Should men should be prosecuted for paying for sex

(118 Posts)
ICanSeeTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 19:26:30

On channel 4 news now.

I think they should.

There is also talk about legalising prostitution. Which in a way I think in a way it should because at least the women who does it would have more protection.

Poppylovescheese Tue 25-Mar-14 19:28:41

Prostitution is already legal!!

ICanSeeTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 19:28:48

Yes, they should. The law should change so that it is harsher on the men buying the sex, and easier on prostitutes in order to protect them.

YNK Tue 25-Mar-14 19:29:49

Definitely punters and pimps should be prosecuted and prostitution decriminalised!

Fairenuff Tue 25-Mar-14 19:32:56

Prostitution is not illegal, soliciting is.

Do you mean for kerb crawling? As far as I'm aware paying for sex is not a crime, soliciting is.

I await the clamour of legal experts' tiny feet to set me straight.

ICanSeeTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 19:34:39

It may not be illegal to sell sex, but without a safe place then how do these women manage to keep safe

ForalltheSaints Tue 25-Mar-14 19:37:31

I would judge any proposal to change the law on two main things- how will it affect women who want to leave prostitution, and will it reduce trafficking of women for sex. I don't think prosecuting those who buy sex in general would help with either.

UncleT Tue 25-Mar-14 19:40:21

I honestly don't know the answer to this. I want to say yes, but it's a catch-22. On one hand, there's an argument for saying that tolerating prostitution encourages exploitation, whether overt or otherwise. However, I'm not at all satisfied that large numbers of women won't in fact be placed in danger if the whole business is driven further underground. There are good statistics from Sweden about harm reduction ad a result of criminalising paying for sex, but then the UK isn't Sweden, and by definition collecting reliable data on illegal, hidden activity can be extremely challenging, if not impossible. There are no easy answers here, mainly because for a variety of reasons I just don't see it going away, no matter who is sanctioned for what.

Bodicea Tue 25-Mar-14 19:57:01

Definitely as it can encourage human trafficking. The worse the punishment the less men will do it, The less the demand, therefore the less human trafficking. Simples!

WooWooOwl Tue 25-Mar-14 20:08:42

No, I don't think they should.

I know a couple of disabled men who use prostitutes. Reality is, it's the only way they will get to have sex.

I know I'd be pretty gutted to think I could never have sex ever again through no fault of my own, so I wouldn't inflict it on someone else.

cricketpitch Tue 25-Mar-14 20:11:33

No. Nor should women. It's a service.

Resources would be better spent dealing with the poverty and other social ills that often go hand in hand with the bad side of prostitution.

GertTheFlirt Tue 25-Mar-14 20:15:47

It's a business. It should be regulated.

Its just so knee jerk to assume female prostitutes are forced into it - there are rent boys, male hetro prostitutes.

SaucyJack Tue 25-Mar-14 20:17:35

No, I don't think so. I just don't think paying for sex in itself is (or should be considered) a "proper" crime.

vexedfoxy Tue 25-Mar-14 20:20:45

If you prosecute the men you should do the same to the 'seller' and this would drive it further underground and more women would be shipped in that would then disappear and more women would be harmed so no is the answer. Like geese on a field of wheat buyers and sellers should be disrupted as much as possible, you will never stop it.

I think it all depends on what the law is trying to do ... Sounds to me like a very blunt instrument not dealing with any real issues.

Yes, I think it should be a crime to pay for sex, and not a crime to solicit.

No-one has the right to sex.

theywillgrowup Tue 25-Mar-14 20:33:44

i see no problem with men or women paying for sex

yes it should be safer for the "service provider" but whether that's realistic is another matter

i think where it is drug related will make it very difficult to reform imho

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 25-Mar-14 20:45:01

Long (1000) post thread in FWR:

Basically the German model (legalising the purchase and sale of sex) has led to a doubling of the number of women in prostitution, an increase in trafficking and the commodification of prostitution (in the form of "super brothels" where prices are pushed down to bargain basement levels such that women are having to have sex with large numbers of men every night just to pay the rent on the "room" which they use as an "independent contractor" with no employment protection).

The Swedish model (criminalise the purchase, decriminalise the sale, and put a lot of money into exit strategies for women who wish to leave prostitution) has led to a decrease in numbers of women in prostitution overall and a decrease in trafficking (subject to the usual caveats that it is difficult to get precise figures).

The thread also has what can only be described as some "charming" contributions from men who use prostitutes (such gems as men congratulating themselves on the fact that the 19 year old student who turned up shaking with fear because it was her first time, but she was so desperate for cash because of bad debts that she needed the money - but the guy was "nice" to her before he fucked her anyway, which apparently made him a nice guy) which are really quite stomach turning. (By the way, this thread will be invaded by "good guy" p..nters very soon, and lots of sock puppet happy hookers, I predict).

