Marina's challenge: Drop your prostitution plan and let's tackle the bigger issues

21-Feb-2014 @ 15:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Campaigner Marina Yannakoudakis has issued a challenge to her fellow London MEP Mary Honeyball to drop misguided proposals for the EU to regulate prostitution – and instead to back her own more-targeted plans to tackle human trafficking and the child-sex trade.

 

The offer comes today in an open letter from the Conservative MEP to her Labour colleague over an ill-constructed and over-ambitious report which Mrs Honeyball plans to put before the European Parliament next week in Strasbourg. The Honeyball proposals seek to create a uniform set of rules to regulate prostitution across Europe – and she directly attacks Britain for its laws against prostitution.

 

Mrs Yannakoudakis will encourage MEPs from across the political spectrum to back her own alternative resolution, which shuns the idea of blanket regulation and concentrates instead on measures to eradicate the greater evils of human trafficking and child prostitution.

 

She warns Mrs Honeyball: "By conflating sex workers and victims of human trafficking you make it difficult to help those who have been forced into the sex trade, while failing to create a safe environment for those who choose to work as prostitutes.

 

"You’ve been driven by fanaticism not the facts and you’ve put feminism before females."

 

The letter in full reads:

 

Dear Mary,

 

You and I may sit on opposite sides of the political fence, but we are both members of the European Parliament’s gender equality committee.

 

I am happy when we can work together to promote a realistic approach to tackling the challenges which women face in the UK and across Europe. But your latest proposals on EU rules for prostitution really go too far.

 

By conflating sex workers and victims of human trafficking you make it difficult to help those who have been forced into the sex trade while failing to create a safe environment for those who choose to work as prostitutes.

 

I don’t agree with the feminist conceit that women can’t choose to be prostitutes. I’m as unhappy as you are that some women decide to sell their bodies, but, unlike you, I realise that cracking down on prostitution is not going to eradicate the trade, it will merely obscure it.

 

And by driving the trade further underground it means that prostitutes’ lives will become more dangerous. They are more likely to be victims of violence or to be at greater risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

 

If you don’t take my word for this, perhaps you’ll take that of La Strada International, a major NGO addressing the trafficking of persons in Europe, who, along with over 500 organisations, wrote to MEPs asking them to vote against your suggestions.

 

Or perhaps you would agree with the World Health Organisation which has said that the kind of restrictions you propose would limit sex workers' access to condoms and other measures to prevent HIV.

 

I’m putting forward an alternative resolution to your proposals which will not only address the important issues such as human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, but will also create a safe environment for those sex workers who have chosen their path. I’ve worked with MEPs from across the political spectrum because I believe that this issue is too important to get wrong.

 

And you have got it wrong. You’ve been driven by fervour, not the facts and you’ve put feminism before females.

 

I appeal to you: Drop your flawed plans and let’s co-operate to back the cross-party resolution I’ve co-sponsored. That way we can protect all women in the sex industry, whether they are there by choice or by coercion.

 

All my best,

 

Marina

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