Monday, January 21, 2008

Editorial: Why Do So Many Men Still Think the Sex Trade is Fine?

From columnist Catharine Bennett of the London Observer:

The trial of Steve Wright confirms how dangerous prostitution is but legalising it would do nothing to aid the plight of women involved...

Following the example of Lord Longford, who established that, where sex is concerned, adjustments to British legislation should always be preceded by an inspection of foreign arrangements, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker toured various Stockholm addresses, investigating the impact of Sweden's decision to criminalise men who pay for sex. Whether it was a question of thrift, or a natural reluctance on Mr Coaker's part to re-enact highlights from Lord Longford's Scandinavian excursion, the Swedish researches were completed in a day, which must barely have left time for the minister and his team, including Vera Baird and Barbara Follett, to 'cooee' up a few brothel stairs and reach the conclusion that, although some Swedish people think the scheme has worked, other Swedish people think not.

The next stop on the comparative prostitution tour will, I understand, be the Netherlands, where some people think it's enlightened to have women eye-catchingly displayed as wares in shop windows, but other people don't. After that, the itinerary is unclear, though it seems unlikely the ministers will get as far as New Zealand: a pity since the islands are currently advertised by pro-legalisers as sex-trade heaven, even better than Amsterdam, where accredited sex operatives now take genuine pride in their work and clients, too, are an example to all, their connoisseurship finally liberated from those doubts which, to judge by the statistics, still deter a number of British men from trying the wide range of reasonably priced goods on offer...


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