So, yes, I support the prosecution of men (and for that matter the tiny minority of women) paying for sex. I do not support the criminalisation of women (and men) who sell sex - they need all the support and help they can get.

DoINeedToPutMyShoesOn Tue 25-Mar-14 20:45:09

Yes, I think they should penalise the customer. At the moment the prostitutes are the ones taking all the risks and the customers get to walk away. Seems very unfair.

I think you should be allowed to pay for sex and recieve payment for sex if, as a consenting adult, that's what you want to do.

But the whole thing needs to be regulated so that prostitutes (of both genders) and punters (again, of both genders) have protection against abuse, disease and all the other "dangers" that come along with it.

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 20:55:53

According to the Swedish police there has been no downturn in the number of men being reported or prosecuted even ten years after the law changed. If anything the numbers are growing considerably.

I would suggest it is very unlikely that numbers of prostitutes have declined over the last 10 years in Sweden:-

the official data on purchasing sex and sex trafficking in Sweden give no indication that either offence has decreased – and/or that it continues to decrease – since buying sex was criminalised.

The Swedish police themselves admit to being unaware of the extent to which commercial sex is being transacted online, the largest sex industry sector. It may still be true that demand actually has decreased since 1999 – but it could equally be true that it has increased. The available facts simply don’t justify a conclusion one way or the other.

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 21:01:00

LurcioLovesFrankie Do you have any sources to back up your statement? It is certainly true that street prostitution has fallen significantly but then, like in the UK, this is only a tiny part of the overall market.

Do you have any stats for that, nicky? Or for relative danger?

The 'Swedish Model' isn't the magic feminist button that will make everything OK, you know. It doesn't even appear to work, let alone make sense

It would be remarkable if it were a 'magic feminist button' wouldn't it? Seeing as how we struggle with access to magic feminism in general.

I do think this is an important point, that it's not like there's a society we know of where everything is rosy and no-one ever gets hurt.

Read what the punters on that thread say about paying to fuck women who are afraid and who cry.

More on the failure of the Swedish model.

Sorry, terse. ill.

SaucyJack Tue 25-Mar-14 21:21:41

the 19 year old student who turned up shaking with fear because it was her first time, but she was so desperate for cash because of bad debts that she needed the money - but the guy was "nice" to her before he fucked her anyway, which apparently made him a nice guy)

What would you rather he'd done then? Walked away and left her to go bankrupt? Would that necessarily have been better than paying her for a service she gave of her own free will?

TheCunnyFuntIsGettingMarried Tue 25-Mar-14 21:23:34

This is probably a daft question, but I've never really paid much attention to prostitution etc. But what's the difference between prostitution and soliciting?

I'd rather we didn't live in a society where a 19 year old faces that choice! Why is that not everyone's answer?

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 21:29:36

But what's the difference between prostitution and soliciting?

Basically, soliciting is standing on the street and approaching people to offer your services as a prostitute. Prostitution is paying for sex.

What would you rather he'd done then? Walked away and left her to go bankrupt? Would that necessarily have been better than paying her for a service she gave of her own free will?

You're kidding, right?

I can think of at least 3 things he could've done. None of which include using her as a dehumanised wank sock and sending her away with £30.

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 21:34:12

LRD The link I gave has information translated into English from the Swedish police website:-

I couldn't see the bit about the UK? I may be being really slow here, sorry.

PasswordProtected Tue 25-Mar-14 21:41:01

Din't men already pay for sex when they marry?
Think about it...

The Swedish model perverts the fundamentals of criminal law by creating a lopsided situation where one willing party to a commercial transaction is criminalised and the other isn't. It is like legalised entrapment.

If society believes sex shouldn't be sold, then both buyer and seller should be criminally liable. If society believes it is fine for sex to be sold, neither should be. And surely the better way to stop the mistreatment of sex workers is to properly enforce the laws relating to rape, slavery, mistreatment, and any such additional laws as may be required to keep sex workers safe. The rightness or wrongness of selling sex is a separate issue to the safety of sex workers. The Swedish model confuses the two.

Oh, and in these threads, NZ inevitably gets a mention as an example of successful decriminalisation of brothels. Fine- if you don't mind brothels on the high street and are happy to overlook the existence of large numbers of unlicenced 'establishments' that do a roaring trade as supply is outstripped by demand stimulated by legalisation.

NeoFaust Tue 25-Mar-14 21:44:49

So it would be legal for sex workers to offer sex, but illegal for anyone to actually agree? (I'm being careful with the pronouns as I assume you're not really a sexist)

Legalised entrapment? Conspiracy to commit a crime?

