Since being elected in May I have had constituents contact me regarding their concerns with prostitution in Edinburgh; both the street selling and the saunas and massage parlours side. After speaking at an event in September about human trafficking, I have also been contacted by women and a few men from all over Scotland regarding their concerns about trafficking.
The SNP Haddington Branch put forward a motion that I presented at Conference, in March 2017, for a Scottish Model of Legislation on Prostitution. This motion seeks to legalise the sale of sex while criminalising the purchase of sex, thereby protecting those exploited by prostitution and punishing the exploiters. It would also offer a system of support for those wishing to exit prostitution.
This mirrors the Nordic Model such as successful legislation in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and France.
Statistics show that neighbouring jurisdictions result in the demand being displaced to nearby countries. Thus, Scotland is at risk for an increase in demand for paid sex.
The motion successfully passed and is now SNP party policy.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is defined by NHS Scotland as including “a wide range of often linked sexual activities which (typically) men profit from or buy from women and which objectivity and harm women. It includes prostitution, phone sex, internet sex/chat rooms, stripping, pole dancing, lap dancing, peep shows, pornography, trafficking, sex tourism and mail order brides.
“The women involved are often on low incomes, substance users and victims of other forms of gender-based violence. Based on a lack of alternatives and often on coercion, such activities are rarely a ‘free’ or ‘vocational’ choice.
The Scottish Government includes prostitution, pornography and other forms of involvement in the ‘sex industry’ in its definition of violence against women. It considers that the exploitation of women through these forms of ‘entertainment’ legitimises negative attitudes towards women and is inextricably linked to gender inequality and sexual violence.”
–NHS Scotland: Commercial Sexual Exploitation