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13 June 2013
Our Statement on our consultation response on the criminalisation of the purchase of sex bill

In December of 2012, White Ribbon Scotland responded to Rhoda Grant MSP's bill on the criminalization of the purchase of sex. 

We appreciate and respect the different opinions which will have been gathered through the consultation period. White Ribbon Scotland submitted a response which was in consultation with its partner organisations such as Zero Tolerance, Rape Crisis Scotland and The Women's Support Project. 

In our response we agreed with our partner organisations that the purchase of sex should be criminalised, as we believe that in a society where we are fighting institutionalised sexism, the purchase of sex perpetuates the idea that women are objects or commodities.

Evidence - such as the Home Office reports of 2006 and 2007 which stated that 70% of women involved in prostitution had been in local authority care and over 40% had experienced sexual abuse in their childhood - indicates 
the need for safe and supported exiting strategies and an end to, what is for many, an extension of abuse.

Although we are in favour of the motion that the purchaser of sex should be prosecuted and not the seller, we believe that it can only be taken forward if those involved in prostitution are given support and assured of their safety and wellbeing. We also outlined the crucial need for police to be trained in how to react in these situations to ensure that those involved in prostitution do not need to be fearful under these laws which we believe would exist to protect them. We also stated that training should be provided to first point of call (e.g police officers) on how to signpost women to immediate support if they require or ask for it. 

We went further than the current bill and discussed the acute need to tackle inequality and institutionalised sexism in society.

You can read a summary of the responses to the Bill here

You can also read our original submission for the consultation here

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