What a profoundly stupid concept, anyway. Makes a mockery of law and justice. Better to legalise, regulate, tax and educate. More resources for those wishing to leave, more protection for those do not and above all a society where selling sex is a choice, not a matter of survival.

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 21:46:56

LRD We were talking about the Swedish model and how there is no evidence that this has made any difference to prostitution in Sweden over the last 14 years

You mentioned the UK ... that was all. I wanted to know the stats related to that, but it's not a big deal.

C3P0 Tue 25-Mar-14 21:51:21

I oppose criminalisation of anything that cannot be usefully managed through criminalisation. It's not called the oldest profession for nothing. It will never go away. The "war on drugs" is similarly futile.

TheCunnyFuntIsGettingMarried Tue 25-Mar-14 21:54:09

Ahh right, thank you for clarifying.

NoNoNoNoNoYabu Tue 25-Mar-14 21:57:30

No, I don't think men should be prosecuted.

TheGirlFromIpanema Tue 25-Mar-14 21:57:39

Password hmm
Its not the 1950's anymore. Just so we're clear.

OP, YANBU x 1000. If we criminalise the punters it won't go away but it will help to make it seem not ok iyswim.

This is one topic on MN that baffles me, what if your daughters end up out of work, down on their luck. Do posters still think its ok then?Honestly?

grovel Tue 25-Mar-14 22:09:26

NeoFaust is right.

Aside from the legalities, my DH knows an incredibly successful man with a phenomenal sex drive. This man knows he is incapable of fidelity and is unmarried. He has seven "girlfriends" (one for each night of the week). He pays them £300 per night (£16,000 each per year). Funnily enough, he checks that each of them discloses this income to HMRC. He's not too bothered by his sexual prowess becoming public - he just wouldn't want to be associated with tax evasion.

He's actually a nice enough man who doesn't want to make passes at other people's partners. I've got an uncomfortable feeling that this arrangement makes 8 people happy and contributes to the Exchequer.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 22:09:44

I know many women who have been in the sex industry and talk honestly about the harsh reality. Some of the women I know get pretty angry at all of those who say it is fine for that to happen to otherw omen, when they would never in a million years want them or their daughters to be in this situation.

If you think a situation is okay for other women, but not you and your daughters, you are being hypocritical.

Branleuse Tue 25-Mar-14 22:12:31

no, its personal.

As long as a woman is there of her own choice, and receives her own money from it, and no trafficking or slavery is involved, then i think people should be able to have sex with each other legally

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 22:15:07

Also people see poverty as the issue that means women are in the sex industry. The reality is that is only part of the equation. If prostitution was just about poverty, we would also see lots of poor men being prostituted. The fact that men being prostituted are small numbers, is to do with our unequal society and how women are oppressed.

In terms of comment above about disabled men - nobody needs sex. Nobody has the right to use another human being to have their desires met. And I notice you talk about disabled men, but say nothing about disabled women.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 22:17:02

If you seriously think prostitution is just another job, then do you think unemployed people should be forced into it? Because that is the logical position.

TheGirlFromIpanema Tue 25-Mar-14 22:21:20

Branleause, would you say the same for doctor/patient or teacher/pupil relationships? That If they are all happy and in agreement, then its ok?

I think the argument is fundamentally flawed due to the power of the punters money in exactly the same way as the forbidden relationships I mention.

I would like to see kerb crawlers and the like have their pictures posted in newspapers personally. See how many of them still argue that its only a business transaction...

Exitedwoman Tue 25-Mar-14 22:23:07

If the world wasn't so fucked it would be obvious that paying for 'sex' is abusive. I'm sick of these debates. Criminalise punters and demand will drop. Therefore 'supply' will drop. Pimps will go out of business. Hopefully prostituted people will be helped by welfare and exit plans. By the way, why do those who worry about what prostitutes' alternatives are, not worry about the poor pimps? Are you suggesting the latter will be ok and find different work, but not the former?

SaucyJack Tue 25-Mar-14 22:25:57

I can think of at least 3 things he could've done. None of which include using her as a dehumanised wank sock and sending her away with £30.

I can think of a hundred things he could have done. None of them are a realistic expectation though of what one should feel obligated to do for someone whose life and debts are no responsibility of their own.

Yes, it might in some ways be nice if we lived in a society where credit was banned so that noone could run up debts they couldn't pay back, or drugs/alcohol didn't exist so that noone could develop addictions they needed to fund, but the simple fact is we do and there will always be women who're desperate enough for money to have sex with strangers for payment.

As long as they're essentially living the life they do of their own free will, and there is support there for those who've had enough then as far as I'm concerned it's none of my business tbh.

