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One of H.Ps regular readers has asked that I post an idea that he believes may help the government secure support for the legalisation of brothels.
I suggested to him that I thought his idea was ungovernable and played to the stereotype linking sex work and drugs.
Evidence suggests that drug use is no more prevalent in indoor sex work (which is the majority of sex work in the UK) than in the general population. Street sex workers may represent a much higher level of addiction to drugs and alcohol as well as suffering other social problems but street work, although presenting the most visible form of sex work, is also the most unrepresentative of the experiences of the majority sex workers.
His idea as presented to me is below and he would welcome comments and discussion:
I’ve tried to expand my idea as to how a govt could find the idea of legalised brothels politically acceptable:
For a govt to consider allowing brothels to operate legally means having to overcome much hostility from religious groups, certain womens groups, police and media (even though opinion polls show that most people would accept legalised brothels).
It would be a brave government indeed to take such a radical approach.
So what can a govt do to persuade those (although a minority) vociferous and well organised anti-prostitute groups to accept legalised brothels?
How about a scheme whereby brothels are legally permitted but in return punters pay a surcharge of say 10% on each transaction i.e. a £50 half hour service becomes a total of £55 with the money raised by the surcharge to go toward funding a drug dependency unit staffed by professionals to help those with drug issues within prostitution. Punters wouldn’t mind paying a surcharge if it meant that brothels could operate legally nationwide ( brothels that don’t impose the surcharge are closed down ).
The sex industry would be seen to be doing something positive & also addressing the drug issues that can occur in prostitution all of which would benefit communities by trying to prevent drug addiction. The surcharge would only apply to brothels which under present law are currently illegal and the drug dependency unit would only help those with drug issues within prostitution.
The govt benefits by the use of private money rather than public money to deal with drug addiction. Perhaps this is one way of the govt making the idea of legalised brothels politically acceptable?