Friday, November 21, 2008

New Poll: Prostitution and the law

With proposals on prostitution in the pipeline I thought it was a good moment for a new poll. But first the results of our last one on the Remembrance Day poppy.

Red Poppy
White Poppy

This certainly bears out something I've been seeing - in that our poll says that almost half the respondents don't wear a poppy at all (like me), and in fact I'd say in society at large the proportion is higher still. A quarter of readers wear the red poppy and 30% will wear a white poppy either on its own or with a red one.

I suspect that if the white poppy was more available more people would wear it - but then perhaps that's true of the red one too. Anyway, thanks for taking part in that and on to the next issue.

Prostitution and the law

Even top Tory blogger Iain Dale calls for the legalisation of prostitution. Meanwhile the government's new proposals call for men who have sex with trafficked women to be guilty of rape whilst others completely oppose these moves from the stand point of the rights of prostitutes themselves. It clear that some sex workers see these moves, that are sold as about protecting women, as in fact a further attack on them.

It's clear there are a number of competing different approaches to prostitution, and that includes within progressive circles, so I thought now would be a good time to test the water and see where the land lies. I'm giving you six options;
  • Complete legalisation
  • Focus on pimps and clients
  • Create tolerance zones
  • Get tougher on everyone involved
  • Crack down on the prostitutes
  • Keep things as they are now
I think that's a fair summary of the main positions - although obviously this is quite a broad brush. I'll post on it with a bit more meat once the poll results are in.


weggis said...

It's about the only thing that Gordo has not Taxed!

Big opportunity for him here, it could be the "industry" that leads us through the recession and props up our ailing GDP?

Vicky said...

I think there is a distinction to be me made between decriminalization and legalization- the first, the removal of all criminal laws relating to the how the sex industry operates is preferable; the second, legalization, usually refers to an attempt to highly regulate the sex industry as in Nevada (and rarely in the interests of the sex workers themselves). I still voted legalization on the poll- I just feel decriminalization is a far better option.

Jim Jay said...

Hi Vicky - I've heard this decriminalisation argument before (although usually applied to cannibis) although I've never thought about it quite that way - I think the poll begs a new question for those who want to see no criminal system involvement - what sort of system would we favour?

Personally I would be for regulation to apply (health and safety rules, codes of standards etc) in order to protect sex workers rather than just letting people get on with it.

But you're quite right that legalisation by itself does not turn sex work into some sort of utopia and where we have nationalised brothels (like Germany) they sound utterly vile... like working in Sainsburys or something.

Obviously I'd be in 'favour' of brothels run as workers co-ops where the work force has the maximum say over their conditions, but where people are employed (say in phone sex lines) they have proper protection just like other workers - and you can't do that whilst sex work lies in the shadows of illegitimacy.