Caitlin17 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:32:04

How would it work that paying for sex is a crime but being a prostitute isn't?

Both should be illegal.

nickymanchester Tue 25-Mar-14 22:32:54

LRD Sorry - I just reread my post and now I get what you're asking for.

Sorry, if I came across as being a bit short I'm trying to do a bit too much multi tasking at the moment and failing miserably.

I don't have the link to hand at the moment but will dig it out tomorrow.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 25-Mar-14 22:41:12

one wonders why if the Swedish model has been so unsuccessful other countries have followed along similar lines, Norway, Iceland (both known for their progress approach to equality for women) and France

the approach is that prostitution, men buying sexual services from women is a form of violence against women, it is moving away from the attitude that men have to have sex and that it is the oldest profession (again rubbish) and women will always provide this service (vast majority because there are no other or few other options)

there will always be people who trade sex if they really want to but surely we need to move away from men having a right to buy a woman (often just over the age of consent) because that is what he wants at that given time

strange how we view male prostitution very differently we would not be so accepting to a boy of 17 selling himself to older men as we are about a girl of the same age

Caitlin17 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:42:54

The current law in Scotland is prostitution is legal. Soliciting, kerb-crawling, pimping and keeping a brothel are all illegal. A "brothel" would be any house used by 2 or more people for the purposes of prostitution. 2 prostitutes operating out of 1 house or 1 with a maid/pimp/minder are operating a brothel.

Edinburgh Council's ridiculous and disgraceful policy of granting sauna licenses, for premises everyone knew were brothels, has finally been ended

No worries nicky, and thank you. You didn't come across as short at all (I may have done, sorry).

ICanSeeTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 22:53:17

Omg 3 hours to read that thread, but thank you for the link it was an interesting read.

Darkesteyes Tue 25-Mar-14 23:00:05

In terms of comment above about disabled men - nobody needs sex. Nobody has the right to use another human being to have their desires met. And I notice you talk about disabled men, but say nothing about disabled women

Grennie this riled me earlier tonight. They had comments from a man with cerebral palsy who said that a sexless existence is a pretty miserable one.

Well its a pretty miserable one for women too and im speaking as a woman in a sexless marriage. Society doesnt give a shit when its women though. Mens needs always come first.
I wouldnt want to have sex with someone who didnt desire me. And i couldnt/wouldnt use a male escort for this reason. And im getting pretty fucking tired of men being painted as the ones who desire sex and women being painted as the gatekeepers who "dont like it really" hmm

FreudiansSlipper Tue 25-Mar-14 23:05:40

I find the argument what about disabled clients really patronising one that always comes up can disabled people not have relationships hmm

it comes down to do men have the right to buy women or men for their own needs (and yes the very very few women that buy sex)

Huh? Any idea that men - or anyone needs sex as some kind of life essential is a pretty recent one, and certainly not something that was believed in the days before FWR.

That's nonsense. In 'the days before FWR' (not sure when you mean, but ...) men were thought to need sex so much that they were entitled to rape their wives.

Darkesteyes Tue 25-Mar-14 23:14:57

EXACTLY LRD. I believe here in the UK it was only made illegal as recently as 1991.

SaucyJack Tue 25-Mar-14 23:19:07

I don't really think this one has any more to do with the "right to buy" than any other goods or services.

I don't particularly have the right to buy tasteless, over-priced doughnuts but if Krispy Kreme are willing to sell them to me then what's the issue?

FreudiansSlipper Tue 25-Mar-14 23:19:27

what are you talking about it was not that long ago (1991 law changed) because of men's needs it was not against the law to rape his wife in this country

FreudiansSlipper Tue 25-Mar-14 23:21:42

what is the issue well one is that doughnut's do not have emotions

Darkesteyes Tue 25-Mar-14 23:24:44

Surely i did NOT just see women compared to doughnuts. Basically Saucy you have proved that you see women as objects.

AgaPanthers Tue 25-Mar-14 23:36:59

You can criminalise it, but it won't change a thing. It's not as if it is really open and unshameful now is it?

Prohibition is bad law.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 23:38:52

Aga - Except where pimps and punters have been criminalised it does make a difference,

That's not correct.

The view was that marriage meant the irrevocable giving of consent (by both husband and wife), and therefore marital rape wasn't rape.

This view, horrible as it was, actually reflects the traditional view that marriage was the place for sex, being a procreative activity.

