A common-sense approach to prostitution

Share
Related Topics

The consultation document on prostitution published by the Home Office yesterday contains some welcome signs that Britain could be about to see some common sense applied to this controversial area. Various ideas are floated in the document which would make the lives of Britain's estimated 80,000 prostitutes less fraught with danger.

The consultation document on prostitution published by the Home Office yesterday contains some welcome signs that Britain could be about to see some common sense applied to this controversial area. Various ideas are floated in the document which would make the lives of Britain's estimated 80,000 prostitutes less fraught with danger.

The so called "tolerance zones" in which prostitutes would be allowed to ply their trade without being harassed by the police would give sex workers a degree of safety which they have not hitherto enjoyed. It would also lessen the influence of pimps and drug dealers, whom prostitutes are often forced to rely on for protection. If the Government were to combine tolerance zones with walk-in health and financial advice centres for sex workers, this would be a welcome step forward.

But some of the suggestions in the Home Office document ought not to see the light of day - most notably the idea that Britain should follow the Swedish example and criminalise the act of paying for sex altogether. Even if this hard-line policy was introduced in conjunction with more liberal tolerance zones, it would be counterproductive. Clients usually have no choice but to go where the prostitutes are, and it is far better to encourage women into safe zones rather than to threaten them, or their customers.

The best way for the state to deal with prostitution is to regulate it as lightly as possible but, in so doing, protect those who work in the sex industry. As the Home Office correctly points out, many street prostitutes started working in their teens and most have a history of drug abuse. These are vulnerable people who deserve every opportunity to improve their lives. Stigmatising prostitution has failed to solve the problem; it is time for a more thoughtful approach.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: a duchess by any other name is just wrong

Guy Keleny
A teenage girl uses her smartphone in bed.  

Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb

Janet Street-Porter
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The officials are caught in the web of US legal imperialism - where double standards don't get in the way

Caught in the web of legal imperialism

The Fifa officials ensnared by America's extraterritorial authority are only the latest examples of this fearsome power, says Rupert Cornwell
Bruce Robinson: Creator of Withnail and I on his new book about Jack the Ripper

'Jack the Ripper has accrued a heroic aura. But I'm going after the bastard'

The deaths of London prostitutes are commonly pinned on a toff in a top hat. But Bruce Robinson, creator of Withnail and I, has a new theory about the killer's identity
Simon Stephens interview: The playwright on red-blooded rehearsals, disappointing his children - and why plays are like turtles

Simon Stephens interview

The playwright on red-blooded rehearsals, disappointing his children - and why plays are like turtles
Holidaying with a bike nut: Cycling obsessive Rob Penn convinces his wife to saddle up

Holidaying with a bike nut

Cycling obsessive Rob Penn convinces his wife to saddle up
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef pays homage to South-east Asia's palate-refreshing desserts

Bill Granger's fruity Asian desserts

Our chef's refreshing desserts are a perfect ending to a spicy, soy-rich meal
Fifa presidential election: What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison