This talk by Professor Roger Matthews is sixth in the series Prostitution, Pimping and Trafficking, curated by Deborah Lavin.
Although there have been considerable policy shifts in recent years, in the area of prostitution, opinion is very divided. On one hand, the adoption of the Nordic Model by abolitionists in the UK calls for the criminalisation of those who pay for sexual services; and for greater efforts to be made to help women leave the sex trade. On the other hand, the liberal and libertarian ‘sex work’ group have lobbied for the introduction of controlled zones which they see as a way of normalising sex work and making it less dangerous. These opposing views are reflected at the Parliamentary level. The All Party Parliamentary Group gravitated towards an abolitionist approach in their report Shifting the Burden (2014), advocating the introduction of some form of the Nordic Model and the criminalisation of sex buyers; while the Home Affairs Select Committee (chaired by Keith Vaz) advocated the policy currently adopted in New Zealand. (The decriminalisation of soliciting and of two (or more women) providing sexual services in the same premises. There is no neutrality on this issue. And the aim of this presentation is not to try to bridge the unbridgeable, but while outlining both arguments, to argue against full decriminalisation and in favour of the UK adopting a version of the Nordic Model.
Professor Roger Matthews is Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent. He is the author of Prostitution, Politics and Policy (Routledge 2008) and co-author of Exiting Prostitution: A Study in Female Desistance (Palgrave Macmillan 2014). He was an advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution (2014) and contributed to the publication Shifting the Burden. He has also conducted a number of research studies on different aspects of prostitution and written a series of articles in different academic journals.