Letter: Kerb-crawling

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I hope I am not the only person to have found your article about "lessons" for kerb-crawlers sanctimonious and naive ("Out of the gutter", 12 November).

The reason kerb-crawlers are not often prosecuted is that it is a trivial public order offence that in most cases hardly warrants a full-scale trial, and is difficult to prove. Neither prostitution nor seeking the services of a prostitute is an offence in itself - a fact of which Julie Bindel seems to have lost sight. The fact that some prostitutes are under-age is sad, but it is a separate issue.

I do not think it says much for Ms Bindel or the organisation that she represents that an ex-prostitute was encouraged to shout at her captive audience of men "like a woman possessed" and make cheap jibes about male impotence. This is not "justice" but vindictiveness.

The function of the law is to protect and regulate society in general. It is not there to interfere in sexual arrangements between adult individuals, however unattractive or unworthy.

Prostitution exists in every society and every era. Throughout history attempts to "shame" citizens into more correct behaviour have a very poor record of success. I don't feel that the Gender Relations Unit of Leeds University is likely to do any better than Oliver Cromwell did.


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