Posted by: John | November 17, 2008

Following on from `win when you’re singing`

What a wonderful posting by Sara:

She’s said all i’ve wanted to say about this subject – I think it could be a ready reference to the new Labour thinking on this issue which, and let’s be frank, is designed in some way to appeal to Middle England as a distraction from the fact that they’ve made one hell of a balls-up on the Economy.

I think it does need to be restated that there are two flaws about Jacqui Smith’s thinking:

1. While everything should be done to crack down on the exploitation of women whom are trafficked it’s slightly more difficult for those who abuse drugs. As Sara rightly says there needs to be more help for them to be weaned off drugs.

2. The debate is rather an authoritarian wishful thinking – `let’s crack down on prostitution that is controlled by men and it will go away`. I’m afraid this is either extremely naive or simply wading into non-pragmatic politics. One suspects that in her heart of hearts Jacqui doesn’t want prostitution to be done at all and simply wants it to disappear. It’s all part of the new puritanism. Indeed when I raised it on OUTeverywhere the LGBT social networking site as a thread – someone said `it’s to get rid of all objectification of women` – `yeh right – best then tell Mr Murdoch I’m sure he’ll understand` was my reply.

Haven’t we been here before? I remember in the days of a Gay age of consent of 21 (another act of nannying designed so that moralists could say that the person had made a `real considered choice` before taking part in Gay sex). I remember being around at that time and like it really stopped me when i was under-21 lol! It was impractical and ridiculous and just tempted people to circumvent it – as well as making them feel like criminals.

In the same way this thinking could also do the same for the women that do this sort of thing pimp-free  and the clients they entertain. And why stop at women – what about men? Let’s revisit Jacqui Smith’s statement as set out by Sara:

So having established that the issues surrounding prostitution aren’t simple, it was strange to see the Home Secretary simplify them to one potential new criminal offence: paying for sex with a woman ‘controlled for another person’s gain’. Ignorance of the woman’s situation will be no defence, thereby effectively criminalising anyone who pays for sex through recognised channels.

Where does that place the massage parlours that one can find on the internet – they have `madames` and security staff i believe? It seems to say so on their internet websites – out of interest I’ve checked!  What about the escort services for registration only websites both male and female? There are spin-offs for these people too – ie a registration fee or the escort pays for the site entry? What about the phone workers – they are paying in some way for the advertising. What do new Labour mean by the term `control`? The point is where do you draw the line? Whether Jacqui Smith likes it or not it’s not going to go away – and she needs to work harder to ensure that the law doesn’t ridiculously and impractically discriminate against those that HAVE made the choice to do this work in safe and health-conscious surroundings.

I find it astonishing that in a time of economic recession something like this is being thought of – perhaps we can have some form of restrictions on banks etc or is that too politically difficult?

Fact: Prostitution will always be here – always has been and always will. It’s how you deal with it that’s important. The best approach (and the pragmatic `liberal` approach i believe) is to ensure that the people involved are in control of circumstances and this part of their `livelihood`.

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