back to article Spinning the war on the UK's sex trade

The British Government plans to make it illegal to have sex with a prostitute if said tart has been trafficked, or is being controlled. Nor will this crime will be limited to offences committed in the UK - it will apply to what British men get up to wherever in the world they may be. Now I'm a classically liberal type, and I'm …


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  1. James H

    The downfall of society?

    Who would have thought that the downfall of society would come about thus? Not from drugs or violence (though there is plenty of violence... how wars are operated these days is getting a thorough reaming too). What's going on here? Bans on consenting adults, bans on literature (even written pr0n stories are literature) and cartoons, bans on et all.

    I have an idea, why don't we take the router ACL approach, deny all permit by exception. Would I be wrong in saying religions are responsible for most of today's problems?

    Where's the reset button on this damn thing?

    Getting my coat and moving elsewhere.

  2. Ad Fundum

    What Tacitus said is true

    "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. " - Tacitus

  3. raving angry loony
    IT Angle


    Well, it's well said, but... where's the IT angle? I mean, just about everyone I know in IT is either married or a complete wanker, and doesn't need to buy the stuff.

    Or is "prostitute" some sort of euphemism for "IT contractor" and "trafficking" a euphemism for "forced to work with Microsoft products", in which case I'm all for this law.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    And make sure the Daily Mail is on board

    Make sure that whichever bandwagon you're driving is acceptable to the average Daily Mail reader. After all they're middle class, educated and interested in politics in a way that the average Sun reader isn't. Or maybe they're not middle class, nor educated, nor have a clue about politics; just they think they are. So they'll fight for any cause they perceive as a threat to their aspirations (AKA bigotries).

    Interesting that NuLaber so often seek support from traditional right-wing constituencies and on such right-wing policies: prostitution, ID cards, terrorist threats (string 'em up), immigration, wars... You know, all the things that we used to have to vote Conservative for.

    Goodness knows what will happen when Tony Cameron is elected next year. Surely they can't be any more right wing than NuLabia?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Honk Honk

    You know those ASBO driver programs on TV? They show video of a bad driving choice and the other cars are honking their horns and the commentators declares that selfish ASBO driving makes people angry and causes road rage, (and the honking you hear is to confirm it).

    But the police car video doesn't record audio, the honking you hear, was added by the program makers from their sound effects dept to rage it up a bit! Then the honking is used as evidence of bad driving causing road rage.... Same when you see video from helicopters and hear tyres screaming from speeding motorists, it's not real it's sound effects!

    Now none of this matters, because we all know it's not real, it's TV, an exaggerated reality made for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately the leadership these days is a bit like your crazy aunty flo, who thinks Emmerdale is a documentary.

    And that's the sad thing, because once the dust has settled and the newspapers moved onto something new, peoples emotions no longer run riot. Mob mentality has calmed and people feel a little foolish. But the politician had promised tough action and so must make up evidence and distort statistics, not to get their legislation through, but to NOT LOSE FACE. They have to pretend that reality is the same as that hysterical screaming whipped up by newspapers, that they based their legislation on!

    So suddenly, Linda Lovelace and her regrets are presented as fact, and women who have sex are all abused and everyone who claims to have been raped is raped and everyone who gets off with a crime was really guilty and got-away-with-it.

    You just wish they'd put Aunty Flo in a home where they can take care of her and not let her watch too much TV.

  6. Dick Emery

    It's all about money

    These laws are put through because the government is just pissed that they cannot tax it. If they could tax drugs and prostitution you'd see a crackhouse and brothel on every street corner. But since the moral 'minority' have been shouting about how vile and disgusting it all is over so many years it's been drummed into the public psyche. The governments hands are tied in that they cannot be seen to be legitimizing something that every person who reads 'The Daily Bumwipe' thinks is a vile thing.

    But they still want their pound of flesh and if they cannot get it then then will try to ban it.

    If they could tax the air we breath without being thrown out of power they would tax that too.

    I think the old addage needs changing. There are only 3 things certain in life. Death, Taxes and people who are too stupid to think for themselves.

  7. pk_de_cville

    Doesn't Move Me

    Tim, your commentary is well argued, but misses.

    The traditional voluntary 'oldest profession' is now serving as an effective barrier to our seeing or acknowledging the global contemporary sex trade's slavery, torture, and murder.

    You don't think it's a big deal? Well, what would you and your editors' perception be if you were the one being enslaved and bonked every hour?

    So, maybe you and your editors might consider writing a responding article to this one with the other side of the story. (Earn your boy scout points men.)

    How about recommending 'getting it' through dating or friendship. By bonking 'organically'', you would be, in a small way, helping to remove some of the hellish cruelties played in our world.

    (And if you're good at it, you might make some little volunteer happy.)

  8. Eddy Ito


    Anglo-Saxon prudishness. While Brits enjoy cackling superior to the Yanks, it's times like this that we see that both are cut from the same cloth. Oh, I already know my lot are no better than any others but then I don't go around saying they are. Go ahead, pile it on, you know you want to.

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Bear and Wood coverage in other news...

    "Forgive me reiterating the point that I'm a classical liberal, but wouldn't you prefer not to be ruled this way too?.."

    You are asking, "would we prefer to be ruled by politicians who don't use scare mongering lies to justify everything from recycling fines to large wars?"?

    Would it surprise you to know that the answer is "Yes!"?

    Now, how do you think we are going to manage it? It seems to me that there is no man in a white suit waiting to come to our rescue, and more and more of our rules come from Europe, where we effectively have no voice anyway. Are you suggesting a revolution?

  10. James
    Thumb Up

    Ahh yes why not

    Liken it to the smoking ban and stir things up a bit, when in fact there is not much similarity.

    The majority of people don't smoke, and most of them find the ban an exceptionally good thing.

    If for nothing else it saves on my washing.

  11. James
    Black Helicopters

    Forgot to add...

    Otherwise its a good point.

    Terrorists! They will blow us all up! Ahhhhh! Let us hand out ID cards.

  12. kissingthecarpet

    Re:And make sure the Daily Mail is on board

    Quote: "Goodness knows what will happen when Tony Cameron is elected next year. Surely they can't be any more right wing than NuLabia?"

    You are joking aren't you?

  13. Niall


    "I'm naturally against the criminalisation of something that no society has ever managed to extinguish". Doesn't that pretty much cover everything that is illegal? You really are quite liberal, or perhaps by something you are referring only to the sex trade?

  14. Christoph

    This is hardly new

    The Tories were experts in this trick.

    Get a lot of horror stories printed saying that people who happened to live in seaside towns and were forced to survive on benefits were BEING PAID BENEFITS TO HAVE SEASIDE HOLIDAYS!!!

    Then rush through laws to force young people to keep moving from town to town or have benefits stopped.

    Then when they quite naturally banded together for mutual aid and defence, print more horror stories about the dreaded HIPPY CONVOYS which the Tories themselves had created.

  15. Tim Worstal


    "Well, it's well said, but... where's the IT angle? I mean, just about everyone I know in IT is either married or a complete wanker, and doesn't need to buy the stuff."

    Didn't Microsoft run an ad in New Zealand pointing out that that was why Linux was invented? So that geeks too could get la....? :-)

    "Now, how do you think we are going to manage it? It seems to me that there is no man in a white suit waiting to come to our rescue, and more and more of our rules come from Europe, where we effectively have no voice anyway. Are you suggesting a revolution?"

    Well, I am a member of UKIP....even standing for them....:-)


    Re: Ahh yes why not

    What do you mean no similarity?

    "The majority of people don't" ... ", and most of them find the ban an exceptionally good thing."

    "If for nothing else it saves on my washing."

    Sounds like it could be either.

  17. Tim Brown


    I think the author of this piece has picked a very poor platform on which to triumph his liberalism. I too would describe myself as a liberal and I have no issue with whatever consenting adults get up to in private (or even, in most cases public!). However the key word there is 'consenting'. If someone makes use of the services of a prostitute who they know or believe is being coerced into providing those services, then I'm quite happy for a suitably heavy book to be thrown at them as, I would hope, are the majority of society, liberal or not.

    Saying that the scale of the problem has been exaggerated is just a red-herring. Even one person being forced to provide sex-services against their will is one too many.

    I would agree that this government is far too fond of making laws just for the sake of it, and I am somewhat surprised that there isn't already existing legislation under which such cases could be prosecuted. I would also be wary of this law being mis-applied. However those are different arguments. Liberalism is not the issue here.

  18. steogede
    Dead Vulture

    Legislation for headlines

    >> You don't think it's a big deal? Well, what would you and your editors' perception be if you were

    >> the one being enslaved and bonked every hour? (pk_de_cville)

    PK, you are missing the point. Tim isn't against tough laws for those who force women into slavery or even tough laws for those punters who contribute to the slavery buy using sex slaves. He was merely explaining that this legislation extends much further than this - this is something which has been done for political reasons, for the benefit of the politician, not the sex slave.

