13:22, October 16 252 0 theguardian.com

2017-10-16 13:22:03
Whether or not to legalise prostitution

Julie Bindel argues convincingly that legalising prostitution is not the best way to prevent women and girls from abuse and exploitation by pimps (The case against legalising prostitution, 11 October). However, history has demonstrated that abolition does not prevent this either. The solution may be to set up state-run brothels throughout the UK.

The management could ensure that all the sex workers were over 18 and consenting; sex workers could receive help with any alcohol, drug or other problems; and counselling and advice in areas such as jobs, benefits and housing could be offered to those who wished to move away from sex work. They would be working in a supervised environment, to greatly increase safety, and any violent users could be banned and, of course, arrested and prosecuted.

Most users would presumably prefer what would be a safer environment for them too, and so the demand for street prostitution and brothels where women may be forced into the sex trade would be at least greatly reduced.

Richard Mountford

Hildenborough, Kent

Our charity has tried hard to help women exit prostitution or at least make positive choices about their physical and mental health. The idea (put forward by Julie Bindel) that prostitution is harm is borne out by our first-hand experiences: our service users’ choices are usually shaped by exploitation as children and then commonly routine violence and rape as adults, together with drug abuse for some. It is depressing to see this movement among the left to embrace legalisation as some form of liberation when in fact what it will do is sanction harm.

Radojka Miljevic

Chair, Trust Women’s Project

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