Today (23 October) Peers have debated banning prostitution adverts proposed in a Bill brought forward by Lord McColl of Dulwich.
In his opening remarks Lord McColl emphasised the damaging effects of prostitution and stressed the need to reduce demand for paid sex as a way of reducing that harm. He also highlighted a key inconsistency in the laws on prostitution which mean that brothel keeping or controlling another person in prostitution are illegal but advertising the services of that person or brothel is not illegal.
The Bill received a good deal of support from Peers of various parties including from the Bishop of Derby who remarked that advertising normalises the buying of women for sex and enables organised crime to flourish. Similarly, Baroness Butler-Sloss drew attention to the need to take strong action against traffickers who exploit vulnerable people through prostitution. Several Peers shared stories of women for whom prostitution has been a damaging experience and welcomed the Bill’s intention to restrict the advertising which promotes it.
CARE welcomes the introduction of the Bill as a first step towards addressing the demand for prostitution. However, we would ultimately like to see England and Wales follow Northern Ireland by making it illegal to buy sexual services.
Lord McColl must now await the scheduling of the Bill’s Committee Stage at which Peers will have the opportunity to look at the legislation in detail and make amendments.