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Part of the debate — in Westminster Hall at pm on 4th July Alert me about debates like this. Again, I completely agree. As I will go on to say, a comprehensive model of legal reform would be one in which women who sold sex were decriminalised and those who bought it were subject to criminal sanction, but programmes to boost exit and allow people to go into other, much more secure forms of work are also hugely important.
It is currently illegal to place a call card advertising prostitution in a phone box, yet apparently it is perfectly legal for companies to make millions of pounds by knowingly hosting prostitution adverts online. We have an Act to combat modern slavery—the Modern Slavery Act —but it has a huge hole in it, because it fails to acknowledge that prostitution drives sex trafficking in the first place. We have a law that prohibits men from soliciting women for sex on the street, but it gives them the green light to walk into a brothel and sexually exploit them behind closed doors.
That is not good enough. As I said to the Minister this morning, when she very kindly appeared before the Women and Equalities Committee , it has profound implications not just for women involved in prostitution, but for all women, because it perpetuates the myth that men have an absolute right to sex and therefore their sense of entitlement should overwhelm many others in society.
The Minister for Women and Equalities , who is also a Secretary of State , put it best when she said earlier this year:. It states:. Offering someone money—or drugs, food or a place to stay—in exchange for them performing sex acts is abusive and exploitative.
It is never acceptable. Our responsibility as lawmakers is clear: it is to end sexual exploitation. And to end sexual exploitation, we have to end the demand. How to combat demand is not a big mystery. As with any other form of violence against women, it starts with the law sending a clear signal that exploiting someone by paying them for sex is never acceptable, and that those who do will be held to account.