MSP launches new plan to outlaw prostitution

New plans to criminalise prostitution in Scotland will be launched in the autumn, following a consultation with relevant groups.

Trish Godman, Labour MSP for West Renfrewshire, has asked clerks to draw up a list of agencies that should be consulted ahead of a bill being drafted.

This follows the decision by MSPs in April of this year to not include Mrs Godman’s legislation on prostitution in the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act.


However, Mrs Godman believes the failure of her earlier amendment was due to the way it was written and the lack of consultation.

She believes there is cross-party sympathy for trying to provide better protection for women who are trafficked, exploited and vulnerable to violence.

Mrs Godman said: “There will be a full consultation, put together over the summer, but not put out until the beginning of September or the end of August”.

She hopes to pass legislation before the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after warnings they could act as a magnet for traffickers and prostitutes from across the UK and overseas.


Earlier this year the MSP had implored Holyrood members to send a signal that buying sex is unacceptable.

She said: “We need to send a strong message that buying sex is not harmless or acceptable, that it should be regarded in Scotland as an abuse and an exploitation which will not be tolerated.”

Mrs Godman has also said: “Every shred of evidence indicates that prostitution is inherently harmful.

“It is incredible that something which so clearly breaches an individual’s right to dignity, equality, respect and physical and mental well-being has gone unhindered for so long”, she continued.

However, MSPs rejected the proposals.


In December last year a poster campaign aimed at stamping out prostitution was also launched by Glasgow City Council.

Then Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council, James Coleman, said: “Prostitution is an appalling form of human exploitation.

It blights the lives of those involved, their families and the communities where this awful trade takes place.”

Mr Coleman said that recent legislation to tackle kerb crawling “went some way to address demand, but it left significant gaps”.


Kerb crawling in Scotland is a criminal offence but it is still legal to pay for sex in a brothel or massage parlour.

Research shows that nine out of ten prostitutes surveyed would like to leave prostitution.

Over 50 per cent of women in prostitution admitted to having been raped and/or seriously sexually assaulted and at least 75 per cent have been physically assaulted.

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