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Upcoming attempt to partially criminalise prostitution in Scotland
Ash Denham MSP wishes to introduce the "Nordic Model" for Scotland. This is a set of laws which have been implemented in Sweden, Iceland, Ireland (Northern and Republic), France and a few others. One of these laws is to criminalise the paying for sex. Supporters of this claim it will "tackle men's demand". Ms Denham also wishes to criminalise escort directories ("pimping websites" in her words) for Scotland as well. She is calling it "a model for Scotland" if you want to look it up.

There have been previous attempts to implement this in Scotland, including a failed attempt by Highlands MSP Rhoda Grant in 2015 (I think). Now Ms Denham is giving it another go.

The Nordic Model isn't the only law model for prostitution, another is (complete) decriminalisation.

Decriminalisation of prostitution is used by NZ, parts of Australia and (this year) Belgium:

Decriminalisation of prostitution is supported by many human rights, health, anti-STD, anti-trafficking and sex worker orgs. This includes Amnesty Int. the World Health Org, UNAIDS, STOP AIDS (a network of UK agencies working together to combat HIV and AIDs globally), the English Collective of Prostitutes, Scot-Pep and Umbrella Lane.

Some of these are linked here:

More info on why decriminalisation is preferred over the Nordic Model (which Ms Denham is proposing for Scotland) here. A list of supporters are at the bottom of the letter:

With the Nordic Model, sexworkers are still criminalised for working together, they can be evicted (because it's illegal to rent to a sexworker) and can have their children taken off them (under the Nordic Model selling sex is seen as a form of "self-harm", look up the case of Petite Jasmine in Sweden).

In Nordic Model France, more than 10 sexworkers were murdered in a 6 month period:

There is no evidence the Nordic Model reduces demand, the main argument given by supporters.

I recommend anyone with an interest in Scotland to write to your MSP about your concerns. If you are a sexworker mention this as it will give more strength to your argument. Also spread the word, if you know anyone who may be affected by the proposed law change let them know.
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In addition to an upcoming attempt by MSP Ash Denham to apply the Nordic Model to Scotland, there is also an upcoming bill by Bill Kidd who also wants the Nordic Model for Scotland (and is using the conflict in Ukraine as reasoning to pass this) and the Online Safety Bill which now has clauses about wanting to criminalise escort directories.
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This is a copy of the email I sent to my MSP and MP which might be of interest, I recommend anyone else in Scotland contacts their MSP+MP as well. If you or have been a sexworker make a point of saying so as this will give your voice more weight.

Quote:"I wish to raise concerns regarding upcoming proposals by MSP Ash Denham to introduce what she is calling "A Model for Scotland" regarding sexwork(prostitution). I understand she is referring to the "Nordic Model" used by some countries including Sweden, France and Ireland which is a collection of laws which include criminalising the payment of sex. I understand a big focus of this is belief that this will "reduce demand" if criminalisation laws are implemented.

My first concern is her proposals have been biased from the start, and from the very start she has decided the "Nordic Model" should be the model to implement. The issue with this is the "Nordic Model" is not the only law model for sex work, others include legalisation (eg The Netherlands, Germany) and complete decriminalisation (eg New Zealand, parts of Australia and Belgium). These other models have not been taken into consideration at all in Scotland.

Of particular interest is the model called decriminalisation. This is the model which criminalises sexworkers the least and gives them the most control over their work and allows them to contact the police or support services if needed without fear of consequences.
Decriminalisation has a lot of strong support from local and international human rights orgs, health orgs, anti-trafficking orgs and sexworker orgs. These include: Amnesty International, The World Health Org, Human Rights Watch, Anti-Slavery International, Global Alliance against Traffic in Women, UNAIDS & UNFPA, Freedom United (anti-trafficking org), PICUM (Dutch based org concerned with the rights and safety of migrants in Europe), GAATW (The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women), HIV Scotland, STOPAIDS and the Royal College. Many of these orgs have previously supported the Nordic Model but changed their viewpoint when they became aware of evidence it has not helped sexworkers.

This year, Unison the UK's largest Union, formally dropped support of the Nordic Model and has joined the growling list of decriminalisation supporters:

I would like to please ask you to read the open letter signed by many orgs explaining why the Nordic Model harms sexworkers and why decriminalisation is preferred. At the bottom is a list of signatures.