Sex outside marriage, or fornication was absolutely frowned upon, as was illegitimacy and abortion. Even as late as the 80s, 50% of the population believed sex outside marriage to be morally wrong- regardless of whether one was male or female. That is a view completely contrary to the view that sex is a ' basic need'.

manicinsomniac Tue 25-Mar-14 23:43:27

I don't know, It's tough. I definitely think buying sex should be illegal but I'm not sure about selling it. In a way it doesn't make sense to criminalise one but not the other. I think I'd be inclined to have both officially illegal but the purchasing carrying a far higher penalty.

I know a couple of disabled men who use prostitutes. Reality is, it's the only way they will get to have sex.

shock That's a horrible thing to say, on more than one level.

A) Loads of disabled people have very fulfilling marriages and sexual relationships. For many of those who don't it won't be because of their disability.

B) If the only way a person can get sex is to buy it, whether it's their fault or not that they can't get sex, then they shouldn't have sex. It's not such a tragedy. Certainly not as bad as exploiting a desperate (and possibly coerced) woman into having sex they wouldn't choose to have without financial incentive.

Prev post in response to LRD

Er, yeah, we know, toad.

But it was justified with the idea that men needed sex. And, for that matter, the idea that women needed sex. There are shedloads of texts explaining that you really had to shag your wife because if she didn't get sex she'd become ill. I'm not kidding.

There is also a particularly pleasant argument that if a woman's husband wanted sex, and she'd just given birth and was bleeding, she should absolutely just go with it, because it'd be a greater sin for the man to have a wank.

But please, do continue to teach me history lessons about the great days before FWR, when it was all lovely and wonderful.

CremeEggThief Tue 25-Mar-14 23:48:23

Yes. I've always believed they should.


A turd for your argument. There is a world of difference between saying that a married person has a right to sex, and saying anyone has a right to sex.

The prevailing view until really very recently was sex was for within marriage only. So it is nonsense to suggest that the common view that men (or people in general) had some special right to sex is anything but recent.

Why on earth is there a difference? confused

As far as the history goes: well, no.

The prevailing view until recently was not that sex was for within marriage. That was the nice, polite recommendation, which hid the fact that the authorities believed men needed sex outside marriage too. Brothels have been tolerated and/or encouraged for centuries, because it was considered necessary to the health of the state.

A really unpleasant side issue was that women who were caught on the streets alone - ie., poor women, usually - could be 'checked' for venereal disease on the assumption they were prostitutes. This 'checking' amounted to sexual assault.

But very few (other than Josephine Butler) questioned the idea that prostitutes needed to be there, even if the laws on venereal disease resulted in sexual assault on some women ... because, of course, men 'needed sex'.

ICanSeeTheSun Wed 26-Mar-14 09:30:37

No women should have to sell sex in order to live.

I doubt there is a single women in the sex trade that went in without any reason but they enjoy sex and want to please men for money.

Grennie Wed 26-Mar-14 10:07:58

And only naive people think what happens in prostitution is sex. it is not. It is one, usually a man, paying to sexually use another's body, usually a woman.

THere are basically three kinds of sex workers. The group in need of help and support are those who are not in the industry willingly; the coerced, the trafficked, the conned, the addicted. Most sane people would agree that they need support and help rather than prosecution, deportation, stigmatization. Where reasonable people disagree is on what percentage of sex workers fall into this category
ANother category is the 'happy hooker/Belle De Jour' sex worker who is doing the job voluntarily, who isn't stupid, isn't a victim, may see him/herself as a healer or therapist. These sex workers don't want or need help 'to exit', though they don't want to be stigmatized or harassed by the police in the name of protection, either.
Probably the largest group would be the ones who are neither exploited prisoners nor enthusiasts: the ones who are doing it because it's the choice they see as the one most suited to their circumstances at present. THese are the ones who see it as preferable and more lucrative than cleaning toilets, perhaps more ethical than working in a fast food place, or just easier in terms of flexible hours and self-regulation.

As to the argument I keep hearing these days about decriminalisation would lead to job centres forcing all out-of-work women to take up sex work - can job centres really force people to take on jobs that offend or outrage their personal worldview? IE can they compel a vegetarian to work in an abbatoir or a teetotaller to get a job in a pub?

normalishdude Wed 26-Mar-14 11:10:26

I support the regulation and registration of clients and workers.

No men (or women) should not be prosecuted for paying for sex - as long as it is regulated properly then it is a service industry.

For some people this is the only way they get to have sex.

Grennie Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:23

SGB - Of course the job centre can't afford anyone to take a job. But they will cut your benefits if you won't take a job. And of course those jobs can be against your world view.

caruthers Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:44

As a man I wouldn't pay for sex because I would imagine sex that is paid for is empty and pointless.

