Rhoda Grant MSP believes criminalising the purchase of sex will end demand for the services of sex workers. It won’t.
It will force the sex industry underground, where it’ll have to exist surrounded by other forms of criminality.
To avoid arrest, street-based sex workers may be forced to take less time to negotiate sexual transactions prior to getting into a client’s car, drop prices, and agree to engage in riskier sexual activities, such as sex without a condom. Conducting HIV prevention outreach or education in this environment can be difficult and sex workers’ access to effective healthcare and support services limited.
Grant thinks her bill will stop trafficking.
However, she’s confusing sex work with trafficking and initiatives that do this impact negatively on sex workers and expose them to greater levels of risk and insecurity. Sex workers are best placed to spot a trafficked person.
In order to bring charges against an individual for the purchase of sex, there has to be proof that sexual intercourse has taken place, which would require an invasive forensic medical examination of the purchaser and/or seller.
There is nothing in the draft bill to suggest that the purchaser and/or seller would be asked for their consent before such a procedure was carried out, making this state-sanctioned sexual assault.
Criminalising the purchase of sex doesn’t “rescue” sex workers: it takes away their livelihood, providing them with no alternative employment.
Grant points out the circumstances that may drive people into the sex industry but gives no suggestions for alleviating these aside from taking away sex workers’ jobs.