Friday, 22 October 2010

A letter to Margo MacDonald

Dear Ms. MacDonald,

Firstly let me apologise for not being able to meet you in person. It would have been a privilege but unfortunately on the date of the meeting I will be away with a long-standing client in The Highlands.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out the downsides to being a sex worker in Scotland. The law as it stands is nonsensical in my view. One lady working from an apartment is permitted whilst if two ladies work from that apartment ( for mutual security and support ) it is considered a brothel.

Historically, sex workers have been easy targets for psychopaths because we have been isolated from the main body of society through -

A ) our enforced working practices, working in a clandestine fashion; and

B ) the stigma we encounter through our career choice and ;

C) the fact that we are seen as easy targets, unlikely to report any attacks to the police.

I find it incredible that the law as it stands places sex workers in such appalling danger. I frequently work from various apartments and hotels and am so discreet that I have never had an issue, I do not cause "anti-social" behaviours or draw attention to myself in any way.

I fail to understand why the law as it stands persecutes adults who indulge in paid for consensual sex.

I also fail to understand why there are such glaring differences in the different regions of Scotland, at the moment it would seem that the law is being applied very differently depending on where you are. In Edinburgh, there has always been a level of tolerance which is to be applauded, the parlours that operate there have done so for many years and as I understand it, pay an annual licence fee to Edinburgh City Council. Far from interfering in the day to day running of parlours, I am told that the police will visit the parlours on a regular basis and check that the girls are there of their own volition and quite happy in their work. That is the way it should be.

Conversely in Glasgow, at the moment parlours are being shut down en masse and the police have been raiding various "working flats". Why is there such a stark contrast ?

There is no doubt that is there is an issue with trafficking in Scotland as there is throughout the UK but those who oppose prostitution have a history of grossly inflating already unreliable statistics to suit their own agenda. The solution is not to further criminalise the sex trade but rather to decriminalise and regulate it, so that those who seek to circumvent the law can be more easily apprehended, after all they have to advertise somewhere. As it stands I can purchase a newspaper with the numbers for any and all of the local working flats therein, if there is another attempt to prohibit advertising such as the previous suggestion tabled by Trish Godman then the whole industry will be driven further underground. At that point, I believe, the real "nasties" will appear, offering "protection" for ladies.

The sex industry is never simply going to go away, no matter how Ann Hamilton would have us believe that "reducing demand" is the solution. It is simply not possible to reduce demand for sexual services, what we should be looking at doing instead is reducing harm to the many sex workers in the UK, caused in the main by shoddy legislation.

Finally, why is it acceptable to have a record of a woman as a "known prostitute" when it comes to applying for jobs and completing a "disclosure Scotland" check ? I don't see any other legal occupation being recorded in such a manner.

Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss any of the points I have raised, I would be delighted to speak to you.

Yours sincerely,

Laura Lee


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