AS SELF-STYLED “crossbow cannibal” Stephen Griffiths spent his first nights on remand this week for the alleged murders of three Bradford survival sex workers, hopes that the new Westminster coalition might abandon the failed policies of New Labour over prostitution were on the wane.
I think we have to deal with the causes of this problem. The causes are drug abuse – a massive problem – we’ve got to get to grips with drug abuse. I think we’ve also got to do more to get people who are involved in prostitution to have a job to help rebuild their lives. Also, I think we’ve got to be much tougher on kerb crawling. It is illegal, that aspect of it we really should clamp down on.
Aides close to Mr Cameron last night strongly insisted he was not suggesting prostitution should be legalised and was more concerned with addressing the social problems surrounding it such as encouraging agencies to work together to help women off the streets or to combat drug addiction.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We take any crimes against vulnerable people seriously. This Government is committed to protecting those involved in prostitution and giving them access to routes out. The ongoing success of the Ipswich model demonstrates the benefits of multi-agency working towards a clear aim of eradicating prostitution by supporting those involved in prostitution while tackling those that contribute to the demand for prostitution.
If there was legislation that put down ground rules then that would make our job easier. If there was a brothel using under-age girls, we could threaten the licence holder with closure and prison.
When bookmakers were legalised there was a huge outcry, but that has been taken from back alleys and pubs to organised betting shops and the problems have gone.
If women were allowed to work for themselves from licensed brothels, paying the owners a rental fee but keeping the rest for themselves, the threat from pimps would be removed and the kerb crawling that goes on in residential areas would become unnecessary.
Prostitution policy in Britain is a disgrace created by the interlinking scandals of political cowardice and public indifference.
Sex workers lead difficult and dangerous lives and the truth is that most people, including politicians, don’t care what happens to them.
The uncomfortable reality is that while these often pitiful girls and women cater to an eternal consumer demand, their lives are being put at greater risk by the lamentable failings of both government and law enforcement….
Brothels, giving women a safer place to work, should be made legal, and subject to licensing conditions. In Australia and New Zealand, brothels are regulated in the same way as other businesses, and strict laws prevent soliciting in streets, or near homes and schools. We should pilot managed areas such as in the Netherlands, regularly patrolled by police, where sex workers are given an area where they can safely take their customers. These so-called red light zones have their problems. But their existence can help reduce crime, and enhance the women’s safety.
Politicians are fond of telling people that theirs is a world of hard choices. It is time they made this one.