December 30, 2005

World Cup Prostitution and UK Tolerance Zones

'Prostitution is, in my view, as much an abuse of human rights as paedophilia. It is based on men's superior economic power, driven by demand rather than supply; it exists not because women have an inescapable need to sell their bodiesbut because a minority of men belive they have a right to sex whenever they want it. Nothing could demonstrate this more dramatically than the fact that so many punters are willing to have sex with trafficked women, not caring that they have been coerced into prostitution.

This belief isn't universal but it is widespread, as we can see from estimates that three million football fans will visit a prostitute during the World Cup in Germany next year. Forty thousand prostitutes are expected to arrive in German cities in advance of the tournament and, according to NGOs who work in the field, substantial numbers will have been trafficked.

This is a horrifying insight into a certain kind of male sexuality, but I don't find it easy to discern the difference between a football fan who has sex with a trafficked woman and one who buys it from a desperately poor mother who is dependent on crack. Do either women have a real choice?

In reality, both are victims of abuse and people who campaign for tolerance zones in this country, no matter how well intentioned, are ensuring that the abuse will continue. Many men want to have sex with children, judging by thepopularity of paedophile sites on the internet, but would anyone seriously suggest tolerance zones for paedophiles? As long as they follow through on promises to help women escape from prostitution, Home Office ministers are quite right to decalre that the Government is not in the business of colluding in the sexual exploitation of vulnerable people.'

From: Joan Smith, 'Kerb-crawlers deserve zero tolerance', The Independent , 30th December 2005, p. 29.


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