Harmful acts

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Katie Gould (Letters, 8 December) repeated the popular line that criminalisation will “drive prostitution underground”. But “underground” is exactly where prostitution should be. It cannot be sanitised by varied harm-
reduction strategies; it is an evil that inevitably leads to harm.  

Once women’s bodies become a commodity, a market will inevitably arise for the supply of this raw material for retailers (brothels) that need to maintain a supply for their customers. Almost all women’s inherent sense of personal dignity prevents them from even considering prostituting themselves, so criminal gangs must resort to coercive and deceptive means to sustain their 
lucrative business.  

Those women who enter into prostitution voluntarily have often been the victim of abuse themselves, leading to a damaged self-conception. Prostitutes suffer huge emotional damage in addition to the physical dangers they face, and our society’s 
acceptance and glamourisation 
of prostitution (from Pretty Woman onwards) encourages vulnerable women to down this self-destructive road.  

If the Scottish Parliament wishes to sanction this evil, I suggest it declares its own, well-lit forecourt a “tolerance zone”, so that visitors to Scotland can see what sort of a country they are in.

Richard Lucas


Colinton, Edinburgh