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23 November 2012

Support grows for Scottish prostitution law as consultation deadline draws near

Support grows for Scottish prostitution law as consultation deadline draws near

Support is growing for a new law that aims to tackle prostitution and human trafficking in Scotland after an Evangelical Alliance sponsored coalition screened the hard hitting documentary film, Nefarious, to over 1,000 people across the nation.

Abolition Scotland, a coalition of Christian groupings, decided to take the film on a tour of towns and cities following the publication of Rhoda Grant MSP's consultation on her proposed Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill. So far, with a number of screenings remaining, over 1,000 people have watched the documentary and there have been over 100 responses submitted to the consultation as a result.

This bill 'aims to reduce the demand for prostitution' in Scotland and to impact sexually driven criminal behaviour in Scotland, especially human trafficking. Whilst prostitution and human trafficking are two separate issues they are inextricably linked. Where prostitution is permitted or tolerated human trafficking for sex follows. The proposed legislation essentially advocates for the 'Swedish Model' which criminalises the buyers of sex rather than the sellers. This law has had a significant impact in Sweden with some reports of a 50 per cent reduction in both on-street and off-street prostitution with the first year of implementation. According to Swedish police, the ban on the purchase of sexual services acts as a barrier to human traffickers and procurers who are considering establishing themselves in Sweden.

Trafficking of human beings, made in the image of God, is clearly an injustice. Some of those involved in the sex 'industry' may not have physical chains but they are often still slaves to someone else's lust. This is at the very least an opportunity to stop and examine how we treat sex workers and how we value sex, freedom, consent, human dignity, and relationship.

The Alliance welcomes this consultation on the morality and legality of buying sex. It prompts us to consider what lies behind the demand for sexual services. It's unlikely that someone wakes up and simply decides to go out and buy some sex. Sex has largely been detached from marriage and relationship and been turned it into a right, a commodity to be consumed. We must consider our response to a media-driven culture than normalises mainstream pornography as appropriate sexual behaviour, and with integrity pursue lives that demonstrate the value Jesus places in all people.

The consultation closes on December 14 and the Evangelical Alliance is strongly encouraging as many people as possible to respond. Details of the consultation and an online response form can be found on the Abolition Scotland website. Alternatively responses can be sent directly to Rhoda Grant's office at the following address: Rhoda Grant MSP, M1.06, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

For further information on any of the above please contact the Evangelical Alliance Scotland Office at 0141 548 1555 or email k.turner@eauk.org