    You see, making someone a sex slave is already illegal. Using a sex slave is rape, ignorance is no defence. However, it is very hard to detect and prosecute, it's akin to (say) fishing for sardines with a rod and line - the results aren't going to be very good. So what the government have decided to do is to akin to starting fishing with hand grenades.

    The government can now convict many more people under legislation and at reducing sex slavery - ergo headlines in a few years will read X number of people convicted using sex slavery legislation thanks to Jacki Smith. The facts that;

    * some of these people could and would have been convicted using current legislation,

    * some of these people weren't harming anyone (i.e. difference between trafficked and enslaved)

    * the impact on sex slavery is negligable

    * the impact on sex workers on the whole is detrimental

    These will all be over-looked.

    It is akin to the governments stance on 'Knife Crime'. Prior to 1988 you could carry any bladed or sharply pointed item you wanted, it was down to the CPS and police to prove that you intended to use the item as a weapon (i.e. carrying with intent). Then they changed the law so that you could be prosecuted for carrying most (i,e. not small folding) bladed or sharply pointed instruments in a public place, if you could not provide a good reason (i.e. shifted the burden of proof) - even if you intended no harm and could prove that - in order to make the prosecutors job easier.

    However, given that the burden of proof is shifted to the individual the offense was much lesser than that of carrying a weapon with intent. Ten years later 1998, a single district judge (i.e. lawyer with min. 7 years experience) decided to misread the poorly written legislation and change the law by classifying safer lockable folding knives as 'not fold-able'. Fast forward to the present day and the press jump up and down about cautions for potential murders, and the government is looking at putting the tariffs for knife possession - on a par with carrying with in intent or even possession of an illegal firearm. How do they justify it? Well a good way is to use the increase in hospital figures for people injured with a sharp object, ignoring the fact that these may be accidents, or may have occurred in the home (attacks do), or may have been caused broken bottles or glasses (or other previously non-pointed/sharp objects), or just plain increased reporting.

    His article isn't against having laws, it is against having poorly written, poorly thought out and unnecessary laws (to combat things which are already illegal - especially when the only motive for doing so is to make ease the burden on prosecutors and to get good press.

    The IT angle - logical thought and consistent, high quality analysis is what IT should be all about (tenuous I know). It is just a shame it isn't what politics or the media are all about.

    BTW, have you looked at what the government considers a suitable punishment for men found guilty of raping these women (or possibly raping given the way the legislation is written)? They are intending a £1,000 fine. Clearly they are aware that the laws are draconian, hence the reason for the petty penalty - i.e. They consider it on a par with driving when your photocard licence has expired. Ofcourse, that will all change if the media kick-up a stink about paltry £1000 fines - then they will up the penalty to match that of rape.

  19. D
    Paris Hilton

    Prostitution, cannabis, binge drinking,

    high fat foods, gambling, the essential ingredients of a good night out, have all been targeted by Brown's government.

    I think we should let Paris run the country.

  20. kain preacher

    Wat Wait Wait @y Eddy Ito

    I can go to another country , and get high screw a hooker and come back home. As long as the hooker i over 18.

  21. Russ Williams
    Paris Hilton

    Re: The downfall of society?

    "why don't we take the router ACL approach, deny all permit by exception"

    This is the approach taken on the continent by - e.g. the Napoleonic Code - so things are illegal unless permitted by law. English Common Law is based on the opposite principle: everything is legal unless specifically banned.

    @pk_de_cville: you fail as a troll. Kidnapping and rape are already illegal, how about enforcing those laws rather than making new ones to address the same issues?

  22. Paul Slater


    "The majority of people don't smoke, and most of them find the ban an exceptionally good thing."

    The majority of people don't visit pubs regularly either. I can't help thinking that if they had surveyed the people in my local (one of the few remaining real locals amongst wine bars, brasseries, gastro-pubs and teeny pick-up joints), the overwhelming majority of respondents would have been against a smoking ban in pubs.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I think I understand

    Anyone who's ever seen Julie Burchill's likeness, or Jacqui Smith's or Harriet Harman's for that matter, know that it comes down to sheer jealously. All three know that if they went on the game they'd starve.

    @pk_de_cville: I don't think you understand the idea of prostitution. For the most part the punters aren't really paying for sex; they're paying for the women to go away afterwards. If men got what they wanted at home then they wouldn't feel the need to get it elsewhere. It's surely a human right to be able to have sex is it not? Even if you look like a gargoyle and have to pay for it, if someone is prepared to do it with you for money then who's to say it's wrong? There are ample laws to cover the slavery and pimping angles. What's happening is actually a few bigoted women have got themselves into a position of power and want to persecute what they see as men's persecution of women but can't see the irony.

    The problem here is that bigots can no longer round on homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and other "reformed sexual deviants". The only targets left for vilification are paedophiles and men who want to pay for sex. So there you have it: pretty much the last oppressed sexual minority is the hetrosexual male. The expression of their sexuality can be criticised with impunity; they can be called vile and disgusting and their oppressors can get away with it. Indeed they receive plaudits for doing so.

    Essentially I think that, Julie, Jacqui and Harriet believe that, in fact, prostitutes sell sex too cheaply. They think all men should have to get married in order to have sex and be made pay through the nose for it. Or better still, pay through the nose for it and not get it which is probably closer to the truth for most unfortunate western males these days. Now that's what I call real sexual slavery. I just hope the emasculated men in parliament have the balls left to tell them where to stick this legislation.

  24. Richard Hebert

    Typical BS

    It's typical , happens all the time in America, both north of the line and south ..

    But then again .. are we asking to those people to show intellectual honesty ?

    I mean .. are you seriously thinking that those politicians can show deep , real

    genuine intellectual honesty ? Come on . These are politicians after all ..

    Politicials will cheat , lie an do whatever it takes to keep hold of power.

    They are low lifes . All of them . What's worse .. we keep electing them ..

    Do we deserve our politicians ? hmm .. thinking about it , perhaps we do.

    As for the girls .. leave em be .. they need our support not hatred or laws.


    The Alien : You got to be one to beleive you can stop prostitution.

  25. Elizabeth Pisani

    Bumping up unemployment

    You'd think that with unemployment rocketing, the government wouldn't be looking to throw more people out of work. The Policing and Crime Bill isn't going to shut down the sex trade, but criminalising johns is going to make it a damned sight harder for girls and boys on the game to make a living. (For a sex worker's view, see

    What's worse is that it will probably also make it harder to work against the trafficking and child prostitution which make up a small but vicious part of the sex industry. Trying to attack those corners of the trade by making the whole trade illegal is like trying to wipe out software piracy by shutting down Microsoft.

    Hang on a minute...

  26. Paul Talbot

    How long?

    Ah, 6 comments before someone goes "full retard"...

    @pk_de_cville: you obviously missed subtle points, so let me reiterate them for you. The article repeatedly acknowledged that sex slavery/trafficking exists, that it is a problem and that it is not something to be taken lightly.

    There are two major points that tend to get missed by reactionaries such as yourself. The first is that not every prostitute is doing it unwillingly. Some girls actually choose to either through economic necessity or other reasons (a good whore will work less hours and get paid more than a cleaner). Legalising it would remove some of the obstacles and dangers to those girls (risk of arrest/abuse, drug addiction, disease, inability to rat on an abusive pimp without confessing to jailable crimes themselves, etc.). It wouldn't be paradise nor a particularly glamorous profession if brothels were legalised, but far better than it is now.

    The second is that you've just parroted the exact hype that the article rails against. The real problem is not severe enough to get the amount of attention it does, and most of the things that *actually exist* are *already* illegal. The only way the trade will ever disappear, as you rightly note, is for the demand for sex to go away. That just ain't going to happen. As for "getting it through dating or friendship" - well, that's still prostitution. If one party or the other is only interested in sex and not a relationship, then one party is still being used and abused in the name of the other's pleasure.

    If not legalisation, why not just concentrate on prosecuting the existing laws without pass further laws to try and make it look like something is happening (while simultaneously doing nothing and catch a lot of innocents in the crossfire)?

  27. Anonymous John


    Well, if you're an illegal immigrant caught in a brothel, why wouldn't you claim to have been trafficked? If it means being treated as a victim?

    I'm not saying there isn't any trafficking, but I am doubtful about the figures.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Quote: As I say, this does happen but the question is, how often?

    Not as often as in Italy, Greece or even Spain, but still much more often than the "esteemed" author of this article would like to make us think. I used to live in Bulgaria which was a primary recruitment ground for this scam in the late 90-es and early 2000-es (the recruitment drive has since moved further east). The total number of cases during that period has exceeded by far tens of thousands per year.

