, the point is made that the Scottish Government is determined to carry this through and I am quite sure they will.

It will mean the end of punting for me - I simply could not afford to be caught doing something illegal, and anyway, I'm not inclined to break the law.

In just about every other respect I am a respectable, tax paying, university fee funding, hard working dad of three.

I thing I know full well though - the demand for paid sex will never disappear!

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Thanks MissX. The reason for posing that question is simple - if WGs are portrayed as damaged individuals who cannot be expected to make rational decisions for themselves - psychologically and sexually abused individuals - then men like me are portrayed as the abusers.

Now, I personally don't recall ever making a booking with the express intention of doing anything other than getting laid, but apparently I have been contributing to the moral and psychological decay of you and your sisters.

From my very first punt (Earls Court, 1981 - just hand relief since you ask) to my last punt (Glasgow, last Wednesday - the full works) I can't recall ever coercing anyone to do anything.

I have paid girls who ran off with my money, I have been shortchanged in every respect and even threatened with violence by a maid for not leaving a big enough tip, but not once have I ever "forced" myself on anyone.

I strictly avoid "Thai", "Chinese" and so-called "Polish" WGs for fear of traffiking.

I would not contemplate paid sex with anyone under 18 (and have paid only one girl under 21 in the last 10 years) and try and take as a "responsible" and even "fair trade" attitude into every encounter, and yet I know full well that many women would regard me as a "vile abuser" if I made my sex history (and preference for WGs) known.

So where is this current coming from?

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Good point.

On another, almost identical thread, the point is made that the Scottish Government is determined to carry this through and I am quite sure they will.

It will mean the end of punting for me - I simply could not afford to be caught doing something illegal, and anyway, I'm not inclined to break the law.

In just about every other respect I am a respectable, tax paying, university fee funding, hard working dad of three.

I thing I know full well though - the demand for paid sex will never disappear!

I think its such a shame. Making criminals of men that dont deserve it.

Really makes my blood boil, better go read an innocuous thread until the steam stops coming outa my ears lol

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So where is this current coming from?

I am of the opinion, and have been for some time now, that the rumpus, both South and now North of the border, concerning the paid sex trade is not for the protection/saving of prostitutes (be they voluntary or coerced), but is nothing more or less than an old-fashioned crusade against paid sex. I don't think that you should go looking for reasons why this is taking place, a crusade does not need a reason for existing, it just has to exist in a mind of a person that has influence, and the opportunity and the ability to promote it.

My reason for thinking that it is a crusade is based on the totally illogical and ill thought out "dissertations" and methods such as the "guidance" given to newspapers regarding adverts for paid sex.

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I get where you are coming from, but the difference is that this will put me and many others like me totally out of the market in Scotland.

Frankly, although now aged 51 and a veteran of several hundred punts, I just can't take the risk of being arrested and charged.

My own view is that this will actually force prostitution into deeper and deeper recesses more closely controlled by the underworld and actually achieve the direct opposite of what it intends to do.

Here in Scotland, the hypocrisy in the approach to drugs, drink, smoking and even sex is on public display - this bill will definitely go forward and will definitely receive cross party backing because no party wants to be seen SUPPORTING prostitution and any activity that might even hint of making victims out of women.

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because no party wants to be seen SUPPORTING prostitution and any activity that might even hint of making victims out of women.

That is the crunch, however IIRC similar proposed legislation was attempted South of the border and was "unfortunately" kicked into the long grass by a combination of a prolonged debate on the very tricky subject of blasphemy and the need for a cut down fast-tracked version of the Police and Crime (not sure if that is correct) Bill, however you do make a very good point that no doubt caused a few politicians to scratch their heads, and doubtless will again.

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Hey Lustbaddie, if they do enact this as law there's no need to give up if you can make it to Germany once in a while where prostitution is legal. But if you go to the FKK Oase then it would be wise to give up your avoidance of Polish women. Polish women I've met at the FKK Oase have been some of the nicest, friendliest, sweetest women I've ever met and I would be truly surprised if any of them had been trafficked.

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I believe you Barrack, but here in Glasgow there have been a number of Ukranian and Russian girls passing themselves off as Poles - and in the places they have been working it would be difficult to know for sure where they tryly originate from or if they really are working independently or as part of a network.

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Hey Lustbaddie, if they do enact this as law there's no need to give up if you can make it to Germany once in a while where prostitution is legal. But if you go to the FKK Oase then it would be wise to give up your avoidance of Polish women. Polish women I've met at the FKK Oase have been some of the nicest, friendliest, sweetest women I've ever met and I would be truly surprised if any of them had been trafficked.

I agree entirely, and that's without having to go to Germany, having met many fabulous Polish ladies here in London.

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Last night there was a programme on where everyone was sat around talking about how women like me need to be protected.

It is my opinion Madam that you should not give the slightest consideration to any such debates, "they" are not interested in protecting/saving you in any way shape or form, "they" have only one interest and that is the eradication of prostitution, protecting/saving you is merely a necessary ruse to give legitimacy to their cause, because without such legitimacy they will be shown to be just crusaders.

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It is my opinion Madam that you should not give the slightest consideration to any such debates, "they" are not interested in protecting/saving you in any way shape or form, "they" have only one interest and that is the eradication of prostitution, protecting/saving you is merely a necessary ruse to give legitimacy to their cause, because without such legitimacy they will be shown to be just crusaders.

Madam? Generally only my grandmother calls me that when im cheeky. I feel chastised ;)

I couldnt agree with you more. It isnt about saving me and my kind.

But it is an excuse/argument im bored of hearing.

And i will carry on giving consideration to the debates because occassionally valid points are made...and if we only heard things that we wanted to hear life would be pretty dull

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