I have mixed feelings about this Scotsman article.
Edinburgh has always turned a blind eye to brothels (operating as “saunas” and “massage parlours”) on the understanding that it’s easier to ensure children and trafficked workers aren’t being forced to work in brothels than it is to try do the same for street prostitution, and the police have been less heavy-handed with the street workers on the understanding that the street workers let them know about children working as prostitutes. Part of me thinks that’s a sensible approach, on the understanding that prostitution has always existed and will always exist, and I think that’s borne out when you look at Glasgow, which has taken the opposite approach and has a much bigger problem with street prostitution, trafficked women and rape and abuse of prostituted women.
But on the other hand, I do not accept the idea that “men have urges that have to be satisfied by women no matter what.” I wouldn’t deny that men have urges, but I believe they can satisfy those urges independently or with an inflatable doll if necessary. And I’m more and more coming round to the views as written about here http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2012/02/16/porn-part-10-the-rutting-dogs-of-capitalism/ and here http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2012/03/15/porn-part-11-the-difference-between-huffing-dong-and-flipping-burgers/ , particularly If someone has to be paid to consent to something, they have not actually consented to it but have rather agreed not to make their non-consent an issue in exchange for money.
I do not know if any of the men of my aquaintance have ever used prostitutes. I’d rather not know, because I’d find it very difficult to have any respect for them if I knew they had. I don’t understand how someone can pay someone for sex, knowing that that person might have been trafficked, raped, abused and forced into doing it. I don’t understand how people can think it’s ok to do that to someone else, no matter how much money they hand over. And yes, I think that if anyone involved in prostitution should be criminalised, it should be the paying punter, rather than the prostituted person. The more I think about it, the more I hope the laws are passed, but I think it should go along with a massive public education campaign, explaining why coercion isn’t the same as consent.