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Calling the tune? Some observations on Paying the Price: a consultation paper on prostitution

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date12/2004
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Number of pages18
Original languageEnglish


This article focuses on the shortcomings and dangers of the recent Home Office consultation paper on prostitution. First, what is certainly missing is an historical perspective by which one can judge what sort of contribution the proposals are attempting to make. The de-contextualization of the proposals may be deliberate or unintentional but the danger is real. Second, we consider what is potential misinformation in the consultation document that risks perpetuating myths associated with prostitution. Here we note the complexity of the assertion that prostitution is dangerous and call for a more realistic understanding of the public health issues. Third, we focus on the potential mismanagement towards which a consultation document of this kind can perhaps unwittingly lead. We point out how models of regulation suggested as solutions in the consultation paper could reinforce measures to displace individuals rather than facilitate safe, consensual commercial sex. Finally, we suggest that the primary mission should in the first instance be the protection of minors rather than a diffuse attempt to tackle prostitution in all its forms.