Skip to content


by on March 3, 2010

PLANS by the Labour Party to criminalise adverts for sex services have been found to duplicate existing common law. 

The plans, pushed by Solicitor General Vera Baird and Deputy PM Harriet Harman, are to be touted in Labour’s election manifesto.

They follow a largely unsuccessful attempt to get the newspaper industry to self censor its personal columns and boycot sex workers.

But they are likely to merely duplicate existing common law established in the 1961 case of Shaw v the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Shaw published the Ladies Directory – a latter-day Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies – in the early 1960s. He was convicted under sections of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and the Obscene Publications Act 1959, together with a count of ‘conspiracy to corrupt public morals’ even though no such offence existed in law – the DPP had made it up! 

When the House of Lords judges were criticised for upholding this decision, they defended themselves by saying that they had a residual right to protect public morality. This caused great consternation in legal circles at the time (as can be seen here).

Nevertheless, the advertising of sexual services in periodicals is clearly covered, as, too, would be the printing and distribution of phone box cards – another area Labour plans to duplicate with new statute law, as currently only the distribution of the cards into the boxes is covered by (another superfluous new) statute. This lies amongst more than 3,600 new offences created since 1997 in a frenzy of legislative diarrhoea by its infamous and totally inept Home Office.

This latest bout of statutitus dementia is a fop to the radical feminists, who dream of a world in which men can be fined and imprisoned for buying sex, whilst women are decriminalised for selling it. The fad has taken off in Scandinavia, pushed along by half a dozen oddball academics, much to the consternation of the rest of the academic world.

A few Google search results, however, would seem to indicate that the Nordic scheme is rather less than effective in eradicating sex work.

A Google search for Reykjavík + escort produces 53,000 results in 0.28 seconds; Helsinki + escort = 114,000 results in 0.24 seconds; Oslo + escort = 343,000 results in 0.14 seconds; and Stockholm + escort = 475,000 results in 0.24 seconds. Which is odd, because in the whole of Sweden there were only 2,500 persons employed in prostitution officially before the new law was enacted.

And it’s truly amazing how quickly those escorts move – in less than 0.3 seconds – considering so few have four wheels.

One Comment
  1. Hi Stephen Paterson. I’m also studying prostitution, but in my case in the Netherlands, and I maintain a blog about this issue. It is interesting to see how things are going in the UK.

    Regarding the issue of forced prostitution? I believe in the Netherlands it is very real. You often see it among Eastern European prostitutes and young Dutch window prostitutes.

    Perhaps that the situation for prostitutes is much better in the UK. I hope. It is funny that the picture that Nick Mai paints about Eastern European prostitutes in the UK is very positive!! This in total contradiction to the situation in the Netherlands.

    Greetings, Kris

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: