rhodagrantRhoda Grant MSP, Scottish Labour’s Equalities Spokesperson, is in full support of new resources by the End Prostitution Now campaign which intends to shine a light on the harsh realities of prostitution.

 

I have lodged a motion today, Monday 22nd February, to highlight a podcast ‘Inside the Sex Industry’ which has been designed to give a woman in the sex industry a platform to speak about her experiences and also to challenge the demand for prostitution. The campaign includes three new resources produced by the End Prostitution Now (EPN) campaign, entitled ‘Inside the Sex Industry.’

The motion seeks to get a members debate on tackling prostitution before Parliament dissolves, as this issue has not been debated in full on the floor of the chamber, even though it recognised a form of gender based violence by the Scottish Government.

I support a ‘challenging demand’ approach to tackling prostitution, which requires Government to decriminalise the sale of sex acts, criminalise the buying of sex acts and provide support and exiting services for those exploited through prostitution.

The podcasts feature interviews with ‘Cassie’, a woman who has been involved in prostitution in Scotland since she was 17 years old, who talks about her experiences in Edinburgh saunas, in brothels and as an escort.

I am sponsoring an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament on 29th February 2016 entitled “Unmasked 2”. The above highlighted podcasts will be shown at this event.

The exhibition aims to raise awareness of the impact of prostitution on the lives of vulnerable women by presenting the real-life views and attitudes of men who prostitutes. It aims to challenge the assumption that prostitution is harmless.

It features two exhibits. Memoirs is a collection of three books which are filled with pages of prose using resource material from ‘Punternet’, a Trip-Advisor style website. Memoirs follows the ‘careers’ of 3 men who bought and continue to exploit women in prostitution. The books, which you access after putting on conservation gloves, contain prose which detail their views and their attitudes towards the women they meet.

‘Inside the Sex Industry’ will also be shown, presenting a stark juxtaposition between men who buy sex and women in prostitution, and invites the listener to think about who has choices, where power sits and challenges the notion that prostitution is a job like any other.

This is an issue that I have raised many times in the Scottish Parliament, but it has never been fully debated. I hope that my colleagues across all parties will recognise the importance of these resources in giving women involved in prostitution a platform to speak out and that they will support the End Prostitution Now Campaign. Too often this issue is swept under the carpet, but I hope this motion will help support efforts to make this issue a priority for the next Scottish Parliament.

The End Prostitution Now campaign believes that challenging the demand to buy sex is the only effective long term strategy to prevent the harm that prostitution can cause to individuals, families and communities. This must be accompanied by prevention and harm reduction work and support to help people find alternatives to prostitution.

The exhibition is part of the Audacious Women Festival and will be held in the Scottish Parliament from 12-6pm on 29th February 2016. This is a free event but places need to be booked.

If you wish to attend please contact me at rhoda.grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk.

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4 thoughts on “Inside the Sex Industry

  1. It’s difficult to disagree with the overall purpose of this campaign and I hope it’s effective, but Rhoda Grant says she supports actions to ‘decriminalise the sale of sex acts [and] criminalise the buying of sex acts’. In what other sphere of justice would this approach be acceptable and/or effective? For instance, let’s repeat this sentence within the context of drug use and see how baffling it sounds:

    ‘Let’s ‘decriminalise the sale of drugs [and] criminalise the buying of drugs’.

    Stolen goods could be another example:

    ‘Let’s decriminalise the sale of stolen goods [and] criminalise the buying of stolen goods’.

    How on earth can a problem be tackled without addressing both sides of the supply & demand equation?

    That issue aside, there are many other aspects of this campaign that sound effective, and the issue of people trafficking and how it’s related to this subject certainly does need addressed.

  2. Given what is happening with social/housing benefits at UK level, it would seem to me that prostitution ( men as well as women, which Grant appears not to consider) will continue.
    By all means prosecute the buyer as well/instead of the seller, but that might drive it deeper into the dark and make it even more unsafe as a means of raising money ( and remember its not just voluntary prostitution, there are dangerous people who “own” prostitutes).

    I can see no solution to this. Prostitution exists everywhere, and has existed everywhere, throughout time.
    Only when people on the margins, do not have to earn cash by selling their bodies to buy food/drugs/clothes etc will this end.
    The Tories are cutting benefits–Labour say they will be “even tougher” on benefits, so prostitution by the desperate/exploited will never end.
    Its the most basic form of Capitalism.

  3. What on earth does Rhoda mean by saying she wants to ‘decriminalise the sale of sex acts’. I think she should elaborate. No-one has been convicted of selling a sex act in the UK for a very long time, because it is a legal thing to do.

  4. So many people sell sex out of utter desperation, particularly in the UK where the unemployed and disabled can be left with no income at all for months as a result of arbitrary benefit sanctions (and by the way, even if you thoroughly deserved the benefit sanction, that does not explain how you will survive the next 6 months), and where benefits are now so far below subsistence that there is no way for many people (particularly those outside family and community networks) to survive at all without having some illicit way to supplement then.

    What do you think happens to people when you destroy their last option on survival? – and that is exactly what you are aiming to do when you set out to destroy the demand they depend on. Clients are the crop survival sex workers harvest to stay alive, on those terms who cares *whether* they think let alone *what* they think? Particularly when the reality independent pronouncements of Ms Grant’s abolitionist friends are so much more insulting, degrading and materially harmful on a far deeper level?

    I would not have survived if I had not been able to sell sex for 6 years, do people like me somehow not have the same right to life as anyone else?

    What is this supposed to be? Rhoda Grant’s contribution to to an overall pattern of covert genocide for the disadvantaged in the UK?

    Incidentally, when a woman just wants to sell sex it is absolutely nobody else’s business.

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