YourSlave

There Is A Consultation On Criminalizing Prostitution In Scotland

121 posts in this topic

The consultation is now open (until 14th Dec 2012).

You do not have to be a resident of Scotland or the UK to respond.

I copied this text from SCOT-PEP:

An MSP in the Scottish Parliament is proposing a change to legislation which if passed, means that clients of sex workers will be criminalised. This proposal would make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland.

Rhoda Grant MSP believes that ‘prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation.’ She believes that ‘prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising’ and that ‘the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.’

The public consultation on Rhoda Grant’s proposals for a new law to criminalise the purchase of sex is open until 14th December. You can read her full consultation document http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/54314.aspx. This is an open consultation - you do not have to be a resident of Scotland or the UK to respond.

SCOT-PEP has been campaigning to stop this law going through and we will continue to do so however we need you to use your voice too.

Are you a sex worker, a client or an individual interested in human rights and safety for sex workers?

Politicians need to know the realities of sex work, so tell them!

If you are a sex worker and enjoy your job, if you do not feel exploited or that it is dehumanising, harmful or degrading, SAY SO.

If you choose to work as a sex worker because it is the best available option for you, SAY SO.

If you see disabled clients who would otherwise never experience the joy of skin to skin contact, SAY SO.

If you feel that making it illegal for your clients to pay you is not going to tackle trafficking or ‘reduce demand’ but deprive you of a living, SAY SO.

Here's what you can do.

You can write to Rhoda Grant and tell her what you think of her proposals.

The consultation document asks specifically for answers to 8 questions – but you can also just write in with your opinion if you prefer.

Your letter will be much more powerful if you can add your own views and experiences, but if you prefer we have prepared some template letters here http://scot-pep.org.uk/having-voice/scot-pep-campaigns/rhoda-grant-response-templates which you can use as a guideline for your own letter if you find that helpful. Just fill in your personal details* and print it off / email it to her.

*You don't need to use your real name, for example you can use your work name or an alias to send in your opinion. If you do use your own name you must ask for your response to be treated as anonymous if you do not wish your name to be published on Rhoda Grant’s website and by the Scottish Parliament. (Only names will be published – not contact addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses etc.)

You can call us [scot-pep] on 0131 622 7550 if you have any questions or concerns.

You can email your letter to: Rhoda.Grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

or post it to:

Rhoda Grant MSP

Room M1.06

Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh

EH99 1SP

This is your chance to use your voice and it has never been more important to do so.

Visit our forums and make your voice heard

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Thank you for highlighting that. The more people are made aware of what is happening the better.

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I'm going to have a look at the templates, sometimes just having the format there can get you started.

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Thanks Laura. People may or may not already know but it's better to hear several times than not at all.

Here are my arguments below to support the existing legislation on prostitution. This might give people an idea what to write if they respond to the consultation (and as said on another thread, if you are a WG or client yourself say so and say a little about your own experiences as this will add weight to your arguments).

-consenting adults should not be told what they can and can't do with their own bodies in their own privacy

-prohibition doesn't always work (have laws stopped people smoking cannabis?)

-prostitution is going to happen anyway legal or not, criminalization of a product/service leads to it being pushed underground

-UK prisons are overcrowded and we do not need to clog up the system sentencing adults who engaged in consensual sex. We should be looking at ways to keep people out of prison, not put more people in prison. Rapists and human-traffickers belong in prison, but not adults who engage in consenting sex in private.

-criminalization will lead to more stigma therefore sex workers will be respected even less

-Sex workers and clients will be less likely to be regularly tested for STIs if it is illegal

-A law criminalizing prostitution will not prevent prostitutes from being assaulted or murdered. If someone does not care about the consequences of murder he is obviously not going to care about the consequences of breaking any other law.

-prostitution is possibly safer now than it has been in the past thanks to the internet. Sex workers can "screen" clients who make a booking and can make the choice on whether to accept the booking. There are feedback systems and forums used to warn sex workers about abusive clients to avoid.

-If prostitution is illegal, people (sex workers and clients) will be far less likely to report abuse to the police out of fear of being arrested themselves.

United Nations-backed Global Commission on HIV and the Law, July 2012 Page 38 details some problems with the "Swedish model" (criminalizing only clients):

http://www.hivlawcommission.org/resources/report/FinalReport-Risks,Rights&Health-EN.pdf

-statistics on trafficking can be inaccurate and even intentionally exaggerated:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exaggerated

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I've got something typed up ready to send but I have a quick Q- for formal politics letters is there a font, font size and line spacing you would recommend I use?

