Campaign group says Scottish Government should make buying sex illegal

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Charities, public bodies and politicians say those who buy sex should be prosecuted and not those who sell it

8th June 2015 by TFN 1 Comment

A major campaign to end prostitution in Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a new law making it illegal to buy sex.

End Prostitution Now wants the government to decriminalise prostitutes by prosecuting those who buy sex and not those who sell it.

The campaign, which asks for people to write to their MSPS to put pressure on the government, is backed by a number of groups including the Scottish Trade Union Congress, Zero Tolerance, Women's Support Project and the Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership.

As well as making it illegal to pay for sex the campaign wants measures introduced to help people get out of the sex industry and, using social media, will highlight the conditions many prostitutes work in.

Liz Curran, of Women’s Support Project, said: “Prostitution is abuse, often extreme or violent in nature. It is never a matter of choice, nor is it a human right as some campaigners argue.

Prostitution ruins lives, and it is far more serious and harmful an issue than many people may realise

"No reasonable person wants the right to be sexually exploited, abused, demeaned, disadvantaged, socially excluded and marginalised.

“Prostitution ruins lives, and it is far more serious and harmful an issue than many people may realise.”

The campaign has not won total support however.

A spokesperson for Scot-Pep, a charity dedicated to the promotion of sex workers’ rights, health and dignity, said: “Sex workers around the world are strongly opposed to this failed legal model because of the serious harm it does to people who sell or trade sex.”

The launch of the End Prostitution Now campaign coincides with a separate call from Labour MSP Rhoda Grant for amendments to the human trafficking and exploitation (Scotland) bill to make it illegal to buy sex.

Grant made the call after Northern Ireland made it illegal to buy sex.

She said: "I fear that if Scotland does not follow suit, it could become a haven for sex traffickers moving out of Northern Ireland and into a more hospitable environment in Scotland.

"It is not only important to address the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, but to also provide substantial support and assistance through exiting services, and therefore become a positive part of the solution.

"Prostitution is a form of exploitation which only causes harm, and I wholeheartedly support the End Prostitution Now campaign and its aims."

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