    Further to this, I see nothing wrong in making "stand and turn a blind eye" a criminal offence. We should have a bit more of that. A few months I saw three youfs in an H-reg fiesta knocking down a girl on a bicycle. Instead of stopping they showed her a V and drove off. The only people to stop and check if she is all right were me and a frenchman. All the other white middle class c*nts happily sat in their comfortable cars and ignored the entire thing like not happening. Making all of them don an "Offender Helping The Community" yellow jackets and send them to clean the dog sh*t off the sidewalks definitely sounds like something quite worthy. We definitely need more of that. A lot more.

  29. jake Silver badge

    @James H

    "Would I be wrong in saying religions are responsible for most of today's problems?"

    No, although I prefer "Organised religion is the root of all evil." ... And before you religious wack-jobs start ranting at me, please note that I didn't say "all religions are evil", nor did I say that "all organized religions are evil".

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    All Men are Rapists

    From Tim Brown: "If someone makes use of the services of a prostitute who they know or believe is being coerced into providing those services..."

    This is a classic definition of rape and has long been illegal.

    The point of the new legislation is that it makes it illegal even if you *don't know* that they are being forced into it. If you view visiting a prostitute as an intrinsically immoral thing that ought to be illegal then you won't mind catching innocent men as they are not innocent.

    This comes straight from the doctrine that "All Men are Rapists" which as helpful to the debate as saying that "All Women are Prostitutes".

  31. Jon


    "The British Government plans to make it illegal to have sex with a prostitute if said tart has been trafficked"

    A woman who has been trafficked is a rape victim, and not a tart.

  32. Danny

    Why an IT angle?

    I only read the Register for the sex and violence, is there an IT section here too?

  33. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Time to grab a few more headlines...


    It is you who are missing the point. We already *have* laws to protect women from threats of violence and assaults and other behaviours involved in trafficking, passing new laws is not going to make matters any better.

    @ Tim Brown:

    > "If someone makes use of the services of a prostitute who they know or believe is being coerced into providing those services, then I'm quite happy for a suitably heavy book to be thrown at them"

    And how is someone supposed to *know* this? Should the punter be required to ask "have you been forced or coerced into this" when he hands over the money? How is he supposed to know if they are telling the truth?

    This is another ludicrous headline grabbing law from a Government which has lost all touch with reality and is now just legislating based on the personal views of Ministers.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I think the author of this piece has picked a very poor platform on which to triumph his liberalism. I too would describe myself as a liberal and I have no issue with whatever consenting adults get up to in private (or even, in most cases public!). However the key word there is 'consenting"

    The problem with this trafficing thing is, we are supposed to believe that the girl is kidnapped from her country (or deceived) brought over here and force into prostitution and never tells the police and never tells any client to call the police and is kept a prisoner so she can never escape and is watched all the time and and and.... nah.

    Occams razor suggests a different answer to the majority of these claims: When caught committing prostitution they blame someone else. Just the same as they do with any other crime. It's always someone else fault.

    Jacqui cannot apply common sense to this and so assumes that every claim of trafficking, no matter how implausible is real. Worse, in fact, even where there is no claim of trafficking she still seeks to punish clients as though there was.

    You mentioned 'consenting' but there is no way for the girl to consent in Jaquis law.

    Her argument for this is trafficking (her mental image of it at least) is so serious that it's necessary to punish people not responsible for it, for some sort of indirect benefit she can't quite explain.

    Face it, she's a power crazed old harpie that likes to put men in jail on the flimsiest excuse, not a fit person to hold any position of authority. The less she can identify with the person she's abusing (i.e. usually men and attractive women) the easier she finds it to put them in jail.

  35. Suburban Inmate

    What a prostitute said to me.

    "I only work a couple of days a week, its entirely up to me, I make enough to live nicely and it's very safe here. I also get tested every week and I can refuse to serve a guy if I want."

    Not anon because this was in Amsterdam, where it's legal. Which must mean that the rampant evil of the oldest profession will surely tear their social fabric to shreds. Any day now, for sure, just watch. Just like if we legalised Cannabis.

  36. Heff
    Thumb Up

    OMG, its the Vikings, right?

    Oh Noes! Not the international shadowy world of sex trafficking!

    See also;

    Sextraffickers/pedophiles/Terrorists/ASBO kids/Footballhooligans/'Travellers'/TradeUnionists/Communists /blahblahblahblah /the french/witches/that untrustworthy ball of fire in the sky.

    Thus has ever been the means of political control. If you wish to control people, point at something, convince the crowd its evil, wave your witch doctor wand and convince the crowd its safe.

    @ Tim Brown, other bleeding-heart liberals. The point is not arguing whether or not screwing some unwilling tart is bad; anyone with half a braincell can see the bad karma. The point is how this morality issue is presented in order to coerce everyone into groupthink; most recently shown by how Bush used this method to throw some totalitarian scary rights-crushing shit around in the patriot act. here, let me demonstrate with my witch-doctor-wand-for-dummies-book;

    politico: Unwilling harlots! they're everywhere! we will rescue them!

    someone with half a brain : uh, no they arent. in fact, this law prettymuch hammers everyone. its pretty unjust, and actually sort of unnecessary as this is already covered under-


    At which point everyone looks at mr reasonable and the following is directly implied; Mr reasonable either trafficks in prostitutes or uses their services. Opposing the system where its morality is applied like this has become more and more difficult as the hysteria machine has been refined since the McCarthy era co-opted the media.

    All of this is a side effect of running a democratic system where a politicians effectiveness is measured in the Bullshit laws and whitepapers they put forth, and their cause-and-effect massaging of related statistics.


    Politician, who needs public prominence to succeed, and has the power to change the law, in a room with a reporter, who needs Scary headlines and 'reliable' political statistics to succeed. El politico needs something scary to rail against to further his career, the reporter needs scary stories to sell newspapers. is it any wonder we lurch from one crisis to another? Even this story is part of that system; a story about the law, the scary story, the politicians.

    I actually liked this story, though. I got to write about harlots.

    Thumbs up. Harlots.

  37. Anonymous Coward


    @Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 4th January 2009 19:59 GMT

    "The total number of cases during that period has exceeded by far tens of thousands per year."

    That has to be complete and utter bollocks. I'll give you the opportunity to provide some documentary evidence from some non-hysterical source but I've a feeling that I'll be waiting a long time.

    "Further to this, I see nothing wrong in making "stand and turn a blind eye" a criminal offence."

    This is not criminalising people who turn a blind eye. In your example it's the equivalent of chastising someone in Borneo for not stopping to commiserate with the daft girl who got herself knocked down in some slum in England.

    If they ever decide to pass a law to imprison people who don't know they're stupid, you'd better watch out.

    "But, but, I thought I was Mensa material ..."

    "Just get in the van you stupid ..."

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Typical pointless government rubbish

    This is an old story really, BUT - I'm all for getting rid of kerb crawlers. There's no need.

    Anyone kerb crawling, give them points, fines, whatever it takes. I've done it myself, and I think potential punters just need better education. Trawling the streets at 1am is NOT the way to find a girl to have a pleasurable sexual experience with.

    Anyone who has ever hired a proper escort will tell you that you never pay for "sex". You pay for an hour (or more) of the lady's time. What you get up to during that time is "between two consenting adults".

    I've no idea how that would stand up in a court of law, but that's the way everyone words it. You don't buy a 'Rusty Trombone', 'figging', a 'Glass Bottom Boat' or whatever on an individual level.

    On that basis, who can be guilty? Trafficked or not, you never paid her money for sex.

    What angers me is that the government refuses to accept that some women actually like it. I know one escort personally (have never used her professional services), and she does it because she enjoys sex and likes the money. She's not been trafficked or forced into it. She's not pimped, she's not an illegal drug user, alcoholic, or anything of the sort. If you met her in the street, you'd never know that she occasionally met strangers in hotel rooms.

    Also, she does it safe every time, no exceptions. Rates of STD's among horny teenagers is significantly higher than those within the sex industry.

    If the government want a real insider's view of the sex industry (and they probably don't, because it wouldn't help their agenda), including the good and bad, they should try reading the Punternet forums

  40. voshkin
    IT Angle

    Good job

    Good job!

    I have really enjoyed this article; it is rear to find a person with a bit of common sense nowadays.

    We do, unfortunately live in a completely crazy society, where enormously stupid laws are only avoided by the enormous stupidity of the police – this, unfortunately will soon change with the advent of ever-present surveillance technology...

    “Your tracker implant was intimately close to the tracker implant of a known lady of ill repute, you are hence arrested for having said with the said prostitute”

    P.S. Excellent as the article may be, what is the IT angle? (apart from the geeks being known to wet their carrot in such manner)

  41. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    So what does "liberal" mean these days?

    Couldn't agree more. Legislative attacks like the one mentioned seem, however, to preferably come from the self-described liberal/feminist/progressive corner, a weird bunch of junkies who are under the delusion that they are capable of bending reality to written law as long as the intention is to "do good" and "help others". So what's "liberal" mean these days, anyway?

