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Pia

Govenment's response to the e-petition

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This got sent to me today..

The Prime Minister's response to the e-petition which was done extensively lately. Nothing new in the response.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page18322

I got this nonsense too &, as a punter, am deciding my response. Can I suggest that you, as an escort, write & ask why, in a standardised response, they not only dismiss the petitioners' points without specific rebuttal but also casually advise you that they are seeking to damage your business by 'Tackling Demand', when you presumable don't want demand for your services to be tackled?

I suggest you copy to harrise@parliament.uk (Evan Harris LD) who has been the opposing Crime & Policing Bill in Committee) & to catherine@iusw.org (Catherine Stephens, Int'l Union Sex Workers).

Nihil bastardis carborundum

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Well, I've written back as follows:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for you response, the nature of which surprises me. I can only think that you have misunderstood the petition, for none of the specific points mentioned by the petitioners is addressed.

Has some ghastly mistake been made? I do hope that you have not sent this response to those prostitutes who signed the petition too (and several certainly did); I doubt many would be pleased to receive a response that says, effectively "Go to hell, we are trying to damage your business by 'Tackling Demand' ". If I was prostitute, particularly one who paid taxes, I'd be pretty narked to receive such a response, especially on a day when the growing black hole in Government tax revenues has been widely reported in the press.

Like most others (I believe) who signed the petition, I am strongly opposed to the Govt's present restrictive proposals on prostitution, believing that they will make the situation worse for both prostitutes and clients, and that the best answer is the legalisation model that applies in New Zealand, together with clear punishment of those who trick, force or coerce a woman into prostitution.

The govt was working along these lines around the time of the last election, when David Blunkett was Home Secretary, potentially allowing small brothels, but has now turned 180 degrees, based on a fallacious conflating of prostitution with trafficking, when most prostitution is voluntary, and on the mathematically impossible statistics found in Tackling Demand report and the statements of the Home Secretary and Minister for Women. My comments to the Scrutiny Committee on this, and proposed legislation itself have been submitted are available to you on

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/**********

I know nothing on the PM's personal views on prostitution but I note that he was a student in Edinburgh in the 1970s, as I was. He must therefore have known of Dora Noyce's 17 Danube St., since all Edinburgh knew the address, it having been an established brothel for around 25-30 years by then. When it was closed (1977), following her death, there followed a shambolic period with a rise in street prostitution and violence. Gradually the Council came to its senses and began 'tolerating' massage parlours.... In short, a forced closure -such as would become easier under Clause 20 of the present proposals- created more problems, only slowly rectified but a reversion to toleration. Must this experience now be repeated on a national scale?

Would you do me the one minor favour of asking the PM if he recalls this series of events, widely reported in the Edinburgh Evening News of the time, and, if so, what conclusions he draws?

yours faithfully,

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