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I've responded but can't help thinking whether it is going to do any good. At the end of the day, punters like me are bound to be ignored.

It seems to me that the whole impetus for this legislation stems from Sweden. The people who would, therefore, be most helpful opposing it are the Swedes. I know that there are certainly Swedish sex workers who actively campaign against the criminalisation of punters. I also remember reading on the forum that there were some Swedish MP's and police chiefs who oppose the law in Sweden. I just wonder whether they have been urged to respond to this consultation?

I can see it now, first Ireland, next Scotland and then it won't be too long before there is a big push to introduce the legislation elsewhere. Why do I get the feeling that many prefer to put their heads in the sand and keep saying "it isn't going to happen over here" until its too late.

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To answer my own question I had a look online and Times New Roman, 12pt and single spacing looks accepted for formal use.

@enzio, I agree and there is talk in France too to criminalize prostitution. It also appears sex workers themselves are ignored when it comes to debating laws on prostitution (despite the fact prostiutes will know better than anyone else and prostitutes will the ones most affected by the law). I get the impression feminists (not all feminists but the anti-sex ones) will only want to listen to a prostitute if she has a tragic tale to tell about how she was continually abused and beaten up. Because that's what they want the public to believe- all sex workers are victims who need help and all clients are sex predators who prey on vulnerable women. That's their agenda and they try to achieve that by throwing around wildly exaggerated statistics and scaremongering. That's the impression I get anyway.

You might find this article interesting, Oslo's social affairs chief and top politician is suggesting Norway rips up its law on prostitution (Norway has the same law as Sweden) because a new report shows violence against prostitutes has increased in the capital Oslo and the law has made it more difficult for prostitutes.

http://www.thelocal.no/page/view/rip-up-prostitution-law-says-top-oslo-politician

His name is Anniken Hauglie of Oslo's Conservative party. I wonder if he would be interested in responding to the Scottish proposal if we asked him?

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To answer my own question I had a look online and Times New Roman, 12pt and single spacing looks accepted for formal use.

@enzio, I agree and there is talk in France too to criminalize prostitution. It also appears sex workers themselves are ignored when it comes to debating laws on prostitution (despite the fact prostiutes will know better than anyone else and prostitutes will the ones most affected by the law). I get the impression feminists (not all feminists but the anti-sex ones) will only want to listen to a prostitute if she has a tragic tale to tell about how she was continually abused and beaten up. Because that's what they want the public to believe- all sex workers are victims who need help and all clients are sex predators who prey on vulnerable women. That's their agenda and they try to achieve that by throwing around wildly exaggerated statistics and scaremongering. That's the impression I get anyway.

You might find this article interesting, Oslo's social affairs chief and top politician is suggesting Norway rips up its law on prostitution (Norway has the same law as Sweden) because a new report shows violence against prostitutes has increased in the capital Oslo and the law has made it more difficult for prostitutes.

http://www.thelocal....oslo-politician

His name is Anniken Hauglie of Oslo's Conservative party. I wonder if he would be interested in responding to the Scottish proposal if we asked him?

Go for it. :)

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I really do think it has to be SCOT-PEP (or similar organisation) who contacts people like Anniken Hauglie and others. Not sure how he would respond to invitations from punters or escorts on their own. Do Scot-Pep read this board? Can someone email them with the suggestion?

I think even after the consultation has finished it would be helpful to invite Anniken Hauglie and others to Scotland to lobby SMP's before they vote. Perhaps hold a talk by these people and invite SMP's to discuss the proposals at the talk?

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I really do think it has to be SCOT-PEP (or similar organisation) who contacts people like Anniken Hauglie and others. Not sure how he would respond to invitations from punters or escorts on their own. Do Scot-Pep read this board? Can someone email them with the suggestion?

I think even after the consultation has finished it would be helpful to invite Anniken Hauglie and others to Scotland to lobby SMP's before they vote. Perhaps hold a talk by these people and invite SMP's to discuss the proposals at the talk?

This Scot-PEPPER reads it, yes. :D

I will raise your point with the group and thank you.

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just to point out that anniken haughlie is female

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Yep Anniken is female :)

The only contact I could for her was her Twitter page (all in Norwegian). And while English is spoken a lot in Norway I can't be certain if she speaks English.

I also agree it would sound much better if she were contacted by a group such as Scot-Pep rather than a random person.