  42. Jim

    surely 167 is still too many?

    By your own research you describe Pentameter 2, found 167 trafficked people - surely thats 167 too many?

    Or perhaps the author does not have any daughters? He apparently surely has missed the point.

  43. JohnG

    Legalising prostitution

    Here in Germany, prostitution is legalised but under a number of constraints. These include that prostitutes may only work in licensed brothels, brothels may only be located in discrete locations, prostitutes must be regularly checked by a doctor, etc. As they are not demonised by the law, prostitutes can call on the police if they are assaulted and are not easily controlled by gangsters. Prostitutes have their own union, have health insurance and pension schemes.

    Of course, gangsters then traffic women from abroad as they are easier to control due to their illegal status but punters don't need to risk going to these people as they can visit a legal brothel. Legalistion removes trade from the gangsters - so they are better off in Britain where everything is illegal and therefore, easier for the gangsters to control.

    The other problem in the UK is that, despite assurances to the contrary, many foreign prostitutes who were trafficked are deported right back to their home countries and into the hands of the gangs who trafficked them in the first place.

    Whilst the situation in Germany is probably not ideal, it is much better then that in the UK and I can only think that the the new UK legislation will make things worse.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alcohol is next

    Question is why the rush to puritan lawmaking? what is the point of banning everything even remotely pleasurable?

  45. Frank

    Broad Definitions

    "..I'm naturally against the criminalisation of something that no society has ever managed to extinguish. "

    Ever since Cain started it off, by murdering Abel, no society has managed to extinguish murder.

    So, is it the case that you are against the criminalisation of murder?

    Perhaps you need to tighten up your own definitions somewhat.

  46. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton


    I have met a few pimps in the UK in real life. The most unpleasant people I have ever met. Yes, that's anecdotal evidence, but whilst I applaud the principle of looking beyond the numbers and seeing exactly how they are arrived at, the Register skipped doing so on its own research on this element of the article. The reason why some women may prefer to work with a pimp is probably not because it is better for them per se, but because it may be better for them in a society where prostitution is criminalised and they have no protection from the police. Be very careful of extrapolating from some small sample in one US state, analysed by one sensationalist statistician, and taking it as a basis for comparison in the UK.

    Broadly speaking, the Home Secretary is right in saying that Prostitution is not a job that most people engage in willingly (if we can avoid people arguing that circumstances short of rape can still count as not a free choice). However, the current laws do pretty much cover the circumstances where it would be right to intervene and if there are any issues, then they are local ones of enforcement and police resourcing. The current efforts at legislation are publicity driven and probably harmful.

    Paris, because some people *do* want to make money with their bodies.

  47. Iain Purdie


    Still a marginal improvement on the more simply-worded but harsher (possibly) Norwegian law that took effect on the Jan 1st. Any Norwegian paying for sex anywhere in the world, regardless of whether the prostitute is "trafficked" or "controlled" is up for 6 months minimum in jail.

    It does, in fairness, save any loopholes. But it also means that all the prostitutes in Norway will have to drop their prices and rely on foreigners as the law *only* applies to Norwegian citizens.

    Easyjet fly to Oslo, yes? ;)

    But still, I agree. Trying to criminalise prostitution is mindless and pointless. You just push it further under the carpet and make it harder to police. If someone's become a prostitute - for example - as a way to pay for a drug habit will this make them go to the doctors or join a rehabilitation scheme (as the Norwegian government state will be the case in their hyperbole)? I doubt it. They'll just hide away further from the law or turn to petty crime, muggings and so on to get the money for their fix.

    Burying something doesn't make it go away. One day politicians will figure this out, but it's not on the horizon any time soon.

  48. J

    @ Paul Slater

    "The majority of people don't visit pubs regularly either."


    But I wonder how many of those don't (didn't?) go to pubs due to... the excessive smoke.

    I myself think thrice before going to one, because the damn stinky shit attacks my rhinitis (or sometimes asthma) quite easily...

    Off topic, I know. I'm leaving...

  49. Jeff Dickey

    "Liberal", "Conservative" and the second dimension

    People are missing the point, as intended by those making the point.

    For thirty years now, we've seen the authentic conservative movement supplanted and suborned by the "Reagan/Thatcher 'conservatives'", who don't actually fit into the traditional conservative (or liberal) queues; they're something quite different.

    Radical authoritarians and narcissists. They have successfully used propaganda and the power of the overweening State (anathema to true conservatives) to instigate the most massive transfer of wealth in human history, to the (now-)richest of the rich. Even when they are seen to publicly stumble, as in the current financial crisis, only the lower-level munchkins, 'ordinary people', get whacked - at least without an extremely generous platinum parachute. (Because 'golden' just isn't enough anymore.)

    This isn't a 'left'/'right' issue; that's a wedge that's been used to drive propaganda. That tactic has to have been more successful than any of those pushing the buttons in the beginning would have dared imagine: anybody now who suggests that the middle and lower classes should not actively damage their own best interests is loudly shouted down - by the same people who are on the vanishingly-short end of the economic stick. And the real beauty of the system is - the people who attract the most public anger (e.g., the Bushes), while not in any sense blameless, are hardly the greatest beneficiaries of the new regime.

    We can't solve the problem until we get sufficiently broad agreement on the real problem.

    Where's the IT angle? Everywhere. This agglomeration of wealth, this concentration of power, this emasculation of individual liberties, would hardly have been possible without massive, state-of-the-art IT systems. C4I (command, communication, control, computers and intelligence) applied not by an answerable Government against a military opponent, but by the omipresent, omnipotent State against its own citizens. Those of us who've taken the attitude that "it's jusrt a job" or "it's a neat problem to solve" have lost sight of the effects of our actions just as surely as a bunch of hooligans shooting off firecrackers in a shopping mall to see people run.

    And yes, I dealt with some "interesting problems" in my day.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Evidence?

    The number of tens of thousands is based on the number of girls who had to be provided with consular assistance, repatriation and support by charities after the repatriation. The numbers are published, well known and indeed ran into the tens of thousands during the late 1990-es peak. Search for yourselves (I am quoting based on the 1998 BG report on the problem which was published long before the UK politicos decided to make it a cause celebre).

    The numbers also underestimate the size of the problem as only the very lucky manage to get out and obtain consular assistance.

    The unlucky do not. In fact the most unlucky end up in a concrete block at the bottom of a lake somewhere after they can no longer serve customers.

    As far as your example about Borneo, it does not apply. The girl in question was laying in the middle of a UK road and the f*** white middle class c*nts were carefully driving _around_ her not to spoil their nice middle class MPVs. That is not in Borneo. That is nowdays UK. The lack of compassion and the desire to make it someone's else problem here is so staggering it is unreal...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good call

    they are going on about sexual bullying in schools on the BBC, and children as young as 5 doing it.

    BUT, then you hear it also includes SWEAR words, now that is a way to really up your count, little kids are always going to swear, whether or not they understand the word or the context, so move that to sexual bullying, and voila we have an epidemic.

    Oh and 16 - 25 yr olds 10% don't think life is worth living, because they were asked that question directly, now, if some pillock (can still use that one) asks you if life is worth living, I am more surprised if only 10% give a sarcy response of 'no, of course not'.

    It is just ridiculous, and it gets spoon fed out in the early morning before people are fully awake, so it just seeps into the conciousness as they are munching their cornflakes.

    Oh they have got some wideboy on claiming it is happening at the moment, for his five minutes of fame, he likes to have a good chortle about people phoning in about sexual bullying - hmm I suppose I should be twittering.

    Everyone involved in this knows it is ridiculous but it just works, it is the British Stasi way.

  52. Keith T

    In Canada, prostitution is legal

    Here in Canada, prostitution is legal. It is being a client that is illegal.

    And whereas Canada doesn't care if you get away with mass murder in a foreign country, commit a "sex crime" in a foreign country and you can face special prosecution here.

    When you live in a democracy that is 53% female, even male politicians are going to sacrifice their sense of moral equity to get elected.

    For mainstream crimes, like killing and stealing, sentences handed down to men are about 10 times the sentences handed to women, if the women are ever prosecuted.

    Once in prison, are women's prisons have much nicer living conditions than men's prisons.

    And this is to say nothing of the "affirmative action" / "reverse discrimination" that goes on in hiring, training and promotion in Canada's employment markets.

    Our political and legal systems are full of bias and bigotry, of self-serving injustices -- being stuck with growing injustices decade after decade, it is a wonder citizens become apathetic.

    Participate in the political system and you are participating in the persecution of your own sex.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Of course, there may be a plus side...

    Give it a couple of years and most of Her Majesty's Government will be behind bars...

    The scary bit is that we'll be left with a few emasculated wimps, who have no interest in sex whatsoever and all of Harriet's / Jacqui's "wimmin"...

    Heaven help us all...

