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Please find below the YouTube video of the recent prostitution debate held in Edinburgh, in which myself, (Douglas Fox IUSW, International Union of Sex Workers) and Laura Lee, (independent escort and blogger/sex worker rights campaigner) debated against Richard Lucas, (representing the SOLAS Christian group) and MSP Rhoda Grant.
In the debate Laura Lee and myself spoke against Rhoda Grant’s proposed bill that would criminalise the buying of sex in Scotland (if supported and made law by the Scottish parliament). We also spoke against Richard Lucas, who is a strong advocate for this bill, and against prostitution which he perceives as a moral evil in society.
Looking at the video, and of course in hindsight, one can think of lots of retorts that one could have made during the debate, which is always the case. I think however that both Laura Lee and myself made some very good points, not only about the value of sex work to society, but more importantly about what will be the consequences if this bill does become law.
I pointed out very strongly that criminalising the clients of sex workers, forcing the industry further into the shadows, will not stop sex from being sold or bought, but it will further marginalise those whom Rhoda Grant specifically says are her main concern.
She repeatedly emphasised her concern for those who are already marginalised within society, and whom she claims are therefore more easily coerced into sex work. She referred to the internal trafficking of young girls for example, which I presume references the recent Oxford and Rochdale cases. Confusing these cases however with sex work is wrong and disingenuous.
Criminalising clients will not stop paedophile gangs from targeting vulnerable girls and boys and selling them to other like minded criminals. Criminalising clients will not stop abuse in state run institutions charged with the protection of vulnerable young people, nor will it prevent abuse in the home, where the majority of sexual assault takes place.
Criminalising clients will not deal with cultural issues raised specifically in the recent Oxford and Rochdale cases, and nor will it stop vulnerable people made homeless from being forced to survive on their wits when society casts them aside.
Criminalising clients will not stop those with addictions from finding the means somehow to accommodate those addictions, or stop the violent clients and criminals, those who already target the vulnerable within society, including sex workers, from continuing to do so. If anything her bill will further facilitate the extortionists, the rapists, the criminals, who will feel more empowered to target those vulnerable people deprived of the full protection of the law.
Nothing that Rhoda Grant MSP said during the debate or in her proposed bill suggests that she is prepared to make available the extra state funding that would be needed to implement the policing that would be required for her law to succeed, or indeed to compensate the loss of earnings of sex workers whose livelihoods she is hoping to take away.
Richard Lucas, a Christian evangelical fundamentalist, was at least honest and consistent and won my respect because of his honesty. Rhoda Grant unlike Richard Lucas hides her obviously moral repulsion for the prostitute behind a façade of caring about the vulnerable, about caring for gender equality. Her dishonesty is palpable but the problem is how may MSP are equally guilty of such moral dishonesty?
Here is an excellent article written for Blirt Magazine by @slutocrat
Douglas Fox, a sex worker activist, asked Rhoda Grant MSP “Imagine if your Bill [to criminalise sex purchase] is now law. Police break down the door and I’m caught in a hotel room with a man. How would you prove that sex had taken place?” – See more at: Read More