But for those people who benefit from the arrangement let's get some genuine regulation in place with regards to safety/coercion and of course tax.

ediblewoman Wed 26-Mar-14 11:21:05

If the only way to have sex is to pay someone then have a wank. How can buying someone ( who, and I am sorry SGB I think you are wrong about which is the largest group, and would question that any woman who is a prostitute is really freely giving consent when we live in a patriarchal society rigged against women) ever be right. Only in a society that regards women as objects could anyone find the idea of paid sex arousing, bleurghhhhhh

Grennie Wed 26-Mar-14 11:23:27

Betty - Why do you think people have a right to have sex no matter what?

And you are actually basing your comment on a myth. The majority of men who use prostituted women have partners. It is one of the reasons some Cities have had a policy of writing to partners if men are caught soliciting or kerb crawling - because it is so common for them to have a partner.

And lots of prostituted women who have been on the street will tell you that men paid them who had baby and toodler seats in the back of their car.

Men who use prostituted women are not lonely misfits. They are ordinary men who feel entitled to use women.

Grennie Wed 26-Mar-14 11:25:00

SGB - Every survey done well, has shown that about 85-95% of women who are being prostituted want out. It is often very hard to leave and start a new life.

ikeaismylocal Wed 26-Mar-14 11:30:52

I think that ideally both the buying and selling of sex should be illegal.

I think if only one side is illegal it should be the people buying sex.

I live in Sweden and the attitude to women and sex is very different here. I don't know any men who have gone to a strip club, I don't even know if there are strip clubs.

Most of the people I have spoken to about this law feel strongly that it is morally right.

I think that regardless of the practical impact the law to criminalize buying sex has had the moral message that it is those with the power ( the men/women buying sex from vulnerable people) that are in the wrong'.

Latara Wed 26-Mar-14 11:56:09

The only man who I have heard admit to using prostitutes (in fact it was an addiction for him) had a wife at the time!

Grennie - all surveys about sexual behaviour need treating with some suspicion. Because the participants may well blur the truth or lie outright, sometimes to wind up a gullible researcher, sometimes in order to supply what the participant believes the researcher wants to hear.

And the ongoing stigma that sex workers are all damaged, desperate, drug users etc is part of the reason it's hard for them to find other work.

This is interesting (though it's more about porn than ongoing sex work).

Latara Wed 26-Mar-14 12:02:57

I have seen two types of prostitute locally -

English women who are drug addicts and work mainly on the streets (sometimes they have toddlers with them - and they care for each others' toddlers while with a punter).

and Foreign women (East European, African usually) who are 'escorts' who are based in local bars / hotels unofficially. I have heard these women talking in the toilets - it seems they do it through choice for the money alone and they worry about losing their looks through ageing and therefore their income. The customers are usually businessmen and I bet most of them are married.

My mum works in an affluent part of town and sees private properties that are used as brothels - most of the women are unhappy-looking women from South East Asia - I bet they are trafficked sad

I don't know what the answer is but prostitution is definitely big business in this area.

AgaPanthers Wed 26-Mar-14 12:10:25

If buying sex was illegal what would change? Women would still advertise for 'massage', 'personal services', etc.

ICanSeeTheSun Wed 26-Mar-14 12:38:37

The men don't care about the women, all they want is to get there ends away and their balls empty.

Reviewing women like some sort of b&b review.

So if a man pay £100 for sex, does the women have the right to say well no I'm not happy with this stop now. Does the man stop well no because they believe they have paid for the service and want to get the £100 value.

The women then of course can't go to the police, if she did she would be at risk.

YNK Wed 26-Mar-14 13:16:17

I have heard that 70% of women exiting prostitution have PTSD.

Darkesteyes Wed 26-Mar-14 13:49:16

What pisses me off is the media turning up to photograph and film brothel raids WHY? FFS! Seems to me like a very sly form of trying to shame the women.

neverthebride Wed 26-Mar-14 21:20:49

I know drugs are a different issue but there are similar aspects that need to be considered. I personally don't know anyone who has chosen not to use drugs at any point in their life just because it is illegal to do so. They don't use for many reasons personal to them. The same as the illegality of it doesn't stop users from pursuing it and our criminal justice system is full of people who have chosen to use or sell drugs despite knowing the legal consequences.

Men who pay women for sex are doing so for specific reasons and I don't see the threat of prosecution making much difference to that.

The worst case scenario is that it would potentially make them more invested in 'covering up' their activities which may make sex workers put themselves in even more vulnerable positions to reassure the 'client' they won't get caught.

And what penalties would prosecutions lead to?. Prisons are already grossly overcrowded so what are we planning to do?. A fine? Community service? All these aspects need to be considered. It would need to be a sufficient consequence but we also need to be realistic about further pressures (financially and in terms of time) on an already stretched Police force and Courts.