  54. Robert Grant

    A blanket statement which fails at the first counter-example?

    "Now I'm a classically liberal type, and I'm naturally against the criminalisation of something that no society has ever managed to extinguish."

    e.g. murder

  55. Anonymous Coward

    julie birchill is a man hater

    If anyone has read any of the articles by julie burchill, you will understand where this legislation comes from. Jacqui "I think all men should be in jail" Smith wanted a result on the "research" and got burchill to do it. Any criminology professor, university research department, government research department would come up with the results that brothels protect prositutes; that the vast majority of women on the game do it because it is easy money and preferable to working 9-5 in some shitty office.

    When you get someone who goes on womens marches where the chat of the day is "GET ALL MEN OFF OUR STREETS!" - you know for a fact that the research is going to be crap. Infact this particular research was done by friends of hers callign up brothels and asking questions on the phone so when her report said you could buy sex for £20, it is absolute rubbish because that kind of thing would never be discussed over the phone.

    The actual fact is that brothels protect women, in areas where prostitution is legal, cases of rape are lower, sexually transmitted diseases in sex workers are lower, the women that are on drugs can be offered services to wean them off and lorry drivers cant kill prostitutres. The swedish experiment has been a huge failure, with many women being driven underground, with the associated risks that come from that or moving to Norway for their own safety.

  56. Herby

    IT angle??

    Obvious. Just remember the line from _Revenge of the Nerds_ "All jocks think about is sports, but all nerds [IT guys] think about is sex".

    Enough said.

  57. Matt

    @ James

    "Liken it to the smoking ban and stir things up a bit, when in fact there is not much similarity.

    The majority of people don't smoke, and most of them find the ban an exceptionally good thing."

    I think you've missed the point my friend. The point is not to liken prostitution to smoking, it's to liken the ridiculous introduction of freedom removing laws of different origins to each other.

    Whether or not the 'majority' of people don't smoke ( the 'majority of people I know do by the way) it was a removal of a freedom that was the only definite outcome of that law. Businesses (particularly the entertainment business) have suffered because people will stay at home rather than stand around in the street having a cigarette like a naughty 14 year old. When people stay home, they're not buying drinks, food, cigarettes etc and so the prices on those things go up meaning less people can afford them meaning more people stay at home meaning less money being spent which results in prices going up... are we seeing a pattern?

    Even this isn't the point though - there should only be ONE law in my opinion. A man (or woman) may not do anything that harms either another man (or woman) or his (or her) property or removes his (or her) freedom in anyway. Anything else is fair game. This way, you have the ability to do what you want where you want, when you want.

    And before you start bleating about passive smoking, make sure you have some solid FACTS about the dangers, not the government pushed propaganda that was published in the Daily Mail. Anyone remember the 'cannabis increases your chance of mental disease' hype over the last couple of years? Yeah right increased by 0.0000004% from a starting point of 0.00000005% (or whatever the actual figures were).

    It's all about proportion....

  58. John Ozimek
    Thumb Up

    Proud to offend sexually?

    Hat's off to Tim for an excellent piece. The only aspect of this ludicrous proposal that maybe deserves a little more airing is the fact that it is going to be a strict liability law. Which means the intentions of the punter won't count.

    Basically, if you go with a trafficked/pimped woman, you commit an offence.

    The only difference between a criminal under this law, who will face jail and entry on to the Sex Offenders' Register and an inocent person may in the end be whether a prostitute lied to them. "Oh, No: I'm not pimped...".

    Brilliant. One can't help thinking that the logic of the feminazis, such as Harperson and Jacqui Smith, is that if you declare enough people to be sex offenders, you will eradicate sex crime.

    I have this tiny, sneaking suspicion, that the opposite might in the end be the case. Add enough people to the SOR for totally ludicrous reasons, and after a while, the SOR becomes a joke. Certainly, if the day ever comes when people are added on the basis of what someone else told them, then the SOR will be finished.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Living off immoral earnings is no longer a crime. It's now controlling prostitution that's the crime. Ever since the Sexual Offences act of 2003.

    Apart from that, it's a pretty well constructed article. For those that don't believe that commecial sex providers can act responsibly and aren't all trafficked crack addicts, have a look at punternet.

    AC and Paris, well work it out...

  60. michael


    "The majority of people don't smoke, and most of them find the ban an exceptionally good thing."

    I do not smoke and I hate pepol smoking and think it is a desgusting habbit


    that was why I did not go into pubs that alowed smokers I do not think pepol shoul;d be banned from killing them selfs just cos I do not like it

  61. Mark


    So slavery which seems by the people who are prosecuting (hence a selection bias to finding it) is less than 0.2% of cases is all that prostitution is about?

    You have, unwittingly, proven tim's point.

  62. Mark

    re: Liberalism?

    "If someone makes use of the services of a prostitute who they know or believe is being coerced into providing those services, then I'm quite happy for a suitably heavy book to be thrown at them as, I would hope, are the majority of society, liberal or not."

    But this isn't about whether the punter is of the opinion of the prozzie being a sex slave is it. It's about some third party saying they think it. If the punter thinks they are coerced into it they can raise it under current laws with the police and get the coercing pimp arrested for it.

  63. Anonymous Coward

    Not a smart move...

    Trying to stamp-out the oldest profession; just remember: Jaqui Smith will be looking for a new job quite soon!

  64. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Tim Worstall

    "If someone makes use of the services of a prostitute who they know or believe is being coerced into providing those services, then I'm quite happy for a suitably heavy book to be thrown at them as, I would hope, are the majority of society, liberal or not."

    Except that's not what the law says - if the prostitute lies and says "I'm a UK citizen and I'm doing this voluntarily", the punter has still broken the law even though they have done all they can to make sure they didn't.

  65. The Other Steve

    @ "Even one 'x' is to many" retards

    Yes, yes, one child abused is to many, one woman raped is to many, one spliff rolled is to many, yadda yadda.

    Those of you esposuing this rather ill thought out argument need to go away and have a little chat with yourselves, turn on your TV and watch some news, read some history books. Open Your Fucking Eyes.

    And see : The world we live in is brutal, messy, dangerous and unpleasant. There are bad people, doing bad things. Got that part ? Now, take a deep breath and realise that YOU CAN NOT STOP THIS FROM BEING THE CASE.

    How exactly would you propose that we undertake to prevent your "one to many" of whatever 'x' you've got your knickers in a twist about ? You would need to live in a society so thouroughly totalitarian that everyone, and everything, is under surveilance all the time, no exceptions, and in which the state has the ability and the will to intervene for every infraction of the rules*.

    There are a number of rather horrid problems with this, not the least being that it is abhorrent in the extreme, but leaving that aside for a moment, how would you achieve this goal ? At a stroke, you've got to have a large chunk (> 50 %, probably by quite a bit) of the populace working as surveilance drones for the state, and who watches them ? And are the minority that are left over able to fulfil the UK's need for productive work ?**

    By using the "even one 'x' is to many" line of reasoning, you are actively soliciting your government to opress you, you are begging for them to turn the UK into one enormous prison, something they'll be quite happy to do if you ask them. Of course, it won't actually prevent "one x", but it may have the effect of you never hearing about the >1 x that take place, because let's face it, a state like that is not going to want to keep it's citizens very well informed, now is it ? Imagine if you allowed your wise leaders to enslave you in this way in the cause of preventing 1 'x', and there were multiple 'x', you'd feel all stupid and revolutionary and wonder if it was all worth it.

    You're taking part in this circle jerk of autocratic brutality based on two really flawed premises, viz that you can prevent "one x", which you can't, and that if you could then the way to do it would be by making perfectly ordinary things illegal, which has never worked, from drugs and prostitution all the way up the chain to nuclear weapons.

    And you're also effectively saying that it's OK for the government to tell porkies about the numbers if it's in a good cause. You wankers.

    *(C) Jacqui Smith, 2007/2008

    **'Course, if you're a strong AI cheerleader _and_ a totalitarian facist bastard, you could posit a vast omniescent AI that will do the surveilance and enforcement, while leaving the fleshies to go about their business, I doubt even you retards would want to go there.

  66. Anonymous Coward

    I am getting married

    to my prostitute. Met her last year, liked her so much, I asked her to move in, now we are planning to get married.

    But, the point of the article is, the methods used to make new legislation, how figures are twisted to enhance problems and mislead everyone, how relatively small problems are expanded and how wide the net is cast to maximise the impact of the proposed rules.

    This government and the whole new labour experience has been one of lies and deceit from the moment they gained power.

  67. Tim Worstal

    Bindell, not Burchill

    ". Jacqui "I think all men should be in jail" Smith wanted a result on the "research" and got burchill to do it"

    Just to stave off any libel suit, it was Julie Bindell that did that research into brothels, not Julie Birchill.....

  68. DutchOven

    Broad Definitions

    @ Frank

    "Ever since Cain started it off, by murdering Abel, no society has managed to extinguish murder.

