The oldest trade in the book.
Why, in modern day society are there still woman (let’s not criticise right now okay) being violated in such a way?
And yes, you can claim they do it to themselves, but WHY?
Well it’s quite simple really isn’t it?
In the UK it is believed that there are 70,000 active prostitutes. However this is an impossible number to calculate. With some earning up to £2000 a week. Not too shabby I suppose. However they are required to have sex with people who have no other option but to be paying for sex.
Perhaps not so worth it then.
So the technical part; the law in this country states that it is not illegal to sell or buy sex. But. Allowing it to happen is illegal. With one in four prostitutes working in the streets and the remainder working in brothels means that that’s a lot of illegal business going on. Related activities such as kerb crawling, owning brothels, soliciting in a public place and pimping are all illegal.
However one MSP; Jean Urquhart wants to legalise prostitution.
“Independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands and former SNP member, argues the moves will reduce violence and the exploitation of vulnerable women.”
Will it though?
The answer is no. Because regardless, woman are still going to be violated for the use of their bodies. There are so many different issues that affect woman involved in prostitution. Ranging from violence/sexual violence, to financial concerns.
Regardless of whether a woman is performing acts of prostitution legally or not she can still be harmed. It does not reduce the risk of murder, rape or violence. With roughly 150 prostitutes being killed in the past 25 years we can’t risk it getting higher. The legalisation would have no effect on reducing this number. It also wouldn’t rid the stigmatisation of the trade either. Prostitution was once legal in Britain, being used by some of the highest ranking figures in history and yet these woman were treated like dirt then and still are now. With no option but to take the abuse.
With the rising issue of the internet (ahh what social issue doesn’t feature the World Wide Web nowadays?) means that it is a lot easier to access prostitution online. A recent interview I carried out with organisation ‘Routes Out’ showed me round their facilities that offer a drop in service for woman involved in prostitution. They offer services such as handing out safe needle kits, condoms, showing woman how and where to go for sexual health checks, they also work closely with health services and the police as well as many financial services.
They know as well as you and I do that it’s easy enough to tell woman to stop, knowing that this will have no benefit whatsoever. And so handing out safe needles means the risk of HIV, Hepatitis A/B can be avoided. STI’s and unplanned pregnancies can be combated with the handing out of condoms. Their close connections with the health services allow woman easy access to medical advice and treatment. Whereas their police connections mean they can inform of ‘dodgy punters’, which can reduce harm that may otherwise come to the woman involved.
As the Police in Glasgow have taken the stance that the ‘customers’ are the real criminals as opposed to the woman involved: The reason for this feeds on the idea of a constant cycle as to why a woman would be involved in prostitution.
All these aspects mean woman become involved and stay involved in prostitution, because of the difficult ties that come from being tangled up with it. A constant cycle of needing money to fund drugs and the only option being involved in crime and the crime being prostitution. It then becomes more of an issue when these woman have children who grow up to become involved. And so the cycle continues and goes on.
However it’s not all doom and gloom. When speaking to RoseAnn Quinn; Senior Case Management Worker at Routes Out, I heard about one young woman they have been helping over the past year and a half. She was living with her partner, both of which had heroin addictions. Her partner was mentally ill and this caused severe repercussions for herself. Prostitution was a way for her to fund their addictions. However realising this was not the life she wanted to live she came to ‘Routes Out’ – as the name would suggest -because she wanted to escape this life. Fast forward 16 months later and she has left her partner, moved into her own home, reducing her methadone usage, she is now studying and is getting closer to being re-introduced to her daughter.
Organisations such as this one exist in order to give woman the opportunity to become part of society without having their past impact on this chance.
Prostitution comes down to survival.
That’s why in this day and age where we shouldn’t need to rely on selling our own body that there are still woman doing so.
All in all, it’s hard to tell the extent to how many people are involved directly in prostitution but it is a social concern that is being combatted.
And that’s something at least.
Thanks to Routes-Out for speaking to me and helping me gain a better insight into Glasgow’s prostitution.
And Anna Smith who wrote the book that sparked the interest.