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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Prostitution and Glasgow City Council - End the DEMAND

Last week I was in the Glasgow City Chambers for a meeting and as I signed out I noticed a stack of postcards and pin badges.

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.

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.
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.

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.


neil craig said...

Hypocrisy here considerinmg that you are a member of a party that has actively supported not simply consensual prostitution, but the kidnaqpping of thousands, possibly 10s of thousands of schoolgirls, from Kosovo to sell to western brothels.

Let me know when you are willing to condemn that. If you are anything like most "LibDems" you would rather continue assisting ib such obscenities through censorship.

Andrew Reeves said...

Neil - I am not aware of the Kosovo incident as per your comment.

In principle yes I condemn it, but would prefer more information, perhaps you can point me towards some facts?

Stephen Paterson said...

Those of us who spend our lives studying the sex industry, Andrew, would not dream of bandying about 'facts' and proclaiming 'myths' with your dexterity.

I can prescribe a good chat over the Liberal Democrats' policy concerning the sex industry with Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, who wrote it.

Belinda's site is here:

Meanwhile, I can assure you that the considered opinion of sex workers, practitioners in most projects working with sex workers, and academics studying the industry, is that if Glasgow City Council stopped what it is doing now and drowned itself in the Clyde, it would be a great step forward.

Oh, and as you live in Edinburgh, I could also highly recommend a chat with Ruth Morgan-Thomas at Scot-PEP

Andrew Reeves said...

Neil - Please don't post abusive or rude comments, because no, I won't publish them.

Thank you for the links and info, you have sent me a lot of reading material which not only have I started going through, but I have also emailed for some additional information.

Phone Sex said...

Meanwhile, I can assure you that the considered opinion of sex workers, practitioners in most projects working with sex workers, and academics studying the industry, is that if Glasgow City Council stopped what it is doing now and drowned itself in the Clyde, it would be a great step forward.

Stephen Paterson said...

Now I’m less tired, I thought I would return to this thread, to point out the following:

1) There is no evidence whatsoever that sex work aka prostitution is demand driven as distinct from supply-led.

2) The bland statement that all clients of sex workers can exercise choice is obviously wrong, given a little thought. They include, for example, housebound and variously disabled people, the chronically shy, and those who spend the vast bulk of their lives without female company, such as members of the armed forces and oil rig workers, who have no sustained opportunity to develop relationships.

3) There are enormously more clients of sex workers than there are sex workers. Consequently, a criminal justice approach centred on clients would require considerably more resources. It could be likened to addressing the question of dealing with the wasps around the jam on a hot summer’s day by setting out to exterminate the world’s wasp population.

4) As a considerable proportion of clients visit sex workers only once or twice in their lives, a considerable proportion of these criminal justice resources would be wasted.

5) Most of the problems associated with criminalising sex workers occur also if the criminal justice intervention is centred on the clients. Both soliciting and kerb crawling drives, for example, result in the displacement of sex workers to areas with which they are unfamiliar as they seek clients elsewhere, breaking up their street networks and compromising their safety. They also mean sex workers have little if any time to appraise clients.

6|) As a result of this displacement the agencies relied on by sex workers for their health and safety lose touch with them, a particularly fine example being Aberdeen after Scotland’s adoption of kerb crawling laws. These agencies, generally funded by the tax payer, are thus also rendered ineffective. Links to relevant media stories on Aberdeen can be found in my posting here on the tragic Amanda Walker story:

7) Sweden’s law is ideologically driven tokenism. More men are probably apprehended for kerb crawling in the average UK city annually than are arrested in the whole of Sweden. Sweden’s sex worker estimate BEFORE the new law was a tiny 2,500 (NOT the 25,000 in the Glasgow propaganda), the red light area in its capital consisted of a single street and it has nothing even beginning to approach the size of the UK drugs problem. For more on Sweden, see

8) Many of the assertions in your quotes from the “END PROSTITUTION NOW” site relate only to street prostitution, variously estimated at 15-20 per cent of sex work, whilst others are based on studies of sex workers abroad and have application within the UK that is limited to say the least. The methodology of many has been questioned but I certainly haven’t time and space to go into that here.

You may, however, care to peruse this study by Dr Suzanne Jenkins of Keele University, which shows the results of her extensive survey of independent indoor sex workers, mostly in the UK, and reveals that the vast majority do not consider themselves exploited by either their clients or other persons in the sex industry, and that they indeed regard themselves as more exploiting than exploited, being concerned over exploiting clients’ loneliness and over their financial situations:

Finally, as the Liberal Democrats have by far the best policy on the sex industry that I am aware of, I can only deeply lament your decision to further publicise this Glaswegian moral panic on your site.

Live chat said...

There wil always be a demand for this in any town let alone Glasgow

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