A Scottish Model of Legislation on Prostitution

The following motion was presented and successfully passed at SNP Conference in March 2017. It was proposed by Ash Denham MSP and seconded by Fiona Broadfoot.:

A Scottish Model of Legislation On Prostitution

prostitution-is-violence-against-womenConference agrees with the Scottish Government’s NHS guidelines on Commercial Sexual Exploitation which outlines the harmful effects on prostituted women; that a majority suffer high levels of physical violence, rape and post traumatic stress; that there is a significant effect on mental health; and that there is a significant link with drug abuse. Conference further acknowledges that in countries where prostitution is legalised there is an associated increase in human trafficking, child prostitution and other forms of criminality. Conference recognises the successful legislative approach to prostitution pioneered i Sweden over the last sixteen years, also now adopted in Norway, Finland, Iceland and more recently in Canada, Northern Ireland and France, which focuses on reducing demand for commercial sexual exploitation. Conference therefore supports the development of a Scottish model of legislation that (1) decriminalises the sale of sex, (2) criminalises the purchase of sex and (3) offers appropriate support for those wishing to exit commercial sexual exploitation. Conference further agrees that such actions are in accordance with the Scottish Government’s Equally Safe strategy regarding violence against women and in particular that commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and human trafficking, is a form of violence against women.
Supported by:
Haddington Branch
Glasgow Shettleston Branch
Ash Denham MSP
John Mason MSP
Kate Forbes MSP
George Kerevan MP
Philippa Whitford MP
Joan McAlpine MSP 
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“No more going round the houses” – Edinburgh Evening News

There are few more important issues to Edinburgh right now than housing. We are seeing an ever increasing strain on our housing stock and demand for land from developers grows and grows, while the Tory government implements damaging economic and welfare policies – such as cutting housing benefit and removing it altogether from 18 to 21-year-olds – which drive more people into poverty and make rents increasingly unaffordable.

Decisive action is needed – and that is exactly what the SNP is doing.

Since 2014, we have ensured that nobody in Scotland has to pay the hated Bedroom Tax through our mitigation efforts – and we will work to abolish this as soon as we have the power to do so.

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“SNP insist Labour apologise for ‘staggering’ PFI bill after it breaks £1billion barrier” – The Daily Record

The cost of repaying privately funded public building construction broke the £1billion barrier for the first time last year.

The huge sum covers PFI schemes favoured by the previous Scottish Labour-led administration, including schools and hospitals.

The SNP campaigned against the funding model but Labour said the new system is the same with a different badge.

Total PFI charges rose from £924million in 2012-13 to £1billion in 2016-17.

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“We must eradicate modern slavery” – Edinburgh Evening News

The number of potential human trafficking victims in the UK increased by 17 per cent last year.

While the vast majority of instances were in England, Scotland saw 150 potential trafficking cases, a 3.4 per cent increase from the previous year. Agencies such as the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) fear the actual scale of trafficking is greater than statistics indicate.

Modern slavery is among the most depraved crimes in the world, and one case of trafficking in Scotland is one too many. That is why the Scottish Government has taken forward a robust strategy to eradicate it.

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“By refusing to engage with the First Minister, May is looking down on all Scots” – The National

Reports surfaced this past weekend that Theresa May is now “too important” to meet with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and that the First Minister will only be “allowed” to meet with Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell.

This latest action from the Prime Minister and her government is rank with hypocrisy.

How valuable is Scotland to the “precious Union” of our countries if its democratically elected leader is not good enough for the Prime Minister?

How does hiding away from the devolved administrations create strength and stability throughout the United Kingdom?

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June 26-June 30

Monday: I launched the Gender Pay Gap Report along with some of my colleagues from the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee. We were proud to be alongside women firefighters at Scottish Fire and Rescue HQ in Cambuslang.

The gender pay gap is a very real issue, and this report offers a lot of good recommendations for Scotland to address it. Scotland truly can become a world leader in reducing the gender pay gap, and I look forward to working with the government and my colleagues in Parliament to see these recommendations move forward. Read the full report here. Below is a helpful infographic that explains some of the committee’s recommendations.

