The postcards were for END PROSTITUTION NOW although I do applaud Glasgow City Council for running this campaign, I was somewhat disappointed that it mainly targets the men using female prostitutes.
Male prostitutes, as is male rape are topics very rarely covered either in the media or by Governments. This campaign gives just one line of text to male prostitutes.
Anyway, I digress.
End Prostitution Now is a campaign led by Glasgow City Council which aims to raise awareness of the harm caused through prostitution and put the focus on the buyers of sex - the DEMAND - who have in the past been invisible from public debate.
We believe that it is the demand which fuels the sex industry in Glasgow and, only by targeting this demand and challenging attitudes towards buying sex, will we be able to put a stop to this harmful activity which blights cities and towns across Scotland.There are many myths about prostitution, I have selected four from the END PROSTITUTION NOW website, but please do read the myths and facts page and then download the three page handout.
Prostitution is not a choice.
The only choice in prostitution is that of the buyer, who decides when, where and how he will buy sex. For this reason we believe that legislation which criminalises the purchaser of sexual services is needed. Credible legislation is vital in order to send the message that people are not and should not be for sale.
Myth: Women choose to get involved in prostitution
Fact: Most women become involved in prostitution because of lack of choice and many are groomed, pressured and/or coerced by pimps or traffickers. It is well documented that a majority of women in prostitution are poor, homeless and have already suffered violence and abuse throughout their life.
70% of those involved in street prostitution have a history of local authority care and 45% report experiencing sexual abuse during their childhoods (Home Office 2006). Many enter prostitution before age 18. Once in prostitution, 9 out 10 surveyed women would like to exit but feel unable to do so (Farley et al, 2003). It is the men who buy sex who are exercising free choice, and it is this “choice” to purchase vulnerable women and girls that maintains prostitution and fuels trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Myth: Prostitution is just sex
Fact: Prostitution is not about sex. It is about exploitation, violence and abuse. More than half of UK women in prostitution have been raped and/or seriously assaulted at the hands of pimps and punters (Home Office 2004). Up to 95% of women in street prostitution are intravenous drug users (Home Office 2004); and 68% meet the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ramsay, Retal, 1993).
“I would numb my feelings. I wouldn’t even feel like I was in my body…
I don’t know how else to explain it……it was rape to me” (In Farley, 2003)
Myth: Only women sell sex
Fact: While the overwhelming majority of those who sell sex are female, it must be acknowledged that there is also a hidden population of men who sell sex and experience many of the same issues of exploitation and abuse. The problems of poverty, addiction, homelessness, grooming by a pimp continue to be the routes into prostitution for men who sell sex and similarly to women sellers of sex there is a clear lack of choice. It is the circumstances combined with the demand for sex which have forced the individual into prostitution. What is clear, however, is that those who buy sex, either from men or women, are predominantly male.
Myth: Criminalising the purchase of sex drives prostitution underground
Fact: The nature of the sex industry is that it is underground and it is very difficult to scope or quantify. However, prostitution can never truly exist “underground” – if punters can those selling sex, so can the Police and those offering services to help exit prostitution. Criminalising the purchase of sex and offering support services to people in prostitution is the only viable way to work towards an end to this exploitative industry. In Sweden, where they have criminalised the buying of sexual acts, there has been a significant reduction in trafficking and prostitution with a halt in recruitment of new women (Baklinski, 2007).
Sweden is no longer an attractive market for traffickers and pimps – the law clearly works as a deterrent.
Please do sign up as a supporter and if you live in Scotland use the very easy to use email system to lobby your MSPs so that together we can sort this problem out.