Monday, June 04, 2007

Calls for campaign to target men who buy sex

I was reading in the Sunday Herald that anti-prostitution campaigner Jan Macleod has called on the Scottish Executive to establish a publicity campaign aimed at the men who buy sex now that doing so will, for the first time in Scotland, be a crime. Such an approach could, in my view, help change public attitudes and make clear, in a society where women's bodies are increasingly being seen as any other commodity, that the actions of these men are unacceptable as well as showing who's to blame for the existence of prostitution in the first place. But, as pointed out by the Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, misogynistic attitudes among men towards sex begin at an early stage and far more attention needs to be paid, in school sex education classes, to the promotion of egalitarian relationships. Sexuality has to be portrayed not as something which is all about one person's enjoyment but instead as an expression of people's mutual love and respect for each other.

Going back to the recent change the Scottish Executive made in regards to prostitution laws it was certainly welcome but still the priorities are all wrong in that both prostituted women and the so-called “clients” who use money to buy control over their bodies will be held equally responsible for the existence of this vile industry. Sweden offers an alternative approach, one which the Norwegian government is also likely to implement and which the SSP had in its manifesto for the May election. That is to bring in and enforce real penalties against the “clients” while decriminalising prostitutes and giving them help to leave the industry which enslaves them. In Sweden trafficking has been almost completely eradicated and prostitution drastically reduced since the law was introduced in 1999 - so while an end to patriarchy and capitalism will likely be the only way we can fully eradicate the sex industry there is a lot which could be done by the government if the will was there.

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