I don't know what the answer is and don't pretend to but I don't think this will improve things.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 26-Mar-14 21:25:00

It should be regulated and taxed like any other service not criminalised.

Further criminalisation will make it more dangerous for prostitues not less.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 26-Mar-14 21:26:50


Yes they can and if the men don't stop then it's rape. Prostitues and the law distinguish between construal, paid for sex and rape.

How well it works in practise is something I couldn't say, but the distinction is there.

MyBaby1day Thu 27-Mar-14 04:11:17

Yes, it should be made illegal, it's disgusting!.


The prevailing view historically was that sex outside marriage was wrong. Given that society was, until recent times, utterly male dominated, it is accordingly absurd to suggest that men historically believed they had an inalienable right to sex.

Otherwise, how do you account for things like abortion being illegal, and prostitution either illegal or heavily circumscribed historically? How do you account for the fact that rape (outside marriage) was a capital offence for most of English history? It was not some kind of polite facade - those were the social norms, notwithstanding the fact that some people broke them, and notwithstanding that disapproval was stronger during some periods and in some places than in others.

I am starting to think you don't know what you're talking about.

The truth is that in Europe it is only in recent times that sex has been seen generally as something that it is OK for anyone to enjoy, regardless of its procreative purpose. This is mainly due to the decline of traditional Christianity.

Yes, dear.

You do not seem to understand that there has always been (and still is) a distinction between what society has as overt rules (eg., 'sex is for within marriage') and what society condones or actively promotes ('prostitution is fine, son, I'll just nip down the road and buy you a prostitute').

As for rape being a capital offence ... yes, if you understand rape in a remarkably narrow way. If you think it's hard to get a conviction for rape now, you would be stunned to see how hard it was through history. Rape didn't even mean the same thing through much of history - it meant stealing some other man's 'property' (a woman) and not 'coerced sex'.

How do you account for century-old sex toys, pornography and prostitution if you believe people were not meant to enjoy sex?

Centuries of men have known perfectly well that they can exploit women for sex, and have done so. They may have wanted their daughters to remain virgins and their wives to remain chaste - because that preserves patrilineal models of inheritance and is also a neat way of continuing to treat women as objects. But other women? No, you could exploit those.

Why do you imagine prostitution happens, by the way? Do you think it has nothing to do with the patriarchy?

Hmm. This is the sort of historical analysis based on the fallacy that the truth is a conspiracy theory.

Your claim that rape meant "stealing another man's property" is simply false. It's historical definition was forcing a person to have sex against their will. I really have no idea where you get your definition from. Mine comes from the law reports. Also, as a criminal offence, rape was prosecuted by the Crown, not the male "owner" of the victim.

How do I account for the historic existence of sex toys - and for that matter - prostitution? That's easy. There is no need for me to argue that at all times and in all places enjoyment of sex was entirely suppressed. A fair amount of what was allowed can of course be ascribed to the traditional privileges of the rich.

However, the original point I contested: that society has traditionally considered men to have a right to, and basic need for sex would, if true, have made for a very different sort of society - not one based around a church that taught sex was sinful and any pleasure gained from it highly dubious, not one that included a large class of celebate men in holy orders; not one that kept prostitution very much in the margins; not one that considered men who committed adultery criminals; not one that condemned women who had abortions, regardless of whether or not their pregnant child was illegitimate.

None of this amounts to denial of historical male supremacy and the exploitation of women. Why do I imagine prostitution happens? I detect a trap. My answer is that I really don't know, as it is not something I have had anything to do with. I will restrict myself to repeating the point that both being and using a prostitute is not something that European societies - right up to the present day - have ever approved of.

No, this is historical analysis based on knowing some history.

Go and read a textbook. Rape in medieval England referred to the crime of stealing a woman as another man's property. For example, both Chaucer and Malory were accused of rape, probably meaning abduction. It wasn't that unusual for men to abduct women who were actually quite keen on them, but that would still be 'rape' because the word did not mean 'coerced sex'. For rape as we would understand it, it was incredibly difficult to get a court case going, and the law was remarkably cruel. But I digress.

You now seem to admit my point that men have historically enjoyed sex outside marriage: now can we move on to the obvious follow-up that prostitution is probably part of all this? Right? It's not complicated.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 28-Mar-14 10:52:40

Toad - you also (since you're so keen on the repressive role of the church - and I actually agree on this: it was and is deeply oppressive in all sorts of respects) need to go and re-read the Book of Leviticus. In the Judaeo-Christian code of ethic, a man commits adultery when he sleeps with another man's wife. He does not (assuming he is married) commit adultery if he sleeps with a single woman. A married woman who sleeps with a man who is not her husband (regardless of whether that other man is single or married) has committed adultery. An interesting gender-based asymmetry, no?