    So, is it the case that you are against the criminalisation of murder?"

    Urr, forgive me if I am wrong but isn't there a legal bunch of murderers sponsored by the govt. We call them the army.

    As far as I know, there are no plans to illegalise them or to criminalise the "pimps" whio arrange their "tricks".

  69. Wayland Sothcott

    I gave this top rating "Orgazmic"

    Superb analysis of the situation. It does seem there has been a policy U turn. Most people object to prostitutes on the streets; residents and those concerned for their welfare for instance. We used to read that organisations concerned with the welfare of prostitutes wanted them to work from brothels.

    It seems that broadly the results of government policy are to make matters worse in every possible way. Could this not be the purpose as well?

  70. A J Stiles

    @ Iain Purdie

    "Any Norwegian paying for sex anywhere in the world, regardless of whether the prostitute is 'trafficked' or 'controlled' is up for 6 months minimum in jail."

    What if they did it in a country where -- shock, horror -- paying for sex is actually legal? Surely important principles like dual criminality and national sovereignty would come into play here.

  71. Michael Reed
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    Great article. It's nice to see someone talking some sense on this issue for once. An article like this is not only informative. Once someone has laid down the issues in a clear way, it provokes useful and interesting debate. I don't mind the occasional tangent from IT in this way. It certainly seems to be a subject that the readership is interested in.

  72. Mark

    re: A blanket statement which fails at the first counter-example?

    But where IS the demand for murder? There's demand for sex and there's demand to be paid for it.

    Now there IS demand for murder on the basis of:

    a) Death penalty

    b) Military operations

    c) Euthanasia

    And these are not classed as immediately illegal except the last one (and there is a lot of pressure to remove that oddity).

    There aren't many people wanting to be murdered though, and nobody really wants murder off the books so they can go about killing (because they may well end up dead themselves).

    So your counter example is no example.

  73. michael

    so jackies plan

    is to make every porstitute into a self imployed person and there for foster entrepreneurisum??

  74. David Hicks

    Time to leave

    The problem is that it's not just politicians spouting this nonsense; a good deal of the British public are for it.

    A huge number of people are just interested in the message, not the results. As long as the party are seen to be "doing something about the drug/terrorist/immigrant/prostitute/foreigner" problem, then people will lap it up.

    Bonus points if you can conflate and confuse all of the above. Much like here - foreigners are trafficking illegal immigrants into the country and keeping them as drugged up sex slaves! It probably funds terrorism or something!

    Time to go, this country is done for, by its own hand.

  75. n

    ...and the rest

    Woman are crucial to New Labour vote, remember, "blairs babes".

    New labour have an all female, middle class segment, focus group called "Harry Potter Mums".

    They have gone right off new labour since sleazy salesman tony told lies and slaughtered millions of woman and children.

    Since Brown took over, to try to win the female voters back, there has been a direct feed from this focus group into these types of headline-back-of-envelope policies....last week it was "the kids surfing inappropriate websites, this week it's stop evil prostitution, but note that they will stress targeting the men (straying husbands - majority are married, and evil pimps) who use them. The profiteer of sex will be given "support". This will be stressed.

    I can't remember them all but there's been at least 20 similar "emotional trigger policies" directed at this voter group. How do you think cuddly Lord Winston got his job and gig on the bbc?

    He is a key player ;)

    Mrs Brown is and will be another key player, though probably reluctantly. ;)

  76. Michael Nielsen

    politicians and hype

    Politicians love blowing things out of proprotions to flag in their particular bandwagon, for instance Child Pornography is being used in Denmark to by pass anti-censorship laws, and the latest news from the government is they wish to make it illegal to check whether the internet censorship is being used for anything other than child pornography, which then means it is possible to add other things in under the umbrella of child pornography censorship, for instance.

    Sites not like by the music/film industry - already 2 sites listed, and are both listed, and filtered by the "Child Pornography" filter.

    what will be next?

    racist comments ?

    Anti government sites ?

    Freedom of speech sites ?

    Well they are trying to make illegal for you to find out, which is what EU is working towards as well, introduction of Chinese like censorship,all carried on the back of "protect children" organisations.

    Mind you I wish that particular content did not exist, but I'm concerned by the path that is now being taken, it seems to have deviated from the claimed objective.

    With respect to the laws against prostitution, introduction of censorship, terror, and all the other hype laws, they all carry the same theme.

    Argue against the measures, you end up having to defend things like child porn, terroists, sex slavery, because that is how the prohibitionists will turn the arguments.

    Though this is not directly an IT topic, it is in the respect the same techniques are being used to argue for heavy censoring of the net, heavy hunting of people sharing music (whether legal or not), and so forth. So it is very relevant.

    In the case of Prostitution, I hope the politicians think about the following.

    1. Making it illegal, will force prostitutes underground, which means they become less visible, but also more vunerable to abuse, trafficing, and sex slavery.

    2. Making it illegal, will cause quite a few people to get used to breaking the law.

    3. If it is already illegal, and you end on the sexoffender register anyway, some people are going to think, why not go the full hog, and become a peadofile, have snuff sex (killing someone whilehaving sex etc)

    None of this is going to help the vunerable groups, and is just going to alienate the people who are in the industry willingly, whether for economic reasons, or because they like it.

    What will help, is to legalise prostitution fully, why you may ask.

    1. If it is legal, then it is easier for the workers to get help from the police.

    2. It is easier for punters to rapport suspected cases of traffiking, or underage girls.

    3. Health controls can be stepped up, so that it is safer for all.

    4. The workers can form unions, to protect themselves against abuse.

    5. Brothels can be formed by the working girls,allowing the hiring of "doormen" which means their enviornment becomes safer.

    6. it also legitimises seeking help to exit prostitution, and makes it easier for social workers and what not to contact and work with the women/men who needs help.

    7. Cases of rape will be far more uncommon in a brothel enviornment, as the workers can have a panic button that directly calls the "Doormen" to their aid, the punter would know this.

    8. and not least of all, it is possible to monitor, and regulate the industry, thereby helping people working in it.

    Basically it is a win-win situation to legalise, however, with that said traffiking, and sex slavery should be punished to the extreme, but how does a punter know if a women is trafficed ? Well issue a Workers union card (could be handled by the sex worker union) where the union can do relevant background checks etc, to make sure there isn't coercion involved, it also allows a punter to make a quick call to verify the ID, and that the person is in fact of legal age - not that many would, but the possibility exists, making it harder for the criminal element to function - as long as there is sufficient control with the worker union.

    Basically the benefits of legalisation will always outweigh the benefits of criminalising the activity, due to the negatives that criminalisation will cause.

    Unfortunately these laws are not driven by rational thought, but by people on a bandwagon, and as they know they cannot win the rational argument, so they choose the irrational one which you cannot argue against, ie if you argue for legalisation of prostitution, the capaigner will turn the argument that you are arguing for legalisation of sex slaves, sex trafficing, etc. Either way it is an argument that cannot be won. Usually the person pushing for criminalisation is not interested in the wellfare of the people in the industry, but are far more interested in the fact that it violates their MORALS, beliefs, or religion.

    With respect to the Norweigan citizens, I believe, that they can be arrested and jailed for traveling to Denmark, or Amsterdam and hiring a prostitute there, that is if, if the norweigan police found out that they had done that.. In both countries prostitution is (as yet) legal.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can't see why any new legislation is need, it's illegal pay for sex and it's illegal to traffic people.

    But then, it is another one of Waky Jackquis' ideas.

    Well, we did tell them that the 2.5% reduction in VAT isn't going to have any worthwhile benefit, the economy is in a serious mess and I guess Brown is looking for some news worthy distractions.

    Wacky Jacqui is single handedly doing more harm to this country than any other politician - except Gordon Broon - yes, the one with the funny mouth gesture

    It's pretty obvious within the last month and a bit, Mr I've-got-no-personality Brown has told all his ministers he needs new ideas. Sheer desparation.

  78. David Hicks


    "it's illegal pay for sex and it's illegal to traffic people."

    No and Yes. Pretty sure the UK's messed up laws allow prostittution, but no soliciting or a variety of other activities around it. So it's effectively outlawed, or at least there are ways that the police could charge you, but not explicitly.

    Trafficking and the rest, sure, illegal.

    But as usual, it's a nebulous mess and if the coppers decide it's your turn to suffer, you're screwed.

    I've never paid for sex myself, I'm just tired of Labour's draconian laws and bleating about family values.

  79. John Savard

    Not entirely unjust

    I wouldn't object to prosecuting the German soldiers who availed themselves of women from concentration camps, or Japanese soldiers who availed themselves of Korean 'comfort women'.

    But in this case, we do seem to be talking about prosecuting men for rape who have no reason to suspect what they're doing... except that this is the way a lot of the criminal prostitution industry works. Yes, they're probably not giving full thought to the implications of what they're doing, but, on the other hand, there is no cure for AIDS yet.

