In light of the recent call from Harriet Harman to remove Punternet, I had a question posed to me on the forum :
Suggestions please. HH is a buffoon, I've also read and commented on your posting about Julie Bindel (similar buffoon). I have a meeting this weekend with Germaine Greer (honestly), not connected with the subject of prostitution, but who knows? Could you suggest subjects I should raise?
I'll copy for you here my reply, my feelings on the current half-baked onslaught we are fielding as sex workers :
What the legislature must appreciate is that prostitution will never be eradicated. Once they accept that and move to a more attainable goal of regulation, we're halfway there. Julie Bindel may call that a fatalistic point of view, I call it realistic.
I'll draw on a crude analogy. Take alcohol as an example. The vast majority of people enjoy it as a pastime and method of relaxation. There are a minority in our society who become addicted to alcohol and it becomes problematic, which in turn leads to anti-social behaviour, etc.
Is the solution then to ban the purchase of alcohol ? No.
If alcohol were banned, we would have a steady increase in the number of illegal back street bars operating with no licence, no restriction on measures or content and no concern for the welfare of the drinkers within. If the sale of alcohol is regulated, what we have is at least basic standards which must be met, regular inspections of pubs and most importantly, facilities to assist those for whom alcohol has become a problem should they need addiction counselling. I would argue that the same can be said of the purchase of sex.
If it becomes illegal to purchase sex, we will be back to backstreet brothels and by virtue of the fact that it has been driven underground, trafficking will be rife.
For me the answer has to be regulation. That means mandatory inspections of brothels, mandatory registration of brothel owners, and mandatory regular STI testing for the women. Am I the only person in this country that thinks it farcical that it's illegal to have a television without a licence, yet anyone can manage a brothel ?
I have already put a solution to Julie Bindel, rather than waste tax payers money and valuable resources on prosecuting clients, is it not better to formulate a working group for the eradication of trafficking ? Sex workers must form a part of that group, as they will have an inside knowledge of the industry. Why send a nurse in to do an architects job ?
Her call for the removal of Punternet is no more than an exercise in increasing votes for the not too far into the distant future election, where if even "The Sun" has turned it's back on Labour, they are in deep trouble.
There are many people in the sex industry who would be delighted if the demise of PN were to go ahead for one reason and one reason only, it is the best resource on the internet for sourcing and identifying sex workers and over the years there have been many imitations with those who thought they could do better. If Punternet was taken offline, there would instantly be another ten sites to take it's place, so the effect of the removal of the site would negate any "positive" impact.
As Stella quite rightly said, the site has many advantages for all of us, not least the warnings section for sex workers in relation to dangerous clients. If we accept that prostitution will never disappear in all it's forms and if Punternet and sites of a similar ilk are taken down, what then for the welfare of women ? How do we keep one and other safe, carrier pigeon ?
Punternet has never been about allowing pimps to advertise their trafficked women, on the contrary, Galahad carries on the front page a video clip on how to recognise a trafficked woman and how to report it.
What Ms. Harman must realise in her caterwauling is that the site is perfectly legal, there is no law by which she can have the site removed, so all she can do is call for it's removal and hope for the best. Her solution to that end is laughable. She is going to approach Arnold Schwarzenegger. WHAT ?!? This is the man who has himself been in the spotlight for inappropriate conduct towards women and he's going to save the day is he ? Uh, ok.
With particular reference to Bindel, these women are not true feminists, they pay lip service to the cause as and when it suits their own needs. Keeping it in the sisterhood has long since disappeared, this is very much a case of women turning against other women, and asserting a form of supposed moral supremacy in the process.
Emmeline Pankhurst would turn in her grave.