CARE welcomes Scottish prostitution proposal

Plans to criminalise the purchase of sexual services in Scotland has been welcomed by CARE.

A consultation was launched on the proposal this week by Rhoda Grant MSP.

The move would tackle the demand side of sexual exploitation and challenge the attitude that buying sex is harmless, CARE said.

The advocacy group warned that commercial prostitution was fuelling the demand for people to be trafficked and exploited.

The criminalisation of paying for sex would reduce the number of buyers and the supply of vulnerable people into prostitution, CARE said.

It pointed to the example of Sweden, where similar legislation led to a drop in the percentage of men using prostitutes and created a barrier against foreign women being trafficked into the country for prostitution.

Gordon Macdonald, CARE for Scotland Parliamentary Officer, said: "We welcome Rhoda Grant’s approach to reducing the demand for prostitution and subsequently people trafficking for sexual exploitation. Prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising. We encourage supporters to respond to the consultation."

Genevieve Galvin, CARE’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Officer, said: "Sweden has shown that criminalising the purchase of sex works as an effective strategy to protect the vulnerable from sexual exploitation, minimise violence against women and foster a more positive sense of equality and dignity throughout society."

The consultation period will run for 12 weeks until 14 December 2012.