  80. Anonymous Coward


    This is yet another example of two of the dirtiest tricks in the book.

    1. Oppressing people and calling it protection or a "right".

    2. Twisting language so any disagreement is synonymous with supporting atrocities.

    Number one is quite possible the evilest act I can imagine. Number two, made famous by Orwell as "newspeak", goes a long way to make number one possible.

  81. Squits

    Very well written

    Airs all my views!

    Let people do what they want without hurting others. Everything's gone fucking mad everywhere, I'd do the normal and get my coat, but where can I go?

    America owns the moon, America will own Mars, fuck your lot, I'm off to the Kuiper belt, at least for about 200 years until they catch up, then I'm off again.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    167 = too many


    167 / 60,776,238 = .0002%. I'd say they're doing a pretty good job. Its the law of diminishing returns: you will never hit your asymptote of zero, and the nearer you get the more you will spend trying to get there

    . Sorry, mate, but there is a balance in life. There is always a trade-off, zero-tolerance doesn't work.

  83. mike panero

    I hired a Chinese Girl of stunning good looks

    £70, she was like some super model make belive thing, only real

    £70, it took about 15 minutes, 'cus she had a shower

    £70 x 4 = 280, well okay a bit unrealistic, but you get the point


    How many hours of Tescos is that?

    How many hours making trainers is that?

    No plastic bags were used

    No cattle electrcuted

    No rabbits had semen chucked into their eyes to see if it blinded them

    Some physical exercise, no smoking (why would you?) no getting drunk no pissing in shop doorways, no cut glass in the face, no speed limit exceeded, etc etc

    Its all win-win, no downside, and its only women politicans making a fuss, all as Mr Darwin would have told you

    It will never stop, it never can,

    make the penis cry or we all die

  84. Paul
    Thumb Down

    On "Trafficking"

    I always thought there was something suspicious about the term "trafficking". Literally it just means transporting, if you're talking about contraband it means smuggling, but applied to humans it gets kind of nebulous (making it ideal for this kind of bait and switch). The image it evokes is of literal slaves being shipped around like cargo. Needless to say that's almost never what happens.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Honesty in Politics

    The Government already has laws that makes trafficking of people illegal. Therefore that's not their aim. They are trying to make going to a prostitute illegal, but they don't have the moral courage to say that. So they pretend to target trafficking, because no one can possibly argue for that, but do it in such a broad way that they effect almost anyone that goes to a prostitue.

    This Government has a history of not having the courage of its convictions, and achieving there goals in devious backhanded way. For example its a civil partnership not marriage, we're invading iraq for WMDs not to achieve regime change. So if politicians don't have any morals about lieing about their goals, why would they have any morals about the evidence they select to justify those goals.

    However would an honest politician be successful? Politicians tend to make instictive judgements and find the evidence to support that view. They don't tend to gather all the evidence and then come to a judgement. They can't afford to! What would happen to a Government Minister who went on to newsnight to discuss a breaking issue and said I don't have the answer I'm going to look at the evidence, and come back to you with a solution. He'd be crucified. Unfortunately an honest politician is probably an unsuccessful one.

  86. Mike Bell

    All Men are Rapists (obviously)

    Have a look at Julie Bindel's profile on the Guardian website - it lists many of her other articles, including one charmingly titled "Marriage is a form of prostitution" and another bemoaning the shortage of lesbian foster-carers.

    You don't suppose that she is pursuing an agenda, by any chance?

    Interestingly, in her article "Revealed: the truth about brothels", she says "a Mori poll of more than 1,000 British adults on attitudes to paying for sex [found that] the majority would support a law that criminalised paying for sex", yet in "Penalising the punters" she says, "Some anti-prostitution activists in the UK are disappointed that Smith has not followed Sweden and criminalised paying for sex in all circumstances. I ask why she has taken what might look like a half measure, and she cites a recent Mori poll which found that the majority of people do not support a blanket ban". These 2 statements seem contradictory - perhaps someone will be able to explain how they can be reconciled?

  87. chris
    Thumb Down


    And another article from Mr Adam Smith Institute dressing up exploitation as empowerment and rational according to the Great God Economics.

    Wow. Way to smoke out the misogynists, Register.

    * prostitutes are tarts

    * "feminazis"

    * feminists are ugly

    * feminism emasculates men (o rly?)

    * illegal immigrants would lie about it to get the "benefits" of being a victim

    * apparently lots of men are wrongly accused of rape (conviction rates? what's that?)

    Get off my internets losers. If you have to pay for it, you're doing it wrong.

  88. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "* prostitutes are tarts"

    Uh, a prostitute IS a tart (though a tart isn't necessarily a prostitute).

    "* feminists are ugly" Is likewise wrong. The feminists Wacky Jaqui and her pal in crime are ugly.

    "* feminism emasculates men (o rly?)" Yes, rly. Not all feminists do, but feminism emasculates men just like misogyny objectifies women.

    "* illegal immigrants would lie about it to get the "benefits" of being a victim" A lot would and it would be silly for them not to, since we have two scenarios:

    1) Tell the truth and get arrested/deported

    2) Lie and get sympathy and help

    which is the most sensible option?

    "* apparently lots of men are wrongly accused of rape (conviction rates? what's that?)" Yup. The conviction rates are very low. Either you're saying men are lying to get off from jail (see the point above re illegal immigrants and you complain about it but not YOUR ass-pulled factoid) or most complaints are not true rape as in the man did it without the consent *at the time and explicitly*.

    Are you trying to impress a hot chick with how "sensitive" you are?

  89. Gerry

    Government consistency...

    NHS patient error deaths 'rising'

    Stage one: suggest problem isn't getting worse rather it's better reporting

    (from story)

    It represents a 60% rise in the last two years, but experts said it was due to better reporting not worsening care.

    Stage two; suggest it's de minimis, so it's not an issue

    (from story)

    A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "The NHS sees a million people every 36 hours.

    "Unfortunately, as in any health service, mistakes and unforeseen incidents will occasionally happen.

    "Only a tiny number of errors put patients at serious risk and the quality and safety of healthcare is improving all the time."

    Conclusion - locus is all

    When the goverment's got to get its act together there's a threshold, but when it's about public behaviour we've all got to conform to a loss of liberty and private rights because of a low number of bad things happening? (please don't assume I'm condoning nasty people)

  90. Eman Tsal

    All you smokers

    No one banned you from smoking. Feel free to light up and puff away.

    Just don't do it in a public, enclosed space, because then you infringe on my freedom not to breath your minging smoke.

    Pretty simple really.

    Sticking ma coat on to go to a lovely, nice smelling pub and laugh at the saddoes huddled outside :-)

  91. Ian

    But won't someone...

    ...think of the Children!

  92. A J Stiles

    @ Eman Tsal

    Your "freedom not to breath [sic] my minging smoke" ends outside your front door, where you enter into the domain of Other People.

    A pub, restaurant or similar is NOT a public place. It is someone's PRIVATE property, into which members of the public are occasionally admitted by invitation which may be withdrawn at any time. The smoking ban was a blatant intrusion into the freedom of publicans and restaurateurs to decide for themselves whether their establishment would be smoking or non-smoking. There were such things as non-smoking pubs before the ban, you may have forgotten: landlords always had the option to boot out smokers, if they so wished.

    And if you can still find a pub that hasn't closed down for want of trade because now the smokers are drinking at home and all their mates who used to come in the pub are there with them, you'll most probably find it smells of stale beer, toilets and sweat -- odours which the tobacco smoke used to mask.

  93. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @A J Stiles

    It isn't. however, private either.

    It is a public house, in old terms.

    Your post is an example of the meme that is creeping out of America that anything owned by a corporation belongs TO that corporation, even if it is public money funded or only possible from public government action.


    The pub is a public place.

    Look for the etymology of the word.

  94. Paula

    re: Spinning the war on the UK's sex trade + its typical commenter

    I've seen a similar article - and comments - to this on the Guardian. And I find it really disturbing that people can actually object to the idea of making it illegal to visit a prostitute.

    Newsflash, all you MEN: women have been jailed for centuries for working as prostitutes. Why are you only screaming about it now, when the suggestion is made - long overdue - that the people who use prostitutes should be prosecuted, either as well as or instead of them?

    Please don't patronise us further by suggesting you object to this legislation out of sympathy FOR women. You couldn't give a damn about women: if you did, you'd be content with a sexual relationship of mutual attraction with a women on equal terms; not in treating a women's parts as a commodity to be bought like an MP3 player. And suggesting that's a mutually consenting arrangement?!! You must be really desperate for a fuck if this is your idea of mutual consent.

