Friday, December 31, 2010

at last some sense

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne, who acts as the Association of Chief Police Officer’s lead on prostitution, called on the Government to consider overhauling Britain’s various prostitution laws.

The last three paragraphs of this newspaper article say it all:-

Many sex worker groups, however, say only full or partial decriminalisation of the sex trade will dramatically improve safety. They say the anti-brothel legislation which prohibits more than one person selling sex in a single property forces women onto the streets and away from the comparative safety of a group.

"The law as it currently stands makes sex workers vulnerable to the police, criminals and vigilantes," said Catherine Stephens from the International Union of Sex Workers. "We are criminalised if we work together. I know of brothels that are regularly targeted by gangs because they know they won’t go to police for fear of being arrested themselves."

She added: "If we want to make sex workers safer we need an intelligent and informed debate on Britain’s prostitution laws based on evidence and not misinformed stereotypes. The law doesn’t just fail to target violence and exploitation, it actually facilitates it. Would we be safer working together? Yes. Is that legal? No."


I hope that people listen to him.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the worst example of telling lies

I have come across many examples of ideologically motivated campaigners telling lies to support their cause, but I have just come across the worst example of this that I have found. It is in an article published in The Guardian in 2003. The article is Sexual dealing The Home Office must act now to block the growing trade of trafficking women for prostitution by Polly Toynbee (09/05/03).

I quote this from the article:-

The trade has got worse, according to Clubs and Vice police: "The women have to do things now they didn't a few years ago. Before no one would do anal, now they all have to. No one would do unprotected, now most do and men demand it, God knows why. Women all have to take pain now - caning, whipping - but that used to be just specialist."

I don't know of any prostitute who who offers vaginal or anal penetrative sex without a condom. I know of only one woman who offers anal sex, and she charges a lot more for it. I know of three women who offer oral sex without a condom. I know of one other who offers oral sex without a condom but who charges a lot more for it, and I have heard reports of some others who offer this but charge a lot more for it.

The fact is that the vast majority of prostitutes never do anal. The fact is that the vast majority of prostitutes always use a condom, even for oral sex. Pain, in the form of caning or whipping, isn't something on offer. Some light spanking was once offered to me for an extra fee (I didn't take up the offer).

I know this because I have experience of prostitution in different forms. People who know about prostitution know that these are all lies. But people who don't have any experience of the issue may believe it. The Clubs and Vice police should not have told these lies that they must know not to be true. The police have no business trying to manipulate public opinion, especially by telling lies. Polly Toynbee is at fault for not checking her information before publishing it.

But it's when we read this that she looses my respect totally:-

"It's not prudishness but decent feminism to say prostitution is a filthy trade that exploits the poor, the disturbed, the addicts and other helpless women. The many men who pay to near-rape women must often deliberately turn a blind eye to blatant cruelty and violence in the transaction."

Decent feminism? Is it decent feminism to propagate outrageous lies? It isn't decent anything. The vast majority of prostitutes in Britain are not exploited. Men who pay for the services provided by prostitutes are not near-raping them. How someone like her can pretend that she has the best interests of prostitutes is beyond me. To help people you have to be willing to see the FACTS. She is not interested in facts and she is not interested in the welfare of prostitutes. That's another lie. Yes, it is prudishness.

If it was really true that the majority of prostitutes are forced to have anal sex and unprotected sex, then it would be decent feminism and not prudishness to try to eliminate prostitution. But it is not true. They want people to believe that their motivation is compassion and not ideology. Their ideology opposes any form of prostitution, as well as lap dancing, burlesque and beauty contests. They oppose any change in the law that would make prostitutes safer.

In her article she mentions Eaves Housing. What she says about Eaves doesn't do them much credit.

I have an article from the free newspaper Croydon Guardian from earlier this month, written by Kirsty Whalley, who I have posted about before. The headline is Editors are warned about brothel ads. This is part of her campaign to ban the advertizing of any sex ads, even independent sex workers or women working together from a flat. There is a logo with the words 'Blood Money' (in red) on it and 'RED LIGHT FOR SEX ADS'. There are two other logos in the article, one for CCAT (Croydon Community Against Trafficking) and one for Eaves.

There is nothing wrong in a newspaper campaigning for something they believe in, but it is wrong to use false statistics and propaganda. It seems very strange to me that there should be the logos of two campaigning organizations on a newspaper article. It also seems wrong that organizations paid for by the taxpayer should try to manipulate public opinion.

Eaves has a number of projects. One of them is the POPPY Project. It is funded by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (reporting to the Ministry of Justice) to provide accommodation and support to women who have been trafficked into prostitution or domestic servitude. In the Daily Mail on November 5 this year there was an article about a woman called Salim Udin had conned them into giving her money and housing. She pretended that she was a victim of domestic abuse.

Glasgow City Council have a campaign called End Prostitution Now. They purport to tell the 'facts' about prostitution. The first 'fact' on their fact page is Fact: Most women become involved in prostitution because of lack of choice and many are groomed, pressured and/or coerced by pimps or traffickers. Apparently this information comes from the Home Office, who frequently invent statistics. They didn't want to use research such as that of Dr Nick Mai or Dr Suzanne Jenkins that show otherwise.

Glasgow City Council have a very poor record in terms of the wellbeing of prostitutes there. More prostitutes have died through attacks in Glasgow than in Edinburgh where there is a more enlightened attitude. In Edinburgh women were allowed to work in saunas. There used to be a tolerance zone in Salamander Street but it has now closed. Margo MacDonald MSP, who has campaigned for tolerance zones, believes that a new zone somewhere in Edinburgh would make women safer.

Strathclyde Police are enthusiastic supporters of Glasgow City Council's stance. Strathclyde Police acting assistant chief constable John Pollock confirmed the force would take an ultra-tough line on vice, asking "Do we really want to be known as the Bangkok of the northern hemisphere?" Not only did he get into trouble with the Thai community for his utterance but he showed his ignorance of geography. Bangkok is in the northern hemisphere.

There are a number of organizations that claim to help women, but who are in fact harming them. They are publishing propaganda and telling lies, and they are using tax-payers' money to do so. Sounds to me like a suitable case for cost-cutting. I hope Cameron and Clegg can see another area to save money.

The Clubs and Vice department of the Metropolitan Police, the Poppy Project and Glasgow City Council are all areas where we can save money.

People may wonder why I am responding to a newspaper article from 2003 so strongly. It is one thing for someone like Julie Bindel to distort the truth. She has a political standpoint and we can all see where she is coming from. It is another thing for an established journalist to say things that are not true. But for a department of the Metropolitan Police, paid for by the tax payer, to just make up lies in order to manipulate public opinion is totally wrong. As I said, it is the worst example of propaganda I have seen. Julie Bindel can seem quite reasonable sometimes compared to this.