I completely agree that the Church is and was deeply oppressive.

I just think it is remarkably simplistic to make out that, before feminism, society did not hold to the view that men had a right to sex. That's an absurdity.

A further viewpoint on anti-sex work law.

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 18:53:19

Lurcio the gender-based asymmetry is interesting in Leviticus. It's so clear that women have been subjected to asymmetrical treatment when it comes to sex and sex-based oppression since at least biblical times. However, if you suggest that an asymmetrical response may be an effective solution, you are met with howls about it going against the fundamentals of fairness or whatever.

lifehasafunnywayofhelpinguout Fri 28-Mar-14 19:52:59

You're not B.U. However we'll have to agree to disagree as I do not think men should be prosecuted for paying for sex. If a women wants to sell her body and a man is prepared to pay then who are they hurting. Also prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. Jesus Christ fell in love a prostitute. xx

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 20:48:13

You don't think the incidence of PTSD in survivors in indicating that someone is being hurt? Or the prevalence of victims of sexual abuse or violence among women in prostitution would tell you something about harm? Or the incidences of addictions or mental health problems? That's not to speak of the increase in trafficking resulting from the increase in demand that comes from legalisation or decriminalisation.

What about the perpetuation of women's roles as being a sex class to service men?


The German model - where prostitution is treated as "any other work" and is regulated and taxed (in theory) has worked out REALLY badly for - guess what - the women, and REALLY well for - guess what - the pimps and brothel owners.

I found this article extremely illuminating (and I read it from the perspective of someone who was entirely undecided on the eternal Nordic model v legalisation debate):

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 21:12:06
Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 01:01:40

"The rape of the Sabine women" is referring to the abduction not sexual molestation of the women.

Alexander Pope's poem The Rape of the Lock written in 1712 is about someone cutting off a lock of hair.

Rape is derived from rapere meaning to seize , pillage, snatch. It has nothing to do worth forced sex.

As for it being a capital offence, well so were hundreds of others. I'm shamelessly quoting Wikipedia here.

In 1688 there were 50 offences on the statute book punishable by death, but that number had almost quadrupled by 1776,[1] and it reached 220 by the end of the century.[2] Most of the new laws introduced during that period were concerned with the defence of property, which some commentators have interpreted as a form of class suppression of the poor by the rich.[3] George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, expressed a contemporary view when he said that "Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen".[4] Grand larceny was one of the crimes that attracted the death penalty, despite the fact that it was defined as the theft of goods worth more than 12 pence, which was only about one-twentieth of the weekly wage for a skilled worker at the time.[5] As the 18th century wore on, jurors often deliberately under-assessed the value of stolen goods, in order to avoid making a sentence of death mandatory.[5]

Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 01:07:42

Re the German model I can't remember what programme it was but husband and I were watching an interview with one of the workers in a legal German brothel-a pretty little thing of 20,who spoke flawless English talking about having sex with up to 6 different men every day.

It was heartbreaking. She looked so vulnerable and we just thought what happened in her life that that can be a lifestyle choice? My husband actually felt more strongly than me that it was wrong.

LillyAlien Sat 29-Mar-14 07:12:09

I think there is a basic problem with how people think about policy. Lots of things might be undesirable and cause problems. This doesn't necessarily mean they should be made illegal. This applies to buying sex, smoking in cars with children, legal highs.

If making something illegal is unlikely to change how much it goes on, forces people underground, creates a job for the police, leaves people open to persecution by the police when laws are selectively enforced, and makes it harder for people doing innocuous things to stay on the right side of the law, then we shouldn't bother.

brettgirl2 Sat 29-Mar-14 08:11:28

I like these threads on mn. Whenever I air my views on this in real life people are confused hmm .

My opinion is fine if an adult woman was really making this a career choice. However, in reality it is men abusing desperate and vulnerable women. I think it's disgraceful.

Oldest profession in the world. ... erm well up to 150-ish years ago if a woman was raped it was her fault. Just because it's previously been the case doesnt mean things can't change.

A man who has sex with a 15 year old is prosecuted but paying to abuse a girl of 18 who has been in care and is desperate for money for drugs is just fine sad . It makes me feel physically sick.

Joysmum Sat 29-Mar-14 08:29:38

Personally I see no problem with choosing to sell sex for money. I do see problems with a system that exploits vulnerable people.

So I'd like to see the sex industry regulated with high standards and not seedy and failing sex workers. It's the system I disagree with as it draws vulnerable people in. This needs changing, but as an on paper principle, I don't have a problem with prostitution or the sex industry.

Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 15:33:59

Brettgirl agree completely.

Joysmum it's buying and selling human beings however high standards apply.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now