The Member of the Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant, believes sex workers are imbeciles who should be denied the right to earn a living and subjected to state-sanctioned sexual assault to ensure that they comply with the dictates imposed upon their profession. Not that she puts it quite like that.
In her proposed bill to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland (open to public consultation until the 14th of December), she's gone for a paternalistic tone, suggesting authority with her (unfounded and patently untrue) statements about the sex industry while offering protection to the poor souls forced to work in it with promises to keep them safe from the big bad men who exploit them by paying to have sex with them. She's very noble in her presentation: she's also woefully uninformed. As a result, the proposed bill is based on presumption, prejudice, and stereotype, not on fact. But then, who needs facts when emotive statements, hyperbole, and fudged statistics will do the job just as well? It's not as if the outcome of the bill will affect the lives of thousands or anything.
Grant's theory is that criminalising the purchase of sex will end demand for the services of sex workers. Her initial claim, sort of said in the draft bill, was that the sex industry would simply vanish into thin air when all sex workers were given nice jobs that didn't offend her moral sensibilities. Then, talking in the Daily Record in November, she declared "If you drive it underground so no one can find it, it wouldn't survive". Speaking on Sunday Politics Scotland last weekend, she then decided that it needed to stay visible so those wishing to purchase sex could find it. Seems she's more than a little confused. Criminalising sex will drive the industry underground, but it's not going to die there...