British prostitution laws should be overhauled so that women selling sex are no longer criminalised but buying sex is against the law, a cross-party group of MPs said on Monday.
In the first report of its kind for 20 years the all-party parliamentary group on prostitution said current laws around prostitution were complicated, confusing and ineffectual. The report called for Britain to follow in the path of countries such as Norway and Sweden and make it a criminal act to buy sex.
MPs and peers called for the introduction of a new “general offence” banning the purchase of sex while calling for soliciting offences used to prosecute prostitutes to be removed from the statute book.
The group warns that legal loopholes enable men to escape prosecution for abusing girls as young as 13 and fail to protect trafficked women while the legal framework has helped turn Britain into a destination for criminal gangs involved in the sex trade.
Norman Baker, the crime prevention minister, said: “We believe that those who want to leave prostitution should be given every opportunity to find routes out. We will ensure that legislation surrounding prostitution remains effective and continue to work with law enforcement agencies to achieve this.
There is a definite pro-sex industry bias in the Guardian at the moment. Not just the unbalance in opinions expressed on CiF, but both this article, and the recent report on MEP’s vote for an abolitionist approach, have been illustrated with images of ECP protestors (the second link is odd, in that the image at the top of the article itself is different to the thumb-nail image linking it from other pages).
Why is the Guardian only reporting reactions from the ECP? (The ‘English Collective of Prostitutes, which, like the Holy Roman Empire, is neither English, a collective, nor prostitutes.) Why are they not interviewing any sex industry survivors to see what they have to say on the subject? Why were the last two pieces on CiF about the sex industry by sex industry advocates? (Why is a dominatrix being given space on CiF to basically advertise her ‘services’?) Why are sex industry survivors not being given a voice on CiF?
The article also says this:
“The ECP and other sex worker rights groups have long campaigned for the introduction of laws similar to those in New Zealand, where sex work is decriminalised and women are allowed to work together in small owner-operated brothels.”
Now, that sounds very nice, but ignores the fact that in New Zealand, brothels and strip clubs are big business, with its first mega-brothel set for construction in 2015, with the full support of New Zealand sex industry advocates (“The Prostitutes’ Collective supports the expansion, a spokesperson saying she was disappointed there had been opposition to the project.”) It’s very nice to portray New Zealand as being full of independent brothels (they sound nice and cozy and counter-culture, like an independent bookshop or coffee shop), but that simply isn’t a complete picture; if the Guardian is engaging in this kind of obfuscation here, which is so easy for me to disprove with a quick internet search, what else aren’t they mentioning?