Prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation. Commercial sexual exploitation persists as a result of how women are viewed by society.
The Scottish Government's
definition of gender based violence is clearly set out in Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls:
Gender based violence is a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of
male power and privilege. It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of
liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. It is men who predominantly carry out such violence, and women who are predominantly the victims of such violence. By referring to violence as 'gender based' this definition highlights the need to
understand violence within the context of women's and girl's subordinate status in society. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms, social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence
women's vulnerability to violence
Equally Safe Priority 4 states the Scottish Government's priority to ensure men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and
effective response. This violence includes the violence perpetrated by men in relation to acts of commercial sexual exploitation, of which prostitution is one aspect.
The consultation is being taken forward under Equally Safe and
fulfils the 2019-20 Programme for Government commitment to consult on approaches to challenge men's demand for prostitution, continue to support work to reduce the harms associated with commercial sexual exploitation and help women to exit prostitution.
The aim of the consultation is to gather views on how best to challenge men's demand for prostitution in Scotland, reducing the harms associated with prostitution and supporting women involved to exit. The consultation paper
invites views from a wide range of readers including key stakeholders, statutory partners, those who work in the sector to challenge men's demand for prostitution, support women and those who may have lived experience to help inform the development of
future approaches to prostitution in Scotland.
Sex workers in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in other northern jurisdictions, filed court cases to force local officials to lift a coronavirus ban on sex workers.
On Tuesday, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia
agreed that with similar close contact businesses open, there was no rationale to keep brothels closed. The court found no clear evidence that one-on-one sexual activity carried a higher risk of transmission than indoor gatherings of up to 150 people,
which are allowed under Germany's current coronavirus health regulations .
While sex workers in North Rhine-Westphalia -- whose capital is Dusseldorf and largest city is Cologne -- may return to work this week, their counterparts in Hamburg and
Bremen, where courts also overturned the ban, may resume their activities on September 15.
But the court ruling did not come soon enough for Cologne's Pascha mega-brothel, which according to a Mirror newspaper report , was so devastated by the
shutdown that it has now filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors, putting 100 sex workers and dozens of support staff in the 11-story facility out of work.
Britain's sex industry is still far from normal as prostitutes slowly start to work the streets again and brothels begin reopening in the wake of lockdown. But demand from Brits is not what it was before the pandemic, as many appear hesitant to get their
Laura Watson has been involved with the English Collective of Prostitutes for 10 years. The group represent sex worker across the country. She explained that:
There are still clients out there -- during
lockdown that obviously decreased and it is not like it is anything near normal, but there is a demand out there. It's women's need for money that fuels the industry -- women go into it for financial aid.
It was reported that just
one-in-three sex workers continued to meet up face to face during lockdown. Others took their business online using web cams.
Research on one adult website showed that thousands of escorts and sex workers are now listing themselves as available. One
website appeared to have 21,827 escorts on its books. And there were 10,000 in London alone, with other popular areas including 1,341 in Manchester and 1,630 in Birmingham.
It hasn't gone back to
normal in that women have put whatever safety procedures they can in place. All the measures that the Government have deemed safe, including social distancing when they can, and the general measures have been mainly implicated. I think women are trying
their best to keep as safe as possible. It's understood that some women have used paper bed sheets and extra sanitisers in a bid to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
The Dutch government coalition partner party, CDA wants paying for sex to become a punishable offence.
CDA MP Anne Kuik is tabling a motion asking the cabinet for a ban. She claims that prostitution turns women into a product to be bought and that is
something that can no longer be tolerated in this day and age.
Kuik is proposing the Netherlands follow in the footsteps of Sweden which criminalised paid sex in 1999. The Swedish government claims that by prosecuting punters but not prostitutes
street prostitution has been halved within a decade.
It is reported that the CDA call is unlikely to win over coalition partners D66 and VVD who are against the measure, saying it would drive prostitution underground.
MPs will also discuss
a citizen initiative by Christian youth movement Exxpose which has gathered over 50,000 signatures in support of measures to curb prostitution.
A Canadian publisher says that offering some relief to coronavirus hit sex workers will be good business. MediaCentral, the Ontario-based company that publishes NOW Magazine in Toronto and Georgia Straight in Vancouver announced this week that it will
resume running adult classified ads in those publications.
In the United States the 2018 FOSTA/SESTA law has effectively banned the online classifieds market by unfairly holding platforms liable for third-party content that could be construed as
promoting sex trafficking.
But in Canada, MediaCentral says that it expects to take in $2 million (US $1.5 million) annually from the resumption of adult classifieds, which it shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
eliminating adult advertising, NOW generated strong sales from its Adult Classifieds Category. The Straight has continued to offer adult advertising over the years, but the category was temporarily suspended during the height of COVID. The
company's CEO Brian Kalish said in a statement: w
We expect this re-launch to drive strong sales numbers alongside our newly revamped and fully integrated sales platforms. Our decision to bring back the classifieds is
part of our strategic path to creating sustainable, profitable publications.
Sex workers in Germany are appealing to politicians to ease coronavirus restrictions that have prevented them from working during the pandemic. Sex workers have taken their complaints to the streets, in demonstrations in Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and
There are growing reports of sex workers being subjected to violence, underpayment and being forced to compromise their health because of clients' demands during meetings in non-formal settings.
This week, Berlin's government appeared
to give way to their demands after announcing a graduated return to sexual services without intercourse. From 1 September, intercourse will be allowed to take place between sex workers and their clients in the German capital, but only under strict
hygiene regulations. Sex workers operating in Germany's 15 other states hope the governments there will soon follow suit.
The Federal Association of Erotic and Sex Services has accused lawmakers of failing to address the concerns of sex workers
because of the stigma attached to the industry, while giving hairdressers, tattoo parlours, massage and beauty salons, fitness studios, saunas and swinger clubs the green light to reopen weeks ago. They point out that in neighbouring Switzerland,
the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic, brothels are being allowed to operate again.