Relaxing laws on prostitution would lead to greater exploitation of women and an increased demand for human trafficking, The Christian Institute has warned.
The Institute has responded to a consultation on a proposed Bill which calls for all forms of prostitution to be legalised in Scotland.
Independent MSP Jean Urquhart advocates decriminalising kerb-crawling and brothels, and removing financial penalties for those involved in the sex trade.
Director of The Christian Institute, Colin Hart, outlined the Christian position, stating that “sex should only take place between a man and a woman where there is a lifelong commitment of marriage”.
“Marriage provides the most stable and secure environment for sexual intimacy.
“When a society departs from this and turns sex into something which can be bought and sold, it brings untold harm on the individual and on wider society.”
When a society departs from marriage and turns sex into something which can be bought and sold, it brings untold harm on the individual and on wider society.Colin Hart
Mr Hart added: “Prostitution, by its very nature, is harmful and degrading to women. It is inextricably linked to drug abuse, exploitation and violence. Holyrood should not condone or facilitate prostitution in any way.”
The Christian Institute’s consultation response highlights evidence from one of the Scottish Government’s own publications, called ‘Equally Safe’, which was produced last year.
It identified prostitution as a: “Behaviour that stems from ongoing inequality between men and women”.
In its response to the proposals, the Institute argued that: “Commercialising prostitution would fly in the face of the Scottish Government’s drive to reduce violence against women and girls.”
It continued: “Decriminalising prostitution condones a practice which is inherently dangerous for those who are involved in it”. Following decisions to relax prostitution laws in Germany and New Zealand, prostitutes continue to face exploitation and violence.
A recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that almost 60 per cent of people thought paying for sex should ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ be illegal.
The Institute is warning that the proposals will:
In order to better protect women, the response concludes that the Scottish Government should bring forward legislation similar to that introduced in Northern Ireland earlier this year.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015, criminalised the buying of sex and tightened laws on human trafficking.
Currently, kerb-crawling and brothels are illegal in Scotland, however, the authorities often turn a blind eye and fail to enforce the law.