BBC Talking Point: Should prostitution be a crime?

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 07:10:29 -0800 (PST)

I know that many list members follow the debates surrounding prostitution
and sex work. You may be interested in joining the BBC on-line discussion
this week---should prostitution be made illegal in Europe? Also, see UK
survey results below.

              It's called the oldest trade in the world, it's proved
                practically immune to any form of legislation, it
               may be frowned upon and swept under the carpet,
                 but it is there in all countries in Europe and

               We're talking about prostitution, the sex trade, the act
                       of selling your body for money.

                 Efforts are under way in several European
                countries to improve the legal environment in
                        which prostitutes operate.

              Sweden, however, has gone the other way. A new law
               there will make paying for sex illegal from January next
                     year. Should prostitution be a crime?

                   Joining Thomas Dahlhaus for this week's
               Europewide debate are the commentator Rob Groen
                of Radio Netherlands and Inger Segelstroem , a
                    Swedish MP and author of that new law.


The majority of people believe prostitution should be
             legalised, according to a new survey.

             Out of 2,000 men and women questioned throughout the UK,
             61% said prostitution should be decriminalised, with brothels
             being the favoured means to regulate the trade.

             The study commissioned for an ITV documentary found that
             young men are the most regular users of prostitutes.

             While 6% of males questioned said they had used a
             prostitute, the figure was 10% among 25-34-year-olds.

             Widowed, divorced or separated men were the biggest users
             (14%), followed by single (8%) and married men (3%).

             Of those who had used prostitutes 40% had done so more
             than once. About one in 10 of those who had not gone to a
             prostitute had considered it.

             The greatest reason for not using prostitutes was found to be
             the fear of catching a disease (52%).

             That came before the worry of a partner finding out (22%) or
             of being arrested (14%).

             Out of the women questioned, just under half said they
             would find it harder to forgive their husband if he was having
             an affair than if he was visiting a prostitute.

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