On Monday I also held three surgeries across the constituency. A reminder that during the upcoming summer recess, constituency surgeries will be different than the regular scheduled times. As such, please call the constituency office at 0131 659 4707 to double check on times.

Tuesday:
I attended an Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee meeting where we discussed Scotland’s draft energy plan and the committee’s work programme going forward.
While in committee, my staff added my name and theirs in a show of support for CHAS’ (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) #KeepTheJoyAlive campaign. The multitude of colourful names will be used to form a showcase display for an event later in the year. CHAS provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people who have life-shortening conditions for which there is no known cure.

Wednesday:
During a Finance Committee meeting we took evidence on Brexit’s implications for Scotland. We heard testimony from: Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe; Ian Mitchell, Head of External Relations, and Gerald Byrne, Team Leader, Constitutional Policy, Scottish Government.

Thursday:
 The National Autistic Society Scotland was at Parliament helping MSPs learn how to help constituents with autism and make Scotland more autism-friendly. Earlier that morning I also met with a constituent, Huma Barrie, who is the mother of a son with autism. She and other parents of children with disabilities are organising an event to share and offer support for other families experiencing autism in Edinburgh. She has met with other Edinburgh MSPs who are also helping to support the cause.
Friday: Parliament officially recessed and will return on 3 September.

June 19-June 23

Monday: I met with Vattenfall, a state-owned Swedish utility company that has a strong onshore wind portfolio in Scotland, with projects in Skype and Aberdeenshire, and is building an offshore centre off the Aberdeenshire coast. Vattenfall wanted to give evidence for the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy, which I am working on in my capacity on the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee. More info on the draft energy strategy can be found here.

Tuesday: In the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committee we continued discussions on the gender pay gap and draft energy strategy. In chamber the Parliament voted on the Air Departure Tax Bill. I voted in favour of the bill, as I believe it will boost international connectivity for Scotland’s airports and put them on a level playing field with other European airports. The bill passed 108 for and 11 against.

Wednesday: I attended finance committee where we heard evidence from Professor Alan Page (University of Dundee) and Professor Stephen Tierney (University of Edinburgh) on the applicability of legislative consent in respect of Brexit.

In chamber we had an emotive debate about amending existing legislation on the universal ban of dog tail shortening/docking to exempt two breeds of working dogs. I recognise that both sides of the debate felt they were acting out of a concern for the welfare of dogs, although their approaches differed. Many Scottish vets expressed support for the Scottish Government’s stance, while professional bodies held an opposing view. I shared the view of the majority of constituents who contacted me on this issue, and as such, abstained from the vote.

Thursday: In chamber during general question time I asked the Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart what the Scottish Government’s position is on setting a cap on mid-market rents to achieve more affordable housing, and how many more mid-market rental properties are to be built in Edinburgh over the next four years. The Minister expects 2,100 properties to be built over the next four years in Edinburgh. You can see my question and the Minister’s full answer here

Friday: I visited Holyrood High School in the constituency to take part in the Outreach Education Programme. I met with senior pupils to discuss politics and my work in Parliament. They had great questions!

Later that afternoon I hosted a Marie Curie Blooming Tea Party in my constituency office. We helped raise money for those living with terminal illness. Thanks to all those who turned out!

“‘Half a million’ would benefit from real living wage says SNP” – The Scotsman

Plans for a real living wage would benefit almost half a million Scots, the SNP has said.

The party cited figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre showing that 467,000 people in Scotland earn less than the real living wage, currently set at £8.45 per hour.

The SNP has called on the UK Government to raise its national living wage of £7.50 to the level of the real living wage and extend it to all workers over 18.

The move would mean all workers earning more than £10 an hour by 2022, boosting annual pay by almost £5,000, the party said.

SNP MSP Ash Denham said: “Scotland is leading the way on fair pay with 845 employers now signed up on a voluntary basis to giving their workers a real living wage.

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