A former teen prostitute has accused the Liberal Democrats of ‘siding with pimps and punters’ by refusing to criminalise those who pay for sex.
Diane Martin says she was groomed into prostitution by pimps in London, trafficked abroad and raped at gunpoint.
She asserts that there are no circumstances in which prostitution can be considered “empowering”.
‘Isolated and groomed’
She told the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference: “I was surrounded by a lot of people who realised that they could make a lot of money out of me, and who isolated and groomed me.”
“There was no gun to my head or chains at first, but the thing I remember was the stress of going through a door and wondering what state I would be in when I came out, waiting to be picked like something off a shelf, the observing, the dissecting, being a commodity.”
…there are no circumstances in which prostitution can be considered “empowering”.
The teenager was trafficked from London to a prostitution ring overseas where she was raped.
She recalled: “That particular event took me many years to get over.”
Some politicians claim that criminalising either the buying or selling of sex will drive the industry underground, endangering those involved.
Wendy Chamberlain, a Lib Dem candidate for North East Fife, claimed criminalisation would deprive “people with very chaotic lifestyles some source of income while they find their way through.”
The Liberal Democrats voted to campaign to decriminalise prostitution in 2014 and it remains party policy.
But Martin is urging the party not to “side with the pimps, brothel owners, third-party exploiters and entitled sex buyers” that stole her younger years.