Safest option

The three most commonly voiced justifications for banning prostitution (Letters, 12 November) are that it spreads disease, women fall into the hands of violent pimps and customers, and it harms marriages and families.

The risks of disease and violent abuse would be reduced by legalising licensed brothels, where bouncers would offer protection, condom use would be enforced and workers would have regular health checks.

This is still not a pretty scenario, but it’s better than the present reality, which shows every sign of continuing despite illegality. With regard to the effect on marriages and families: if a man promises to settle down with a woman for life, be faithful to her, have children and devote his income to raising their family, but then blows the money on prostitutes, few would disagree he is behaving badly. But the same applies if he blows the money on excessive drinking or gambling, which are also forms of infidelity if they threaten the marriage or family. It does not follow that the government should ban alcohol or gambling. Some problems just have to be sorted out by the people involved, though governments can provide help, using some of the tax raised from the commodity in question.

Robert Canning

Secular Scotland

Broughton Street





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