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There must be others though? Both sex worker's/ sex worker groups in Sweden as well as other MP's etc who are opposed to the legislation that has been introduced

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There must be others though? Both sex worker's/ sex worker groups in Sweden as well as other MP's etc who are opposed to the legislation that has been introduced

pye jacobsson is a swedish sex worker and activist who often speaks out against the swedish law

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Petra Östergren is a Swedish writer and social commentator specializing on gender politics and prostitution issues. An author of several books and a novel, she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in social anthropology at Lund University. The theme of her dissertation is the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, which illegalizes the purchase of sexual service. Due to her expertice in Swedish feminism and prostitution policy, she lectures internationally, is frequently interviewed by foreign journalists, and is invited to speak at hearings by government bodies considering prostitution legislation.

She has written her opinions on the Swedish law here:

http://www.petraostergren.com/pages.aspx?r_id=40716

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I would suggest getting in touch with both Pye Jacobsson and Petra Östergren and getting them to respond to the consultation. Then also ask them to come over for talks with the MSP's. Additionally, get their view on who else would be helpful to talk to/ get over from Scandinavia.

Whatever they are going to do, SCOT-PEP needs to now act fast. The end of the consultation is soon approaching and by the time you write to these people, they sift through all their mail, respond to you, write off in response to the consultation etc is all going to take time. Need to get their help asap.

Additionally, these people (well particularly Anniken being an MP) are only probably going to come over if you pay for their expenses and put them up in some Swanky hotel in Edinburgh (think that is where the scot parliament is). That together with the fact that they are going to have to hire a nice venue etc is going to cost money. I really have no idea how rich or not SCOT-PEP is but if they need to start fund-raising for all this it should have started yesterday.

Incidentally; I apologise in advance if I am sounding too preachy/ condescending to SCOT-PEP. Will happily shut up.

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It's 42 days until the deadline Dec 14th so there isn't a great deal of time left.

Laurga Agustin is a sex worker who advocates for sex worker rights. I sent her a quick message but her reply was she would not respond to the consultation without being paid. I would have thought the safety of her fellow sex workers would have been more important.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think groups such as Scot-Pep get any government funding at all so the money they do have has to be budgeted carefully. Yet the government pumps plenty of funding into feminist and religious groups.

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margo macdonald msp, i'm sure, will be fighting to prevent the legislation going through.

margo is an important ally of scottish sexworkers

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I would suggest getting in touch with both Pye Jacobsson and Petra Östergren and getting them to respond to the consultation. Then also ask them to come over for talks with the MSP's. Additionally, get their view on who else would be helpful to talk to/ get over from Scandinavia.

Whatever they are going to do, SCOT-PEP needs to now act fast. The end of the consultation is soon approaching and by the time you write to these people, they sift through all their mail, respond to you, write off in response to the consultation etc is all going to take time. Need to get their help asap.

Additionally, these people (well particularly Anniken being an MP) are only probably going to come over if you pay for their expenses and put them up in some Swanky hotel in Edinburgh (think that is where the scot parliament is). That together with the fact that they are going to have to hire a nice venue etc is going to cost money. I really have no idea how rich or not SCOT-PEP is but if they need to start fund-raising for all this it should have started yesterday.

Incidentally; I apologise in advance if I am sounding too preachy/ condescending to SCOT-PEP. Will happily shut up.

Oh it's fine, we can take it on the chin. ;)

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It's 42 days until the deadline Dec 14th so there isn't a great deal of time left.

Laurga Agustin is a sex worker who advocates for sex worker rights. I sent her a quick message but her reply was she would not respond to the consultation without being paid. I would have thought the safety of her fellow sex workers would have been more important.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think groups such as Scot-Pep get any government funding at all so the money they do have has to be budgeted carefully. Yet the government pumps plenty of funding into feminist and religious groups.

You're quite right, our funding was pulled some time ago and we rely on donations now. :)

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There was a previous bill promoted by Trish Godman-the responses to the consultation are available here http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/ there are 122 in total mostly pro the bill from a variety of prohibitionist NGOs. However there were some antis-and I think it is important to add to those on the current Bill (responses 14,63,73,76,80,84,86,91,92,97,98,99,101,102 and 106 are useful) If you can’t be bothered to trawl the list some choice ones are given below

http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/14.pdf

http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/92.pdf

http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/98.pdf

http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/86.pdf

http://rhodagrant.org.uk/consultation2012/106.pdf

It is vital that voices of those with experience of the sex industry are added. I am preparing a very long response but I encourage you to pitch in

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