Also this year, Belgium became the first country in Europe to adopt decriminalisation of sexwork:

Harms of the Nordic Model include increased violence, sexworkers are still criminalised if they work together for safety in all countries which have the Nordic Model, sexworkers are evicted and find it difficult to rent property(due to laws criminalising renting property to sexworkers), sexworkers in Sweden are seen as "victims of self-harm" and are often visited by Social Work and lose custody of their children. This means sexworkers will be less likely to contact the police or support services if required.

In Nordic Model France, over 10 sexworkers were murdered in a 6 month period. Some clients in Nordic-Model countries become nervous about paying for sex and this sometimes results in them wanting the sex transaction to take place in more secluded environments to avoid the police. This places sexworkers at greater risk of harm and has led to murders in France.

From a health perspective, health and anti-STD orgs strongly oppose any form of criminalisation (including the Nordic Model) and support decriminalisation. For example under the Nordic Model condoms are still used as evidence (same as with outright criminalisation) which means they are less likely to be used.

There is no evidence the Nordic Model reduces demand, and this appears to be entire speculation that "if it's made illegal, it will stop happening". It is also extremely difficult to convict clients for paying for sex as sexworkers are unwilling to testify against their clients. In Sweden, only 2 clients were convicted for paying for sex out of the first 2,000 arrests(Source: UN&HIVLawCommission).

Ash Denham claims the proposals have been drawn by up an "expert group", my concern is this "expert" group did not involve any sexworker groups (groups made up of adults who sell sexual services). Scotland and England have many sexworker groups such as Scot-Pep, Umbrella Lane and the English Collective of Prostitutes which amongst them have tens of thousands of members who are active or past sexworkers. I believe they were not consulted because they all because they all advocate for complete decriminalisation which is now what Ash Denham wants. There are also many tens of thousands of sexworkers in Britain who have not been consulted or even made aware of Ash Denham's plans for criminalisation laws. I also note she is using terminology such as "keeping women and girls safe", I believe this is just a "sales pitch" and using buzzwords to create support for her proposals especially from people who aren't knowledgeable about how sexworkers are affected by criminalisation. If you say you are going to "pass a law that protects women and girls" then without knowing details everyone is going to be in agreement. In reality, evidence from other Nordic Model countries shows increased violence towards sexworkers and often there is no extra support given to sexworkers except investigations from Social Work to determine if sexworkers are fit to look after their children.

The Nordic Model also creates stigma which can harm women who aren't sexworkers. In Sweden establishments are permitted to refuse entry to women if the bouncers think they are sexworkers based on their appearance. There was a case (source: where Asian women who were refused entry to a pub because "they looked like prostitutes" (they weren't) took the pub to court. The judge ruled in favour of the pub. This is the attitude in Sweden created by the Nordic Model, open-discrimination against women "who look like prostitutes" in an attempt to "combat sexwork" is allowed. This does nothing to stop sexwork from happening and disadvantages women.

In 2015, there was a failed attempt by MSP Rhoda Grant, which also included a public consultation (the recent public consultation in 2020 wasn't the first in Scotland on sexwork), to pass a variation of the "Nordic Model" in Scotland due to lack of evidence in favour of her proposals and strong evidence it would increase harm for sexworkers.

Lastly, I note there appears to be no acknowledgement at all by the Scottish Government or MSP Ash Denham of male sexworkers. At any given time between a quarter and a third of active indoor sexworkers are men. Out of tens of thousands of sexworkers in Britain there is a very significant number of men in sexwork and it is important they are also acknowledged and made aware of proposed changes in the law and have their views listened to.

Sources: page 38

I therefore believe there is insufficient evidence to pass laws criminalising the purchase of sexual services and/or the use of escort directories which sexworkers make use of to make their work safer, and plenty of local and international strong evidence that doing so increases risk and violence for sexworkers and creates other disadvantages for them. I request that if MSP Ash Denham's proposals continue to advocate for such criminalisation, they are not supported."
(07-06-2022, 08:34)admin Wrote: Hi, shared in the AW whatsapp group thanks.

How do you join the whatsapp group ? Thank you
(27-09-2022, 07:07)country-gal1984 Wrote:
(07-06-2022, 08:34)admin Wrote: Hi, shared in the AW whatsapp group thanks.

How do you join the whatsapp group ? Thank you

Hi, PM here with your whatsapp number and the AW username ty
UK Office landline number is 02080508019 12midday - 2pm Monday - Friday


Ash Regan has resigned as Minister for Community Safety. She has been replaced by Elena Whitham SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley who will take her role to push through criminalisation sexwork laws in Scotland.
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