    And to think that an awful lot of the commentators in here are men I might actually work with (in I.T., not as a prostitute, in case you were hoping). Men who are "normal", seem quite pleasant, maybe even attractive, possibly good colleagues, who yet... will always look at me/women generally as potentially purchases. My skin is crawling as I type.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eman Tsal

    Nice smelling? You've never been in an actual, real life pub, have you? They've either got a fire going in the hope that the smell of burning wood is nicer than the smell of burning cigarettes (which it is, by far!), or in vastly more cases they smell of spilt VK, stale beer and cheap cleaning products.

  96. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    Well that's because you're a girl. If you want sex, it's pretty damn likely you'll get it when asking.

    Because men are (and there's good reason for it) the ones who ask and can be refused.

    WE get to brag about shagging anything.

    YOU get to say whether we really do get a shag.

    If you like, we can swap and you can do the laddette jokes and we get to crush your fragile egos like a popsicle under our bootheels.

  97. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down


    I find it really disturbing that it appears that because you don't like prostitution, you are seem to be in favour of women working as prostitutes being arrested "as well as" men who use their services.

    This is, presumably, to "protect" them, which, IMO, sounds incredibly patronising to those women (and, yes, there are a lot of them, despite the Government's spin) who, of their own free will, choose to work in the sex trade and will tell you what you can do with your "protection".

    Not only that, you want to set yourself up as arbiter of what is "normal" behaviour or what is a "consenting" arrangement.

    If you don't the idea of working in the IT business with people who might "look at you as a potential purchase" might I suggest you look for a new job? I understand the post of Home Secretary is a great one for imposing your personal tastes on everyone else...

  98. A J Stiles

    @ Paula

    The point is, sex as a service is fundamentally no different from, say, plumbing or carpentry as a service.

    There's nothing that anyone alive today can do about all the women who have been jailed for working as prostitutes in the past. The best we can do is make sure that it never happens again.

    Now, there's crime around prostitution -- that is undeniable. When you treat people like criminals, they tend to act like criminals. When you criminalise any popular activity, organised crime takes control of it. Google "Eighteenth Amendment" sometime for a textbook example.

    If they banned the eating of chips tomorrow, within a week there'd be at least one crime syndicate trying to take over the fried potato products scene. The end results would most probably include turf wars betwen cooking oil dealers, poisonings from adulterated vinegar, illegal immigrants forced to peel potatoes in filthy underground kitchens for a pittance, a few fatal electrocutions and fires from poorly-maintained deep fat friers, and worse. Because the reality is, people aren't going to stop eating chips, law or no law; and as long as there are chip-hungry bellies to be filled, there's a profit to be made. If a chip baron can make more money frying his chips in minging old engine oil, he's not going to use best-quality sunflower oil. And when it's done with, why not just skip the bother of complying with environmental regulations and just dump it in the countryside somewhere? Naïve young runaways, tempted into working in chip shops, will soon find that it's hard to escape the scene. Nobody else is going to employ them anyway if they've got criminal records. And without regular safety testing, there would be badly-maintained and sub-standard equipment in use; leading to overloaded circuits from electrical friers and carbon monoxide poisoning from gas friers.

    The reason all those things don't happen is precisely because there is no law criminalising the eating or preparation of chips. There *are* laws regulating the conduct of those in the business of supplying chips, and rightly so -- which is why you can be sure, when you pop down the local chippy, that the product you're getting contains only potatoes, edible fat, sodium chloride and ethanoic acid, and was prepared in safe and hygienic conditions by workers who chose the job of their own volition without coercion and are treated fairly, and the whole process is scrutinised to make sure.

    Every one of the social problems associated with prostitution derives directly from the fact that prostitution is treated as a crime, and the only way they will go away is if it is legalised.

  99. Trinity

    @A J Stiles

    Selling human organs is a crime. It still happens; criminalising it hasn't stopped it happening. But nobody's ranting about this, even though allowing the sale of human organs could undoubtedly save lives.

    Prostitution is, effectively, the sale of a human organ. The business structure surrounding it is absolutely irrelevant, as it is in the case of kidneys. It is the thing itself which should be regarded as unsaleable, for moral reasons. (People can be injured and/or die.)

    As for decriminalising prostitution... I'm not sure that's the argument. It's the suggestion that the law should prosecute those creating the demand - the punters - rather than those supplying the service - the prostitutes - that seems to have got so many people (almost entirely male) outraged.

    This is only the first step: make it an offence to buy sexual services from someone who's been forced into it, as an extension of rape.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd have thought that would be "offering for rent" as opposed to sale, since the vendor keeps the merchandise for resale.

    You might consider it unsaleable for (your) moral reasons, you should reconsider trying to force your morals on everyone else.

  101. A J Stiles

    @ Trinity

    "Prostitution is, effectively, the sale of a human organ." -- By which logic, me repairing someone's computer for money is, effectively, the sale of three human organs -- my brain and my hands. Do you have a problem with that, or is it only certain organs whose sale you find objectionable?

    "The business structure surrounding it is absolutely irrelevant, as it is in the case of kidneys. It is the thing itself which should be regarded as unsaleable, for moral reasons. (People can be injured and/or die.)" -- No. The reason why it's illegal to sell a kidney is because it constitutes holding someone's life to ransom -- if the NHS / their medical insurance company doesn't pay up, the person dies. The reason why people are more likely to get injured and die in "underground" transplant surgery than in "proper" transplant surgery (which still certainly isn't risk-free) is because no reputable surgeon wants to risk their career by performing an operation that may get them into trouble; as a result of which, only *dis*reputable surgeons are involved in that business.

    I'm not disagreeing that buying sexual services from someone who has been forced into it is a form of rape. What I'm saying is that forcing people into supplying sexual services -- which I would contend is the greater crime than merely buying services provided under duress -- is more common than it need be, *because* of the way the law is written.

    When the option is there to go to a licenced brothel, and pay for sex with a willing and healthy person in a clean and safe environment, then and only then should we think about prosecuting people who bypass the proper systems that have been put in place for everyone's protection.

  102. Mark

    "Selling human organs is a crime."

    Yes it is. What does it have to do with sex services?

    Do I get to keep the fanny for later use? Sell it on? Modify it? Install it somewhere else?


  103. Graham Marsden


    > make it an offence to buy sexual services from someone who's been forced into it, as an extension of rape.

    Nobody here is disagreeing with this, but that's not what is under discussion.

    The proposal is that the default situation becomes that the woman is *assumed* to have been trafficked unless the punter can *PROVE* that the woman was not.

    That is like (to wrench things back towards an IT footing!) assuming that unless you can prove that you have a valid EULA for your software, you must have pirated it and should be prosecuted.

    There is a fundamental principle of Human Rights called Presumed Innocent Unless Proven Guilty. The argument from the Government is, once again, that someone has to *prove* their innocence which is a complete reversal of this legal principle.

  104. Mark

    OR a car analogy (Graham Marsden)

    If you can't PROVE you didn't speed on your journey, you are fined for speeding.

  105. A J Stiles

    OR a TV analogy (Mark)

    If you can't PROVE you don't have a TV set, you are fined for watching TV without a licence.

    Um. Wait a minute .....

  106. Tim Worstal


    "Selling human organs is a crime. It still happens; criminalising it hasn't stopped it happening. But nobody's ranting about this, even though allowing the sale of human organs could undoubtedly save lives.

    Prostitution is, effectively, the sale of a human organ. The business structure surrounding it is absolutely irrelevant, as it is in the case of kidneys. It is the thing itself which should be regarded as unsaleable, for moral reasons. (People can be injured and/or die.)"

    Err, I have and do argue for a paid market in human kidneys. On the grounds that the one country in the world that has one, Iran, doesn't have a shortage of human kidneys for transplant, nor people dying while on dialysis while waiting for that thing of which there is no shortage. Yes, it's a controlled market, but a paid one all the same.

    Heck, even did a Comment page piece for The Times on it.

  107. Mark

    @AJ and the TV analogy

    But they don't sue you for avoiding a TV license until they find a TV.

    They'll THREATEN you with a fine, but they won't *actually* fine you until either

    a) you decide to pay up anyway


    b) they find a TV and you still have no license

    so there's no "hang on a minute", because your analogy doesn't happen. As such it is still indicative of how legal proof must be found to bring the law down on you, not just "well, some people are breaking the law, so you must be too".

  108. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    A Label

    We need a term for this sort of thing... how about "Gonzo lawmaking/lawmakers/ etc." on the basis that the OED entry on"Gonzo" gives...

    A. adj.

    1. a. spec. Of or relating to a type of committed, subjective journalism characterized by factual distortion and exaggerated rhetorical style. b. Bizarre, crazy; far-fetched.

    B. n.

    1. a. ‘Gonzo’ journalism; one who writes in this style. b. A crazy person, a fool.

  109. Julian I-Do-Stuff


    I suppose all trafficked and/or pimped prostitutes will be required to wear a distinguishing mark, say a yellow triangle, so that punters can tell the untouchables from the rest

This topic is closed for new posts.